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Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk

This item is taken from PN Review 21, Volume 8 Number 1, September - October 1981.

News & Notes
On March 17 Mrs Q. D. Leavis died in Cambridge. She was 74. Her most important book. Fiction and the Reading Public (1932), was only one of her central contributions to the development of English studies. Her work, with F. R. Leavis, on Scrutiny, and her teaching at Cambridge, as well as her collaborative works with her husband, gave her a central place in the influential revolution which he catalysed. She never received institutional recognition from Cambridge for her contributions to the University. Boris Ford, writing in a supplement to The Times obituary, pointed out the extent to which Mrs Leavis had contributed to major projects for which the credit has gone almost exclusively to F. R. Leavis. In particular, she was 'staggered', Ford says, 'when she realized she was not to be credited as co-author of Culture and Environment; and also about having been "pushed out of The Great Tradition, which was my undertaking, and great parts of which, besides all the first chapter and all the footnotes, I wrote personally".'

On March 13 Charles Wrey Gardiner died. He was 79. His main contribution to the world of poetry was as editor of the Poetry Quarterly and as a publisher of, among others, Henry Treece, David Gascoyne, Kathleen Raine and those associated with anarchist and pacifist causes. His own poetry is less distinguished than his eccentric prose, primarily autobiographical, in which at times the phenomenal world must be inferred from the suggestive and self-communing voice. There is a rooted pessimism in his work, and yet it is not easy to take the stance with entire seriousness, given the wealth-in every sense-of his experience.

Mykola Rudenko, the distinguished poet and critic whose literary career began in 1946 when he was demobilised (with a serious spinal disability) from the Red Army and who has published, among other works, nine collections of verse, has begun a hunger strike on his sixtieth birthday which he spent in detention. He is serving a 12-year sentence for human rights activities. He was Chairman of the Ukrainian Helsinki Monitoring Group. His protest is against prison conditions. He is subjected to unlawful treatment by the authorities. Index on Censorship 4/1980.

Index on Censorship is doing its best to draw attention to the plight of writers, journalists and university lecturers under detention in Vietnam. As many as 500 have been detained without trial in re-education camps and prisons since 1975. Part of the 'socialist construction' of the South has involved 'purification of culture and re-education of its bearers'. Evidently culture is purified by punishing intellectuals. All printing houses, newspapers, bookshops, theatres, opera houses, tea rooms, film-making concerns, cinemas and publishers were ordered to suspend activities until further notice. General Tran Bach-under pseudonyms a poet and journalist, but in his own person head of the propaganda branch of the Vietnamese government in the South-said in justification of the official policy: 'The culture of the south is a slave culture promoted by American imperialists in order to destroy the Revolution. If the literature of the South in particular, was not reactionary, it was at least decadent. . . therefore, the Party and the government in the North must re-evaluate the whole culture of the South.' That was in 1975. Six years later, there are no reports that these prisoners have been tried or sentenced. The Index list is extensive-and even so, incomplete. It was a pleasant shock to learn the other day from Paris publisher Claude Gallimard that one of his most distinguished authors, the brilliant, charming Madame Simone, was about the celebrate her 104th birthday! Born in 1877, Madame Simone began her first career-as an actress-at the turn of the century. She was in fact already famous on the Paris stage when she met the unknown Alain-Fournier on 5 May 1912. They fell in love. The following year saw the publication of Alain-Fournier's great novel Le Grand Meaulnes, which just failed to win that year's Prix Gon-court, despite all the actress's efforts. They planned to marry but never did: Fournier was killed in the early days of the war, after which 'Simone', as she was always known, became an author in her own right. Her memoirs of Fournier (1957) won special acclaim and are still in print after nearly twenty-five years. All his love-letters she has promised to the Bibliothèque Nationale, to be published at her death. She once told a friend of ours that Fournier's death had left her irrevocably 'sad inside', and then added characteristically: 'But it isn't polite to be sad.' (DA)

On May 7 Charles Tomlinson received the honorary degree of Doctor of Literature from the University of Keele. We learn from the Press Release that his first poem was published by the now defunct Stoke-on-Trent City Times when the poet was twelve. Looking forward, the handout informs us that he will deliver the Clark Lectures at Cambridge and the Kenneth Allott Lecture at Liverpool in 1982. A new book of his poems will be published in the summer of this year.

