Cesare Pavese

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The thing that makes Cesare Pavese so difficult to read is his simplicity. For Pavese, nothing is complicated. It is all simple. And agonising in its simplicity.

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Buster Keaton

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I think my reading of Buster Keaton in my early twenties was completely wrong.

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Conan Doyle and George Eliot

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Monday 27th March 1984

Last night I read an article on Conan Doyle which set me thinking about caricature and characterisation. Sherlock Holmes is of course a caricature in every respect: his famous ‘character’ is made up of a number of extremely exaggerated and improbable traits which we believe in not because we think we ought to but because we genuinely want to:

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Charles Dickens

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Sunday, 22 April 1984 (Easter Day)
I can remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mother a couple of years ago: I was reading aloud from Pickwick Papers and we were laughing ourselves silly over “On a log / Expiring frog!” “Now, that’s what I call writing,” said my mother. “What happens? Nothing? And it’s so funny…”

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Window on the World

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I am making a window on the world,
A stained-glass window through which to look at things.
It is very much my own creation,

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Take a butcher’s red by Goya
And an arctic blue by El Greco.
Gently fold in an agonised beige by Grunewald

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St. Francis in the Slaughter-House

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He left his sparrows waiting at the door
And entered like a draught, his bare feet treading

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Always the same old silence
And the same old,
Always different,
Northern light.

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Tuesday Poem: Old Timer

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You see me now as what I have become again:
Chromework like mercury

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18th Graham Greene International Festival 2016

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22–25 September 2016 Jonathan Steffen reports Every year, on or near the date of Graham Greene’s birth, a little pocket of Greeneland appears in the writer’s native Berkhamsted. The tidy and well-heeled town with its elegant high street and eminent school becomes a temporary home to what the Oxford Living Dictionary defines as “The seedy, […]

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