PN Review Print and Online Poetry Magazine
Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
Mark FordLetters And So It Goes
Letters from Young Mr Grace
(aka John Ashbery)

(PN Review 239)
Kei Millerthe Fat Black Woman
In Praise of the Fat Black Woman & Volume

(PN Review 241)
Henry Kingon Toby Martinez de las Rivas
(PN Review 244)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Next Issue Jen Schmitt on Ekphrasis Rachel Hadas on Text and Pandemic Kirsty Gunn Essaying two Jee Leong Koh Palinodes in the Voice of my Dead Father Maureen Mclane Correspondent Breeze
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PNR 250 Poetry Archive Banner
Monthly Carcanet Books
PN Review Blog

This review is taken from PN Review 24, Volume 8 Number 4, March - April 1982.

GENTLE GADFLY Philip Mairet, Autobiographical and Other Papers, edited by C. H. Sisson (Carcanet) £7.95

To many members of the present generation the name of Philip Mairet, like that of Basil Bunting up to a decade ago, may be familiar primarily from the dedication to him of a book by a celebrated Modernist pioneer, in his case Eliot's Notes towards the Definition of Culture. Now Mairet the editor, philosopher, psychologist and, above all, tireless though unvociferous gadfly, is rescued from oblivion by this collection of autobiographical writings, essays and letters. It is a book made all the more remarkable for its inclusion of a correspondence between Eliot (who died in 1965, not 1963 as stated by the editor) and Mairet (1886-1975), though the collection suffers from the omission of any of Mairet's topical pronouncements as editor of the New English Weekly from 1934 to 1949.

The book is well worth its steep price as a paperback if only for the vigorous, 125-page 'Autobiographical Compilation', previously unpublished, which sheds valuable new light on such pre-1914 byways as C. R. Ashbee's Guild of Handicraft (currently the subject of revived attention with the publication of Fiona MacCarthy's new account of that lively neo-medieval commune in the Cotswolds). Mairet the autobiographer also offers some memorable insights into the dawning of a young man's awareness of the world and the nature of love, and the feelings of an acutely lucid man of conscience faced with the onset of a cataclysmic war. Granted, it is unfortunate that Mairet shows himself all too susceptible to the magnetism of 'psychic ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image