Monday, 21 July 2008


It’s been pointed out to me, by Jane, that I never actually told you the name of the canonical English author whose works I have not read in their entirety.

My reasons were entirely dishonourable. I’m not sure I want to forego the many opportunities life gives me to comment on this author’s work — wittily, engagingly, originally, I hope,

Still, Jane was persistent and so I have decided to reveal the-name-of-the-author. Again, my reasons are entirely dishonourable.

I have no intrinsic problem with dissembling — what adult does or can? I don’t, I think, even particularly mind being thought of as a cad or even perhaps a liar — as long as people understand that my lying is straightforwardly self-serving, not the inconstancies of the merely forgetful or the destructive, wearisome inventions and projections of the unselfknowing fantasist. I just don’t like feeling the feeling that I get from feeling that some of you might feel that I’m a cad or liar.

So, I will tell you the-name-of-the-author I haven’t read. Or rather, things never being that simple, you will tell me who I haven’t read.

It’s a competition, with a prize. Post your answers as comments to this blog. I promise to play fair.

I think there are enough clues in the original posting so here they are again:

* I’ve seen the films and TV shows etc. So I know all the plots, themes, characters etc.

* I’ve read other books (and seen other movies and TV shows) from the same era.

* I know the history of the period — some of it anyway. I know what time dinner was served then, in which order courses were served and where the chairs were placed. I’ve read EP Thompson’s The Making Of The English Working Class. I’ve seen Sharpe on TV.

The prize? Jane suggested the author’s collected works. Fair enough. It’s a deal. (She did suggest, too, though, that the author was Ian McEwan. It’s not. Though I’m not sure I’ve read any of his books either, not even the one he ripped off from a Dirk Bogarde movie — see how easy it is to comment accurately and relevantly on the profoundly unread.)