Stephen Brook

Stephen Brook is compiling an anthology of dreams from European and American literature which will be published by Oxford.

The Pain of History

Stephen Brook, 19 February 1981

Derek Walcott is now 50 years old, but there is none of the placidity or mellowing of middle age in The Star-Apple Kingdom. If Naipaul is the great novelist of the colonial experience, Walcott has a claim to be considered the great poet of the same experience. They share an acute sense of belonging to more than one culture and hence to none. The reference in the title poem to the Caribbean’s ‘history-orphaned islands’ is a motto for many other poems in Walcott’s new collection. The book opens with the long dialect poem ‘The Schooner Flight’. The narrator, Shabine, is a Trinidadian ‘red nigger’ sailor-poet who is fiercely conscious of his place, or absence, in history:

There is something absurd about the sight of a soldier in battle kit chasing a plump schoolgirl down a shopping street, he with his gun and she with her satchel. This time he holds his fire and...

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David Cannadine, 27 July 1989

How should the history of the Jews be written? Ever since the compilation of the Old Testament – a pioneering work of collaborative authorship, sometimes inaccurate and inadequately...

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Sweet Dreams

Christopher Reid, 17 November 1983

‘I dislike the cult of dreams,’ Sarah Ferguson declares. ‘They should be secret things, and people who are always telling you of what they have dreamt irritate me. Nor do I like...

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