Allon White

Allon White a lecturer in English at the University of Sussex, is the author of The Uses of Obscurity.

Too Close to the Bone

Allon White, 4 May 1989

Faust, despairing of all philosophies, may yet drain a marsh or rescue some acres from the sea.

Water Music

Allon White, 2 September 1982

One time in four, and usually to everyone’s surprise, John Cheever’s heroes spring a wry and furtive victory over disappointment. Cheever is irresistible in describing those delicious moments of triumph when a dogged loser suddenly strikes a home run – like Farragut’s escape from the penitentiary at the end of Falconer. Cheever’s fiction is full of the kind of episode in which the amiably incompetent warm our hearts with an unexpected success, and Oh what a paradise it seems is no exception. A short book, it develops two episodes in the life of Lemuel Sears, one of those gentle, even-tempered and articulate male characters who often figure as Cheever’s protagonists. Lemuel Sears is old, but still sprightly enough to embark on a new love affair, and still doughty enough to tackle the local mobsters when they turn the town beauty spot (Beasley’s pond) into a municipal dump.

Bringing it home to Uncle Willie

Frank Kermode, 6 May 1982

A biography of Conrad that makes no claim to add to the voluminous information already on record, but runs amiably and quite deftly over the course, may have its uses. Not everybody has the time...

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