Margin Released: A Writer's Reminiscences and Reflections

Margin Released: A Writer's Reminiscences and Reflections

Margin Released: A Writer's Reminiscences and Reflections

Margin Released: A Writer's Reminiscences and Reflections

Excerpt

This book is not an autobiography pretending not to be. Its subtitle describes it exactly -- A Writer's Reminiscences and Refections. Readers dipping into Parts One and Two might be forgiven for thinking they were looking at an autobiography; but they would be wrong. It is doubtful if dippers, as distinct from honest readers, are entitled to have any explanation from an author; nevertheless, for everybody's sake, I will explain how this book came to be written.

I wrote Part Three, I Had the Time, after a talk over lunch with Mr H. V. Hodson, then editor of the Sunday Times. We agreed I should write some literary reminiscences that could be serialised in the paper. From the first, however, I saw these thirty thousand words or so not as Sunday journalism but as part of a book, which I would have written even if the response to these Sunday Times instalments had not been so surprisingly favourable. (I had many friendly and even enthusiastic letters, after declaring that nobody wrote them any more, at least to me.) Passages cut or removed altogether from these instalments, to make room for photographs, have been restored in this text. I hope Mr Hodson, now at pasture in fresh fields, will accept my thanks.

It seemed to me then that this Part Three, covering forty years of my professional life, would be better understood if I described how I began writing, in the years before the First War, and then related, in a shorter Part Two, a kind of bridge section, what happened to me during that war. For choosing . . .

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