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Landlocked

Lorna Sage: Henry Green

25 January 2001
Romancing: The Life and Work of Henry​ Green 
by Jeremy Treglown.
Faber, 340 pp., £25, September 2000, 0 571 16898 1
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... HenryGreen put in an incongruous cameo appearance in Jeremy Treglown’s 1994 biography of Roald Dahl. When an interviewer from the Houston Post asked the bestselling author of the low-life and hilarious ...

Admiring

Stephen Wall

26 March 1992
Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry​ Green 
edited by Matthew Yorke.
Chatto, 302 pp., £18, February 1992, 0 7011 3900 5
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Pack my bag 
by Henry Green.
Hogarth, 242 pp., £9.99, February 1992, 0 7012 0988 7
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Loving 
by Henry Green.
Harvill, 225 pp., £6.99, February 1992, 0 00 271185 0
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... HenryGreen’s literary career began precociously and ended prematurely. According to his son Sebastian Yorke, the future novelist was already ‘writing hard’ at eleven or twelve, under a different pseudonym ...
22 May 1980
On the Edge of the Cliff 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 179 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 7011 2438 5
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The Tale Bearers: Essays on English, American and Other Writers 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 223 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 7011 2435 0
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... moment in the hours of their day’. Now this is more like it, you can hear Pritchett saying to himself. The distinction he is secretly making throughout the book becomes explicit in his essay on HenryGreen: Some very fine artists impose themselves, but HenryGreen belonged to those who masochistically seek to let their characters speak through them. In so speaking, they may expose more than they ...
5 May 1988
S.: A Novel 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 244 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 233 98255 8
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... phenomena, and it surprised me to have it called luxuriant and self-indulgent; self-indulgent, surely, is what it wasn’t – other-indulgent, rather. My models were the styles of Proust and HenryGreen as I read them (one in translation): styles of tender exploration that tried to wrap themselves around the things, the tints and voices and perfumes, of the apprehended real.’ The words that stand ...

D&O

John Lanchester

5 June 1997
Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... Powell would have become if it hadn’t been for the war. The five early novels are formally and tonally very alike: perhaps he would have gone on writing more or less the same book, à la Greene/Green/Compton-Burnett. But I doubt it. In any case, Powell had a 12-year break from fiction, a thing very few novelists have ever had, and his next book after What’s Become of Waring (1939) was A ...

A Very Modern Man

Edmund Gordon: William Boyd

8 March 2012
Waiting for Sunrise 
by William Boyd.
Bloomsbury, 368 pp., £18.99, February 2012, 978 1 4088 1774 2
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... Hollywood just in time to fall foul of McCarthyism. Any Human Heart (2002) is narrated by Logan Mountstuart, an English author who knocks about Oxford and London with the likes of Cyril Connolly and HenryGreen, reports on the Spanish Civil War from Barcelona (where he gets drunk with Hemingway), is recruited to Naval Intelligence by Ian Fleming and dispatched to Portugal to spy on the Duke and ...

Brown Goo like Marmite

Neal Ascherson: Memories of the Fog

7 October 2015
London Fog: The Biography 
by Christine Corton.
Harvard, 408 pp., £22.95, November 2015, 978 0 674 08835 1
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... played with the idea that fog might actually be nourishing.) ‘London Ivy’ was another term. The word ‘smog’ was invented in 1904 to describe fog by the ‘Smoke Abatement’ campaigner Henry des Voeux, and transferred only later to chemical air pollution by powered traffic. ‘London Particular’, on the other hand, had a much longer history. Charles Dickens is supposed to have thought ...

Boulevard Brogues

Rosemary Hill: Having your grouse and eating it

13 May 1999
Girlitude: A Memoir of the Fifties and Sixties 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1999, 0 224 05952 1
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... it was that classic manoeuvre of girlitude, marrying something rather than being or doing it yourself. Even this she goes about obliquely. Having begun to want to write, she marries the son of Henry Yorke (the novelist HenryGreen), though it was the father rather than Sebastian (‘the poor young man I married’) who attracted her. After a spell of forlornly playing house, buying crockery like ...

