Smartened Up

Ian Hamilton

  • Louis MacNeice: A Biography by Jon Stallworthy
    Faber, 538 pp, £25.00, February 1995, ISBN 0 571 16019 0

Why did Louis MacNeice have to wait thirty years for a biography? He died comparatively young – aged 55 – and was outlived by almost everyone he knew: wives, girlfriends, classmates, colleagues. He led an active public life, had two careers – in universities and with the BBC – and was well known as a poet from quite early on. He was a pub-dweller, he travelled a lot, and through his radio work was in contact with many talkative celebs: actors, musicians, singers as well as literary types. For a quick-off-the-mark chronicler, there might have been rich pickings.

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