an unofficial Alasdair Gray website
Mavis Belfrage (1996)
A Night Off
The Shortest Tale
The story 'Mavis Belfrage' is adapted from a play Gray completed in 1968 and reworked several times until 1976. It has appeared under various titles, including 'Mavis Watson', 'Triangles', 'Colchis', 'Agnes Belfrage', 'Agnes Watson' and eventually 'Mavis Belfrage'. The work was produced as a television play, under the title 'Triangles' 1973 and 1976 and was staged in 1975/76. The title tale is about a weak and ineffective teacher meeting and falling in love with a strong and independent female student and charts the decline of their relationship.
The dark brick-red
boards, are embossed in gold, front and back with an alternative title:
Front - I CALL THIS BOOK A NOVEL SINCE MOST READERS PREFER LONG STORIES TO SHORT
Back - UNDER THE PAPER JACKET I ADMIT THIS BOOK SHOULD BE CALLED TEACHERS: 6
The blurb on the cover states that 'This is the least fanciful of Gray's fiction collections and will amuse readers who do not find the world comfortable and don't expect to escape from it alive'.
Within the book, a rubric in the upper border of the right-hand page of each spread holds a running commentary of brief phrases upon the action on the page. The tales other than Mavis Belfrage itself are introduced, on a separate title page, as 'Five Other Sober Stories' and illustrated with devilish drawings.
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Paperback also available.