Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Burning Books: Ulysses (via Larry McMurtry)

An old mate of mine has just sent through an email about Larry McMurtry's new work, Books: A Memoir. McMurtry's book, a tale of his lifelong love of books, includes the following charming story, which is a particularly useful addition to the blog:
"The first literary critic I can recall reading was an English journalist who called himself Solomon Eagle, and who wrote hundreds of light essays of a bookish nature for a great variety of London magazines. I bought a book of his called Books in General and read it several times. Solomon Eagle was in fact a rather lightweight English man of letters named J.C. Squire. There are at least two series of Books in General - in time I acquired a respectable shelf of the now forgotten J.C. Squire, who was decidedly not a modernist. He was a big fan of Dr Johnson and a savage enemy of James Joyce. For a time he had some power in the London literary world - he even edited the London Mercury. When a review copy of Ulysses reached him - and there weren't many review copies of Ulysses sent out - Squire flung it in the fireplace, from which, fortunately, it was saved by a young editor who had better sense than his boss."

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