Nigel Dennis (1912–1989) was an English writer, critic and editor. His books include Boys and Girls Come Out to Play and An Essay on Malta.


The Illegitimate Theater

The Antitheatrical Prejudice

by Jonas Barish
The subject of Jonas Barish’s large book is what he calls “antitheatricality”—a state of mind that ranges from a cold dislike of the stage to a furious desire to burn every theater to the ground and dispatch all actors to the flaming underworld. “These pages… propose no polemical thesis,” Professor …

No Holds Barred

Earthly Powers

by Anthony Burgess
This is a most difficult novel to review, not because it is a quarter of a million words long and a good deal shorter in quality, but because it is confusing in its intentions. It begins, for instance, with the narrator, an ancient queer named Toomey, getting kicked in the …

Smiles in the Dark

Darkness Visible

by William Golding
We are shown a provincial hardware store of the type every Briton loves. Founded early in the nineteenth century, with nooks and crannies showing “notches, cuts, grooves” in their beams from medieval days, and sprawling through the “lofts and attics, galleries, corridors” of one-time private houses and shops, the store …

The One That Got Away

The Flounder

by Günter Grass, translated by Ralph Manheim
I think that a personal approach to Günter Grass’s new novel is right because it is a work about which one is certain to be wrong. Grass read a couple of chapters from it aloud last year to a New York audience that included “most of New York’s German intelligentsia,” …

Infirmary Blues

Illness as Metaphor

by Susan Sontag
The ideas behind this inflammatory broadside (it is only eighty-eight pages) are stated plainly on an introductory page: My subject is not physical illness itself but the uses of illness as a figure or metaphor. My point is that illness is not a metaphor, and that the most truthful way …

Portrait of the Artist

Nadia: A Case of Extraordinary Drawing Ability in an Autistic Child

by Lorna Selfe
This is the story: The child, Nadia, is the second of three children born in Nottingham to Ukrainian immigrant parents. The father is an electrical engineer, the mother a laboratory technician with a Polish Master’s degree in chemistry. Both go out to work. There is also a Ukrainian granny on …

Fabricated Man

The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh

edited by Michael Davie
Auberon Waugh says of his father’s diaries: “[They] show that the world of Evelyn Waugh’s novels did, in fact, exist.” The publishers have put this remark at the top of the blurb and deserve praise for seeing that it marks what is undoubtedly a striking fact about the diaries. When …