In Parenthesis by David Jones, according to Stephen Spender in the The New York Times Book Review: ‘This work of a poet-painter has its every word chiseled out of experience, and it is probably the World War I monument most likely to survive.’
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In Parenthesis was first published in London in 1937. I am proud to share the responsibility for that first publication. On reading the book in typescript I was deeply moved. I then regarded it, and still regard it, as a work of genius… Here is a book about the experience of one soldier in the war of 1914-18. It is also a book about War, and about many other things also, such as Roman Britain, the Arthurian Legend, and divers matters which are given association by the mind of the writer.’ T.S. Eliot
‘This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of ‘: with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war.’ W.S. Merwin
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