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This article is taken from PN Review 9, Volume 6 Number 1, September - October 1979.

The Dying Gaul Jeremy Hooker

David Jones, The Dying Gaul (Faber) £8.50

THE DYING GAUL is a posthumous collection of David Jones's prose, edited with an Introduction by Harman Grisewood, consisting of fifteen writings belonging to the period 1938-73. Some of these are less finished than the contents of Epoch and Artist, and in consequence, more outspoken about the same problems considered with more formal craft in the earlier book, and more painful in their expression of the cost in personal suffering to Jones of his struggle to resolve them. He was concerned primarily with the predicament of man as artist-in terms of his philosophy, man who is truly man-at a time when he saw the cultures rooted in locality, conceived as both the creation and the regimen of this essential humanity, as having been destroyed by "a new type of civilization". "We are all of the diaspora now", he writes in "Wales and Visual Form"; and for all who are concerned with place, and the relation between the commonly simplified "sense of place" and placelessness, whether they share Jones's beliefs or not, the context in which he considers the phenomenon should require the most careful attention. Indeed, until his thought flows into the general stream of our discourse about culture and art, this will remain without one of its potentially most enlivening currents. Several essays dealing with a related theme provide the clearest extended revelation of the personal associations that combined with ideas of history, myth and culture to make his ...


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