Walter de la Mare, Memoirs of a Midget

Kate Macdonald

de la MareThis strange and beautiful novel was published in 1921, perfectly positioned among Stella Benson’s Living Alone (1919), David Garnett’s Lady Into Fox (1922) and Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes (1926).  All belong to the category of fantasy that allows the fantastical to live alongside the mundane, without comment or criticism, although mild resentment may be present, humans and inhumans being what they are.

De la Mare was better known for his stories and poetry for children, and for his horror stories and tales of the supernatural. Memoirs of a Midget is a novel a child might tire of quickly due to its weight (it’s long), or fall headlong into with enthusiastic curiosity. But it would take a singular and precocious child to really love this novel, as it deals with love and emotional fidelity in the most oblique way, obcuring the most interesting points out of discretion, and deliberate omission…

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