John Bayley

  • Something to hold onto: Autobiographical Sketches by Richard Cobb
    Murray, 168 pp, £12.95, September 1988, ISBN 0 7195 4587 0

In A Dance to the Music of Time there is a journalist called Bagshaw, who was once a Marxist. Although he has long since lost belief, he retains an almost fanatical interest in the technical gyrations of the party line and the multifold shades of left-wing opinion. Bagshaw’s situation is in some degree that of all intellectuals. Enthusiasm may die, but sheer professional interest mercifully remains. I thought of Bagshaw when reading Frank Kermode’s lively little book History and Value, and I thought of him again while enjoying Richard Cobb’s Something to hold onto, whose title would itself have been greeted with fellow-feeling by Bagshaw.

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