Cover image for The collection : journalism, reviews, essays, short stories, lectures
The collection : journalism, reviews, essays, short stories, lectures
Ackroyd, Peter, 1949-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Vintage, 2002.

Physical Description:
465 pages ; 24 cm
General Note:
Subtitle from cover.

Originally published: London: Chatto & Windus, 2001.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PR6051.C64 C57 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A fascinating anthology of journalism, lectures, short stories and miscellaneous writings by the author of London: the Biography; edited by Thomas Wright.

During the 1970s and early 1980s Peter Ackroyd wrote countless book reviews and articles for the Spectator on
literature, film and a number of social issues. The Collection offers a selection of these incisive and witty pieces. In them, Ackroyd first explored the ideas that he would later develop in his novels and biographies. The articles from various publications in the 1980s and 1990s also throw interesting light on Ackroyd's books and reveal his attitudes to
literature and art. Included here are long pieces on Walter Pater and William Morris, as well as lectures on the Englishness of English literature, Blake and radicalism, and the nature of time. The Collection also contains articles on the work of contemporary painters and much previously unpublished material. The short stories in this volume date from every period of Ackroyd's writing career; one of them is Ackroyd's first published work of fiction.

Author Notes

During the 1970s and the early 1980s Peter Ackroyd wrote book reviews and articles for the Spectator, on literature, film and a number of social and cultural issues. The Collection offers a selection of these incisive and entertaining pieces which established Ackroyd's reputation as a writer.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

