Most Read... Rebecca WattsThe Cult of the Noble Amateur
(PN Review 239)
John McAuliffeBill Manhire in Conversation with John McAuliffe
(PN Review 259)
Patricia CraigVal Warner: A Reminiscence
(PN Review 259)
Eavan BolandA Lyric Voice at Bay
(PN Review 121)
Vahni CapildeoOn Judging Prizes, & Reading More than Six Really Good Books
(PN Review 237)
Christopher MiddletonNotes on a Viking Prow
(PN Review 10)
Next Issue Gwyneth Lewis ‘Spiderings’ Ian Thomson ‘Fires were started: Tallinn, 1944’ Adrian May ‘Traditionalism and Tradition’ Jenny Bornholdt 'Poems' Horatio Morpurgo ‘What is a Book?’
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
Reader Survey
PN Review Substack

This review is taken from PN Review 5, Volume 5 Number 1, October - December 1978.

A METAPHYSICAL HUNGER William T. Pritchard, Seeing Through Everything: English Writers 1918-1940, Faber, £5.95.

Seeing Through Everything is not a survey or history of English literature between the wars but a selective and suggestive essay 'which attempts to move more or less chronologically through the period and come to terms with its most significant and enduring literary monuments'. Such a book depends for its success on the perceptiveness of the author, his ability to choose among the possible candidates for discussion, and to speak interestingly about each writer and each work. Indulgence in extreme selectivity imposes at least this imperative on a literary critic. It would be eccentric and churlish to insist upon originality in every section but in a book of this sort the reader must feel that where he disagrees with the author the argument is at least worth the effort. Professor Pritchard passes this test and his work may therefore be counted a success. The writers considered are important and the works discussed are 'significant and enduring literary monuments' of his chosen period: Eliot, Lewis, Huxley, Lawrence, Ford, Auden, Orwell and so forth. The list is the reverse of eccentric but no less justified for that.

The tone of the book is classical not because of the particular critical respect which Pritchard displays for Eliot and Lewis-`my own favorite modern literary men'-but for the measured, balanced nature of his judgements. A book of conscious maturity, Seeing Through Everything reserves its hardest judgements for the rejected mentors of the author's youth, D. H. Lawrence and Dylan Thomas, and even ...

Searching, please wait... animated waiting image