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Keeping up the fight

Paul Delany, 24 January 1991

D.H. Lawrence: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £19.95, August 1990, 0 333 49247 1
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D.H. Lawrence 
by Tony Pinkney.
Harvester, 180 pp., £30, June 1990, 0 7108 1347 3
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England, My England, and Other Stories 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Bruce Steele.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £37.50, March 1990, 0 521 35267 3
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The ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’ Trial (Regina v. Penguin Books Limited) 
edited by H. Montgomery Hyde.
Bodley Head, 333 pp., £18, June 1990, 0 370 31105 1
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Boy 
by James Hanley.
Deutsch, 191 pp., £11.99, August 1990, 0 233 98578 6
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D.H. Lawrence: A Literary Life 
by John Worthen.
Macmillan, 196 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 333 43352 1
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... specimen died, reduced by tuberculosis to a weight of 90 pounds. It is understandable, then, that Jeffrey Meyers should make much of Lawrence’s ‘lifelong invalidism’, and conclude his biography with an appendix called ‘A History of Illness’. Lawrence himself tempted biographers along this road by saying that ‘one sheds one’s sickness in ...

The Call of Wittenham Clumps

Samuel Hynes, 2 April 1981

Paul Nash 
by Andrew Causey.
Oxford, 511 pp., £35, June 1980, 0 19 817348 2
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The Enemy 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Routledge, 391 pp., £15, July 1980, 0 7100 0514 8
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Wyndham Lewis: A Revaluation 
edited by Jeffrey Meyers.
Athlone, 276 pp., £13.50, May 1980, 0 485 11193 4
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Wyndham lewis 
by Jane Farrington.
Lund Humphries, 128 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85331 434 9
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... places, and sits always with his back to the wall, paranoia seems a likely explanation. Jeffrey Meyers argues that in fact this was all a role that Lewis consciously assumed as a judgment of society, and therefore concludes that all of the many people who described Lewis as paranoid, or worse, were deliberately distorting his character and ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again, 11 August 2016

Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... crushes’. Robert Lowell in Love examines Lowell’s three marriages and nine of his affairs. Jeffrey Meyers criticises Lowell’s selfishness and cruelty towards these women, but maintains that they suffered for a noble cause – poetry! His wives, all writers, were, Meyers also claims, ‘driven by the snobbish ...
Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Murray, 320 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 7195 4910 8
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Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper 
by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.
Oxford, 218 pp., £30, August 1991, 9780198117858
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... these are the things that stay in the mind when diagnoses and depreciations are forgotten. Jeffrey Meyers, who has done solid biographies of Lawrence and Hemingway and has now done one for Conrad, is particularly good on – as it were – the boots and the shoes. It makes his biographies not only readable but in their own way memorable, for their ...

Dark and Deep

Helen Vendler, 4 July 1996

Robert Frost: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Constable, 424 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 09 476130 2
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Collected Poems, Prose and Plays 
by Robert Frost, edited by Richard Poirier and Mark Richardson.
Library of America, 1036 pp., $35, October 1995, 9781883011062
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... the biographical facts, and then centre attention on the poetry, giving Frost’s art its due. Now Jeffrey Meyers has appeared, crowing that ‘the heart of Thompson’s biography was based on [a] lie.’ He proposes to reveal the truth – to wit, that when Frost was 64, after the death of his wife, he had a long affair with his ‘secretary’, Kathleen ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham, 1 September 2005

Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... rug and scooping up ‘a handful of faeces like a guilty child’. In his new biography, Jeffrey Meyers quotes one of the two alleged witnesses denying all knowledge of ‘this nonsensical story’. Although he thinks that Maugham’s career boils down to a ‘struggle between sexual repression and artistic expression’, ...

Wonder

Michael Wood, 10 November 1994

The Love of the Last Tycoon: A Western 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Matthew Bruccoli.
Cambridge, 352 pp., £30, June 1994, 9780521402316
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The Great Gatsby 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by Matthew Bruccoli.
Cambridge, 225 pp., £27.95, October 1991, 0 521 40230 1
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Scott Fitzgerald: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 400 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 333 59935 7
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... to do with marijuana. ‘Long shot’ means ‘movie footage shot from a distance’. There now. Jeffrey Meyers’s biography of Fitzgerald is the sort of job often called workmanlike, although most of the workmen I know are subtler than this. Meyers goes in for simple, moralising accounts of instances which cry out ...

Bogey’s Clean Sweep

Michael Holroyd, 22 May 1980

The Life of Katherine Mansfield 
by Antony Alpers.
Cape, 466 pp., £9.50, May 1980, 0 224 01625 3
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... a monster of ‘appalling egoism’, through the last-but-one biography of Katherine Mansfield, by Jeffrey Meyers. But in correcting Murry’s emphasis it is easy to fall into another form of sentimentality which attributes all Katherine’s embarrassing mannerisms to his influence. Jeffrey Meyers describes only as ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode, 17 April 1986

Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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Hemingway: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... boxing were slow. But he threw his body into every sort of violent activity with gruesome gusto. Meyers has a frightful appendix listing Hemingway’s accidents and illnesses, over thirty of the former and some of them almost fatal. The cost was great. In For whom the bell tolls, which he wrote when he was about forty, he represents the 52-year-old El Sordo ...

Big Books

Adam Mars-Jones, 8 November 2018

... did Wyndham Lewis’s swaggering riposte to it, The Apes of God, the original edition described by Jeffrey Meyers as resembling ‘a cubist telephone book’ and weighing 5 lbs. As a Penguin Modern Classic, the form in which I read it, The Apes of God was unsuitably trim on the outside, feigning the sense of proportion that the contents had no time ...

Wounds

Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

Hemingway 
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... life and reading, and the comprehensive Hemingway (1985) by the indefatigable English biographer Jeffrey Meyers. Reynolds and Meyers stepped outside the ring where the mythographers and debunkers had slugged it out. Between them, and not without respect for the subject of their analysis, they coolly dismantled most of ...

Liquored-Up

Stefan Collini: Edmund Wilson, 17 November 2005

Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature 
by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 642 pp., £35, August 2005, 0 374 11312 2
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... the honour of completing the first full life to fall, almost inevitably, to the swift and prolific Jeffrey Meyers, whose biography appeared in 1995. Dabney’s is a more thorough and fully documented account, one which occasionally casts a sceptical eye over claims made by some of its sources, including those of Wilson himself. His biography is for the ...

Art’ll fix it

John Bayley, 11 October 1990

The Penguin Book of Lies 
edited by Philip Kerr.
Viking, 543 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82560 3
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... looking like round nasturtium leaves. Hemingway learned much from Kipling, and Kerr quotes from Jeffrey Meyers’s biography on ‘the importance of being Ernest’. Through the persona of Krebs in ‘Soldier’s Home’ he exploited his own need for mendacity. ‘To be listened to at all he had to lie ... attributing to himself things other men had ...

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