Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Duncan Fallowell triumphant after the dreary Drabble years


An early Christmas prezzie is The Oxford Companion to English Literature, all 1200-plus pages of it. And I am delighted to see that Duncan Fallowell has at last his own entry, thanks to the good judgement of its new editor Dinah Birch. She's a proper professor in the subject of literature, and far superior to her predecessor, the dull novelist Margaret Drabble, who consigned Duncan to the Travel Writing section on her watch.

I never understood why. Fallowell's eclectic and provocative work - novels, travel writing and collected journalism - has excited much critical interest from the likes of Graham Greene, William Burroughs and Camille Paglia. Yet, while virtually ignoring Fallowell, Drabble deemed motormouth Ben Elton worthy of his own entry for his disposable page-turners. The silly tart must have imagined she was editing "A Simple Guide to Bestsellers".

Birch is a Professor of English Literature at Liverpool University; previously Fellow of Trinity College, Oxford; and an expert on John Ruskin. She has restored academic credibility to the Companion, now a wonderful book. A bargain at £20 (on Amazon).

"I've revitatlised [the Companion]... I've greatly extended its range ... " says darling Dinah in this movie. What she means is, no more drab-drab-Drabble ....

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

For some strange reason James Lees-Milne isn't in

Anonymous said...

This is vulgar and ignorant abuse of Margaret Drabble, who may well have been wrong to omit your beloved DF from her VCompanion;s pages, but who otherwise did an exemplary job. 'Not a proper academic' -- how preposterously silly of Madame... I am surprised she would invoke the epiphets of the dimmest senior Common Room...

Madame Arcati said...

But be serious, you have to be an academic to do that job. Drabble was just rewarded for being there. The young DJ Taylor (rip) is merciless on her archaic novels.

The late Somerset Maugham said...

Noel Coward would be appalled that his Madame Arcati is just a bum boy.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Farce Hole listed Madame. Get over it.

Anonymous said...

the great Anna Kavan isn't in! Please, Dinah, tell us why oh why?

Anonymous said...

Lees-Milne is in - under Diarists - but Julian Maclaren-Ross is not in.

Anonymous said...

What, no bloggers mentioned? How elitest!

Anonymous said...

It's comforting to know that Madame is now Fallowell's personal publicist. I hope he pays well

Anonymous said...

When you learn to spell 'elitist' there may be a chance . . .

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Ms Birch has something against the Forties and early Fifties - Frank Sargeson isn't in, one of those quiet gothic geniuses like Flannery O'Connor - who IS in.

Surfpup said...

Dina Birch shouldn't be sexy but she is.

Madame Arcati said...

Should he pay me? I hadn't thought of that.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Surfpup - she has lovely eyes, and the gap in the teeth denotes character. Fancy a picnic, Dinah?

Surfpup said...

Curl up with a good book and Dinah, yeah awrighty

Anonymous said...

I wonder if she's named after Dinah Shore or Dinah Washington

Madame Arcati said...

No, Dinah-Rod.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to run my tongue along her crooked hair parting.

The Headmistress said...

Stop it!

Anonymous said...

What's happened to St Fallowell anyway? Has he done a runner?

Anonymous said...

I see that naked bicycling has now been made legal in New Zealand, so long as you wear a helmet. Is this where Fallowell got his nudie taste from?

Anonymous said...

Fallowell's entry is smaller than Shena Mackay's.

Madame Arcati said...

Don't be a size queen. Any case, Shena's written more novels and started when she was 12. Or something.

Miaow miaow mioaw.

veritas said...

Fallowell's 'Going as Far as I Can' is the best travel book ever. Pity it's about Nu Zulund though.
Loved "One Hot Summer in St Petersburgh" and about to start on "A History Of Facelifting" as I feel the knife beckons.

It's Madame's duty to bring such talent to our attention.

Madame Arcati said...

I try my humble best. Toil is my name. x

Surfpup said...

I think To Noto is the best travel book ever - it bubbles over with life and culture of all kinds - that's part of DF's secret, that he mixes with all sorts, from the very top to the very bottom, without turning into soup. One meaty guy.

Anonymous said...

is Dinah wearing coral? You know what that means.

Madame Arcati said...

Coral? That she's an ex-lover of Jacques Cousteau (snr)?

Madame Arcati said...

Never heard of her, but I'll take a look. Nothing like a looking glass ...