PR man George Burghess, employed to whitewash the name of a firm linked to a fatal factory fire, suffers torments of conscience. Then a friendship with a woman, who squats in the flat above his own, points the way to the redemption he seeks. But Burghess cannot give up a hard-won career in corporate PR and, instead, descends into spiritual ruin. Through its story of a soul in crisis, "An Exalted House" brings into view the warring sides of London: the corporate zone of hostile takeovers and monuments to financial power versus an alternative zone of popular-festive breakouts and squats, presided over by the spirit of William Blake.
Paul Maltby is Professor of Literature at West Chester University, Pennsylvania; his previous publications include Dissident Postmodernists (1991) and The Visionary Moment (2002).