D J Taylor

Passage to Hampstead

Sorting through the books in my study the other night I came across a deeply recherché item: Peter Ackroyd’s Notes for a New Culture, published as long ago as 1976, never reprinted and now omitted from the great man’s bibliographies. The date on the flyleaf reads ‘October 1982’, and instantly the circumstances in which it was obtained came rushing back into my head: the scraped acquaintance; the tentative note; the brown paper parcel left for collection at the offices of The Spectator; and the accompanying letter in which Ackroyd, making adroit use of the double negative, claimed that ‘he wasn’t sure that he didn’t entirely disagree with it all’.

At the time, though hugely admiring of the author,

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

    • 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… ,
    • 'The heroic male nude could not, I think, be used today to signify civic pride and glory', as Michelangelo’s 'David… ,
    • 'Munch’s later works show us a man liberated from the torments that gave rise to some of the best-known early works… ,
    • 'We read from left to right and from start to finish. Or do we?' Stuart Hannabus considers the merits of reading i… ,
    • Domestic scandal, sexual abuse and serial killers are on the menu in April's crime round-up. revie… ,