Welcome to this cyberplace, set up as a space for news and reviews of A Gentleman of Pleasure and occasional jottings about John Glassco. Five years have now passed since publication, and I've moved on to other projects, but I'm leaving this up with the thought that those drawn to Glassco's writing will find something of interest.

29 November 2014

À rebours

It's been a year since I've written anything here, which is not to say that there hasn't been activity involving things Glassco. The last few months have brought reviews of A Gentleman of Pleasure by Robert Edison Sandiford (The Antigonish Review) and The Heart Accepts It All by Bruce Whiteman (Canadian Notes & Queries). The former is available online. Here's an excerpt:
Busby’s biography is as much forensic exercise as literary reclamation. He is only interested in the facts of Glassco’s life and work that can be corroborated. The level of cross-checking he had to do must have been drink-inducing. But it pays off with a book that gives a lively and accurate account of a Canadian writer who was at one point one of the country’s most significant translators and who remains iconic because of his famous fictionalized memoir.
Speaking of fiction, this past Hallowe'en morn my eyes were drawn to this Margaret Cannon review on the Globe & Mail website:

Glassco died young? As I creep up in age, seventy-one no longer seems so ancient. But still.

I've always meant to read Murder in Montparnasse, if only to see whether Glassco, Taylor, Callaghan, McAlmon and other fixtures of that time and place feature in its pages. I had no idea that the protagonist of the 1992 mystery is based on Glassco; no one else has ever made the connection.  To be honest, nothing in Ms Cannon's writing convinces me that this is so. You'll forgive me, I hope, for pointing out that she botches the title of Glassco's memoirs.

Still, I'll make a point of reading Engel's mystery.

A decade or so ago, when I began work on what would become A Gentleman of Pleasure, a fellow writer cautioned. "Do this and Glassco will always be with you," he said. "The biographer's subject haunts."

He himself had written the biography of a man whom he'd come to despise.

His experience is not mine.

I leave the second to last words to Sandiford:
Busby may be overly sympathetic at times, which is understandable given his subject, but there is something all of us – artist and not – can understand of Glassco’s very human doubts that he may be merely a “trifler, dilettante, petit-maître.”
Indeed, in all of us.

Cross-posted, with some changes, at The Dusty Bookcase.

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