Notes Before a Holiday

backsoonAs trailed, we’re off to Edinburgh tomorrow, to try and squeeze in as much as possible. We’ll try and update while we’re away, to share our adventures (or just our holiday snaps). In the meantime, a few things we’ve spotted over the weekend:

In the Sunday Telegraph, reviewing John Carey’s new William Golding biography, Jonathan Bate doesn’t trust those women people: “Various other unseen remarks about the female of the species will not be pleasing to feminists. Given that English literature is now a subject predominantly taught and srtudied by womne, Golding’s future in the canon may be under threat.” The review doesn’t seem to be online.

Dan’s been reading Sunnyside by Glen David Gold; halfway through it, it was in the running for his book of the year. Almost finished, he’s finding it tedious. (See Patrick Ness’s review in the Guardian.)

The gardening pixie’s been at work clearing out the greenhouse! She and Anna have planted autumn’s crops, so more on that soon…

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6 thoughts on “Notes Before a Holiday

  1. Martin: I think it’s rather neat, in a Shakespeare: the Dude Who Wrote Plays, or Hitler: a Study in Tyranny sort of way. Better yet, the back of the book carries nothing except a large-type quotation from Pete Townshend. That’s the Pete Townshend, of The Who. The obvious person to blurb a biography of William Golding.

  2. I should add, lest I appear fuddy-duddy, that I’ve nowt against Townshend; and indeed, if you pressed me, I’d probably rate him more-or-less on a par with Golding in terms of their late-20th-century cultural significance. That has a lot to do with the fact that I’m over 40, and English, and male. Plus, I know Golding made friends with Townshend, towards the end of his life. I just liked the blurb, because not only does it look really very much like publishers casting round for some ‘hip and/or relevant’ tag for a book they by implication consider musty and unappealing … but also that they’ve rather cluelessly lighted on a man who I’m sure means very little to people under 40.

  3. In a sense, I guess we should be heartened that the publishers feel there is an audience who might not usually read literary biography which can be attracted to the title. But it strikes me as so reductive as to render the whole book a bit superfluous. After all, Shakespeare: The Dude Who Wrote Plays does at least suggest he, er, wrote more than one interesting thing in his life.

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