David Profumo

A Fearsome Dignity

David Profumo tries to talk to James Fenton

James Fullerton is a dirty-minded poet. Over the past eighteen years, he has worked in Oxford, Wales, Germany, America, Cambodia and the Philippines, publishing poetry and prose under the twin pseudonyms of James Fenton and John Fuller. But later this month a volume of his own will at last be published in all its murky brilliance. It will set certain tongues wagging.

Partingtime Hall is a colourful, irreverent mish-mash of pieces, a magpie collection ranging from six limericks about nuns that would have delighted Norman Douglas – the poems, I mean – to the long title work which charts the sexual imbroglio behind the suicide of a rich public-schoolboy. There’s a fantasy about Rommel, E M Forster, and an Egyptian (‘Two Cheers for Tramconductors ‘), a survey of the great ‘Ifs’ of literary history (‘Born Too Soon’), a poem ‘From the Aztec’, and a squib in German that passed right over the head of Muggins here. But from the start it is all most intriguing.

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,
    • If you want ideas about what to read next, sign up to our free email newsletter, and get book reviews, archive mate… ,