Thursday, December 05, 2013
A search throughout the book room here at home for more to do with E.M. Forster has led me to revisit a three-volume set I first read around fifteen years ago (how's that for a convoluted sentence). Poet, novelist, memoir-writer Siegfried Sassoon's Diaries 1915-1918, 1920-1922, and 1923-1925 (Faber & Faber 1981-1985). Sassoon corresponded with Forster a bit, and they became friends after the war. The Diaries are peppered with mention of him, especially the last volume, but I soon became engrossed in them for their own sakes. I particularly enjoy Sassoon's running commentary on what he is reading.
September 28, 1922, Munich (p.256):
"...reading a hundred pages of Bleak House, which is superb. Dickens may be too sentimental at times, but when he writes like that he is, to me, intensely moving. And his descriptive writing is as fine as anything I know.... I have just hurled Ziska (a novel by Marie Corelli) out of the window. What a curious fluttering noise the pages made as the red-bound 1887 Tauchnitz volume curved and collapsed on to the grass in the courtyard...."
I have never yet tossed a book away in disgust (the famous Dorothy Parker quote of course comes immediately to mind, except, it appears She didn't actually say it...?). I've come close. To circle back to Forster, though, this passage of Sassoon's reminds me of the Merchant Ivory film version of A Room with a View, specifically Eleanor Lavish's potboiler novel about a romance in Italy, Under a Loggia - the copy left outside at Windy Corner, the copy that leads to the unraveling of Miss Lucy Honeychurch's engagement. But I digress. As usual. Not that there was anything else I was going to say, other than how delightful literary entanglements are, and the associations they bring to mind.