META NAME="Forgotten Classics" CONTENT="neglected novels forgotten authors."

forgotten classics

'Reading neglected writers so you don't have to' A Time Out column and a blog for books that seem to be undeservedly forgotten, from John Galsworthy to Rose Macaulay, from Amos Tutuola to DH Lawrence, from W. Somerset Maugham to Fanny Burney. What books do you think we should revive? If you love a writer who has lapsed in popularity please let me know! Are my choices controversial?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

sylvia townsend warner versus alan sillitoe

Tough decisions about June's Time Out column: lesbian stalinist
(warner) or working class hero (sillitoe)? I'm inclined to Warner as I
think she is a great writer and I'd like to not write my first two
columns about men (that said, I'd be writing my first two columns about
writers from the late 20s/ early 30s which is similarly problematic); I
think Sillitoe is a staggering writer and deserving of great praise
(plus Saturday Night Sunday Morning can remind us that binge drinking
asbo culture isn't exactly new). Fans of Sillitoe (and indeed, Sillitoe
himself) might query whether he is a forgotten or neglected writer; I'd
argue that I teach an awful lot of students who are interested in
working-class culture, masculinity and Britishness, and few of them
have read him (although they all should).

I've also been thinking about how skewed my view of all this is,
writing from an academic perspective. I have colleagues who have read
all of Warner (and indeed who write about her), and colleagues who
spend their life working on obscure novelists from the eighteenth- to
the twentieth- centuries. Just who are we keeping these writers alive
for? (that is a rhetorical question, btw).

Finally, Adam Thorpe's new collection of short stories (Is This The Way
You Said?), out from Cape in June, has a couple of fun stories related
to this blog including 'Green Trainers', about a postgraduate toiling
to understand a long forgotten Edwardian poet, and 'Karaoke', about a
poet discovering a 'lost' Victorian novel which turns out to be simply
a tissue of classical quotations and not the 'English Proust' that he
was hoping for.


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