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  • Paperback
  • 288
  • Enemies of Promise
  • Cyril Connolly
  • English
  • 15 March 2018
  • 9780226115047

10 thoughts on “Enemies of Promise

  1. says:

    On the upside the next time anyone complains about how The Literary Establishment has always forced people to write in single genres and thus distorted the Genius Writer I can point to one book as showing what rubbish that s

  2. says:

    I have always disliked myself at any given moment; the total of such moments is my life

  3. says:

    In the first part of this book Connolly examines the dual trends of stripped down vernacular storytelling and elevated stylistically ambitious prose in early 20th century novels He looks at the strengths and weaknesses of both styles and pro

  4. says:

    This is a rather surprising and confusing book; only the middle third is like I thought it would be which is also the part advertised by the title Since this section is by far the shortest it leaves me with a lot of time to reflect on the other twoThe first eighty or so pages which lay out the Predicament as Connolly cal

  5. says:

    I really only found the first third of this book interesting I think it lays out an excellent premise in what Connolly dubs The Predicament The predicament is between a ornate type of writing and a stripped down direct version I found Connolly's dissection of the two styles rather lopsided He seemed to lambaste ornate writing with an excess

  6. says:

    Just finished Part I the witty survey of English literary trends feuds and factions from 1890 until 1938 The copy I have is a library one so I may not proceed until I can buy my own markable copy Connolly has such an aphoristic style at times I'm conscious of reading through filler before the zinger that I need to read him

  7. says:

    William Boyd said of this Somehow manages to enshrine in his words and life everything that we aspire to and that intellectually en

  8. says:

    “There is but one crime to escape from our talent”Cyril Connolly 1903 – 1974 was a British reviewer critic and writer of distinction Connolly’s Unuiet Grave — a despondent meditation on creativity and existence in a world challenged

  9. says:

    first half most interesting

  10. says:

    Literary criticism from 1938 totally readable in 2020 Funny and tragic probably much like the man himself

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Cyril Connolly ¶ 2 Download

Enemies of Promise

“Whom the gods wish to destroy” writes Cyril Connolly “they first call promising” First published in 1938 and long out of print Enemies of Promise an “inuiry into the problem of how to write a book that lasts ten years” tests the boundaries of criticism journalism and autobiography with the blistering prose that became Connolly’s trademark Connolly here confronts the evils of domesticit. I have always disliked myself at any given moment the total of such moments is my life

