Quote: gappy @ August 1 2013, 1:45 PM BST
Has anyone ever read Wyndham Lewis' Apes Of God? It's a big, sprawling satire on interwar Bloomsbury types.
It's effectively exactly the same as Nathan Barley, in that it spends a lot of time attacking a small coterie of culture workers and their hangers-on, that most people didn't know aor care about.
Also, like NB, it's not well respected because it's not a very good novel, if you want to judge it that way (eg characterisation, plot, all that stuff), but is still a brilliant piece of work.
On the other hand, Anthony Powell's "Dance to the Music of Time" is widely respected and constantly in print, even though in large part it's a big, sprawling satire on interwar and immediately postwar Bloomsbury types that most people didn't know or care about. Pamela Flitton may be fictional, but is probably better known than Barbara Skelton, and more to the point you can enjoy, and wish you'd met, the former without the slightest idea of who the latter is. The reason DttMoT is a better twelve novels than Apes of God is one novel is not only concision (I suspect that Lewis's novel is little shorter than all twelve of Powell's taken together) but also that Powell's writing transcends the settling of personal scores, and therefore is perfectly readable today, whereas Lewis's book requires footnotes.
Similarly Nathan Barley: it just isn't good enough to be funny unless you have some knowledge of what's being satirised, and therefore it was niche at the time and rapidly dated. Like Lewis.
[[ I realise that "Invitation to the Dance" (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0099484366/comedyguide-21/) rather undermines my point... ]]