Bouvard and Pécuchet

C.H. Sisson

  • The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Correspondence of George Lyttelton and Rupert Hart-Davis. edited by Rupert Hart-Davis
    Murray, 193 pp, £13.50, April 1984, ISBN 0 7195 4108 5

We now have the sixth and final volume of the Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters. George Lyttelton died on 1 May 1962, thus ending a correspondence which had begun in 1955; the first of the volumes edited by the survivor was published in 1978, the rest have appeared at intervals since. ‘For beginners’, as Rupert Hart-Davis puts it, mindful of those who have had to pick up the thread at some intermediate stage of the correspondence, the editor ‘had been taught by George at Eton, where he was an outstanding teacher and house-master’. This was in 1926. The origin of the correspondence ‘was a dinner party in 1955 during which George’ – by this time retired and living in Suffolk – ‘complained that no one wrote to him’ and Hart-Davis ‘accepted his challenge’. Thereafter the letters were regular – or unrelenting. When they started Lyttelton was 71 and Hart-Davis 48.

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