Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fool for love ...

... Hoax love letter fools Betjeman biographer. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:24 PM

    Hee, hee -- I totally love that hoax letter with its little message to old A.N.! I wonder who wrote it, though. I suppose any number of people that Wilson has negatively reviewed over the years.

    BTW, I once reviewed a novel of his, about Shakespeare, and, lord, was it tedious. I hate, hate, hate self-conscious, overly allusive fiction. Very few people can get away with it (think, David Mitchell; Vladimir Nabokov) and the rest of them just sound like those jumped-up smarty pants types who populate Ph.D. programs in English Lit.

    However, on Betjeman -- he's quite the subject in Great B. this summer 'cause there's a big anniversary celebration of him in... just a few days I think. When I was in Scotland this summer, I did read a wonderful long excerpt of a new book about him (not by A.N. Wilson, but by a woman whose name now escapes me) and his experiences at Oxford. It was fascinating -- really about his relationship with C.S. Lewis, a man only 8 years older than J.B., but from a completely different generation: The Lost One. Lewis had been wounded in WW I and it had made him very serious about the meaning of life and literature. J.B. on the other hand, was utterly a dilettante, spent most of his time out to lunch -- literally -- with his art-for-art's-sake dilettantish (and also mostly rich, unlike him) friends. He was "more dined against than dining" as one of his pals said.

    Wish I could remember the name of this new book, for it's one I'd like to buy and read. And you'll think Betjeman closer to a genius if you read some of the work of his excerpted therein.....