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’.

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

    • 'Her favourite design included a body in the shape of a horse, with a steam engine inside ... The passenger would t… ,
    • Sign up to our email newsletter below! Get free articles, highlights from the archive, and chances to win theatre… ,
    • RT : Founded in 1979, is a trusted independent source for reviews of new books across a variety of genres. A… ,
    • RT : Here we are - "Shelf Indulgence" by Ed Potten, a wonderful read, well worth your time: @Lit_Review,
    • 'Like going to a party hoping to get away as quickly as politeness allowed and at 4am finding myself still engrosse… ,
    • 'Neville never shed his sense of being the junior, and perhaps least-deserving Chamberlain.' From the archive, Mic… ,
    • 'The erecting and immediate destruction of a series of straw men rather detracts from what is for the most part an… ,