The autobiography of literary figure Cyril Connolly, providing insight into his upper-class upbringing and life at Eton and Oxford, together with advice on how to avoid the pitfalls that await the would-be writer. First published in 1938.
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Cyril Connolly is the author of many collections of essays, as well as a memoir The Unquiet Grave, and a novel The Rock Pool, both available from Persea.Review:
“Very ably introduced by Alex Woloch. . . . One of Connolly’s great gifts was self-deprecation, and one of his easier styles was that of the tongue in the cheek. He puts one in mind of two of the great contemporaries about whom he wrote—George Orwell and Evelyn Waugh.”
(Christopher Hitchens Atlantic Monthly)
“You cannot read Cyril Connolly for very long without wanting to acquire—and then developing—a relationship with the personality of the man himself. This small, podgy, balding, pug-faced, funny, gossipy, lazy, clever, cowardly, hedonistic, fractious, difficult man somehow manages to enshrine in his words and life everything that we aspire to, and that intellectually ennobles us, and all that is weak and worst in us as well.” (William Boyd Guardian)
“A fine critic, compulsive traveler, and candid autobiographer. . . . [Connolly] lays down the law for all writers who wanted to count. . . . He had imagination and decisive images flashed with the speed of wit in his mind.” (V. S. Pritchett NYRB)
“Anyone who writes, or wants to write, will find something on just about every single page that either endorses a long-held prejudice or outrages, and that makes it a pretty compelling read. . . . You end up muttering back at just about every ornately constructed pensée that Connolly utters, but that’s one of the joys of this book.” (Nick Hornby Believer)
“A remarkable book.” (Anthony Powell)
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