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NEVER The TWAIN SHALL MEET. [NIGRANIA - Binding title]
(n. p.):. (n. d.).. 8-7/8" x 6-1/2". Ca. late 1950s. [2], 204 ll, typed recto only. Hand inked corrections throughout. Text divided into 10 chapters.. Bound in brown half-cloth with marbled boards. Gold embossed title label to front board.. General shelf wear to binding. A VG copy of what-appears-to-be a. unique item.. The work begins: "The Government of Nigrania, it must be emphasised [sic] at the very outset, is enlightened. There can be no doubt about it. Every article in the Nigranian Herald (which is controlled by the Minister of Propaganda) makes this quite clear, and so does a little weekly paper, published in England, which is devoted to the affairs of the country. Neither can it be said that either of these is biased, because the first is edited and published by an American negro from South Carolina and the second is written, almost in its entirety, by an English woman of well- known moral scruples. Were she and her scruples less well known it is possible that the malicious and ill-informed might suspect that her views were, shall we say, tainted, by reason of the stipend she receives from the King of Nigrania, but there can be no doubt of that. Like Caesar's wife, she is above suspicion." One can't help but wonder if the name selected for the title comes from the 1785 Utopian work, GOLDEN AGE, "This you may call Nigrania: It being allotted for the Negroes to dwell there..." As in the style of 18th C. anonymous English writers, the simple substitution of "Nigrania" for Ethiopia and "Florenuova" for Addis Ababa, provides an anonymous individual, presumably English, who had obviously been long-time resident in the country, the cover for this satiric view of the African nation as seen during the post-war Haile Selassie era. The overall tone is one of white superiority & colonial condescension towards "ungrateful" natives, but, at the same time, the work is knowledgeable & informative, full of anecdotes which would have been known only to an intimate... a British Army officer perhaps or expatriate business executive. For a scholar of Ethiopian history, there is a wealth of specific detail & references within the text, which cynically discusses Ethiopian Government, social character, the Army and other military services, education, sport & natural resources, that could help to specifically date the period about which the author is writing; the date estimate offered is based on the author's present-tense reference to an "English woman of well-known moral scruples", who is, no doubt, Sylvia Pankhurst, the celebrated British suffragette who edited an English- language newspaper, "The New Times and Ethiopia News." She moved to Addis Ababa in 1956 and died there in September 1960. An laid-in note, dated 19/9/63 & written in blue ball-point on a lined leaf [4-7/8" x 3"] torn from a loose-leaf note-pad, gives the only clue as to the author; it states: "John - / A wonderfully / perceptive book. / We've relished it / hugely; we hope / that your point of / view will boost / our morale this / coming turn when / things go - Ethiopian. / B & B". An apparently unpublished, custom-bound typescript documenting the [then] current regime of an African country, by an unidentified author who, the work strongly implies, lived in-country during the milieu chronicled.
      [Bookseller: Tavistock Books, ABAA]
Last Found On: 2014-10-10           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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