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Description - Injury Time by D. J. Enright

The distinguished poet, essayist and critic D. J. Enright died on the last day of December 2002. He had just put the finishing touches to Injury Time, a memoir and his third commonplace book in which the dying writer muses upon his own condition and that of the world he knows he is leaving. Comparing himself to the Chinese scholar Sima Qian, who chose an 'ignoble punishment' (in Dennis Enright's case, treatment for his cancer; in Qian's, castration) over respectable death in order to finish a book, he contemplates literature, manners, morals, people and, especially, the English language in all its glories and eccentricities - while recording his battle against cancer and his hospital experiences. Moving, and at times deeply poignant, imbued with its author's legendary humanity and wit, Injury Time is, nevertheless, funny, bracing and, above all, positive.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781844133154
ISBN-10: 184413315X
Format: Paperback
(216mm x 136mm x 15mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: Pimlico
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 1-May-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - Injury Time by D. J. Enright

UK Kirkus Review » This is the last volume of a trilogy of memoirs by the poet, critic and translator D J Enright, whose wit and humanity are legendary amongst the British literary community. Enright spent over two decades teaching English at universities in Germany, Thailand, Egypt, Singapore and Japan before returning to England and eventually becoming a director of London-based publishers Chatto and Windus. His gentle manner and deeply felt humanitarian outlook combined with a razor wit and vast knowledge to produce the insightful critiques and wise commentaries for which he is so fondly remembered, and all these qualities are evident, in abundance, in this work. Moving fluidly between an astonishing range of topics, this memoir is more a collection of anecdotes, observations and aphorisms than chronological autobiography. Enright ruminates on an eclectic variety of subjects - the role of poetry in modern life, the state of the NHS, unforeseen benefits of ill-health, the value of horoscopes, society's preoccupation with drugs, to name a few - in a meandering literary stroll that is at once romantic and hard-headed, naive and well-informed. His love of language and delight in wordplay is obvious on every page: the text is sprinkled with puns, pithy sayings and quotes from Proust to Coleridge, Tennyson to Montaigne. His attitude towards death and dying, never sentimental though always compassionate, leads to such wonderful observations as, 'The ageing scribbler feels glum. He tells himself: Your raison d'etre has disappeared. But then, it occurs to him, his etre is about to disappear. This cheers him up, briefly.' Much of Injury Time is concerned with ill health and mortality (the author died in late 2002 after a protracted battle with cancer), and, dealing with a topic many still consider taboo, Enright's humour and honesty shine and his sincerity inspires. This is a book to be savoured slowly, dipped into and pondered over. The subtle wit, depth of compassion and layered meanings ripen with each re-reading. (Kirkus UK)

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Author Biography - D. J. Enright

Born in 1920, educated at Leamington College and Downing College, Cambridge, D. J. Enright spent over twenty years teaching English at universities in Egypt, Japan, Berlin, Thailand, and Singapore. He returned to London in 1970 and later became a director of London publishers Chatto & Windus. First and foremost a poet, he published many collections in over fifty years, including Collected Poems: 1948-98 (1998), and translations from Japanese and German verse. He wrote novels for both adults and children, and revised with Madeleine Enright the English translation of Proust's In Search of Lost Time (1992), while his enormous output of non-fiction includes his Memoirs of a Mendicant Professor (1969), a number of critical works, and several anthologies, among them The Oxford Book of Death (1983) and The Faber Book of Fevers and Frets (1989). Observations on life (high and low), literature, morals and manners, human or animal, are recorded in The Way of the Cat (1992), and two companion volumes to Injury Time - Interplay: A Kind of Commonplace Book (1995) and Play Resumed: A Journal (1999). D. J. Enright received the Cholmondeley Award in 1974; he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1981 and appointed OBE in 1991. Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1961, he was made Companion of Literature by the Society in 1998, an honour granted to no more than ten living writers at any one time. He died on the last day of 2002, after battling vigorously against cancer for seven years.

Books By D. J. Enright

Oxford Book of Death by D. J. Enright
Paperback, October 2008
Donne: Everyman's Poetry by D. J. Enright
Paperback, August 1997
In Search of Lost Time by D. J. Enright
Paperback, December 1996
Sayings of Goethe by D. J. Enright
Paperback, September 1996