Review: Augustus Carp, Esq – Henry Howarth Bashford

augustus carpIf you want a bit of light relief from more serious books, then there are three out-of-copyright satirical novels available for free download which are about as funny as anything published today.

In this post, I’m featuring Augustus Carp, Esq. which is a free download from various sites but I’ve linked to the Manybooks site which let’s you download in just about any format you could need.  The other two books I’d like to mention are Diary of a Nobody by George and Weedon Grossmith and Mrs Caudle’s Curtain Lectures by Douglas Jerrold. All three books are similar in style, taking a rise out of Victorian manners and pretensions and showing that among all the intense respectability of the era there was quite an undercurrent of subversiveness flowing in the other direction.

Augustus Carp, Esq. was actually written in 1924 but harks back to the previous century when a respectable Anglicanism was the cover for all manner of hypocritical power-plays and generally rotten behaviour.  Augustus is pompous and self-important; a paragon of virtue (or so he believes), but in reality a sanctimonious hypocrite who the author delights in humiliating at every turn.  The book is written as Augustus’ autobiography and the opening paragraphs set out the great man’s reasons for setting it before the public,

On every ground I am an unflinching opponent of sin. I have continually rebuked it in others. I have strictly refrained from it in myself. And for that reason alone I have deemed it incumbent upon me to issue this volume. I propose in the first instance to deal with my earliest surroundings and the influence exerted upon me by my father . . .  at the time of my birth, then, and until his death, my father was a civic official in a responsible position, being a collector of outstanding accounts for the Consolidated Water Board“.

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