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Romancing: The Life and Work of Henry Green Hardcover – Mar 2001


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Inc (T) (Mar 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679433031
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679433033
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 15.9 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,291,865 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Jeremy Treglown is Professor of English at the University of Warwick and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He was previously the editor of the Times Literary Supplement and is the author of several non-fiction books. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 8 May 2001
Format: Hardcover
Many English novelists fall of the 30s and 40s fall neatly into camps - Waugh's social satire, Orwell's acerbic realism, Powell's neo-Proustian memory novels - but Henry Green, a contemporary of all three, is not so easy to pin down. Green was big on simple one word titles that just barely contain the enigma of their respective storylines. Living dealt with the lives of workers and owners in a Birmingham factory. Loving is set among the Anglo-Irish gentry, but it is the ribald servants who capture our interest. While Party Going is a devastating portrait of hooray-henry types that also manages to be sympathetic at the same time. Treglown's concise and elegant biography doesn't explain away the compelling mystery of Green's novels, but it does tell us that Green managed to do something very rare - not only write about others well, but in such a way that barely a trace of the usual narcissism (that taints even the most gifted novelist) can be detected. No wonder Terry Southern called him a 'writer's writer's writer.'
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5 reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
... 18 April 2003
By Arch Llewellyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Henry Green was due for a biography, any biography, that would bring his name and his work back before a wider public. Treglown's mechanical and strangely flat portrait of this fascinating writer is better than nothing, but not by much. He dutifully moves through each of Green's books tracing the surface resemblances between the plots and the outward circumstances of the author's life. Apparently he didn't have a whole lot more to go on: letters, drafts, diary entries, family remembrances and contemporary memoirs are all in short supply. Green's ambivalent feelings towards his aristocratic family, his lifelong fascination with the manners and speech of classes other than his own, his attraction to younger women, his voluntary servitude in the office of the family business and his punishing drinking get almost no analysis from Treglown; they're used more for anecdotes than for a fuller understanding of the novels. Treglown lost the cooperation of Green's son and literary executor, Sebastian, early on. That's not really his fault, but the sloppy writing surely is. Words like "labyrinthinely," "slapdashness" and "shockingness" along with awkward constructions such as "can't not have been relieved" abound. Wherever he is, Green can't not have been appalled.
In a way though, the biography's thinness fits with Green's notorious evasions while he was alive: few photos (many from the back), rare interviews, the mystifying 'Who's Who' entry Treglown opens with. "A fuller biography awaits" as they say--a fact Treglown himself all but admits in his Introduction--but would Green have really wanted one? The books are all back in print and his reputation as a 'writer's writer's writer' is secure. Would this elusive, self-deprecating author have asked for anything more?
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A highly readable biography of a great original 8 Feb 2003
By Jay Dickson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Henry Green always hovers somewhere at the margins of the British modernist canon, just as he did during his own lifetime. Despite the exceptional admiration expressed for his strange novels by writers as diverse as Eudora Welty, terry Southern, John Ashbery and John Updike, as Green himself bemoaned in his later years he never received any of the major British writing awards nor is he taught with the consistency his beautiful novels deserve. Here is the first real biography of Green, and the fine critic and biographer Jeremy Treglown appreciates the inherent glamor of Green's career. Born Henry Yorke, the son of a wealthy industrialist's family with aristocratic connections, Green went to school with Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh. He and his well-born wife "Dig" were considered among the most goldenhaired of the "Bright Young Things" beloved by London gossip columnists in the Thirties, and during his lifetime he enjoyed relationships with women as talented and diverse as Rosamund Lehmann and Kitty Freud.
Treglown may focus perhaps too much on the more gossipy aspects of Green's life, to the detriment of an understanding of his writing process. Although the novels are each given extensive (and intelligent) analysis, one wishes more space had been given to how Green originated his distinctive writing style. (The withdrawal of assistance and authorization from Green's only son, Sebastian Yorke, may explain some of this brevity.) But for all of that, the biography is one of the most readable and enjoyable of a modernist British writer I've encountered in some time: Treglown has a lovely sense of narrative direction and impulse which makes the book genuinely involving.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Slapdashness? 23 Jan 2010
By Michael P. McCullough - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After recently reading *Pack My Bag,* a detached memoir written by a fairly young Henry Green, I felt I didn't know too much more about this fascinating author than I did before I started it. So I was delighted to hear that there was a recent biography of Henry Green.

Treglown clearly gathered together a tremendous amount of information for this project and picked out what he thought would be appropriate for this biography. I think he did a good job and I learned a great deal about one of my favorite writers. One other reviewer complained that Treglown made up words for this book. Well, so what? Isn't that appropriate for a book about Green? If Green didn't make up words he certainly made up grammatical constructs.

One thing I liked about this biography was how it placed Green's life and his novels within their historical setting and the one regret I have regarding *Romancing* is that there wasn't more of this. Also, the structure and style of *Romancing* is not exactly what I would call intriguing - this is no "page-turner" - and this book encourages a certain amount of skimming and speed reading.

Overall, however, this book is required reading for fans of Henry Green - the "writer's writer's writer."
Five Stars 9 Dec 2014
By adam parkes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In excellent condition, great value for money.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
nickd 16 Dec 2012
By N. D'Alleva - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
great insight into Green's work which I enjoyed even more because of Treglown's work. Green too some unique chances in his writing - very subtle nuances - which gave my writing fresh ideas.
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