Sunday, 6 March 2016

vaughan williams, how novels work by john mullan, the novel: a biography by michael schmidt, more barns


Just downloaded a Vaughan Williams album, which includes The Lark Ascending and Five Variants of 'Dives and Lazarus'. Have been meaning to download the former for a while and was finally spurred into action when listening to a LSO recording of the latter on Radio 3 yesterday. Great to find them on the same album.

Am reading How Novels Work by John Mullan (OUP, 2006), which I'm enjoying immensely. It's based on his Guardian column of a decade or so ago.

Attended a talk given by Michael Schmidt about his 2014 book The Novel: A Biography (Harvard University Press) at the Kellogg College Centre for Creative Writing on Thursday evening. Fascinating to hear Schmidt - founder of Carcanet and the PN Review (just two of his many achievements) speak about his career and his views on poetry and fiction. The book is now on my reading list. It also has a terrific cover - click on the cover image on the HUP site to view it.  Schmidt ended with a quote from Ford Madox Ford, a novelist he much admires: 'So, if one can keep oneself out of it, one may present a picture of a sort of world and time.' A good maxim for creative writers - although what follows immediately after this quote will also resonate: 'I have tried to keep myself out of this work as much as I could - but try as hard as one may after self-effacement the great "I", like cheerfulness will come creeping in.' (Dedication to Dr Michael and Mrs Eileen Hall Lake, Return to Yesterday (1931 - Carcanet edition, 1999). You can hear Michael Schmidt and Michael Wood discussing The Novel: A Biography at the London Review Bookshop here.

A good walk from Buckland this afternoon. More barns. Just love the way the paint weathers sometimes.

1 comment:

  1. That question- keeping yourself out of it - or not- is the big one for me. I need to read this book and do wish I could get myself to the Kellogg talks. Thanks for the John Mullan suggestion too.

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