A Great, Wonderful Storybook

Posted on by David Gelber

Debussy once asked Mallarme if he could set one of his poems to music. But, replied Mallarme, have I not already set it to music? Hilary Mantel has decided to treat the French Revolution as a novel. But was it not already a novel? The Revolution forms a concentration of extraordinary events that defies ordinary […]

Joys of Young Love in a Superb Ghost Story

Posted on by David Gelber

Just towards the end of Penelope Fitzgerald’s brilliant new novel, the reader is treated to a ghost-story, told in the manner of M R James. It is the harrowing tale of an 1870s archaeological dig in a field near Cambridge, on the site of an ancient nunnery dedicated to St Salome (‘the Virgin Mary’s midwife’). […]

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Moral Grandeur

Posted on by David Gelber

There is a story that Donald Ogden Stewart, one of the Algonquin set, visited London in the mid-Thirties, and had an urge to learn what Communism was. As one does, he asked the doorman at Claridge’s to recommend a book. He read it diligently on board ship. By the time he reached New York he […]

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