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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:

Letter

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...
Letter
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...
Letter

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...
Letter
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...
Letter

Triples

8 November 1990

Michael Neve concludes his interesting article on the double in literature and psychological theory (LRB, 8 November) with an appreciative summing-up of past achievement and what seems to be a large invitation to the future: ‘Given the grandeur of much of what results from literary duality, and from the critical minds who have had the courage to keep it alive, it is worth looking forward to what...
Letter

Blaming teachers

17 August 1989

It appears to me that Jane Miller’s spirited and indignant defence of schoolteachers (LRB, 17 August) is, as counter-attack, directed less against ‘tetchy pundits’ in the universities and elsewhere than against a government which by financial and other means has made education in the proper use of English more and more difficult. Professor Pole (Letters, 28 September) now returns,...
Letter
In common with, no doubt, many other of your readers, I have been keenly looking forward to the London Review’s reaction, in due course, to the matter of Salman Rushdie – and have been proportionately disappointed by what appears in your current issue. Robert Fisk’s ‘Diary’ (LRB, 16 March) is an interesting footnote to the affair of The Satanic Verses, but it is hardly...

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