18 November 2009 at 04:07 Leave a comment

From a brilliant article about Alan Bennett:

His surname might not have spawned an adjective (Bennettish? Bennettesque? Benettonian?), but he is unique.

Who to compare him with? One unlikely but interesting analogy is with Harold Pinter. Though artistically worlds apart, both have acted in plays as well as written them. And they share a love of poetry, especially Philip Larkin’s. I remember the two of them onstage together, taking turns at the mic, at a commemorative reading in 1986, shortly after Larkin’s death. Each brought something of himself to the task, Pinter’s voice stentorian and militaristic, Bennett’s gently eliciting a response that he says he first heard when reading Larkin to an audience in Settle – “part-sigh, part-affirmation”.

That response – recognition – matters hugely to him. If not to connect, why else would one bother to write?  Hector in The History Boys puts it like this: “The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you thought special and particular to you. Now here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out and taken yours.”



Entry filed under: Alan Bennett, reading, writing.

Anomaly Yes

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T. Anderson Painter

I am a misanthrope. No one ever believes me, but this seems to prove my point.



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