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In Two Minds: Literary Essays

C.H. Sisson

C .H. Sisson - In Two Minds (Cover)
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 0 856358 77 7
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Published: September 1990
223 x 144 x 15 mm
280 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
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  • In Two Minds advances a single argument: that reading and writing are collaborative ventures with past and future. Tradition is a living resource.

    Sisson considers literary vocation, the act of reading, the practice of real criticism and the comedy of some kinds of academic criticism. He writes about authors he has translated - Horace, Dante and Virgil among them - reflecting on their development and what their work means today. His major essays on the English writers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including Marvell and Swift who are especially near to his heart, pursue the theme; and so, crucially, do his accounts of the modern classics such as Hardy, Pound and Ford Madox Ford.

    Sisson's essays often begin, as Dr Johnson's did, with an evocation of the writer's life, especially the formative years, and move on to assess the work with the eye of one who is himself 'one of the greatest translators of our time' (Jasper Griffin, The Times Literary Supplement), a novelist, and a major poet.

    Born in Bristol in 1914, C. H. Sisson was noted as a poet, novelist, essayist and an important translator. He was a great friend of the critic and writer Donald Davie, with whom he corresponded regularly. Sisson was a student at the University of Bristol where he read English and Philosophy. ... read more
    Praise for C.H. Sisson `His poems move in service of the loved landscapes of England and France; they sing (and growl) in love of argument, in love of seeing through, in love of the firm descriptions of moral self-disgust; they move in love of the old lost life by which the new life is condemned.'
    Donald Hall, New York Times Book Review
    'I think he is worth a place on the short shelf reserved for the finest twentieth-century poets, with Eliot and Rilke and MacDiarmid.'
    Robert Nye, the Scotsman
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