Golden Horn

Malise Ruthven

  • Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist by Lesley Blanch
    Collins, 330 pp, £12.50, October 1983, ISBN 0 00 211649 9

Loti performs so beautifully as to kick up a fine golden dust over the question of what he contains or what he doesn’t ... To be so rare that you can be common, so good that you can be bad without loss of caste ... The whole second-rate element in Loti becomes an absolute stain, if we think much about it. But practically (and this is his first-rate triumph) we don’t think much about it.

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