In March, we received an alarming report from the Library Association regarding the future of the service. Local authorities have made disproportionately large cuts in the Library sector in the hope that they will be less noticeable than cuts in other areas. The pattern of cuts was established in 1974. Publishers and the reading public at large are now feeling the effect vividly. 'It is very easy to cut the book fund and it is a relatively long time before it is noticed that there are fewer titles on the shelves.' The government anticipates spending by local authorities in libraries to decline by £14 million between this and next financial year- £187 million to £173 million. The effect on book purchases will be radical. The rise in book prices, combined with inflation on wages, etc., means that the reduced spending on new books will have irreversible consequences on the quality of the library service and, to some extent, on the publishing community. As the Library Association voice in the House, Robin Cook, pointed out, 'if you don't buy books when they come out you can't make up for it later because the books go out of print and you end up with a huge gap in your book store.' Spending on books, left to the discretion of local authorities, varies enormously: Camden spends about £4 per annum per head of its population while one Welsh authority spends only 4p per head.

In the March 7 issue of The Bookseller, Vivienne Menkes provided the fullest and most balanced account we have so far seen in Britain of the effect on French publishing and bookselling of the now clearly culturally disastrous measure implemented by the French government in the area of publishing: the abandonment of the equivalent of 'retail price maintenance', a phenomenon we have commented on before in these columns. She has interviewed leading publishers and booksellers. The number of risk titles, literary launchings, etc., is much reduced; the lives of books shorter than before, small shops are in trouble, variable prices discriminate against buyers in country districts, etc. Jerome Lindon, chairman of Editions de Minuit, remembers that he sold only 100 copies of Waiting for Godot in its first year of publication. couldn't launch authors like Beckett today.' The European book trade is so alarmed by what may be the irreparable damage done to traditional bookselling in France that they are putting a resolution to the European Parliament that governments ensure price maintenance for books. Vivienne Menkes recalls the 1959 International Booksellers' Federation London resolution insisting that books be regarded 'as cultural products, not as pure merchandise'. Government in France and in countries where economic 'imperatives' subvert cultural values is deaf to that fundamental axiom.

The Poetry Book Society Summer 1981 choice is Sea to the West by Norman Nicholson (Faber). The recommendations are Charles Tomlinson's The Flood (OUP), Alison Brackenbury's Dreams of Power (Carcanet) and Dannie Abse's Way Out in the Centre (Hutchinson).

Founded in 1976, Oxus Press has grown into an interesting small independent publishing house concentrating on contemporary English poetry (especially by younger poets) and modern Greek poetry in translation. The Greek list is particularly interesting, including work by Nassos Vayenas, Yannis Kondos and Takis Sinopoulos, and making available American editions of the work of Yannis Ritsos and others. The English poets published include David Grubb, Steve Griffiths and John Stathatos. Oxus joined with Oasis Books in 1979 to establish the Independent Press Distribution, a non-profit cooperative which distributes the titles of twenty-five small presses. The latest joint development is equally ambitious: the magazine Telegram, edited by Stathatos and, for Oasis, Ian Robinson. The first issue-an extraordinarily handsome production given the evidently limited means of the editors-includes a variety of English and translated verse and prose (most notably two poems by Ken Smith) and a valuable account of the Stonypath Affair, often alluded to in PNR.

