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This review is taken from PN Review 80, Volume 17 Number 6, July - August 1991.

REHABILITATION Nicholas Moore: Longings of the Acrobats (Selected Poems), edited by Peter Riley (Carcanet) £6.95
Spleen, edited by Anthony Rudolf (Menard) £5
Lacrimae Rerum, edited by Peter Riley (Open Township & Poetical Histories) £4.50
Numbers #3, edited by John Alexander, Alison Rimmer, Peter Robinson and Clive Wilmer (ten poems by Moore and an article by Peter Riley) £4.50

Attempts to rehabilitate the forties tend to founder, thanks to a bad press - in more ways than one. What can be made of a decade in which 'the publishing house of greatest insight and importance' (A.T. Tolley) was run by a smalltime soft pornographer? Maliciously immortalized as Dr. L.S. Caton in Lucky Jim, R.A. Caton, proprietor of the Fortune Press, was once heard to murmur, after angling for a fashionably risqué author, 'Pity, I could have done with a bit of homo for the autumn.' Philip Larkin is more tactful, but scarcely less damning: 'it was next door to a vanity press . . .

You felt you'd cooked your goose.' Yet Caton's list featured first or early collections by Roy Fuller, Gavin Ewart, Christopher Middleton and Dylan Thomas as well as Larkin, Kingsley Amis, another half-dozen names to be found in Penguin anthologies, and just about everybody else in a couple of his own, The New Apocalypse (ed. Henry Treece) and Poetry from Oxford in Wartime (ed. William Bell).

It also featured no less than five collections by Nicholas Moore (and a further two anthologies under his editorship); Larkin consoled himself with the thought that, 'while Routledge had taken up Keyes and Heath-Stubbs', he was at least 'on the same list as Dylan Thomas, Roy Fuller, Nicholas Moore and other luminaries'. Moore emerged from public school, where he had edited his first magazine and heard Auden address the English Society, to become one ...


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