Read Henry James’s early tale ‘Poor Richard’. When the eponymous dissolute learns of Gertrude’s unsavoury engagement to Major Luttrel, he descends on her house, determined to end it. Finding her wan and failing, he condemns her attachment to the venal Luttrel: ‘You have suited – God knows what! – your despair, your desolation.’
Did James ever create an uncomplicatedly happy couple or an erotically assured character?
Andrea Goldsmith’s for dinner. Her guests included the visiting Jonathan Mills, who has two more Edinburgh festivals to go as director. The theme of his last one will be, not surprisingly, the Great War; this year it is Technology. (We thought of going to the former, not the latter.) Andrea knows Jonathan because of his and Dorothy Porter’s The Ghost Wife: that brilliant collaboration.
Drove to Deakin to see David McCooey, who has agreed to become our poetry editor. I’ve always done it, but it’s time someone else chose the poems – and I can use the extra time.
In this month’s Quadrant, Keith Windschuttle fulminates against the Literature Board and labels ABR left-wing. That must be why I am wearing pink shirts. Clearly Windschuttle doesn’t read us closely. He accuses us of ignoring Quadrant Books completely, overlooking recent reviews of Quadrant stalwarts Peter Ryan and Les Murray himself.
Hot again – forty degrees – so we retreated to the Como and enjoyed Hitchcock, with Hopkins in his least mannered role: none of those laconic sidelong looks. Perhaps he couldn’t manage them in that extraordinary makeup. Actors have so much done to their faces these days (Hopkins was joined by Helen Mirren and Toni Colette). Cosmetically, it was like a War of the Lips.