1. Christopher Ricks on ‘The Mangan Inheritance’

    From Christopher Ricks’s introduction to The Mangan Inheritance:

    "The Mangan inheritance is a double one, as befits its involving a search for a double. The literal inheritance of money is what makes possible the search for the heritage of blood. But it is one of lacerations within the book that though ‘the Mangan inheritance’ is a straight description in that it is Jaime Mangan who inherits all that money (about $800,000), it is askew in that the money could as well be called the Abbot inheritance: Mangan inherits it from his wife Beatrice Abbot (who assuredly is not know as Mrs. Mangan), and moreover she has inherited half of it from her father. Mangan knows the honorable thing to do would be to renounce the money, left to him by a wife who was cutting him dead but who has not yet had time to cut him out: but his urge to discover his forbear makes forbearance impossible. In the bitter end, though, he cuts his ill-gotten losses. The vital and honest spending of the Mangan inheritance will be its caring, not for Mangan, his father’s child, but for another child of his father. Jaime Mangan has inherited, from someone not of his blood, blood-money. He has inherited too the wild blood and the poetic lust of the Mangans, the line running back to ‘the first poète maudit’. For James Clarence Mangan ‘was the prototype of that sort of poet. Before Baudelaire or Rimbaud. Before the term itself was invented.’”


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