Pack My Bag

Pack My Bag : A Self Portrait

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This autobiography of Henry Yorke (nom de plume Henry Green) was written at the outbreak of World War II, in the belief that he would not survive the war years. Yorke was at that time the author of the novels "Blindness", "Living" and "Party Going", and he was, to his self-confessed surprise, to survive the war and complete a further half-dozen novels, including the acclaimed "Loving". His last book, "Doting", was published in 1952. Henry Yorke was brought up in a large country house near Tewkesbury Abbey, and was subsequently educated at Eton and Oxford. At Eton he wrote his first novel, and while at Oxford it was published, causing a minor stir among his fellow students. Friends of that period included Anthony Powell, Evelyn Waugh, Harold Acton and others. This volume, which describes the early years, concentrates on the peculiar impressions of being at Oxford, the Hunt Balls, the libraries, the parties, the dons, the flappers, the solitary afternoon drinking or idle visits to the more

Product details

  • Paperback | 261 pages
  • 129 x 196mm | 249g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 0192826506
  • 9780192826503

Review Text

Green (Surviving, 1992, etc.) wrote this autobiography - one of the oddest and most beguiling in English - at age 33, in 1938, fully expecting WW II to annihilate him and everyone else in England. Provisionality in this strange, loopy, charming, quite beautiful memoir is therefore bred in the bone: everything will be only partially said and, what's more, only partially remembered. Partialness was Green's very aesthetic, and woven into this seemingly stunted account of a privileged growing-up of fox-hunting, upper-class-schools, Oxford, and first stabs at literature are some of the frankest expositions of his beliefs about how abstractly and humanely approximate writing ought to be (including the justly renowned: "Prose should be a long intimacy between strangers with no direct appeal to what both have known"). Green's prose in this book can be so swerving and lovely that it captures two tones at once - first comedy, then absolute nailhead truth: "Although I can remember hardly anything of what passed it was the first time I had experienced the release, the sense of constipation eased, which at that age frankness with a girl in no more than words can bring and this feeling next morning, with the guilt of clothes covered with scent, is a thing most people carry with them to the end of their lives." Published in England in 1940 but inexplicably unavailable in the US until now: one of the most remarkable and timeless of memoirs - a classic. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

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66 ratings
3.5 out of 5 stars
5 18% (12)
4 33% (22)
3 32% (21)
2 14% (9)
1 3% (2)
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