Opinions & Views

Trivial Pursuits

David Pryce-Jones: Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir; Ticknor & Fields; New York.

A Chime of Words: The Letters of Logan Pearsall Smith; Edited by Edwin Tribble; Ticknor & Fields; New York.

Logan Pearsall Smith: All Trivia: A Collection of Reflections and Aphorisms; Ticknor & Fields; New York.

Leslie Fiedler once observed that "in our day, it is . . . possible to be a writer without having written anything." Although it would be grossly unfair to apply this generalization to Cyril Connolly and Logan Pearsall Smith, one cannot help but believe that these "men of letters" represent a triumph of image over substance. For all of the words that these two actually published,  they are remembered today more for who they were than for what they did. What Mrs. Q. D. Leavis said specifically of Connolly is true of both: they revealed "the relation between knowing the right people and getting accepted in advance of production as a literary value."

Because Cyril Connolly began his career as secretary and protege to Logan Pearsall Smith, these men were linked together in life. It is therefore fitting that the concurrent publication of Connelly's journal and Smith's letters and the republication of Smith's...

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