From Box 228-77, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125 comes news of Sulfur ($5.00 for single copies, $12.00 for a year's subscription)-A Literary Tri-Quarterly of the Whole Art. Sulfur is an outgrowth of Clayton Eshel-man's and Robert Kelly's Caterpillar (1967-1973) and will appear in a 200-page format. The phrase 'the Whole Art' in the subtitle is a polemical touch. The magazine will have all the usual ingredients along with 'archaic, archetypal and alchemical "source materials" ', music, art and photography. The first issue will include the entire Olson-Dahlberg correspondence, an 121-line section from Canto 84 suppressed by Pound, and ten unpublished letters from Hart Crane to Kenneth Burke. In addition new work by a variety of writers is promised.

The magazine Antaeus celebrated its tenth birthday (1970-1980) with a 552-page issue which reflects in its range and eclectic enthusiasm-not to mention the quality of its production-the reasons for the magazine's survival under the able editorship of Daniel Halpern. A year's subscription (4 issues) is $14.00 to Antaeus, 1 West 30th Street, New York, N. Y. 10001. Associated with Antaeus is the adventurous Ecco Press whose catalogue is worth writing for.

An anniversary to be celebrated is the thirtieth birthday of Peter Owen, one of the most adventurous literary lists (especially in the area of fiction) we have. It is heartening that Peter Owen himself declares, in the teeth of circumstance, 'I have every intention of riding the recession and remaining independent.' His list has included the work of Pavese, Gide, Hesse, Jaspers, Mishima, Peake, Singer, Spark, Bowles, Endo, Vansitart, Durrell, etc. He publishes small and not inexpensive editions of his new and translated authors and exports a sizeable proportion of each printing. On Owen's first list appeared Hermann Hesse's Siddhartha -he paid an advance of £25 for it. He is sanguine about the future of Shusaku Endo, the Japanese writer whose work he is introducing into this country. In order that serious publishing survive, he calls for increased library allocations, more support from the Arts Council and-on an international scale-more government funds for publication of 'major' UK writers abroad. 'The alternative is increasing insularity, uniformity and mediocrity in fiction publishing and, in the non-fiction field, a similar reluctance to publish the unusual, the provocative and the controversial.'

The Journal of Literary Translation-Translation for short-has produced a distinguished double issue (Fall 1980-$7.00 from The Translation Center, 307A Mathematics Building, Columbia University, New York, N. Y. 10027) under the editorship of Dallas Galvin and Robert Payne (William Jay Smith and Frank MacShane are away). The magazine will please translator-activists -it gives due prominence (as one would expect) to the translator, to the extent of putting the biographical notes on translators before those on the writers translated, and focusing attention quite clearly on the secondary art.

Poetry Wales has established a publishing imprint, Poetry Wales Press, 56 Parcau Avenue, Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan. The first three well-produced editions are Dannie Abse's Miscellany One, Mike Jenkins's The Common Land and Nigel Jenkins's Song and Dance. Projected titles include work by Emyr Humphreys, Lynette Roberts (her first book of poems for thirty years), and uncollected work by Alun Lewis whom Cary Archard, the editor, describes (plausibly) as 'the most gifted Welsh writer of the century'.

On 17 February David Garnett, author of Lady into Fox (1922) and many other books, including some remarkable auto-biographies, died in France at the age of 89. A close friend of T. E. Lawrence, he edited his letters and published a volume of tributes to him. He also edited the letters of Dora Carrington. Son and grandson of distinguished literary figures, his parents advised him against a literary career. His father (Edward, one of the outstanding publisher's readers of his time) warned: 'Never try to write, but above all never have anything to do with publishing or the book trade.' He studied botany, discovered a new species of mushroom, but inevitably turned to literature in the end. Also inevitably, given his family's contacts, he knew most of the major writers of the time. He was among the last survivors of Bloomsbury. He was an editor, publisher, literary adviser, etc. In the Sylvia Townsend Warner supplement of PNR which will be published soon, we will print a selection from his correspondence with his friend and fellow-novelist. At his death he was engaged in editing this long and rich exchange of letters which extended over a large part of the century.

This item is taken from PN Review 21, Volume 8 Number 1, September - October 1981.



Readers are asked to send a note of any misprints or mistakes that they spot in this item to editor@pnreview.co.uk
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