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Highlight of Stay So Far

Stefan Collini: Beckett’s Letters, 1 December 2016

The Letters of Samuel Beckett Vol. IV: 1966-89 
edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 838 pp., £29.99, September 2016, 978 0 521 86796 2
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... they give us a whole new anthology of Beckett’s writing. There is a sense in which, as Dan Gunn remarks in his lengthy introduction, these letters are not about his work; they are part of his work. It is slightly disappointing that the final volume doesn’t contain anything to match the wonderful series of letters to McGreevy that are the ...

On Needing to Be Looked After

Tim Parks: Beckett’s Letters, 1 December 2011

The Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1941-56 
edited by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 791 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 521 86794 8
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... previously served as much as a bolthole as a means of saying anything. In his fine introduction Dan Gunn suggests that the war and Beckett’s protracted stay in France from 1939 to 1945 must have worked the change. The back and forth between Dublin, Paris and London, with the different personal destinies those cities implied, had been interrupted; he ...

Under-the-Table-Talk

Christopher Tayler: Beckett’s Letters, 19 March 2015

Letters of Samuel Beckett: 1957-65 
by George Craig, Martha Dow Fehsenfeld, Dan Gunn and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 771 pp., £30, September 2014, 978 0 521 86795 5
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... MAN: It’s hard to imagine you with tired eyes, mademoiselle. Perhaps you don’t know, but you have very beautiful eyes. GIRL: They will be beautiful, monsieur, when the time comes … I’ll put up with whatever is necessary. And after my eyes have been beautiful, they’ll grow dim, as everyone else’s do. The French​ originals of these lines went out on Paris National Radio on 12 January 1957 in a broadcast of Le Square, adapted by Marguerite Duras from her novel of the same name ...

Joyce and Company

Tim Parks: Joyce’s Home Life, 5 July 2012

James Joyce: A Biography 
by Gordon Bowker.
Phoenix, 608 pp., £14.99, March 2012, 978 0 7538 2860 1
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... cited but rarely read. In his perceptive introduction to the second volume of Beckett’s letters, Dan Gunn suggests that the Second World War changed Beckett’s hitherto Joycean style. He had seen so much turmoil and destruction that his own obsessions became less urgent. Where he had been contorted, exhibitionist and self-regarding, he now became more ...

Lawrence Festival

Dan Jacobson, 18 September 1980

... Modern Society’ and ‘D. H. Lawrence and his Influence on the Development of the Novel’. Thom Gunn, the Anglo-American poet, was also there; and so was Derek Walcott from the West Indies. Participating in our cogitations was an audience of several hundred who had paid for the privilege of attending (and had thus presumably relieved some of the strain on ...

Forget the Dylai Lama

Thomas Jones: Bob Dylan, 6 November 2003

Dylan's Visions of Sin 
by Christopher Ricks.
Viking, 517 pp., £25, October 2003, 9780670801336
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... of a man who lives ‘somewhere in Cleveland’: ‘He’s freaking out.’ The singer’s name is Dan Bern. His parents moved to Mount Vernon, Iowa, where Bern was born, round about the time that Robert Zimmerman started calling himself Bob Dylan and left Hibbing, Minnesota, to head circuitously east for New York City. Where Bern stands in relation to Dylan ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... had more or less stopped. It had published big figures in the 1950s: Larkin; a hardback of Thom Gunn’s Fighting Terms. It was all done by Oscar Mellor, a painter and photographer and, possibly, a pornographer. I think I might have gone to see him, knowing this connection with poetry publishing, to ask him about design or something. Anyway, we became ...

The Ticking Fear

John Kerrigan: Louis MacNeice, 7 February 2008

Louis MacNeice: Collected Poems 
edited by Peter McDonald.
Faber, 836 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 571 21574 4
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Louis MacNeice: Selected Poems 
edited by Michael Longley.
Faber, 160 pp., £12.99, April 2007, 978 0 571 23381 6
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I Crossed the Minch 
by Louis MacNeice.
Polygon, 253 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 1 84697 014 6
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The Strings Are False: An Unfinished Autobiography 
by Louis MacNeice, edited by E.R. Dodds.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23942 9
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... wife left him, she also abandoned their baby son. The consequences of this would be agonising when Dan decided in the 1950s that he wanted to join his mother in America. The patterns of interruption that impelled MacNeice to write about Hank went back to Carrickfergus. So much goes back to Carrickfergus. But does that make MacNeice an Ulster poet? A few years ...

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