Blindfold Games

Alan Ross
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ISBN 9780571260409 Format Paperback
Published 18/03/2010 Length 302 pages

About Book

Blindfold Games was the first volume of Alan Ross's autobiography. He was a most attractive man. William Boyd has eloquently described his appeal, 'There was a sophisticated raffishness and glamour about him . . . nothing seedy or earnest. He owned racehorses. He loved women and travel. . . He was a poet and a brilliant writer on cricket.' He was also one of the great literary editors, running the London Magazine in its heyday.

This volume begins in Bengal, where he was born, and ends in Germany in 1946 when the author was twenty-four. It takes in his childhood in India, his schooldays in England, his time at Oxford, and, most hauntingly, his experiences on the Arctic convoys during the Second World War. He survived: very many of his friends were killed.

To give it a less humdrum description one can turn to the author's own words. 'War, India, cricket: these were my first subjects as a writer and they remain the preoccupations of this book. In due course, the playing of games was replaced by writing about them, and it was to the belief that the best characteristics of each derive from the same source that I nailed my colours. The searching for 'suitable similes' . . . whether for Hammond's off-drive, Stanley Matthews' mesmeric dribbling, or a racehorse's action, was as good a way as I could imagine of relating techniques to aesthetics. . .

Perhaps, as much as anything, writing this book has been an attempt to reconcile differing definitions of style and to trace the manner in which a single-minded devotion to sport developed into a passion for poetry.'

'An exceptional autobiography, beautifully written' John Carey

'A beautifully composed book' Raleigh Trevelyan

'A Delightful account of the first part of his life, which, I shall lay odds, is likely to become a classic' Allan Massie, Listener

'A brilliant performance' Anthony Curtis

  • About Alan Ross

    Alan Ross (1922-2001) was a poet, writer, journalist, editor and publisher. In fact, he was a man of letters par excellence. Born in India, educated in England, he joined the Royal Navy in the Second World War and endured the Arctic convoys to Russia.

    Alan Ross took over The London Magazine (the definite article was later dropped) from John Lehmann and revitalized it. There, it has been said, 'he simplified as well as unified contemporary culture by the clarity of his unique editorial taste. He also discovered many new talents.'

    His writing embraced poetry, cricket journalism, biography, autobiography, criticism and travel writing. Many of his titles are to be reissued in Faber Finds.

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