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Early Lives

P.N. Furbank, 5 June 1986

The Inner I: British Literary Autobiography of the 20th Century 
by Brian Finney.
Faber, 286 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 571 13311 8
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... is a matter of their having found their own form. It is instructive to compare them with Edwin Muir’s Autobiography, which fails in just this respect. It is a book with a following, and is certainly not a negligible work: it contains some very vivid character sketches, and some admirable evocative writing – for instance, the pages on his ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... about. Hecht later noted that he had read Lowell’s comment to Theodore Roethke: ‘I remember Edwin Muir arguing with me that there is no rivalry in poetry. Well, there is.’ Soon, Hecht entered in the spirit of things. In 1951, from Rome, he reported to his parents that Auden had said that ‘my poetry was better than most of the younger ...

Deep Down in the Trash

Robert Crawford, 21 August 1997

God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... subject: Muriel Spark’s strong heroines, Alasdair Gray’s imaginings of pornographic damage, Edwin Morgan’s subtly gay poems and Liz Lochhead’s sassy drama and monologues have set a good deal of the scene. Yet, until very recently, Scottish writing tended not to be considered in these terms. Scottish writing was about the matter of Scotland – or ...

Lowry’s Planet

Michael Hofmann, 27 January 1994

Pursued by Furies: A life of Malcolm Lowry 
by Gordon Bowker.
HarperCollins, 672 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 00 215539 7
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The Collected Poetry of Malcolm Lowry 
edited by Kathleen Scherf.
British Columbia, 418 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7748 0362 2
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... the descent, braced, climbing the other way. There I think is Malcolm Lowry’s Fable – to use Edwin Muir’s word for the mythic shape of a man’s life. He is the one whom the gods did not save. This is what gives his life its irredeemable sadness, its suspenseful struggle, its promise that was never cancelled and only once – with the Volcano ...

The Atmosphere of the Clyde

Jean McNicol: Red Clydeside, 2 January 2020

When the Clyde Ran Red: A Social History of Red Clydeside 
by Maggie Craig.
Birlinn, 313 pp., £9.99, March 2018, 978 1 78027 506 2
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Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside 
by Kenny MacAskill.
Biteback, 310 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 1 78590 454 7
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John Maclean: Hero of Red Clydeside 
by Henry Bell.
Pluto, 242 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 0 7453 3838 5
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... battles of the past to stand aside and see Scotland conquered’); and at Barr and Stroud, John Muir, also of the SLP.The strike ended after a couple of weeks, with the engineers accepting a rise of a penny. ‘This is an engineer’s war,’ Lloyd George, then munitions minister, warned. ‘And it will be won or lost owing to the efforts or shortcomings of ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... of dawn.)In Tolkien, however, ‘all the characters are boys masquerading as adult heroes,’ Edwin Muir wrote in the Observer in 1955. ‘The hobbits, or halflings, are ordinary boys; the fully human heroes have reached the fifth form; but hardly one of them knows anything about women, except by hearsay. Even the elves and the dwarfs and the ents ...

Fiction and E.M. Forster

Frank Kermode: At the Cost of Life, 10 May 2007

... view, and remembered the book disparagingly in the introductory chapter of Aspects of the Novel. Edwin Muir’s Structure of the Novel (1928) came just too late for him, and indeed shows an acquaintance with Aspects. Muir shared his enthusiasm for Proust, saying that Proust had written a novel resembling Gide’s in ...

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