Rayner Heppenstall “buzz”

August 22, 2011 § 3 Comments

Haven’t posted here for a while, which is bad, but there will be a big one coming soon. For the while, I accidentally stumbled upon an article by the ever-readable and ever-eclectic Juliet Jacques at the excellent 3am Magazine about Rayner Heppenstall, which now must officially count as “buzz”, no? Here’s the link. Not only is the article a really engaging introduction to Heppenstall, it also has some truly awesome scans of some Heppenstall book covers, and I’d love to know where they came from. Check it out.

In response, here’s my own scans from the front and back covers of my copy of Heppenstall’s 1961 critical book The Fourfold Tradition: Notes on the French and English Literatures, with some Ethnological and Historical Asides. Though not as good as the ones accompanying Juliet’s article, I guess the front’s notable for the nice orange colour and the fact that it suitably reflects the Heppenstallian pompousness of the title, by attempting to look very serious. The back, meanwhile, is excellent for the slightly creepy “intellectual portrait” of the man himself. You can just imagine him attempting (heavily, and repeatedly) to seduce Muriel Spark (he did: check out Martin Stannard’s biography of Spark) in front of that bookcase.

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§ 3 Responses to Rayner Heppenstall “buzz”

  • Juliet\ says:

    Hi Adam, glad you liked the RH article. I don’t actually know where 3am got the scans from – I sent over some images that RH’s daughter, Lindy, gave to me a few years ago, but the covers must have come from elsewhere. As for The Connecting Door, it most likely depends on how well The Blaze of Noon does …

    Your PhD sounds interesting, by the way – if I were to have done a doctorate, your project is pretty much exactly what I would have done (I’m a big fan of Ann Quin in particular) so very best of luck with it!

    • gubbinry says:

      Hi Juliet – thank you so much for your reply. You’re pretty much guaranteed to be the first person I don’t know to ever have looked at this, so I am genuinely honoured. It’s excellent to see there are other people out there interested in this sort of thing too – I’m encouraged! So yeah, big thanks, and keep on keeping on… Adam (also a big fan of your blogs)

  • richard leigh harris says:

    Juliet – it was very good to read your fine article on Rayner Heppenstall.
    Anything on this ridiculously underrated author is always timely and good to see!

    The opinion is often expressed re. his later work, that he was more-or-less insane. This doesn’t, in my opinion, really come across very convincingly. Yes, he was clearly a depressive and probably paranoid
    (cf. “The Pier”)to boot, but that doesn’t make him insane!

    Good to know that a reprint of “The Blaze of Noon” is forthcoming.

    Happy Christmas!

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