D.W. Harding

D.W. Harding is Emeritus Professor of Psychology at the University of London, and was an editor of Scrutiny. His books include Experience into Words and Words into Rhythm.

Decent People

D.W. Harding, 2 August 1984

The plan Myers adopted of framing a discussion of 20th-century people and their problems in Akbar’s India is vindicated by the freshness the novel has in this reissue fifty years after it was written. Finished when Myers was in his early fifties, it presents a mature and civilised man’s experience of picking his way among the decent and the detestable people of a sophisticated civilisation. Features of the background – the dictator state, the secret intelligence service and its ubiquitous agents, an underground movement, rival religions associated with political factions, mass executions, unexplained murders, prostitutes accidentally involved in high politics – such things have certainly not grown more remote from us since the late 1920s when the first novel of the trilogy appeared. Nor has the difficulty diminished of isolating personal moral convictions from practical politics.–

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