This novel evokes a vanished age with subtlety and feeling, and among those things that have vanished is a sense of hope, the conviction that society could be bettered, that the spread of culture would lead to an increase in joy.
That is Joseph Farrell writing in the June 3rd issue of the Times Literary Supplement about Io, Jean Gabin, a recently-published posthumous novel in Italian by Goliarda Sapienza. I am ready to believe that her book is as good as Joseph Farrell says it is, mostly on the strength of the sentence from his review that I have quoted. How well in those few words he has expressed the starry-eyed confidence of my young peers (and myself) in the 60s – and their (our) subsequent, decades-long disillusionment.
From the same issue of the TLS, a poem called Management Logic by Sarah Wardle.
It is May and I am marking
poems about the deaths of fathers,
Royal Marines, anorexia,
essays on contemporary fiction and drama,
year-long projects, work placement reports,
distinguishing upper from lower seconds
on shows of analysis and individuality.
The university has just axed Philosophy.
Thought still hangs deep in the green trees.
There is a protest banner which reads:
"Those who lack imagination
cannot imagine what is lacking".
Students have occupied the Mansion Building.