Appointment in samarra pdf article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.
The book created controversy due to O’Hara’s inclusion of sexual content. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Appointment in Samarra 22nd on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century. The title is a reference to W. Somerset Maugham’s retelling of an ancient Mesopotamian tale, which appears as an epigraph for the novel: A merchant in Baghdad sends his servant to the marketplace for provisions.
Soon afterwards, the servant comes home white and trembling and tells him that in the marketplace he was jostled by a woman, whom he recognized as Death, and she made a threatening gesture. Death will not find him. The merchant then goes to the marketplace and finds Death, and asks why she made the threatening gesture. She replies, “That was not a threatening gesture, it was only a start of surprise.
I was astonished to see him in Baghdad, for I had an appointment with him tonight in Samarra. In his foreword to the 1952 reprint, O’Hara says that the working title for the novel was The Infernal Grove. He got the idea for the title Appointment In Samarra when Dorothy Parker showed him the story in Maugham’s play, Sheppey. O’Hara describes it as a reference to “the inevitability of Julian English’s death.
The novel describes how, over the course of three days, Julian English destroys himself with a series of impulsive acts, culminating in suicide. O’Hara never gives any obvious cause or explanation for his behavior, which is apparently predestined by his character.
Facts about Julian gradually emerge throughout the novel. He is about thirty years old.
He is college-educated, owns a well-established Cadillac dealership, and within the Gibbsville community belongs to the prestigious “Lantenengo Street crowd. Our introduction to him comes seven pages into the novel, in the thoughts of the wife of one of his employees: “She wouldn’t trade her life for Caroline English’s, not if you paid her. She wondered if Julian and Caroline were having another one of their battle royales”.