Saturday, March 05, 2016

An appreciation …

… of Stanley Middleton: On Man, the Human Heart and Human Life. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
Middleton was a gifted musician who all his life played the piano for his own pleasure and the organ in local churches, and classical music features in many of his novels. He was a good painter too, of small-scale watercolours, and several of the novels have details from his paintings on their covers. There is always a sense of a whole culture – of learning, of appreciation of the arts – behind his writing; and his notion of the rich possibilities of education is bound up in that. I include Sterner Stuff as one of my recommendations because the central character, Frank Montgomery, is the principal of an art college, who has also begun to earn a reputation as a portrait painter; much of the novel is about the pressure on him to give up the dayjob in education so that he can concentrate on his creativity. 

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