Henry Green (More)

There has been more activity on the internet relating to the Henry Green revival. See earlier post. A blogger posting on cakesordeathsite.com has written a three-part article with illustrations that surveys most of Green’s books. He makes an interesting comparison with one of Waugh’s novels:

Curiously enough Loving was published at the same time as his friend Evelyn Waugh’s novel Brideshead Revisited, which is also set in a large country house. But whereas Brideshead Revisited is a nostalgic paean to a rapidly vanishing way of life, wistfully conveying a time where everyone knew their place and was grateful for it, from the loyal servants to the obliging lords of the manor, Green was too clear-eyed to be having any of this self-serving sentimentality. His portrayal of down-stairs life resembles Jonathan Swift’s masterful satire Directions To Servants much more than the obsequious, incidental characters offered by Brideshead Revisited or indeed its present day variation that peddles the same insidious fantasy, Downton Abbey.

On the Oxford University Press blog, Nick Shepley, author of a recent study on Henry Green, also makes several points of comparison relating to Waugh:

Henry Yorke (pseudonym Henry Green) and his wife, Dig, were the exemplar IT couple of the 1920s and 30s. Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh referred to them as the “Bright Young Yorkes” in their letters. They were indeed well connected – Dig’s friend, the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother), became godmother to their son, Sebastian, in 1934. But to read Green’s novels of class, Living (1929) – “the best proletarian novel ever written” (Isherwood) – Party Going (1939) and Loving (1945), alongside Waugh’s evocations of class privilege in Vile Bodies (1930), A Handful of Dust(1934), and Brideshead Revisited (1945), is to enter a much more nuanced, unsentimental interwar landscape.

Shepley also notes that New York Review Books will shortly have brought all of Green’s novels back into print. Our earlier post noted only the first three to appear in this project. Shepley also mentions a panel discussion of Green’s work lead by an NYRB representative earlier this week at a New York bookstore.

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