Free download ↠ PDF, DOC, TXT, eBook or Kindle ePUB free ¶ Cyril Connolly

Y politics drink and advertising as well as novelists such as Joyce Proust Hemingway and Faulkner in essays that remain fresh and penetrating to this day   “A fine critic compulsive traveler and candid autobiographer Connolly lays down the law for all writers who wanted to count He had imagination and decisive images flashed with the speed of wit in his mind” V S Pritchett New York Review of Bo. This is a rather surprising and confusing book only the middle third is like I thought it would be which is also the part advertised by the title Since this section is by far the shortest it leaves me with a lot of time to reflect on the other twoThe first eighty or so pages which lay out the Predicament as Connolly calls it are given over as he puts it to the problem of how to write a book which lasts ten years This was now that I think about it an advertisement that attracted me as a reader I am much interested in writers views on writing What I had not realized is that in enuiring into style and form in the novel Connolly was interested in a specific ten years that is the years that were to immediately follow the writing of his book and that for his data he drew upon books that had appeared in the thirty or so years preceding Which is I suppose reasonable enough But the reader should be aware that in addressing this problem Connolly is not so much interested in the properties we might look at as those which make a a book timeless Instead he is very interested in figuring out which of the two kinds of literary prose that as he viewed it were paramount in 1938 were likely to still be au courant in 1948 given both the cultural and literary tends as he foresaw them and the approaching convulsions of historyWhat all this means is that Part I of Enemies of Promise is a detailed witty and absorbing snapshot of the state of English literature in 1938 at least as it stood to an educated perceptive snobby English reader I use snobby with consideration by the way Connolly applies the word to himself and to his class without apparent embarrassment or remorse If you are the kind of reader who is interested in Modernism its reception and early twentieth century literary culture you ought to find this very interesting reading If however you were hoping to learn what Cyril Connolly thinks makes a really good timeless and lasting book you will be disappointed This is not a writer on how to write In fact as one gradually realizes in reading Part III this book is a writer explaining his view of not writing and how he came to do itPart III of the book is as Connolly faithfully labels it A Georgian Boyhood This is a very curious piece of autobiography at least it reads that way to me Upon reflection I suspect that it is probably almost impossible for a contemporary American reader of 2009 to take away from this piece anything like what Connolly intended It is woven through indeed undergirded with what appear to be cultural assumptions regarding what aspects of the story his audience will find interesting For instance he begins the tale by apologizing for starting off with the early aura of large houses fallen fortunes and county families common to so many English biographers Personally I found this part of the story absorbing young Cyril Connolly grew up in castles but apparently it is such a common theme among the kind of people he thinks about and for whom he writes that he fears it stale and clich dWhere things get really strange though is when he gets us through his early schooling and takes us along to his years at Eton the great and storied public ie private boys school that has channeled so many of England s elite Connolly s experiences at Eton make up the bulk of this section and I find myself of two minds about this part One the one hand reading it as the reader I am American twenty first century not soaked in English ideas about character and class the details Connolly piles on about the twiddling ins and outs of Eton life his constantly shifting array of friends his political maneuvering his prizes become self indulgent and then very uickly intolerable One wants to shout I don t bloody care who you shouldered on with the Michaelmas term you got into Pop you idiot On the other hand I have the sort of impression that Connolly probably thought and rightly that these infinite details would be fascinating to his readers just because they were a true story of Eton which is after all like Harvard is to Americans only now imagine you could get into Harvard at thirteen It is a place with an aura and one that lays great expectations for its students And of course there is the fact that a lot of the names he drops turned out to be people with Wikipedia entries and Orders of the British Empire Of the classmates Connolly mentioned I may only have recognized George Orwell and distantly distantly Cecil Beaton but to the English many of those self absorbed spotty fourteen year olds turned out to be Famous Names One thing about this section though I feel extremely uncharitable for thinking it Connolly s statements about homosexuality seem depressing to me From his autobiographical writing it s blatantly clear that Connolly is himself homosexual He starts out as a sensitive child and goes on to fall in romantic love with a series of boys and young men throughout his childhood and adolescence even as by his own descriptions he becomes and witty fussy and dramatically and aesthetically inclined Bitchy even ueeny rather I feel uncharitable as I say but what s a reader to do It s his own autobiography And yet Connolly appears to go on to associate homosexuality with immaturity and emotional stuntedness As I suppose most people of his time did But what does it say about the man himself and his views of his own spiritual artistic personal development There is really surprisingly little self revelation in the book s 120 pages of autobiography I suppose that is something else I found disappointingWhere then after all this are the Enemies of Promise Well they do actually sort of show up in that Part III in Connolly s depressing yet understandable conclusion which is basically that the British elite school system ruins people for life but where they are mostly is in Part II Which to tell the truth sort of seems like it could be read on its own and is the most vivid part of the book to me Here Connolly audaciously and somehow without wasting words as he does almost everywhere else in the text grabs a passage from a poem by George Crabbe about weeds that grow on a heath and make it impossible to plant rye and sails off into big allegorical country with a single bravado postulate Let the thin harvest of the poem be the achievement of the young author he says the wither d ears their books then the militant thistles represent politics the nodding poppies day dreams conversation drink and other narcotics the blue Bugloss is the clarion call of journalism the slimy mallow that of worldly success the charlock is sex with its obsessions and the clasping tares are the ties of domesticity And he goes on to discuss each of them one by one in admirably succint chapters That I found interesting It s food for thought and I can recommend reading it

Read Enemies of Promise

Oks  “Anyone who writes or wants to write will find something on just about every single page that either endorses a long held prejudice or outrages and that makes it a pretty compelling read You end up muttering back at just about every ornately constructed pensée that Connolly utters but that’s one of the joys of this book” Nick Hornby The Believer “A remarkable book” Anthony Powell ?. first half most interesting

About the Author: Cyril Connolly

Cyril Connolly was born in Coventry Warwickshire in 1903 Educated at Eton and Balliol College Oxford he was a regular contributor to the New Statesman in the 1930s Connolly also co edited Horizon 1939 41 with Stephen Spender and later was literary editor of the The Observer Books by Connolly include the novel The Rock Pool 1938 the autobiographical Enemies of Promise 1938 and The Un