Friday, October 3, 2008


I have a great partiality for photographic facsimiles of documents, something I've blogged about before. Whether it's Ronnie van Hout's school reports, Marie Shannon's love notes or the contents of Marilyn Monroe's filing cabinets, there's something entirely different about the experience of looking at a document up on the screen or the wall than reading the same thing on a page. You become aware of all a document's incidental visual properties when you view it as a picture; and somehow this additional information gives colour and context to what you read, steeping it in the style of its own history.

I also have a terrible sneaking weakness for disgraceful high-handedness, wherever it might manifest itself: a personal amusement which is probably due to an early obsession with Evelyn Waugh's novels of British aristocracy in decline. I can never quite bring myself to act like that, but I greatly appreciate a withering put-down when I hear one.

I was intrigued, then, to see the unusual collision of these two somewhat peculiar personal proclivities in this facsimile of a rejection letter from novelist Kingsley Amis to Granta magazine (a neat reversal of the usual order of things), which Granta have just posted on their site. Nice work.

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