In September 2018 I visited Lev Tolstoy’s estate of Yasnaya Polyana for the first time, in order to celebrate his 190th birthday. This happy event was preceded by an exhilarating evening with old friends in Moscow, and followed by a short sharp illness, from which I emerged to struggle through my paper on Tolstoy’s ‘On Shakespeare and on Drama’ at an international Tolstoy conference at Tula University. I returned home weak and happy.
Bernard Richards – Emeritus Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, who taught English at the College between 1972 and 1996 – interviewed English novelist Ian McEwan in 1992. The interview was first published in The English Review, and is reproduced on my blog by Bernard Richards’ kind permission. It centres on the perennial topics of sex and violence.
Bernard Richards – Emeritus Fellow of Brasenose College, Oxford, who taught English at the College between 1972 and 1996 – interviewed St Lucian poet Derek Walcott in 1992. This interview reveals – more strongly than anything else I have read about or by Walcott – the strength of Walcott’s religious sense. It is reproduced on this blog by Bernard Richards’ kind permission.
In commemoration of St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott’s death on 17th March 2017, I conduct an interview with Australian poet Jaya Savige about his relationship to the poet.
In commemoration of St. Lucian poet Derek Walcott’s death on 17th March 2017, I recall the one time I met him, Port of Spain, 2001 – and my regrets at having been jejune and prickly..
Graham Greene’s novel ‘The Comedians’ leads me to a contemporary documentary about Papa Doc’s Haiti, and to wonder why documentaries can’t convey a population’s terror the way that fiction can.
Two 2015 BBC1 adaptations of mid-twentieth-century classics – ‘An Inspector Calls’, and ‘And Then There Were None’ – struck me with the similarity of these works’ themes, and the opposition of their conclusions.
John Bradshaw’s ‘In Defence of Dogs’ has inspired a few thoughts on the good ways in which humans resemble dogs..
Bob Marshall-Andrews’s latest novel ‘Camille: And the Lost Diaries of Samuel Pepys’ shows again what Marshall-Andrews can do in the way of historical thriller and farcical comedy – unerringly on the side of cakes, ale, and life.
A friend showed me his copy of D.H. Lawrence’s ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’, which was used by the Prosecution at the novel’s trial in 1960. I look at the blue-pencilled sections and have a few thoughts…
This 1000-word piece was written for ‘Dawn of the Unread’ – http://www.dawnoftheunread.com/issue00-01.html – a multi-part digital graphic novel aimed at younger teens, celebrating Nottingham’s literary history.
To quote creators James Walker & Co: ‘Our concept is: If the dead go unread, there’s gonna be some trouble. Literary figures from Nottingham’s past return from the grave in search of the one thing that can keep their memories alive…boooks. It was created partly as a reaction to independent bookshops falling below 1,000 in February and the recent cuts faced by libraries.’
A recent instalment is on D.H. Lawrence.
Drawn by Hunt Emerson and written by Kevin Jackson, it includes the following hyperlink-embedded essays, as well as my own:
Hunt Emerson (Lawrence and comics)
Billy Ivory (Adaptations for screen),
Robert Shore (Lady Chatterley’s Trial)
Jeremy Hague (Lawrence and the University).
Eastwood (DH Lawrence Society)
Kevin Jackson (Travel and being grumpy)
Wayne Burrows (Why you have to read Out of Sheer Rage)