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This article is taken from PN Review 14, Volume 6 Number 6, July - August 1980.

C.J. Fox

One day in the autumn of 1962 I chanced to be inspecting the little-magazine stand at a bookstore on Eighth Street in the bright and bustling heart of Greenwich Village, New York. Among the journals from around the world clustered there, triumphantly contradicting all the laws of publishing economics by their very presence, was a substantial-looking London entry inscribed in blood-red with the initial X. Down the otherwise sober white cover of X: A Quarterly Review paraded an assortment of what to me were largely unknown names-Kavanagh, Sisson, Barker, Higgins. X throbbed with an anti-Establishment fervour all the more arresting for its non-indulgence in iconoclastic crudities. I had the welcome impression that a formidable contingent of penmen were brazenly at work outside the precincts of English Orthodoxy, oblivious to "the liquescent conformity of the run". The phrase came from an X editorial signed by one David Wright. A crank "fan letter" was immediately dispatched to him, whoever he was, by the New York neophyte.

As it happened, I had tuned in on the last issue of X. "Our trouble is not exactly finding money but finding money without somebody else's cultural notions attached to it," the co-editor (as Wright was) announced in a lugubrious reply to me from an address on Great Ormond Street just a few doors from the former headquarters of another review defunct before its time, Blast. From Portugal, of all places, came a second letter, this one sent by Wright's editorial partner, Patrick ...


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