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This article is taken from PN Review 154, Volume 30 Number 2, November - December 2003.

John Goodland and the Apocalyptic Manifesto: notes from the son of a literary footnote The Apocalyptic Manifesto: Apocalypse or The Whole Man Giles Goodland

Events also have a paternity, and it seems worth giving the genealogy of the coincidences that led to this document coming to light. There's a poem by Andrei Voznesensky about the trajectory Gauguin had to travel in order to get his pictures the small physical distance from Montmartre into the Louvre - all the way to Tahiti and back. In the years the Apocalyptic Manifesto had to wait in order to find publication, there is also a trajectory.

Very rarely have I butted into the conversations of a stranger; but having been invited to read my work at this year's Cambridge Conference of Contemporary Poetry, the conditions were right. Driving there reluctantly, my wife a week past her due date, I had been thinking about my father as a student in Cambridge sixty-five years before.

Isolating himself from normal college life, he devoted his first year and a half to editing the magazine Seven, before departing, in April 1939, for Germany, where he intended to live with a previously married gossip-columnist called Mecke. At almost the beginning of the Apocalyptic Movement, the philosophy of which he had in large part defined, he knew he would have little more to do with it.

His romantic adventure ended. He came back, enlisted, spent the phony war in various barracks around Britain, landed with a small intelligence unit shortly after D-Day, stayed in Germany as part of the denazification programme until 1950, returned, joined the family ...


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