Alan Moore’s novel Jerusalem

In 2017 I read Alan Moore’s novel Jerusalem, set in the English town of Northampton, at the same time as I read Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s masterpiece Crime and Punishment, the novel that is famous for its portrayal of a character’s inner world. Moore’s work is superior on several scores, but notably it is superior on this score in particular: its portrayal of an inner world. It is at least a class above.

It is well known that if you come from the working class you need to be much better at whatever it is you do than all the middle class tossers who take possession of their occupational positions by means of inherited privilege and contacts.

I doubt that Moore will ever be offered the Nobel prize for literature. His work is at least as great as that of any of the laureates, but he comes from the right side of the railway tracks and, worse still in the minds of the privileged, he has never sold out. Respect is due to Harold Pinter, who came from the lower middle class and who won the prize in 2005, and there is a deep sense in which he too fought against the privileged – I don’t doubt his social commitment. But nonetheless a lot of Pinter’s work is principally consumed as fodder by the middle classes, which is hardly surprising given that most of it took the form of stage plays and given that the lower middle class is not the proletariat. It does not have the richness, originality, bite and visionary quality of Moore’s, which puts Moore in the same category as William Blake, the earlier author of “And did those feet in ancient time”.

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