Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Tim Parksin conversation with Natalia Ginzburg
(PN Review 49)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Judith Herzberg ‘Poems’ translated by Margitt Helbert Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This article is taken from PN Review 48, Volume 12 Number 4, March - April 1986.

Oh Brother! Tom Paulin
Tom Paulin chose to respond to our manifesto, not in PNR, but in
the safer surroundings of the London Review of Books(1 August
1985, p. 23). He did, however, respond to the letter accompanying
the manifesto, and we reprint the relevant portion of that letter
here, followed by Tom Paulin's reply:

'In PN Review, we have endeavoured to keep up with, and
provisionally to chart, recent developments in attitudes to literature
and criticism. We feel that these developments have now reached a
significant stage and that a major change of direction is required.
We write from a specific location in English culture, but we feel
that much of the debate in England has been too parochial and
academic - narrowly seen, for example, as a "crisis in English
studies" - and we wish to widen it to include a much greater range
of people.'

In 1882 Matthew Arnold addressed a group of Liverpool students:
'Don't think: try and be patient', he told them. Chris Baldick
quotes this Arnoldian motto in his excellent study, The Social
Mission of English Criticism
. Frankly, I think you are obeying it - I
utterly deplore your smug and reactionary Anglican quietism -
that 'specific location in English culture' you say 'we' write from.

By 'we' you mean PN Reviewand those absurd figures Scruton
and Sisson. How can you complain about parochialism when ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image