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)
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)
Jamie OsbornIn conversation with Sasha Dugdale
(PN Review 240)
Poems Articles Interviews Reports Reviews Contributors
PN Review Blog
Monthly Carcanet Books
Next Issue Vahni Capildeo The Boisterous Weeping of Margery Kempe Paul Muldoon The Fly Sinead Morrissey Put Off That Mask Jane Yeh Three Poems Sarah Rothenberg Poetry and Music: Exile and Return

This article is taken from PN Review 112, Volume 23 Number 2, November - December 1996.

Loyalties and Entitlements Nicolas Tredell

FRANK KERMODE, Not Entitled: A Memoir (HarperCollins)£18
FRED INGLIS, Raymond Williams (Routledge) £19.99

In their generation, Frank Kermode and Raymond Williams were foremost among those in British intellectual life who changed the ways in which people thought about literature and culture. The publication of Kermode's memoirs and of the first full-length biography of Williams offers an occasion to compare and contrast their careers. Kermode was born in 1919 and Williams in 1921, both into working-class backgrounds on the fringes of Britain as conventionally conceived - Williams on the Welsh borders, Kermode on the Isle of Man - and both, while later moving into the centres of British life, retained a sense of internal difference. Both grew to manhood in the deepening political crises of the 1930s and both went to war - Williams in the 21st Anti-Tank Regiment and Kermode in the Royal Navy. After the war, both pursued their academic careers outside the privileged sites of Oxford and Cambridge - Williams as an adult education tutor in Sussex, Kermode at Newcastle, then at University College of Durham, and subsequently at the universities of Reading, Manchester, Bristol and London. In the later 1950s, both made an impact with books - Kermode's Romantic Image (1957) and Williams's Culture and Society (1958) - which challenged, politely but firmly, notions that were then still powerfully dominant in literary and cultural thinking. Their later work continued that challenge to a point where, in their respective ways, they profoundly altered - some might ...


Searching, please wait... animated waiting image