I have particularly enjoyed reading some non-fiction this month…
The World Broke In Two by Bill Goldstein
An absolutely fascinating study on what happened in 1922 – one crucial year that shaped modernist literature. Focusing predominantly on four writers, Virginia Woolf, T. S. Eliot, D. H. Lawrence and E. M. Forster, Bill Goldstein explores their relationships and puts each writer’s creative output in context.
The depth that Goldstein ventures into is marvellous. We learn, for example, that D. H. Lawrence’s publisher thought him ‘ill-bred and hysterical.’ He adds, ‘There was very little about Lawrence that wasn’t irritating to someone.’ It will come as no surprise to readers of Lawrence’s poetry that he ‘did not like the world of people […] he frequently wrote outdoors.’ He laughed ‘with a rising inflection […] like a little scream.’ His laughter could be tracked across the world, on his travels around Taos and beyond.
Esra Pound did not approve of T. S. Eliot working in Lloyds bank. He wanted Eliot to write full time, commenting on Eliot’s productivity during leave from work: ‘Three months off and he got that poem done.’
Virginia Woolf said of E M Forster’s as he came to Hogarth House (3 days after Eliot’s visit) that he was, ‘depressed to the point of inanition.’
Woolf commented on the publishing climate in 1922: ‘In England at the present moment moment books are published every day of the week… It is continuous and many waters of all salts and savours go to make it.’ Indeed, upon reading her proofs of Jacob’s Room, she was concerned that it was: ‘thin and pointless; the words scarcely dint the paper.’
‘The World Broke in Two’ is an important contribution to the reception of modernist literature. I will be recommending it to everyone I know! More books should be like this one: well-researched, informative whilst being a joy to read. Perfectly pitched.
I am so pleased to own a copy, it is something to treasure while you devour every word. I know I will be flicking through it regularly to remind myself of the magic of modernism.
I could quote from every page of this wonderful book. But it would be easier if you just went out and bought a copy!
‘The World Broke In Two’ by Bill Goldstein was published by Bloomsbury on 21st September 2017. Hardback £25.
‘The Last London’ by Iain Sinclair
Iain Sinclair holds our hand through his walks in London. We are with him at every point: through the parks, on the pavements and even at the bingo! Written by London’s expert-in-residence, it is a must-read for psycho-geography students and London fanatics alike. One for the Christmas lists.
The Last London by Iain Sinclair was published by Oneworld Publications on 7th September 2017. Hardback £12.