A Bit of a Lush

Christopher Tayler: William Boyd

23 May 2002
Any Human Heart 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 504 pp., £17.99, April 2002, 9780241141779
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... with a British affiliate of the Baader-Meinhof gang. Mountstuart publishes a number of books, contracts a number of marriages and meets just about everyone worth meeting. Anthony Powell and HenryGreen are his contemporaries at Oxford; he takes tea with Ottoline Morrell and twits Virginia Woolf. Cyril Connolly and Evelyn Waugh are London acquaintances. Picasso sketches his portrait, Hemingway is a ...
20 June 1985
... It should now be generally agreed except possibly in the Fens that Evelyn Waugh was the greatest English novelist of his generation. Certainly Graham Greene, HenryGreen and Angus Wilson thought so, although they and not he won the worldly honours Waugh would dearly have loved. On the other hand, that redoubtable holder of the Order of Merit, J.B. Priestley, did not ...
25 April 1991
... subtly depends on a bald newspaper technique: the awful or comic or odd or dissociated things one sees in the press. The method, like Greene’s, is highly effective, but it can never produce what Henry James would have called ‘saturation’. Virginia Woolf remarked that A Handful of Dust was a brilliant novel but that she didn’t believe a word of it: a way of turning round the ordinary reader ...

Love in the Ruins

Nicolas Tredell

8 October 1992
Out of the Rain 
by Glyn Maxwell.
Bloodaxe, 112 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 1 85224 193 4
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Body Politic 
by Tony Flynn.
Bloodaxe, 60 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 129 2
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Red 
by Linda France.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £5.95, June 1992, 1 85224 178 0
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Red-Haired Android 
by Jeremy Reed.
Grafton, 280 pp., £7.99, July 1992, 9780586091845
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Leaf-Viewing 
by Peter Robinson, with an essay by Peter Swaab.
Robert Jones, 36 pp., £9.95, July 1992, 0 9514240 2 5
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... In Henry James’s The Golden Bowl, the Prince found by the River Thames ‘a more convincing image of the truth of the ancient state than any they have left by the Tiber’. Of course, the truth of the ...

Baby Face

John Bayley

24 May 1990
William Gerhardie: A Biography 
by Dido Davies.
Oxford, 411 pp., £25, April 1990, 0 19 211794 7
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Memoirs of a Polyglot 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 381 pp., £5.95, April 1990, 0 86072 111 6
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Futility 
by William Gerhardie.
Robin Clark, 198 pp., £4.95, April 1990, 0 86072 112 4
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God’s Fifth Column: A Biography of the Age 1890-1940 
by William Gerhardie, edited by Michael Holroyd and Robert Skidelsky.
Hogarth, 360 pp., £8.95, April 1990, 0 7012 0887 2
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... from under his overcoat, and if that seems an excessive claim, read the pages of Futility and The Polyglots and taste a sort of comprehensive ur-flavour of the inter-war novel, from Graham Greene to HenryGreen. And yet his words and sentences, unlike theirs, are never quite in place, never quite add up to a novelist’s ‘world’, the sort that has a good chance of standing outside time. But ...
4 December 1980
The Letters of Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Mark Amory.
Weidenfeld, 664 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77657 6
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... of his first marriage had on him. His father was an esteemed and literate publisher who in the early years of the century proudly built himself a pebble-dash villa between Hampstead and Golders Green, where Evelyn was brought up. Evelyn’s older brother, Alec, the indefatigable popular novelist, now 82 and living in Tangier, has always regarded his background with pride, and his parents with ...

Flings

Rosemary Hill: The Writers’ Blitz

21 February 2013
The Love-Charm of Bombs: Restless Lives in the Second World War 
by Lara Feigel.
Bloomsbury, 519 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 1 4088 3044 4
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... World War. Bowen later remembered it as the ‘most interesting period of my life’. Lara Feigel unravels the tangled web, concentrating on the experiences of six novelists: Bowen, Graham Greene, Henry Yorke (who wrote as HenryGreen), Rose Macaulay, Rosamond Lehmann and the Austrian émigrée Hilde Spiel. The combination of danger and novelty made the times ‘an absolute gift to the writer’, as ...

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