Stephen Vizinczey

Stephen Vizinczey novels, In Praise of Older Women and An Innocent Millionaire, will appear in German, Spanish and Portuguese later this year. A collection of essays and reviews, Truth and Lies in Literature, will be published in April by Hamish Hamilton. He lives at present in Toronto.

Lucky Lucien

Stephen Vizinczey, 20 February 1986

In his preface to The White Devil Webster speaks of ‘those ignorant asses who visiting stationers’ shops, their use is not to inquire for good books but new books’. I’m reminded of Webster by the fact that one of Stendhal’s great novels was not translated into English until 1951, 33 years had to go by before it was reprinted, and no publication – at least, none that I’m aware of – has taken any notice of the new Boydell Press edition. Lucien Leuwen does not have the dramatic sweep of The Red and the Black or The Charterhouse of Parma, but in an important sense it is closer to us: it is the best novel ever written on parliamentary democracy, on that ‘seductive blend of hypocrisy and lies which is called representative government’. It is set in the reign of the ‘Citizen King’ Louis-Philippe, brought to power by the Revolution of July 1830: France has a constitutional monarchy, a Chamber of Deputies, a legal republican party, a free press, and some people have the right to vote. Hence the need for hypocrisy and lies. The Prince of Parma can rely on his secret police: an elected government needs to impose its will by deception.’

In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

There is nothing enigmatic about Stephen Vizinczey. He has views, he shouts, cajoles, threatens and sneers. He worships Kleist and Stendhal, loathes William Styron and Sainte-Beuve, is...

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Christopher Driver, 19 May 1983

The theme of William Trevor’s new novel – his ninth, and that leaves short-story collections out of account – is the murderous entail of Anglo-Irish history, in which, as a Cork...

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