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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019 and I am now properly retired and trying to write a novel. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Friday, 5 October 2018

"A Boy at the Hogarth Press" by Richard Kennedy

Aged 16 Kennedy failed to get into the sixth form at Marlborough and, despite being not very good at arithmetic or typing, through family connections (his family owned the house which Virginia Woolf used in To The Lighthouse), became an apprentice working for Leonard and Virginia Woolf at the Hogarth Press. This very short and very amusing book chronicles his time there (about a year, before he got the sack). In this time he met all the key characters of the Bloomsbury set, watched plays and mingled with creative people, and did his best to pick up girls (including a failed encounter with a prostitute). As the introduction says:Kennedy was naif: few boys of 16... are not. He confused DH Lawrence with TE, eschatology with scatology, and when he asked Virginia Woolf what Proust was like he rhymed the word with Faust.” (p 10)

It's only a tiny book but it made me laugh several times. He is also very observant:
  • He does have a special way of talking which I think comes of the care he takes to say exactly what he means. It's a kind of drawl.” (p 23)
  • In a letter to a friend: “I know I described this place as the Revised Inferno ... Unfortunately,  your reply fell into the hands of LW who objects to Ma Cartwright and himself being referred to as Satan and Svengali.” (p 63)
  • Ernest Milton had just finished playing Othello. I asked him if the bed had made him sleepy.” (p 66)
  • When you ask LW a question he looks down at his toes. When you ask Uncle George something he looks up at the ceiling.” (p 84)
  • "LW says I can't be trusted to do anything but wrap up parcels and that I am the most frightful idiot he has ever had the privilege of meeting in a long career of suffering fools." (p 99)

Great fun! October 2018; 100 pages

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