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The Neglected Books Page

www.NeglectedBooks.com: Where forgotten books are remembered
  • “The Anatomy of Literary Survival,” from the TLS, 1985
    In a piece titled “Paperback reprints: the anatomy of literary survival,” Nigel Cross analyzes how a relatively few books manage to survive past their first print runs, and his diagnosis runs true to my experience in over forty years of studying neglected books: While much that is in print is not literature, all literature is... Read more
  • The Man Next Door, by Emanuel Litvinoff (1968)
    With English anti-Semitism a matter of headline news, the time is perfect for some quick-witted publisher to reissue Emanuel Litvinoff’s second novel, The Man Next Door, which is a case study of how hate can turn a proper Englishman into a seething cauldron of antagonism and violence. Litvinoff does operate on the level of a... Read more
  • “Out of Print,” from the Times Literary Supplement, 14 April 1961
    An uncredited leader titled “Out of Print” published in the April 14, 1961 issue of the Times Literary Supplement opens with the announcement that Christopher Burney’s Solitary Confinement (1952) was being reissued in a new edition by Macmillan: “It seems possible that the period of hibernation may have done it no harm. At least the......
  • The Undesired, by Kathleen Sully (1961)
    Having now read a full dozen of Kathleen Sully’s 17 books, I’m beginning to see the outlines of her moral universe. Though it’s rich in comic circumstances and peopled more by the good than the evil, there is never more than a razor’s edge separating life from death, never more than a chance accident separating... Read more
  • Horizontal Image, by Kathleen Sully (1968)
    Kathleen Sully was 58 when Horizontal Image was published. Liddy Creemer, her protagonist, is perhaps ten years younger. Her husband Tim is a good man: faithful, a good provider. Her daughter Olive is married to the also faithful Jeff. Together, they are visiting the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey when Liddy looks into a mirror set... Read more
  • Small Talk at Wreyland, by Cecil Torr (1918, 1921, 1923)
    One day in December 1916, Cecil Torr, a lifelong bachelor and amateur scholar, an expert in Roman and Greek history and author of books on Hannibal and ancient ships, began keeping notes on items of interest about the people and land around his family home, Wreyland Manor, on the edge of the village of Lustleigh... Read more
  • “Upon her Play being returned to her, stained with Claret,” by Mary Leapor (1746)
    Upon her Play being returned to her, stained with Claret Welcome, dear Wanderer, once more! Thrice welcome to thy native Cell! Within this peaceful humble Door Let Thou and I contented dwell! But say, O whither haft thou rang’d? Why dost thou blush a Crimson Hue? Thy fair Complexion’s greatly chang’d: Why, I can scarce......
  • There’s No Story There, by Inez Holden (1944)
    I keep lists of books to find, to buy, to read, and three titles that have been on all of them for years are Inez Holden’s wartime memoirs/novels: Night Shift (1941); There’s No Story There (1944); and It Was Different At The Time (1945). When my friend Kate Macdonald recently announced that her Handheld Press... Read more
  • Through the Wall, by Kathleen Sully (1957)
    Mastowe is a miserable industrial town on the English coast. Life there, writes Kathleen Sully, “seemed to know no moderation”: in the summer, “everything became dehydrated”; “in the winter everything was wet and cold”; and even when frozen “Mastowe managed to be uncomfortably wet — wet walls, wet bedrooms, wet cellars, wet feet, wet overcoats,......
  • A Breeze on a Lonely Road, by Kathleen Sully (1969)
    A Breeze on a Lonely Road may be the most level-headed account of madness every written. Not that Trevor Greyson, Sully’s lonely bachelor solicitor is raving and frothing at the mouth mad. Trev has a very moderate, very English form of madness: for over thirty years, he steps into an alternate reality out on the... Read more
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