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Arena: God's Fifth Columnist


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"I don't go out much these days, and when I do I find life infinitely dreary compared to my books..." William Gerhardie, who died at the age of 82 in 1977, was a legend in the world of letters. Born of English parents in Imperial Russia, he was reluctantly 'discovered' with his hugely acclaimed first novel "Futility", written at the age of 26. He was destined, however, to remain a prodigy. Despite the great success of his next novel, "The Polyglots", he lived out the rest of his life in a small London flat and busy obscurity. The remarkable book he was working on much of this time - "God's Fifth Column" was published this month. To mark the event, Michael Holroyd discusses Gerhardie's life and work and introduces a fascinating film portrait made by the BBC ten years ago.


Unknown: William Gerhardie
Unknown: Michael Holroyd
Director: Bennett Maxwell
Producer: Alan Yentob

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Arena: God's Fifth Columnist

BBC Two England, 28 March 1981 20.35

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