Skip to content

Index: Books & Publishing

Mr James, Miss Bosanquet, her palpitations.

Pamela Thurschwell: ‘Bosanquet’s interactions with [Henry] James and his family at the end of his life, are often touched with a sense of insecurity about her place in the household. The intimacy with the secretary, keeper of an author’s words, can be a strange and intense one…’

1922, that liminal point.

Alan Wall: ‘he significance of the year 1922 is beyond question. Kevin Jackson in Constellation of Genius calls it Year One of modernism, and Ezra Pound took to dating his letters from the date of completion of Ulysses. This was the end of the Christian era. Yeats had already remarked, after watching Ubu Roi: “After us, the Savage God.” ‘

Rrose Sélevy.

Rrose Sélevy: ‘Marcel Duchamp: In the lane there was a blue bull near a white seat. Now explain the motive for the white gloves.’

The drink.

Michael Blackburn: ‘It’s also about time I stood up and announced to you, dear reader, that my name is Michael Blackburn and I am not and never have been an alcoholic, though I was often called a drunk in my tippling days. Whatever large amounts I drank and for whatever length of time that lasted I never had what it took to be a full-on alcoholic — and I’ve known two people who did, literally, drink themselves to death.’

Pages from ‘Lots of Fun with Finnegans Wake’.

Peter O’Brien: ‘I have been reading Finnegans Wake on and off (mostly off) for four decades. I recently decided to annotate / illustrate / disrupt the 628 pages of text. It’s a way for me to attempt a reading of what many consider an unreadable book.’

Books received.

THE FOLLOWING TITLES have been received at the editorial address. More information may be obtained by clicking title links. Information on unlinked titles may be found by doing an online search for the publisher. Inclusion here does not preclude more comprehensive critical coverage by The Fortnightly Review. Editorial office: Fortnightly Review Le Ligny 2 rue […]

Zorile.

Peter Riley [from ‘Dawn Songs’]: ‘There are Zorile din casă (in the house), Zorile din afară (outside), de fereastra (at the window), al luminarilor (of the candles) and several emphasising particular figures of the poems – of the fairies, of the road, of the departure, of the rose-bush… There are also, paradoxically, Zorile subtitled la amiazi at noon, and de seara in the evening.’

64 The Book

‘HARMONY PREVAILS WHEN like things resonate and unlike things are in balance.’ (The Great Commentary, from the Ten Wings) He reads to Borges in a shadowy sitting room under a Piranesi engraving: he speaks of summer night, the conscious being of the book. A servant is taken exploring by his blind master on a raft […]

63 The Twins

‘WHEN THEY COMPLAIN of waking from hideous laboratory dreams, just rattle off a couple of only child anecdotes.’ Modern life has become twin-friendly – there’s no longer any fear of people meeting themselves. Oddly, it’s an offshoot of the cult of the individual. Few twins are defriended. Some pranksters post a single photo twice with […]

62 The Mouse

‘EXCHANGE OF HABITS is a high-risk adventure. The town mouse drowns in butter, the country mouse drowns in gin.’ Scamperings never seem to denote an actual mammal – as if these creatures were merely proxies for flesh and blood, a scratchy reminder. Too quick, too small, too shy to feature in creative visualisation, they meet […]

61 The Shepherd

‘IF YOU MAKE a hit movie about a shepherd’s wife in Romania, the next role you’re offered will be a pig farmer’s wife in Spain.’ (anonymous film actress) His grandfather called things by their Norse names: ‘mowdies’ (moles), ‘mel’ (posthammer). He screams at his dog, swears at his son, curses rain, forms, hikers, pen pushers. […]

60 The Word

‘WORDS RECEIVING THE gift of happiness; words conferring the gift of happiness. What a day of wonders!’ (ancient Chinese picnic scroll) Some words are skins of wild beasts, others satin or gold. Some fly, some crawl, shrivelling upon inspection; others stay majestically still. One will clamber from the rubble of collapsed temples, safe in a […]

59 The Apple

‘AN APRON SAGGING with apples, red and green: the well-beloved, the Eve of the fair, the promise.’ The apple draws the earth as much as the earth draws the apple. Grafts were taken from the gravity park where genius found sanctuary from lawlessness. One scion growing outside college gates gives a moment’s foothold to a […]

58 The Stairs

‘Building codes usually treat alternating tread stairs as ladders: they are allowed only where ladders are allowed. You can’t turn around on them.’ Ladders make for a treacherous descent. From a staircase you can aim a pistol or survey your admirers – and they you, head steady over a cascading dress, descending between hidden friezes, […]

57 The Teacher

‘INSTEAD OF TASSEL and button, a mourning mortarboard is topped with a saltire of two black ribbons and, in the centre, a black ribbon rosette, grosgrain or satin.’ Having gathered up the grammars, she pushes the desks aside to clear a judo floor. First it’s boy against boy, girl against girl; later she mixes genders. […]