New Yorkers: tonight at seven, join The Paris Review’s Lorin Stein at McNally Jackson, where he’ll be in conversation with Deborah Eisenberg, Michael Greenberg, and Craig Lucas; they’re discussing the brilliant Henry Green (1905–1973), whose novels Back, Loving, and Caught will be reissued this fall by New York Review Books. Green talked to The Paris Review about Loving back in 1958:
I got the idea of Loving from a manservant in the Fire Service during the war. He was serving with me in the ranks, and he told me he had once asked the elderly butler who was over him what the old boy most liked in the world. The reply was: “Lying in bed on a summer morning, with the window open, listening to the church bells, eating buttered toast with cunty fingers.” I saw the book in a flash.
Green was a divisive writer in his lifetime. W. H. Auden called him “the best English novelist alive” (NB: he was still alive at the time); The Partisan Review called him “a terrorist of language.” Who was right? The answer to this question and many others, tonight.