Back in 1973, the weekly poetry lecture focused on the sixteenth and seventeenth century. For many of us, this was familiar territory, since Helen Gardner’s The Metaphysical Poets was a common set text at A level. I had studied Donne, Marvell, Herbert and others for A level Eng Lit, and felt quite confident about studying… Continue reading Poetry for beginners
Recently, I was corresponding with a friend about doing some guest lectures, and I was asked about what topics I could cover. I said, jokingly, “Beowulf to Virginia Woolf.” I wasn’t claiming expertise over a thousand years of literature, merely a kind of Jack-of-all-trades competence. It stems initially, I think, from teaching A level English… Continue reading Beowulf to Virginia Woolf
When I started my degree, we weren’t bombarded with information in the way that freshers are now. Our only source of information was the noticeboard in the English department, which in those days was situated in one of the brutalist concrete buildings that had been built when the university expanded in the sixties. We were… Continue reading Eng Lit Life, 1973
It was fifty years ago today… Well, fifty years last week anyway. I was 18 and about to become an undergraduate at Leeds University. I was reminded of the half-century (!) by a friend I met that week, and I thought I’d commemorate the event by writing about life as a student back then. First,… Continue reading It was fifty years ago today
Shiny New Books is now updated more frequently, as the website posts reviews in smaller batches. My latest reviews are of Melissa Harrison’s charming Rain, and Thomas Dilworth’s monumental biography of the poet and artist David Jones. Harriet’s review of the new Helen Dunmore novel, Birdcage Walk has moved it high on my TBR list.… Continue reading Shiny New Books
Edward Petherbridge is probably best known now as the definitive Lord Peter Wimsey in the BBC adaptations of the late eighties, opposite Harriet Walter as Harriet Vane. He brought a wounded sensitivity to the part, presenting a more complex figure than his predecessor Ian Carmichael, who remained largely in Bertie Wooster mode. Any casual viewer… Continue reading Edward Petherbridge and Bloomsbury
A new edition of Shiny New Books has hit the web, and there’s a review by me of the latest volume in the monumental series of TS Eliot letters. As ever, there’s lots more to look at, so have a browse.
My review of A.David Moody’s final volume in his massive Ezra Pound biography is now up at Shiny New Books.
For reasons over which we will draw a discreet veil, our soundtrack on a recent long drive was a CD of early Perry Como songs. The opening track, called ‘Dig You Later’ was a topical song of 1945, in which Perry and a vocal group, The Satisfiers, sing a lyric which tries to shoehorn as… Continue reading Hubba Hubba!
My latest review at the excellent Shiny New Books is now up. Go here for my thoughts on the latest volume of A David Moody’s magnum opus on old Stetson.