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Alonenesses

William Wootten: Alun Lewis and ‘Frieda’, 5 July 2007

A Cypress Walk: Letters to ‘Frieda’ 
by Alun Lewis.
Enitharmon, 224 pp., £20, October 2006, 1 904634 30 3
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... Alun Lewis is usually remembered as a war poet or, more precisely, as a soldier poet. ‘All Day It Has Rained’ is familiar to those who know nothing else about its author and to some who don’t usually read poetry. Ian Hamilton edited a selection of Lewis’s work, and there is a good biography by John Pikoulis ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... time. During or just after the last war it was Connolly and Koestler and Spender, William Plomer, Alun Lewis, Dylan Thomas, Peter Quennell. Some still have life or fame or both, some not: but then, not now, was their moment. Was Connolly himself any good as a writer? The question means little because the point of Connolly turned out to be Connolly not ...

Main Man

Michael Hofmann, 7 July 1994

Walking Possession: Essays and Reviews 1968-1993 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 302 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 7475 1712 6
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Gazza Italia 
by Ian Hamilton.
Granta, 188 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 14 014073 5
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... imports. The poetry section is still weirder: Larkin one can understand, from Hamilton; also Alun Lewis, Roy Fuller, Frost and Graves. But Wilbur and Merrill, Heaney and Motion? I’m not surprised there’s little evidence of attachment to their work, just oblique dismay. For any sort of poetic credo, you have to go back to the poems, or the essays ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton, 28 September 1989

Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... Hugh Walpole’ – or better still, Keith Douglas (‘the best serving poet in Egypt’), Alun Lewis (‘the best of the Welsh war poets’), Edwin Muir (‘the best of the Scots poets’). Alan Ross, by the way, is lauded as ‘the supreme recorder of the convoys’. This is literary history done over as pubchatter, almost cynically ...

Cute, My Arse

Seamus Perry: Geoffrey Hill, 12 September 2019

The Book of Baruch by the Gnostic Justin 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 148 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 19 882952 2
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... poem on first name terms with tradition: ‘Will Blake’, ‘Kit Smart’, ‘Bert Brecht’, ‘Alun’ (Lewis), ‘Gerard’ (Hopkins) – and my favourite, ‘old Malc’, the composer Malcolm Arnold. (Did anyone call him that in his own lifetime?) Sometimes you have a clue: ‘Who say “cordiality responsible for such ...

Modernisms

Frank Kermode, 22 May 1986

Pound, Yeats, Eliot and the Modernist Movement 
by C.K. Stead.
Macmillan, 393 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 333 37457 6
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The Myth of Modernism and 20th-century Literature 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Harvester, 216 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 7108 1002 4
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The Innocent Eye: On Modern Literature and the Arts 
by Roger Shattuck.
Faber, 362 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 571 12071 7
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... that made him seem a bit déclassé. Bergonzi discusses Bloomsbury or Bennett, Wells or Wyndham Lewis, Davie or Fredric Jameson, in the same informed, unassertive tone; the most memorable essay is actually an attack on Terry Eagleton, but the manner remains moderate even as the shafts go home. Bergonzi has obviously made a bourgeois submission to what is ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... and it’s true that Keith Douglas was always conscious of Isaac Rosenberg behind his shoulder, Alun Lewis of Edward Thomas. But the idea of modern warfare as one thing and of poetic response to it as another seems, in retrospect, almost Churchillian in its fixedness. Back then, although we loved the old rogue for the rodomontade and sheer cheek of his ...

The Price

Dan Jacobson: The concluding part of Dan Jacobson’s interview with Ian Hamilton, 21 February 2002

... before? Not a biographer. I’d written studies, including a biographical thing about the poet Alun Lewis years earlier.I remember that: it was the preface of the collection of his stories and poems you edited. Yes, it’s quite a long piece. It took ages and involved the conventional sort of research, going to see his widow and so on. I’d done that ...

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