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

THE DOLT OF DIONYSUS T. S. Matthews, Under the Influence (Cassell) £5.95

Under the Influence, another pseudo-memoir from the poison pen of T. S. Matthews, is a put-on. Its very title is an indicator of the author's tricky way with words. Americans use the phrase in much the way in which the British do when they refer to one inebriated as being "in one's cups". Time-man Tom has written before on his drinking habits. His first published attempt to tell his story took the form of an "autobiography", the subtitle of his 1961 book, Name & Address. There, he writes:

I think of drink now as if it were a genie in a bottle . . . not so much a spirit you could summon at will as a sacred grove you would sometimes find. And when you found it, you didn't try to make things happen, you let them happen to you. They did happen, and even if you couldn't remember afterwards quite what they were, you were always somehow larger for it.
(Name & Address (Anthony Blond) p.285)

How much larger he is for his encounters with the genie, or with genius, for that matter, each reader of his book may determine for himself. Matthews has filed his caveat as to the events he relates, even as to the reliability of his recollections.

When this current book was published in the United States, Matthews informed a columnist that he had considered writing it in fiction form:


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