D J Taylor

In Defence of Parody

If Sir John Squire (1884–1958) is remembered at all these days, it is for his role as an anti-modernist scourge in the literary gang warfare of the 1920s, his editorship of the arch-conservative London Mercury and his unforgivable remark that the printing of The Waste Land was ‘scarcely worthy of the Hogarth Press’. But there was a younger, livelier Squire, who operated as a slashing reviewer and parodist – mostly in the pages of the fledgling New Statesman – and it was in search of his less hidebound former self that, last summer in a second-hand bookshop in Inverness, I laid out £5 on a copy of Tricks of the Trade (1917), a ‘final essay’, as Squire puts it in the dedication to his friend Robert Lynd, ‘in a not wholly admirable art’.

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