Friday 8 October 2004

Tom Paulin, "The Road to Inver"

Went to Far from the Madding Crowd for Tom's book launch of his new collection of translations, versions and imitations. It wasn't quite the networking opportunity that I thought it might be, which isn't such a bad thing because I don't like that word: networking, not opportunity. Tom seemed a little distracted and melancholy. I do think he savours these occasions when he can see all his friends, though. I guess he doesn't like being the centre of attention. He said something later about disappointing a friend at not being able to go to an event in Middlesborough. I think he has to go to London for Newsnight Review on Friday night.

Saw the Scottmeister, who had already had a good few wines. He was drinking with Seamus Perry, whose article on "Romanticism: The Brief History of a Concept" I read just before Finals. I think he's at Glasgow University now. He seemed to think that All Souls is the kiss of death to a career. He was second in his year, but didn't get in. His Finals paper on Romantic prose was marked by Peter Conrad, he who wrote Shandyism. Apparently a good friend of Matthew's friend has just drunk himself to death, having published two ingenious volumes of history while a Fellow of the college. He was in his fifties.

The Hertford undergraduates left early; but they would have loved to have seen Bernard O'Donoghue sing an Irish ballad had they stayed on. Spoke to Emma and met someone whose name I can't remember but whom I guess is her partner. Her book on Othello, which I proof-read and indexed for her, is away to the printers. She's hoping that it comes out this year to mark the 400th anniversary of the play. She suggested we meet up for coffee sometime next week. She was joking that although Tom is rubbish at some things (teaching?), it's good to have someone of his stature (I would say integrity) at the college.

Disclaimer: This entry is more for personal reasons of remembrance than as an exercise in the gravitational inevitability of nomenclature.

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