From the Land of Shadows
‘These literary-critical essays are compact with wit and penetration but also have a kind of freshness about them, as if the author has never got over his first rapture of enjoyment at the sheer thisness of poetry and prose. James is in the tradition of Hazlitt, Bagehot, and Desmond MacCarthy, with a gusto worthy to succeed theirs and a philosophy well set out in his own introduction. “Literature”, he writes, “says most things itself, when it is allowed to.” Criticism like this expands that allowance and adds to its pleasure’ John Bayley, Observer
‘His outstanding talent is as a cicerone, guiding the ignorant traveller with patience, knowledge and wit round some favourite literary edifice and communicating his own admiration of it to the goggling and fascinated visitor . . . the lasting impression is of our critic’s truly amazing breadth of reference’ Times Literary Supplement
‘Mr James is hungry for – and not unworthy of – engagement with important issues. A collection of dignity and coherence . . . tellingly timely’ Sunday Times
Delightful writing. One of the liveliest writers on the scene.
Bernard Crick, New Statesman