This volume gathers together many of the short writings of critically acclaimed fiction and nonfiction writer Ackroyd (London: The Biography, as well as biographies of Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More) from the past 30 years. It includes reviews and articles written for the London Spectator magazine from the late 1970s and early 1980s, which reveal a young writer trying to establish himself as a literary voice; he criticizes such giants as Nabokov and Auden with caustic and penetrating wit. Later reviews for the Times of London, written after 1981, are less abrasive yet still distinctive and entertaining. The subjects range from literary topics like Harold Bloom's The Western Canon to British television shows. Of particular interest are three of Ackroyd's short stories, which show his skill with fiction. This collection will appeal largely to those interested in literature and literary criticism. Recommended for academic and larger libraries.-Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Prefacep. xv
Introductionp. xvii
I Writings for the Spectator 1973-1987
Book Reviews
1 Wyndham Lewis: Fictions and Satires R. T. Chapman Unlucky for Pringle: Unpublished and Other Stories Wyndham Lewisp. 3
2 English Literature and Irish Politics Matthew Arnoldp. 6
3 Forewords and Afterwords W. H. Auden, selected by E. Mendelsonp. 8
4 Gravity's Rainbow Thomas Pynchonp. 10
5 Chimera John Barthp. 14
6 Napoleon Symphony Anthony Burgessp. 16
7 Some Little English Versifiers (Douglas Dunn, Andrew Crozier and J.H. Prynne)p. 18
8 The Collected Poems, 1956-1974 Edward Dornp. 22
9 The Decay of the Angel Yukio Mishimap. 25
10 Look at the Harlequins! Vladimir Nabokovp. 27
11 Tales of Power Carlos Castanedap. 29
12 Verse, and Worse? (John James, John Fuller, J. H. Prynne and Andrew Crozier)p. 32
13 The Auden Generation: Literature and Politics in the 1930s Samuel Hynesp. 36
14 Thought, Words and Creativity: Art and Thought in D. H. Lawrence F. R. Leavisp. 39
15 W. H. Auden: Collected Poems ed. Edward Mendelsonp. 43
16 Ezra Pound: The Last Rower: A Political Profile C. David Heymannp. 47
17 Yeats Frank Tuohyp. 51
18 The Autumn of the Patriarch Gabriel Garcia Marquezp. 52
19 The Castle of Crossed Destinies Italo Calvinop. 54
20 Gaudete Ted Hughesp. 56
21 A Victim of the Aurora Thomas Keneallyp. 59
22 Sade, Fourier, Loyola Roland Barthesp. 61
23 Joyce's Voices Hugh Kennerp. 64
24 A Lover's Discourse: Fragments Roland Barthesp. 65
25 Chaucer's Knight: The Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary Terry Jonesp. 68
26 The Slow Death of Academic Literary Criticismp. 71
27 The Future of English Prisonsp. 74
28 England's New Client Statep. 79
29 California Dreaming. Los Angeles and San Franciscop. 86
30 Some Comments upon a Norwegian Joke. Oslop. 91
31 Out of the Wilderness. Reykjavikp. 97
32 Glare but not Gloire. Parisp. 104
33 Christopher Isherwood at Eightyp. 108
Film Reviews
34 Apocalypse Nowp. 112
35 1941 Mirrorp. 114
36 The Shiningp. 116
37 Raiders of the Lost Arkp. 118
38 Mommie Dearestp. 120
39 The Draughtsman's Contractp. 123
40 The Wicked Ladyp. 125
41 Octopussyp. 127
42 The Company of Wolvesp. 129
43 A Private Functionp. 132
44 Body Doublep. 134
45 Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fearp. 136
46 Caravaggiop. 138
47 When the Viewing had to Stopp. 140
II Writings for the Sunday Times and The Times 1981-2001
Sunday Times Book Reviews
48 If on a Winter's Night a Traveller Italo Calvinop. 147
49 The Outline of Sanity: A Biography of G. K. Chesterton Alzina Stone Dalep. 149
50 Under the Sign of Saturn Susan Sontag The Benefactor Susan Sontagp. 151
51 The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Volume V: 1936-1941 ed. Anne Olivier Bellp. 153
52 The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Volume III: 1902-1908 & Volume IV: 1909-1913 ed. Richard Little Purdy & Michael Millgate; The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Volume I & Volume II ed. Samuel Hynesp. 157
53 The Laughter of Carthage Michael Moorcockp. 160
54 The English Novel in the Twentieth Century: The Doom of Empire Martin Greenp. 162
55 Auden in Love Dorothy J. Farnanp. 164
56 Frost: A Literary Life Reconsidered William H. Pritchardp. 167
57 Footsteps: Adventures of a Romantic Biographer Richard Holmesp. 170
58 More Letters of Oscar Wilde ed. Rupert Hart-Davisp. 172
59 Gertrude Bell Susan Goodman; Madame de Stael Renee Winegarten; Emily Dickinson Donna Dickensonp. 175
The Times TV Reviews
60 The Evolution of Darwinp. 178
61 The Invisible Worldp. 179
62 The Pantomime Damep. 180
63 Claire Rayner's Casebookp. 182
64 Comic Roots (Kenneth Williams)p. 183
65 An Evening with Quentin Crispp. 184
66 Meantime (Mike Leigh)p. 185
67 Earth Year 2050; Broadsidep. 186
68 EastEndersp. 187
69 Ours to Keep; A Pocketful of Ryep. 188
70 Arena (Old Kent Road)p. 189
The Times Book Reviews
71 An Insular Possession Timothy Mop. 191
72 The Faber Book of Political Verse ed. Tom Paulinp. 193
73 Writing Against: A Biography of Sartre Ronald Haymanp. 196
