Anakana Schofield – Award Winning Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

On the shelf with James

Colm Toibin reflects on how Henry James wrestled with the effect of marriage and being broke on the artist.

I’m partial to these essays. They provide the literary equivalent of the Puffin’s daily requests for me to disclose exactly what his stuffed horse is thinking about him. You can be beating an egg and may have the passing wonder of whether Mr James worried about putting eggs in the cupboard and eh voila Colm Toibin’s (or whomever) dished it up. No need to trawl four biographies … the man was frantic over eggs. These days however James might have needed to be a bit more frantic about the likelihood of finding someone who’d be willing to put up with him.

Such literary pairings are to be encouraged. I’d like to know more about the kitchen table of the author who wrote The Tenants of Moonbloom, (excellent book) whose name presently escapes me. Edwin, or Edward something. The kitchen table is of significance because he’d a bunch of children and apparently sat at it and wrote with them milling about. Therefore it must have been some incredible table to help sustain his concentration. Hopefully some writer will pair off with him and reflect…

More generally no writer ever need worry ’bout the impact of marriage on their work if they accept as previously, proudly asserted in this blog the best person for them to have a relationship with is the leg of a table.

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