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Re: [mythsoc] Books by John Wain

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  • David Bratman
    Thanks for the list, Wendell. I m relieved that those are all books that I already have. (I don t care about whether they re signed.) So let me tell you
    Message 1 of 2 , Aug 31, 2008
      Thanks for the list, Wendell. I'm relieved that those are all books that I already have. (I don't care about whether they're signed.) So let me tell you what you have:

      _Sprightly Running_ is the one book by Wain that's about the Inklings. Most of the quotes from Wain that you'll find in books about the Inklings come from Chapter 5 of this book. (Chapter 3 also starts out discussing his relationship with Lewis, but gets sidetracked into his apprenticeship with E.H.W. Meyerstein, a fascinatingly colorful character; then he gets back to the Inklings and other literary material, including his thoughts about F.R. Leavis, in chapter 5.)

      _The Living World of Shakespeare_ and _Essays on Literature and Ideas_ are also both nonfiction. The most interesting essay in the latter is "Answer To A Letter From Joe", a brief explanation of why Wain really hated being labeled as one of the Angry Young Men.

      _Born in Captivity_ (also called _Hurry on Down_) was Wain's first novel, and his best known; it's a comic picaresque whose hero is trying out various unlikely jobs to see what suits him. He stays with a friend who's an avant-garde novelist, so there's a silly parody of 50s avant-garde writing. _A Winter in the Hills_ is, I think, Wain's best novel: the hero is a linguist who's spending the offseason in the North Wales resort country to learn Welsh, and gets caught up in a small guerrilla war over control of the local bus lines. Unlike _Born in Captivity_ it's written in a serious, earnest style, so it only slowly dawns on you how funny a book it is.

      _Nuncle_ and _The Life Guard_ are both short story collections. The title story of _Nuncle_ is a romp about two authors who are impersonating each other - well, it's complicated; you'll have to read it. The most memorable stories are "Master Richard" in _Nuncle_ and "I Love You, Ricky" in _The Life Guard_, one about children and the other about teenagers, both in different ways absolutely harrowing.

      And _Wildtrack_ is a long poem in a sub-T.S. Eliot style.

      -----Original Message-----
      >From: WendellWag@...
      >Sent: Aug 31, 2008 12:54 PM
      >To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [mythsoc] Books by John Wain
      >
      >In discussions with Wayne Hammond and David Bratman at Mythcon, I discovered
      >that we'd all been to the sale of Rolland Comstock's books at Second Story
      >Books in Rockville, Maryland. Rolland Comstock was a book collector who died
      >a year ago whose estate included about 50,000 books, a large proportion of
      >which were first editions and/or signed by the authors.
      >
      >Another collector bought some of the best of his books and then Second Story
      >Books bought the rest. They've been selling them off over the past three
      >months or so, dropping the prices slowly. There wasn't a lot of
      >Inklings-related books, but I bought eight books by John Wain (a minor Inkling whose stuff
      >is hard to find), some of which are signed. The books I found are Sprightly
      >Running, The Living World of Shakespeare: A Playgoer’s Guide, Nuncle and
      >Other Stories, Essays on Literature and Ideas, Born in Captivity, The Life
      >Guard, A Winter in the Hills, and Wild Track. I also found three biographies
      >of Dorothy L. Sayers.
      >
      >
      >Wayne told me David had wondered why he could only find one book by Wain in
      >the Comstock collection. I told him that I'm the reason, since I got there
      >first. David asked me to post this to the list.
      >Wendell Wagner
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