Christopher Small

Christopher Small is a former literary editor of the Glasgow Herald. He has published books about Frankenstein, Orwell and the uses of the printed word.

Great Creatures

Christopher Small, 17 August 1989

Whitman doesn’t supply any of the fragments selected by Heathcote Williams to shore up his poems. You won’t find, in Leaves of Grass or elsewhere, more than passing allusion to whales or elephants. Williams, a child of the late 20th century’s technological manipulations and separations, looks long and longingly at animals, not so much as they swim or graze or galumph there within an observant loafer’s eye-range, as in books, photography, the shamelessly ingenious intrusions of the field-video. The catalogues of Sacred Elephant sometimes have a Whitmanesque cadence:


Stingless Drones

16 October 1997

‘How,’ asks Helen Vendler (LRB, 16 October), in a thorough demolition job on Andrew Motion’s new biography of Keats (and with reference to the ‘Ode to Autumn’), ‘can Motion have been persuaded to think of the bees as exploited and overworked labourers? Can a poet so misread another poet? And if so, why?’ The answer to these questions seems to be simple. Surely he was ‘persuaded’ by...
Leo Steinberg, so Frank Kermode tells us in his review of The Sexuality of Christ in Renaissance Art and in Modern Oblivion (LRB, 3 April), eschews literary support for his exposition. But Kermode is under no such limitation, and it is odd that he doesn’t mention the most striking 20th-century example, in D.H. Lawrence’s late novella The Escaped Cock, posthumously published under the bowdlerised...

Catching on

6 April 1995

It’s surprising that, discussing the sexual significance of zippers, and the part played by this in their eventual hold on public fancy, E.S. Turner (LRB, 6 April) doesn’t mention Brave New World (1932, rather earlier than the epoch suggested for the zipper’s arrival as ‘the tool and symbol of seduction’). Surely Huxley’s super-pneumatic Lenina, stepping alluringly from her unzipped zippicamiknicks,...
Mark Lilla’s review of The Magus of the North, Isaiah Berlin’s essay upon Johann Georg Hamann (LRB, 6 January) makes no mention of an earlier study of Hamann by the Scottish theologian R. Gregor Smith (J.G. Hamann: A Study in Christian Existence, 1960). This seems odd, if only as a matter of routine academic courtesy; though it may be, of course, that Isaiah Berlin doesn’t mention it either....

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