A Clip of Steel

A Clip of Steel : A Picaresque Autobiography

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'The poet Thomas Blackburn faced his inner darkness with a savage courage and wrote exquisite poetry exploring the demons which haunted him. This memoir is painfully honest about those demons, yet it also reveals Thomas Blackburn as a master of prose. "A Clip of Steel" is one of the great literary memoirs of the 20th century.' - Bernard Cornwell
'A fascinating contribution to the genre of father-son memoirs that stretches from Edmund Gosse to Philip Roth: wry, candid, and at times hilarious, even when the subject matter (racial prejudice, sexual repression, alcoholism and mental breakdown) is at its toughest.' - Blake Morrison, author of "And When Did You Last See Your Father?"
'A lot of it is funny and some of it terrifying. Compared with the Reverend Eliel some of those notoriously difficult literary fathers, Samuel Butler's, Edmund Gosse's, Sir George Sitwell, seem angels of light.... Mr Blackburn has put plenty of thought and characterisation into this book.' - Maurice Richardson, "Observer" '[E]xceedingly intelligent and elegantly structured ... the true poet's eye is there.' - "Spectator"
'A highly entertaining book.' - "New Statesman"
"A Clip of Steel" was first published in 1969, when Thomas Blackburn was fifty-three years old. He had often explored the traumas of his childhood and early life in his poetry, but in this memoir he tells the story in its terrifying entirety. He called the work 'a picaresque autobiography' and in a writing style that races you through the pages, he confronts his own and his family's demons with humour, compassion and not a trace of self-pity. By the end of the book he seems to have more or less survived the experience of growing up, while we, his readers, emerge wide-eyed with incredulity, blinking into the ordinary daylight of our lives. This edition includes a new introduction by the author's daughter, Julia Blackburn.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 136 pages
  • 137.16 x 213.36 x 10.16mm | 181.44g
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1939140935
  • 9781939140937