Richard Canning

Onward & Sideways

Edward Upward: Art and Life

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This timely book reacquaints us with one of the most commonly mentioned but rarely read ‘nearly men’ of literary history. Edward Upward’s imprint on 20th-century British literature was almost entirely indirect. Upward (1903–2009) was befriended by Christopher Isherwood at Repton, where the latter, his junior by a year, evidently idolised him. Isherwood’s fictional memoir Lions and Shadows (1938), in which Upward features as Allen Chalmers, records this: ‘Never in my life have I been so strongly and immediately attracted to any personality, before or since. Everything about him appealed to me. He was a natural anarchist, a born romantic revolutionary; I was an upper-middle-class Puritan, cautious, a bit stingy, with a stake in the land.’

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