The Sir Kingsley Amis [1922-1995] Discussion Thread (Non-Bond Works Only)

DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
edited January 6 in General Discussion Posts: 12,304
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I see that as yet we (regrettably) have no discussion thread for Sir Kingsley Amis and his non-Bond works so I thought it was high time that I created one as I am a big fan of Amis and I am currently working through his fiction and non-fiction, his letters and Memoirs to write several papers on him and his works for my blog. This is the space for Amis fans of all hues to post reviews recommendations or articles of interest on the legendary post-war British author Sir Kingsley Amis (1922-1995). I'll start the ball rolling with this very interesting B/W archive interview from 1958 of Amis by Simon Raven (who also has several Bond connections too, mind):



If we are to reference Bond, perhaps it could be how works like The Anti-Death League and The Egyptologists have links to his Bond novel Colonel Sun? Or did Maps of Hell have links to The James Bond Dossier for instance? I think that that would serve to make this thread uniquely interesting and would be something quite interesting to discuss on this community. I'm open to all offers of debate, though. :)

Comments

  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Any Kingsley Amis fans here then?

    I will post more of his interviews soon.
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 4,892
    I wonder @Dragonpol, have you ever read the poem "Born Yesterday" by Philip Larkin; it was written for Amis' daughter Sally, who had just been born? I was thinking this as I know that Amis and Larkin were good friends, and Larkin too was an avid Fleming fan.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    I wonder @Dragonpol, have you ever read the poem "Born Yesterday" by Philip Larkin; it was written for Amis' daughter Sally, who had just been born? I was thinking this as I know that Amis and Larkin were good friends, and Larkin too was an avid Fleming fan.

    I've not actually, though I really need to get that and read it. I'm very interested in Larkin too and have a few books on him too, one of them by my old English lecturer Professor Bradford.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Well done Draggers - long overdue thread
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    007InVT wrote:
    Well done Draggers - long overdue thread

    Thank you - I'm a big Amis fan. I'm happy to say his son Martin is a reader of my blog (he left a comment on an article there on his father).
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 961
    Dragonpol wrote:
    I'll start the ball rolling with this very interesting interview from 1958 of Amis by Simon Raven (who also has several Bond connections too, mind)

    A lot of Bond connections--Raven reviewed several of the Bond novels, starting with Casino Royale (the "supersonic John Buchan" quote is his). He defended Fleming during the flap over Dr.No and later reviewed Snelling, Amis, and Pearson's Bond books at length. I've been planning to post those reviews for a while and will eventually do so. Raven's contributions to OHMSS are already well known--had he added nothing but that quote from "Hassan," he would still have played a vital part in the film. Apparently Raven drew on his OHMSS experiences for his novel Come Like Shadows (1972), though I can't detect many parallels--the tough, shrewd film director character and the vulgar American producer might be based on Hunt and Saltzman/Broccoli. Raven also mentions Fleming in his novel Friends in Low Places, and his spy novel Brother Cain is an interesting and downbeat (not to mention bisexual) inversion of the genre.

    As for Amis, I've read Everyday Drinking (a collection of his liquor columns), The Green Man, The Alteration, and The Anti-Death League. I tackled the latter so long ago that I can't remember any Bond linkages. The former two books are genre exercises and are highly recommended. There's also a good TV film of The Green Man that's worth seeking out. The Alteration is a brilliantly conceived alternative world novel, a very convincing one, though the ending is a slight letdown.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    Well done Draggers - long overdue thread

    Thank you - I'm a big Amis fan. I'm happy to say his son Martin is a reader of my blog (he left a comment on an article there on his father).

    Do share!
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    I own Everyday drinking too but have not read any of Amis' non-Bond works - yet.

    I like Martin Amis and have his excellent autobiography, a good companion to Christopher Hitchen's Hitch-22 if you want a nice double act for your shelf.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    007InVT wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    007InVT wrote:
    Well done Draggers - long overdue thread

    Thank you - I'm a big Amis fan. I'm happy to say his son Martin is a reader of my blog (he left a comment on an article there on his father).

    Do share!

    Certainly! It can be found as the first comment on this blog paper:

    http://thebondologistblog.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/kingsley-amis-draxs-gambit-and-reform.html

    Here is what he wrote; I later amended the article. Martin Amis commented on the day the paper went up - 29 January 2013:

    Anonymous 1 year ago

    Some interesting observations buried in the verbiage, but I have never been editor of The New Statesman - Martin Amis
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Quite an honour!

    Anyone read Kinger's 'Memoirs'?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited January 6 Posts: 12,304
    007InVT wrote:
    Quite an honour!

    Anyone read Kinger's 'Memoirs'?

    Yes, I felt honoured for sure.

    I've read parts of it, yes. Well worth a read, though sadly no outright Bond mentions although Ian Fleming does get a namecheck at least.
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Nice. I must get a copy.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Revelator wrote:
    Dragonpol wrote:
    I'll start the ball rolling with this very interesting interview from 1958 of Amis by Simon Raven (who also has several Bond connections too, mind)

    A lot of Bond connections--Raven reviewed several of the Bond novels, starting with Casino Royale (the "supersonic John Buchan" quote is his). He defended Fleming during the flap over Dr.No and later reviewed Snelling, Amis, and Pearson's Bond books at length. I've been planning to post those reviews for a while and will eventually do so. Raven's contributions to OHMSS are already well known--had he added nothing but that quote from "Hassan," he would still have played a vital part in the film. Apparently Raven drew on his OHMSS experiences for his novel Come Like Shadows (1972), though I can't detect many parallels--the tough, shrewd film director character and the vulgar American producer might be based on Hunt and Saltzman/Broccoli. Raven also mentions Fleming in his novel Friends in Low Places, and his spy novel Brother Cain is an interesting and downbeat (not to mention bisexual) inversion of the genre.

