NB by J. C.: A Walk Through the Times Literary Supplement


Product Details

$24.95  $23.20
Paul Dry Books
Publish Date
5.5 X 8.5 X 1.1 inches | 1.05 pounds

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About the Author

James Campbell's books include Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland, Gate Fever: Voices from a Prison, Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin, and, most recently, Just Go Down to the Road (Paul Dry Books). For many years he was an editor and columnist at the Times Literary Supplement. He lives in London.


"The last unmissable proper diary column left in journalism."―Simon Jenkins

"[NB by J. C. is] full of lore about the TLS and its storied contributors, among them Virginia Woolf; reflections on composing a weekly column, which emerges as a test of endurance, versatility, and compositional quickness; notes on the experience of working under successive editorial regimes as well as the Murdoch super-regime; and remarks on the correspondence a popular and sometimes esoteric literary column can generate."―Christian Lorentzen

"Overall, NB might be loosely described as a gossip column for the erudite, but during the first 20 years of the present century, James Campbell made it into something more--a uniquely personal miscellany of wit, weirdness, and waspish provocation."
--Michael Dirda, Washington Post

"Campbell wrote about writers who pretend not to read their reviews, and biographers who hate their subjects. He wrote about pop lyrics derived from classic literature. . . . There are animadversions against literary back-scratching. Campbell sought to distinguish the sham from the genuine. He was interested in everything. . . . NB is the sort of column that people looked at and thought, 'I could do that.' Turns out they couldn't."
--Dwight Garner, New York Times

"The secret of J. C.'s weekly column is its unique mix of anonymity with intimacy: this 'stranger', whom we meet over our morning coffee, is the most discreet and delightful of guides to what's happening―good or mostly bad―in the literary world, with all its pretensions, follies, and occasional triumphs. I especially relished J. C.'s prizes―for the worst prose or the silliest blurb. Then again, leave it to J. C. to find the rare edition, the forgotten book of poems that deserves another look. True wit, coupled with wisdom: it's the rarest of writerly feats."―Marjorie Perloff, author of The Vienna Paradox: A Memoir

"I receive immense pleasure from J. C.'s columns. Something more than pleasure: warmth, laughter, gratitude (especially when he is nailing academic unreadability)."--Vivian Gornick, author of Unfinished Business: Notes of a Chronic Re-Reader


"A life-sized portrait in very broad strokes . . . A lively book that is immensely readable, serious, careful, and informed."―Boston Globe on Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

"A marvelously illuminating literary biography . . . [and] an affectionate yet critical portrait."―Publishers Weekly on Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

"This deftly written memoir . . . is the story of a writer finding his own voice."―The Wall Street Journal on Just Go Down to the Road

"Just Go Down to the Road brings an exciting time in world and literary history to life. It's a remarkable travel account that began with the simple suggestion: 'Just go down to the road, Jim. You'll get a lift .'"―Foreword Reviews on Just Go Down to the Road

"[A] brilliantly sympathetic and compelling analysis of the Beat phenomenon."―The Guardian on This Is the Beat Generation

"Campbell is simply one of the rare critics on whom, to cite Henry James, 'nothing is lost.'"―Marjorie Perloff on Syncopations

"A witty and insightful look at a fascinating, romantic land by a native son."―Library Journal on Invisible Country