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The novel Anglo-Saxon Attitudes by Angus Wilson deals with the significance of two connected events that happened on the same day, long before the opening of the novel. The first was the excavation of an ancient and valuable archaeological idol, a phallic figure unearthed from the tomb of an Anglo-Saxon bishop ________________, known as the "_____________". Gerald has long been haunted by a drunken revelation by his friend Gilbert, who was involved with this excavation, that the whole thing was a hoax perpetrated to embarrass Gilbert's father. Gilbert told Gerald that he put the idol there. Gerald, while feeling that his friend was telling the truth, pushed the matter to the back of his mind and tried to forget about it. He now feels ashamed that he, a history professor, has never had the courage to try to resolve the matter one way or another. The second is that ________________ fell in love with Dollie, Gilbert's fiancée, and had an affair with her when his friend went off to fight in World War I. When Gilbert was killed at the front, Dollie refused to marry Gerald. He ended up marrying a Scandinavian woman named Inge but continued his affair with Dollie, who became an alcoholic. Gerald and Inge later separated. Anglo-Saxon Attitudes is full of side-plots and coincidences and contains a host of eccentric characters. Some of these characters are Gerald's family. Robin his eldest son, is a womaniser who cannot decide whether to leave his wife or his mistress. Kay has an unhappy marriage and a deeply embittered view of her father, whom she appears to blame for everything that has gone wrong in her life, including her withered hand (which was actually caused by her mother). Gerald's estranged wife, Inge is a grotesquely deluded woman who cannot bring herself to acknowledge her younger son John's homosexuality or her daughter's physical disability. Gerald feels responsible for Dollie's plight and for those of his children. He feels that the knowledge of his complicity over the Melpham affair has drained his morale and made him withdrawn and indecisive. The novel begins with him resolving to make good the 'bloody shameful waste' of his life, by investigating the Melpham affair and making peace with Dollie. He also attempts to develop better relationships with his grown-up children and with Inge. By the novel's end, Gerald achieves a measure of peace with his past. He persuades Dollie to come forward with a letter from Gilbert's father's colleague, Canon Portway, proving that the Melpham incident was a hoax; then he and Dollie begin a platonic friendship. He gives up on achieving good relations with his family.