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Real Absences

Barbara Johnson

19 October 1995
Post Scripts: The Writer’s Workshop 
by Vincent Kaufmann, translated by Deborah Treisman.
Harvard, 199 pp., £31.95, June 1994, 0 674 69330 2
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The Oxford Book of Letters 
edited by Frank Kermode and Anita Kermode.
Oxford, 559 pp., £20, July 1995, 0 19 214188 0
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... books could be more dissimilar than Kaufmann’s closely focused critical analysis of the correspondence of nine modern (mainly French) writers, and the sprawling Oxford anthology, edited by Frank Kermode and AnitaKermode, of 328 letters written in English between 1535 and 1985 by 175 different hands. But the contrast does not lie only in matters of format and genre. The difference goes to the heart ...


Frank Kermode

5 September 1985
Family and Friends 
by Anita​ Brookner.
Cape, 187 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 224 02337 3
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... So far as the evidence of five novels goes, Anita Brookner has one basic theme, which she varies with considerable and increasing technical resource. All five books are quite short, and all have some of the qualities of what James called the ...

Memories of Frank Kermode

Stefan Collini, Karl Miller, Adam Phillips, Jacqueline Rose, James Wood, Michael Wood and Wynne Godley

23 September 2010
... to get him to talk. I was, am, too ill-read to be rewarding company for him on many of these occasions, which I always regretted, though there are worse failings than not being as well read as Frank Kermode. His range was astonishing, across genres and languages, and some favourites (Donne, Stevens, Roth) were very vivid in his memory right up to the end. He gracefully concealed his shock at the extent ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley

11 July 2002
Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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TheCat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... Tolstoy, he comforted himself). This project would, over the course of the year, expand into After Many a Summer. The idea for the novel may have been picked up at a party, perhaps the one thrown by Anita Loos in November 1938. As Dunaway records, Charlie Chaplin and his wife Paulette Goddard were there. (As the party was winding up, Chaplin announced the subject of his next picture, ‘a wretched ...

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