Persons from Porlock: Smith, MacNeice, Thomas

It was not right of Coleridge in fact it was wrong
(But often we all do wrong)
As the truth is I think he was already stuck
With Kubla Khan.

He was weeping and wailing: I am finished, finished,
I shall never write another word of it,
When along comes the Person from Porlock
And takes the blame for it.

Illustration to Stevie Smith's 'Thoughts About the Person from Porlock'
Illustration of Stevie Smith’s ‘Thoughts About the Person from Porlock’ (1962)

Coleridge’s Person from Porlock had a good few outings in the mid-twentieth-century.

Continue reading

Review essay: Allowing a Lapse

The Cambridge Quarterly has just published my review essay on Elisha Cohn’s very thought-provoking book Still Life: Suspended Development in the Victorian Novel (Oxford, 2016). You can read my review here.

The book is also brilliantly discussed in one of the v21 Collective’s ‘Collations’, linked to here. And you can read the thoughts of Raphael Lyne, editor of CQ, about the book over here on his blog.

 

Bored to be Wilde

“…Lady Brandon treats her guests exactly as an auctioneer treats his goods. She either explains them entirely away, or tells one everything about them except what one wants to know.”

“Poor Lady Brandon! You are hard on her, Harry!” said Hallward listlessly. (The Picture of Dorian Gray)

What discussion of aphorism would be complete without Wilde?

Teaching Oscar Wilde.
Peppermint Patty. Not, fortunately, one of my students.

Continue reading