Conrad: The moral world of the novelist

Conrad: The moral world of the novelist

Closely based on my Oxford D Phil, 1972. I don’t believe in the brandishing of keys to writers – Conrad is no more a lock or door than a casket. The central opposition or tension in Conrad is that between his ‘vision of personal autonomy’ and his ‘vision of social...
Staying Up

Staying Up

I am the only football fan who has written a book containing an inside account of a year in the life of a Premiership team. OK, it was only Coventry City, but the season was 1997/1998, and we finished solidly in the middle of the league, and got to the quarterfinals...
Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir

Outside of a Dog: A Bibliomemoir

The title is from Groucho Marx: “Outside of a Dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read,” which is both funny and a demonstration that homilies about reading are stupid. The subtitle – A Bibliomemoir – is a term and category I have made...
Lost, Stolen or Shredded

Lost, Stolen or Shredded

He collected absences. For him they were more intense, vibrant and real than the presences that they shadowed. And this one – he’d just heard the news of the most audacious art theft of his time – was astonishing, quite enough to merit a change of travel plans. And so...