Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Well, Fliight Without End was OK, but not a patch on the later Roth novels I've read - flashes of brilliance, but all rather lifeless.

Similarly Conrad's The Secret Agent was fine in its way, but hardly 'one of the twentieth century's greatest novels' as the blurb and FR Leavis both assert. It felt dated, unlike the best of his sea stories. You can hardly blame old Leavis for not knowing it would date, but I wonder what it is that determines such a thing. Is it possible to tell when a piece of work will date? It strikes me that the sea stories were written from Conrad's own experience, The Secret Agent not. Write what you know?

Meanwhile my critical essay 'The House Overlooks You': Tradition and Genre in Two poems by Peter Didsbury has been published in prnt and web forms by Ecloga, the postgraduate journal of the University of Strathclyde (absurdly the issue is labelled as 'autumn 07'...). Of the other articles in the issue, I like the look of the ones on Wyatt and the New Woman novel, though I haven't had a chance to read them yet.



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