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22 May 1986
If not now, when? 
by Primo Levi, translated by William Weaver.
Joseph, 331 pp., £10.95, April 1986, 0 7181 2668 8
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The Afternoon Sun 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 297 78822 1
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August in July 
by Carlo Gebler.
Hamish Hamilton, 188 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 241 11787 9
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... five pages long. The narrative takes the form of a reconstruction of characters and events from personal recollections, letters, photographs, newspaper reports and other contemporary documents. DavidPryce-Jones has gone to immense trouble to sustain this pretence, and he is clearly a connoisseur of the times and the culture he has set out to portray. The end effect has a certain virtuosity, but ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks

18 August 1983
Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... 1928-1937) does not serve him, except right. He found D.H. Lawrence insufficiently magnanimous (‘Notice how carefully Lawrence refuses to recognise virtue in anyone but himself’), and his sponsor DavidPryce-Jones now finds F.R. Leavis much the same, so it may be legitimate to cite the famous excoriation of Bloomsbury that was voiced by Lawrence and amplified by Leavis: ‘they talked endlessly ...

Quarrelling

Mary-Kay Wilmers

29 October 1987
Tears before Bedtime 
by Barbara Skelton.
Hamish Hamilton, 205 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12326 7
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In the Pink 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Bloomsbury, 164 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7475 0050 9
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... stage whisper over and over again (‘while lying sprawled on his back with one eye open to see if I have heard’). ‘Barbara,’ Edmund Wilson decided, ‘is really a bad lot’: so bad that when DavidPryce-Jones came to write his memoir of Connolly he thought it best to say nothing about her at all. On the other hand, it is part both of her disobliging character and its attraction that in ...
4 August 1988
... by Anthony Powell called ‘A Reference for Mellors’, which was about somebody coming to Lady Chatterley for a reference for a gamekeeper. The magazine sort of launched me on a career, because Alan Pryce-Jones, who was then the editor of the TLS, gave me a lot of reviewing work. AH: How did you see your future then? FW: I suppose I feebly wanted to be a writer, but, apart from those stories, I couldn’t ...

Vous êtes belle

Penelope Fitzgerald

8 January 1987
Alain-Fournier: A Brief Life 1886-1914 
by David​ Arkell.
Carcanet, 178 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 85635 484 8
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Henri Alain-Fournier: Towards the Lost Domain: Letters from London 1905 
translated by W.J. Strachan.
Carcanet, 222 pp., £16.95, November 1986, 0 85635 674 3
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The Lost Domain 
by Henri Alain-Fournier, translated by Frank Davison.
Oxford, 299 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 212262 2
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... letter from T.S. Eliot, who took French lessons for a while from Fournier. The quest continues. For 1986, the centenary of Henri’s birth, Carcanet have brought out Alain-Fournier: A Brief Life by David Arkell, describing him as ‘the noted literary sleuth’. This, I think, does Arkell an injustice. As a sleuth, he hasn’t been able to solve the long-standing problems: what was the surname of the ...

Cushy Numbers

Neal Ascherson

3 November 1983
French and Germans, Germans and French: A Personal Interpretation of France under Two Occupations, 1914-1918/1940-1944 
by Richard Cobb.
University Press of New England, 188 pp., £10.95, July 1983, 0 87451 225 5
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Still Life: Scenes from a Tunbridge Wells Childhood 
by Richard Cobb.
Chatto, 161 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2695 7
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... Cobb’s feet begin to leave the ground: he has a sympathetic but sometimes dismaying tendency to get carried away beyond the merits of an originally sound case. Why, he goes on, do writers like DavidPryce-Jones want the Parisians to have behaved like the people of Warsaw? It is certainly true that, as a result of their rising, the inhabitants of Warsaw managed to get their city largely razed to ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann

7 January 1999
John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... to another. His father had heard Charles Dickens read when he was six, had helped to found Granta and furiously defended the Liberal cause at the Punch table. John himself had been at Eton with Alan Pryce-Jones, Anthony Powell, Eric Blair and Cyril Connolly, who, we are told, stood at the door of his room in the Sixth Form Passage asking, ‘Well, Johnny Lehmann, how are you this afternoon?’ While he was ...

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