Simon Raven

Simon Raven memoir, Shadows on the Grass, was published in April.

Caruthers & Co

Simon Raven, 19 July 1984

Loder, the Fifth Form Cad, is being blackmailed by Hogg, the new School Butler: unless Loder gives Hogg £10, Hogg will go to the Head and report Loder for smoking and drinking in the Saloon Bar of the Black Ape; whereupon Loder will be sacked.

Grotty Cecil

Simon Raven, 1 July 1982

The minute Dornford Yates was dead in 1960, the mating calls of envy and resentment were heard hissing over the bier. The smelly little judgments which they spawned are now grown great and paramount. Dornford Yates, the orthodox legend runs in 1982, made a fortune out of writing best-sellers which appeal to the worst in all of us. They were and are sadistic in tone and action, feudal and fascist in sympathy, the ripely festering recipes of an arrogant racist authoritarian snobby sexist old pig: they should be (indeed they often have been) removed from the school libraries to make room for books about proper people.

Unfair to gays

Simon Raven, 19 June 1980

Although Iris Murdoch and other females are on the roll, this book is almost entirely about the ways in which male homosexual novelists and their heroes evade or challenge established values and customs. In novels by most heterosexuals, and by many homosexuals as well, there is a strong tendency to portray ‘queer’ men as evil seducers or else as capering clowns. ‘The homosexual hero’, on the other hand, since he is presented by authors sympathetic to homosexuality, makes serious proclamation (and boy, oh boy, does he proclaim) of his right to lead his own life in his own way, regardless of parodists and in defiance of persecutors, to reinterpret social and moral conventions in his own terms and in the interest of his own special condition, and to seek out or create his own brave new world beyond the boundaries of the dreary dump in which (it is implied) mere heterosexuals are content to fret and rot from crib to coffin.

Letter

Unfair to gays

19 June 1980

SIR: The purport of the letters in the last issue which criticise my review is that homosexuals are asking simply to be treated like everyone else – like ordinary people. But this is a very tall order (Letters, 17 July). For the trouble with most homosexuals is that they are obsessed by homosexuality: by which I do not mean that they may be obsessed by boys or men in the same way as heterosexuals...

Gangs

D.A.N. Jones, 8 January 1987

These tales of mob and gang will be appreciated by man and boy, but especially by those of us who have survived fifty-odd years of life in Britain. Our day-school years in the Thirties were much...

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Raven’s Odyssey

D.A.N. Jones, 19 July 1984

The tradition of the Commedia del’Arte is apparent in all three of these novels. A repertory company of stock characters is presented to an audience already familiar with many of the masks,...

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Maids

Philip Horne, 1 April 1983

Lisa St Aubin de Teran’s The Slow Train to Milan and Clare Boylan’s Holy Pictures share a subject – girls growing up to a world whose language is new to them – which...

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Gertrude

Graham Hough, 18 September 1980

Even to Iris Murdoch fans, of whom I am one of the most constant, Nuns and Soldiers will be a disappointment. It is a long solid book, purposely digressive, and there is a good deal of hard...

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