Our Hero

C.H. Sisson

  • Richard Aldington: A Biography by Charles Doyle
    Macmillan, 379 pp, £19.95, November 1989, ISBN 0 333 46487 7

Charles Doyle’s biography of Richard Aldington opens so readily at the 24 excellent photographs with which the book is illustrated that the temptation to look at them, before one gets involved with the text, is irresistible. The series starts with a rather determined-looking boy with cap and striped jersey, holding a football. This is our hero at the age of 13. The next shows him at 19, with a beard which helps him to look older. This is followed by one, in 1914, with ‘a group of fellow poets visiting Wilfred Scawen Blunt’ and another in 1918, as an Army officer with a moustache, which remains, possibly in reduced format, in the portraits of the Twenties which include one ‘taken for a Harrods window display’. No 17 shows him, in Montpellier in 1955, as having put on a lot of weight, and in No 22 he is ‘broadcasting in Russia’. It would be too complicated to introduce the ladies in the picture gallery.

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