74 The Orton Diaries (Including the Correspondence of Edna Welthorpe and others) ed. John Lahrp. 198
75 The Royal Beasts and Other Works William Empson ed. John Haffendenp. 201
76 The History of England from the Accession of James II. Volume IV Thomas Babington Macaulayp. 203
77 The Oxford Illustrated History of English Literature ed. Pat Rogersp. 206
78 Charles Laughton: A Difficult Actor Simon Callowp. 208
79 A Various Art ed. Andrew Crozier and Tim Longvillep. 211
80 The Letters of T. S. Eliot. Volume One: 1898-1922 ed. Valerie Eliotp. 213
81 Flaubert: A Biography Herbert Lottmanp. 216
82 Baudelaire Claude Pichoisp. 218
83 An Appetite for Poetry: Essays in Literary Appreciation Frank Kermode; Madness: The Price of Poetry Jeremy Reedp. 220
84 The State of the Language ed. Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaelsp. 223
85 Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present Gary Taylorp. 225
86 A Dictionary of the English Language Samuel Johnsonp. 228
87 A View from the Diners Club Gore Vidal; Fates Worse than Death: An autobiographical collage of the 1980s Kurt Vonnegutp. 230
88 The Complete Essays V. S. Pritchettp. 233
89 Stephen Hawking: A Life in Science Michael White and John Gribbinp. 235
90 Minotaur: Poetry and the Nation State Tom Paulinp. 238
91 The Literary Companion to Sex ed. Fiona Pitt-Kethleyp. 240
92 The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales ed. Chris Baldickp. 243
93 The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe Charles Nichollp. 245
94 The Intellectuals and the Masses: Pride and Prejudice among the Literary Intelligentsia 1880-1939 John Careyp. 248
95 The Maker of the Omnibus: The Lives of English Writers Compared Jack Hodgesp. 250
96 Philip Larkin: A Writer's Life Andrew Motionp. 253
97 The Lives of Michel Foucault David Macey; The Passion of Michel Foucault James Millerp. 255
98 Modern Painters: Reflections on British Art Peter Fuller ed. John McDonaldp. 258
99 A World Elsewhere Bernard Levinp. 260
100 Lytton Strachey: The New Biography Michael Holroydp. 263
101 An Intimate History of Humanity Theodore Zeldinp. 266
102 The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages Harold Bloomp. 269
103 Cyril Connolly: A Nostalgic Life Clive Fisherp. 272
104 Auden Richard Davenport-Hines; Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W. H. Auden and Chester Kallman Thekla Clark; As I Walked Out One Evening: Songs ... and other light verse W. H. Auden ed. Edward Mendelsonp. 275
105 The Life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Critical Biography Rosemary Ashtonp. 277
106 Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman Sally Petersp. 280
107 Eden Renewed: The Public and Private Life of John Milton Peter Levip. 283
108 Lights Out for the Territory: 9 Excursions in the Secret History of London Iain Sinclairp. 286
109 The Origins of English Nonsense Noel Malcolmp. 288
110 Hogarth: A Life and a World Jenny Uglow; Hogarth and His Times: Serious Comedy David Bindmanp. 291
111 Isaac Newton: The Last Sorcerer Michael Whitep. 293
112 The Genius of Shakespeare Jonathan Bate; Shakespeare's Sonnets ed. Katherine Duncan-Jonesp. 296
113 Beginnings: Intention and Method Edward Saidp. 298
114 Truman Capote: In which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall his Turbulent Career George Plimptonp. 301
115 Cole Porter: The Definitive Biography William McBrienp. 304
116 Servants of Nature: A History of Scientific Institutions, Enterprises and Sensibilities Lewis Pyenson and Susan Sheets-Pyensonp. 306
117 The Arcades Project Walter Benjaminp. 308
118 The Total Library: Non-Fiction, 1922-1986 Jorge Luis Borges ed. Eliot Weinbergerp. 311
119 Hawksmoor's London Churches: Architecture and Theology Pierre de la Ruffiniere du Preyp. 314
120 England: The Making of the Myth Maureen Duffyp. 316
III Lectures, Miscellaneous Writings, Short Stories
121 The English Novel Nowp. 321
122 The Englishness of English Literaturep. 328
123 London Luminaries and Cockney Visionariesp. 341
124 William Blake, a Spiritual Radicalp. 352
125 All the Time in the World (Writers and the Nature of Time)p. 365
Miscellaneous Writings
126 On Notes for a New Culture. Preface to the revised editionp. 372
127 On T. S. Eliotp. 374
128 On Hawksmoorp. 378
129 On First Lightp. 381
130 On English Music. Preface to the Franklin Library Signed First Editionp. 384
131 A Manifesto for Londonp. 386
132 Frank Auerbach: Recent Works. Introductionp. 388
133 Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture ed. Nick Groom. Forewordp. 392
134 Perfume: The Story of a Murderer Patrick Suskind. Reviewp. 394
135 Oscar Wilde. Essayp. 396
136 The Essays of Virginia Woolf. Volume Two: 1912-1918 ed. Andrew McNeillie. Reviewp. 400
137 Marcel Proust Edmund White; Crazy Horse Larry McMurtry. Reviewp. 403
138 Walter Pater: Lover of Strange Souls Denis Donoghue. Reviewp. 407
Short Stories
139 The Inheritancep. 414
140 A Christmas Storyp. 423
141 The Plantation Housep. 429
Indexp. 451