Kennedy and Boyd

We Have Been Warned
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By Mitchison, Naomi. With an Introduction by Isobel Murray.
ISBN 1849210268
SERIES The Naomi Mitchison Library
Paperback  582 pages
Published 15 August 2012
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This is Naomi Mitchison's least successful novel, and new readers should not start here! It is shaped by her own life and fears in her own experience in 1931, and is the first of her novels and stories not to have a historical setting. Mitchison was appalled by the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy, and wanted to warn the world. She was rather dismayed by the results of the Russian Revolution, of which she had once had great hopes. She also poured all her most personal feelings into the novel, and covered a plethora of subjects - not only free love, abortion and rape, but the unmentionable discussion of marital infidelity, trouser buttons and rubber goods. Her own love life was so complex that she divided it between two sisters in the novel! It spent two years being censored by the publisher while she championed it, but it was crowded, over-written, hectic and unbalanced. It is poor, but Mitchison-lovers will find it impossible to put down.

Isobel Murray is Emeritus Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of Aberdeen.

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