Towards the end of my last blog, “Shut up!” Part 1, I was coming to the conclusion that content is not the only important aspect of speech, and that having nothing to say is not necessarily a reason for keeping quiet. However, I also stated that I have since changed my mind. What caused me to change my mind is the subject of this blog, “Shut up!” Part 2. Not much of a cliffhanger, I know, but it will have to do.
Two things made me change my mind. The first was an article by Paul Johnson in The Spectator, entitled “Should there be a retiring age for writers?” and the second was the discovery, in my local bookshop, of the latest novel by Anita Brookner, Leaving Home. Perhaps you can see where this is leading.
Here’s a quick biography from the British Council Website:
Novelist and art historian, Dr Anita Brookner was born in London on 16 July 1928. She studied at King's College, London and at the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. She spent three years studying in Paris as a postgraduate, and went on to lecture in art at Reading University and the Courtauld Institute, where she specialized in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century French art. She became the first woman to be named as Slade Professor of Art at Cambridge University in 1967.
Her first novel, A Start in Life, was published in 1981. Hotel du Lac (1984), won the Booker Prize for Fiction and was adapted for television in 1986. Her last novel, The Bay of Angels (2001), concerns a single woman coming to terms with a new sense of freedom when her widowed mother re-marries and moves abroad. The Rules of Engagement, her twenty-second novel, and a story about friendship and choices, was published in 2003.
A Fellow of New Hall, Cambridge, Anita Brookner lives in London. She was made a CBE in 1990. Her most recent non-fiction book is Romanticism and Its Discontents (2000).
Surely it is not for the likes of me to suggest that this talented novelist and art historian, this CBE, should put a sock in it?
Or is it? Find out in “Shut up!” Part 3, coming soon.
To be continued…