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Re: '50 Greatest Postwar British Writers'

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  • Adam Smith
    An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to be argued with. There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
    Message 1 of 16 , Jan 21, 2008
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      An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to
      be argued with.

      There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
      Adams, Graham Greene, W.H. Auden. The criteria for inclusion on the
      list seems a bit cloudy.

      Larkin, though a talented (and at times downright depressing) writer
      and poet, is a surprise at #1.

      I was rather surprised to see John Fowles & AS Byatt so far down the
      list - I think "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Possession" are
      two of the better postwar English novels.

      I also think a case could be made for Robert Holdstock - certainly
      more so, IMHO, than Moorcock.

      Just my two cents (or less).

      Adam
    • John D Rateliff
      Personally, I was delighted to see Larkin at the top of the list. His reputation only took off late in life, just before his death in 1985, but in the years
      Message 2 of 16 , Jan 22, 2008
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        Personally, I was delighted to see Larkin at the top of the list. His
        reputation only took off late in life, just before his death in 1985,
        but in the years since it's pretty well been the consensus that he's
        the best English poet of the second half of the twentieth century.
        The big surprise was to see a poet -- any poet -- beat out Orwell (a
        perennial favorite) and Golding (a Nobel Prize winner) for the top spot.
        Moorcock of course I'd have left off altogether: even fiftieth
        place is too generous for an opinionated hack. I don't much like
        Mieville, but surely he's a better writer and deserves the spot more
        than Moorcock. I'd also have bumped up Fowles about twenty places,
        sunk Carter to the very bottom (or removed her altogether), and taken
        Rushdie out (a publicity stunt gone horribly awry doesn't make him
        one of the greats).
        The person I'd most want to see added is Richard Adams: he
        deserves it for WATERSHIP DOWN alone, while GIRL ON A SWING shows he
        can write just as well in a completely different mode (turning
        PORTRAIT OF JENNIE into a creepily effective modern horror novel). I
        also think Gaiman shd be there, not for his novels or (God knows) his
        screenplays but for his short stories and young adult fiction:
        there's no one this side of Ray Bradbury who can equal him there.
        Congratulations to the list-makers anyway for including Tolkien
        in the top ten, and for making room for Rowling and (especially)
        Pullman, though I think he shd have ranked higher than he did.
        --JDR


        On Jan 21, 2008, at 8:44 AM, Adam Smith wrote:
        > An interesting list, though of course these lists are made simply to
        > be argued with.
        >
        > There were some important omissions that others have noted - Richard
        > Adams, Graham Greene, W.H. Auden. The criteria for inclusion on the
        > list seems a bit cloudy.
        >
        > Larkin, though a talented (and at times downright depressing) writer
        > and poet, is a surprise at #1.
        >
        > I was rather surprised to see John Fowles & AS Byatt so far down the
        > list - I think "The French Lieutenant's Woman" and "Possession" are
        > two of the better postwar English novels.
        >
        > I also think a case could be made for Robert Holdstock - certainly
        > more so, IMHO, than Moorcock.
        >
        > Just my two cents (or less).
        >
        > Adam
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