Cyril Connolly by Jeremy Lewis
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Cyril Connolly
By Jeremy Lewis

Cyril Connolly

A Life

By (author) See other recent books by Jeremy Lewis
Format: Paperback

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Cyril Connolly by Jeremy Lewis

Book Description

'In one of the funniest biographies I have ever read, Lewis assembles all the excellently entertaining anecdotes about this deeply loved, much mocked, sometimes reviled figure whose departure has robbed the literary world of its social smartness and any worthwhile eccentricity ...[An] excellent, wildly funny and informative biography. 'Auberon Waugh, Literary Review. Precociously brilliant in his youth, Cyril Connolly was haunted for the rest of his life by a sense of failure and a romantic yearning to recover a lost Eden. His two great books, The Unquiet Grave and Enemies of Promise, are classics of English prose, combining wit, romanticism and merciless self-knowledge. As witty in person as he was in his prose, he was notoriously slothful and greedy; he was married three times, and his dealings with women were bedevilled by a lifelong tendency to be in love with two or more people at once.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780712666350
ISBN-10: 0712666354
Format: Paperback
(234mm x 156mm x 28mm)
Pages: 672
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 7-May-1998
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Other Editions...

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Few newspaper editors are remembered beyond their lifetimes, but David Astor of the Observer is a great exception to the rule. He converted a staid, Conservative-supporting Sunday paper into essential reading, admired and envied for the quality of its writers and for its trenchant but fair-minded views. This book tells his story.

Shades of Greene by Jeremy Lewis Shades of Greene, Paperback (April 2011)

In the early years of the last century, two brothers, Charles and Edward Greene, settled in Berkhamsted and were found fathering twelve children. This book explores this generation of the Greene family in colourful detail - their relationships and shared history, and their lives - as explorers, writers, doctors, spies, politicians and much more.

Tobias Smollett by Jeremy Lewis Tobias Smollett, Paperback (September 2009)

Tobias Smollett was a prodigious wordsmith. Grub Street was his habitat and hack work his staple. This biography reveals that there was much more to Smollett than that. His own life seems almost as eventful and picaresque as one of his novels. Born in Scotland, apprenticed to a surgeon, he came to London to make his fortune. He failed.

» View all books by Jeremy Lewis


US Kirkus Review » In his vast biography of the literary critic, Lewis, former deputy editor of London Magazine, writes with the perfectionism of a skilled cultural historian and the bloodlust of a tabloid gossip columnist. Connolly's life is bound to intrigue and entertain. Although the emphasis here on his years spent dwelling in the rarefied world of English boys' boarding schools and the "powerful networks they fostered" may seem a bit strange, that time was in fact deeply formative for him. Eton not only shaped Connolly's intellectual character but also provided a touchstone for much of his later work, including The Unquiet Grave and Enemies of Promise. His classmates included George Orwell and Cecil Beaton. The idyll of academia without the responsibility of adulthood truly captured Connolly's imagination: he eventually referred to Eton as "a vanished Eden of grace and security." Within its ancient walls he developed a love and longing for literature that colored his emotional landscape for years. Yet even though Connolly lived his life more or less to the full, the vision of his own potential - "his unfulfilled youthful promise" - was a dark angel that he could not escape. In Lewis's words, Connolly "combined an incurable, ever-youthful romanticism . . . with an unwavering, almost masochistic realism about his weaknesses and failings." Ironically, perhaps, his sense of his own inadequacies didn't stop him from completing two highly regarded books, from mentoring other writers, or from carrying on like a round-faced satyr (he married three times). To his credit, Lewis never lets Connolly's own vociferous complaints about his life weigh down the text. Instead, the author balances a wealth of detail from the man himself with anecdotes gleaned from Connolly's surviving family and former lovers. The critic emerges from Lewis's quietly compassionate portrait as an intriguing and contradictory personality: difficult, bright, self-serving, and ultimately self-punishing. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - Jeremy Lewis

Jeremy Lewis worked in publishing for much of his life after leaving Trinity College, Dublin, in 1965; he was a director of Chatto & Windus for ten years, and a deputy editor of the London Magazine from 1990 to 1994. He has written two volumes of autobiography, Playing for Time and Kindred Spirits, and edited The Chatto Book of Office Life. A Committee Member of the R.S. Surtees Society and a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, he is married with two daughters, and lives near Richmond Park.

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