By Richard Bradford
Novelists, poets, and playwrights reside double lives. once they fall out with one another they appear to take action with nice ardour. This hugely exciting booklet seems to be at probably the most complicated friendships and enmities in literary historical past and examines the dramatic results on literature itself. Grudge suits lined right here comprise Vladimir Nabokov opposed to Edmund Wilson; Norman Mailer, Truman Capote, Gore Vidal, Virginia Wolfe, and John Updike opposed to one another; Ernest Hemingway's dazzling and extremely public falling-out with former buddies Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklas; Lillian Hellman opposed to Mary McCarthy; plus many more.
Richard Bradford is professor of English and a senior uncommon study fellow on the collage of Ulster.
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Extra info for Literary Rivals: Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books
The ‘lecture’ in question, delivered by Jim, is probably the most celebrated set piece of the novel. Those who have read the book and seen the film adaptation always seem drawn to it. It unites people in disrespectful laughter, but, after the novel was published, Amis never again offered his friend any thanks for his help with it. Between October and December 1959, Larkin set aside all of his other projects and began to write another version of ‘Letter to a Friend About Girls’, laying down his pen on 15 December.
It was his private act of catharsis, an attempt to expurgate the previous ten years by revisiting them. Often he seems to be responding to letters Amis wrote to him long before: I see your sort all over the place, Pushing the glass doors open with their breasts (Forty-one, twenty-two, thirty-nine). Though you probably can’t see mine: Only cameras memorise her face Her clothes would never hang among your interests. It is likely that when writing this, he had in mind letters such as the one Amis wrote in 1957 when he, Larkin, was considering an affair with a woman in London.
Amis, on the other hand, invites comparison with several of the American novelists, notably Mailer. Both were self-absorbed to the extent that they used their writing to avoid being accountable for their reckless, and often hurtful, behaviour in the real world; their novels combined egotistical rewritings of the truth with a tangible satisfaction in its evasion. But the parallels are countered by the contrasts. The Americans attempted to superimpose themselves on a society that seemed boundless and irresistible, to match its dynamism with the power of their artistry and egos, generating feuds, which were both grotesque and farcical, in a rush for prominence.
Literary Rivals: Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books by Richard Bradford