    As for Amis, I've read Everyday Drinking (a collection of his liquor columns), The Green Man, The Alteration, and The Anti-Death League. I tackled the latter so long ago that I can't remember any Bond linkages. The former two books are genre exercises and are highly recommended. There's also a good TV film of The Green Man that's worth seeking out. The Alteration is a brilliantly conceived alternative world novel, a very convincing one, though the ending is a slight letdown.

    Now, I'd noted this one down myself. I'd love to read your paper when you get it completed, @Revelator! Keep up the good work, friend!
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    007InVT wrote:
    Nice. I must get a copy.

    No Bond references in it, but it deals with Army Life, Writing Career, University Life as a Lecturer and has chapters on various personalities such as Margret Thatcher, Roald Dahl and Anthony Powell. I got the Memoirs and his Collected Letters in charity shop back in 2008. I later got the Zachary Leader biography and the Eric Jacobs one, as well as Mrtin Amis' Experience. Also his Collected Non-Fiction 1954-1990. All recommended for the Amis fan.
  • edited March 2014 Posts: 961
    In case anyone is interested in doing heavy-duty research, the University of Reading's special collections department holds the archives for Jonathan Cape, including files relating to the publication of of the Bond novels and The James Bond Dossier (http://www.reading.ac.uk/adlib/Details/archiveSpecial/110117200). And what's really special about the Dossier files is that they contain four letters between Kingsley Amis and Ian Fleming. As far as I can tell, these were not reproduced in the book of Amis's letters, which means that the Amis-Fleming correspondence was either very boring (surely not so!), or unknown to the editor who compiled Amis's letters, or had rights complications that forbade reproduction. The latter might have something to do with the fact that papers from the Cape archives cannot be viewed without written permission of Random House Publishers. That sounds like a definite hassle.

    Edit: after rereading the description of the Dossier files, I realize that the four letters "to and from Ian Fleming" might actually have been between Cape and Fleming, rather than Amis and Fleming. But it still would be fascinating to know Fleming's reaction to Amis's book. Too bad there isn't a collection of Fleming's letters...
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    The letters periodically turn up at auction houses and the The Daily Mail seem to get the scoop - Inside job? Rothermere etc?
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited September 2015 Posts: 12,304
    We'll I'm working on a series on Kingsley Amis for my blog so I've tracked down the Colonel Sun papers for an article entitled 'The Strange Death of Colonel Sun' that I have upcoming on the increased levels of violence and the developments in the real world violence in the years 1964 to 1968, that is since the death of Ian Fleming and up to and indeed beyond the publication of Colonel Sun itself. There was, to my mind, a marked escalation in violence in popular culture and indeed in the media during the course of this short four-year period (and of course beyond). I hope it will add to debate on the novel as well as add to the research on the novel. I think that it's something a bit different too.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    I thought I would revive this thread as Sir Kingsley Amis deserves to be discussed here much more widely.
  • BirdlesonBirdleson San Jose, CA
    edited September 2015 Posts: 24,165
    I have been meaning to get a hold of a copy of LUCKY JIM. After I do, and have read it, I will get on here with my thoughts.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Birdleson wrote: »
    I have been meaning to get a hold of a copy of LUCKY JIM. After I do, and have read it, I will get on here with my thoughts.

    Great stuff! I look forward to your review very much. :)
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Anyone else want to add their thoughts on Kingsley Amis' non-Bond novels in this thread?

    I'm currently reading through Amis' Memoirs (1991) for an upcoming blog article.
  • Agent_99Agent_99 Enjoys a spirited ride as much as the next girl
    Posts: 1,615
    It's been too long since I read any Amis for me to bring anything brilliant to the table, but, for the record, The Green Man is one of the most terrifying things I have ever read.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited January 6 Posts: 12,304
    I really need to get back to this thread tonight as I've bought a ton of Amis books in the years since I created this sadly rather neglected thread.

    I also have a few articles to get completed on Amis and Bond for my blog as 28 March 2018 marks the 50th Anniversary of the publication of Amis' Colonel Sun in 1968. That was the start of the official James Bond continuation project that has run intermittently ever since and to my mind it is an anniversary well worth celebrating with a special series of articles!
  • PropertyOfALadyPropertyOfALady Colders Federation CEO
    Posts: 2,930
    Don't care about Amis outside Bond.
  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    Posts: 12,304
    Don't care about Amis outside Bond.

    Ah, but there is some interesting connections in his non-Bond works too. I will admit that I am mainly interested in Amis through the Bond angle, of course, but there's a lot more to the Amis story too.
  • Posts: 961
    Agent_99 wrote: »
    It's been too long since I read any Amis for me to bring anything brilliant to the table, but, for the record, The Green Man is one of the most terrifying things I have ever read.

    The TV version, with Albert Finney, was also very well done, though of course the book is scarier in one's head. Amis's alternative-world novel The Alteration is also a great read and presents an eerily realistic portrait of a backwards world where the Reformation never happened.

  • DragonpolDragonpol Schloss Drache.
    edited November 23 Posts: 12,304
    The Riverside Villas Murder by Kingsley Amis | Radio Drama (1973) | Fiction, Mystery:

    A mummy is stolen from a small town museum along with some Roman coins and a soaking wet man collapses in fourteen year old Peter Furneaux's living room bleeding from the head. What was a suspected student prank is followed by murder...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4P22yqww2qM
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