The play was an adaptation of a rather racy Victorian novel called The Purple Land, about a naughty but handsome English man who has adventures in revolutionary Uruguay. The script was by Andrew Davies. I don't know if the original novel is played for laffs but the radio play is. The wikipedia entry makes it sound rather more meaningful than the version I listened to:
Jorge Luis Borges dedicated an essay to The Purple Land in his book Other Inquisitions (1952). He compared Hudson's novel to the Odyssey and described it as perhaps the "best work of gaucho literature". Borges sees the novel as the story of Richard Lamb's gradual "acriollamiento" ("Creolisation").
And Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises said:
He had been reading W.H. Hudson. That sounds like an innocent occupation, but Cohn had read and reread The Purple Land. The Purple Land is a very sinister book if read too late in life..
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