I don't know enough about Shakespeare's Falstaff to make any comparisons with the original, but I don't think that's necessary. According to Burgess Robert Nye was heavily influenced by François Rabelais of whom I know no more than I just read on Wikipedia. If I should sum up my impressions od Falstaff in one sentence it would be "Ahh, I don't know".
Want me to elaborate? Well, Falstaff is quite easy to read, beautifully written, and kind of amusing. There is a great flow in the language, and it all feels very "genuine". But it's also a little bit too much — of everything. I guess this just shows my ignorance — any book influenced by Rabelais should, if not must, be too much. I understand that, but I assume I just don't like that style very much. As I said, "Ahh, I don't know".
Burgess last sentence/paragraph in his text about Falstaff is:
This book was a bold venture and an indication of what the novel can do when it frees itself from the constraints of the Jamesian tradition.
After about 100 pages I decided to stop reading the book. I think the only motivation I had was that I wanted to read "one more book on the list", and it never was my intention to read them all. I shouldn't read book I don't enjoy, so I never finished Falstaff.
Copyright © 2009 Peter Andrén