Best Things

Alan Hollinghurst

  • Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation with John Haffenden
    Faber, 189 pp, £7.50, June 1981, ISBN 0 571 11689 2
  • A Free Translation by Craig Raine
    Salamander, 29 pp, £4.50, June 1981, ISBN 0 907540 02 3
  • A German Requiem by James Fenton
    Salamander, 9 pp, £1.50, January 1981, ISBN 0 907540 00 7
  • Caviare at the Funeral by Louis Simpson
    Oxford, 89 pp, £4.50, April 1981, ISBN 0 19 211943 5

By and large we are interested in the thoughts, opinions and intentions of writers we are interested in, and by and large writers are keen to express these things in reviews, essays and memoirs subsidiary to their main work. A critic lurks, an implicit presence, in every creative writer, and though most of them are starved of a Boswell to transcribe and irradiate obiter dicta as facets of the creative life, they are none the less eager to shine their light on their own work. At its best, self-consciousness is forgotten and the act of self-explanation becomes a part of the self-vindication of the work and even of the creative process in general.

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