Wrestliana – Harold Bloom

This kill-your-darling from Wrestliana is about the American literary critic Harold Bloom. In A Map of Misreading and The Anxiety of Influence, Bloom puts forward a theory of how writers come to be the writers they are. It is, he says, because of an agon, an Oedipal struggle, a wrestling match, a war-embrace, with strong forbears […]

Wrestliana – The Coal Delivery Man

Next in the continuing series of kill-your-darling sections painfully taken out of Wrestliana. The following really hurt. This was written to illustrate the split between intellectual and physical labour. (It’s meant to be very awkward.) The symbolic moment for me, and I knew it was this at the time, came during the summer of 1986. I […]

Wrestliana – Samuel Beckett

This kill-your-darling section from Wrestliana is about Samuel Beckett, my love of and ambivalence towards him. Happy birthday, Sam. So, I’m at my desk, who am I fighting right now? Who am I losing to? Sentence by sentence, it’s Woolf, Bellow, Lawrence, Mandelstam. But in figuring myself as a writer? Samuel Beckett (1906-1989), author of […]

Wrestliana – Clare Grogan

In the next few weeks, I’m going to post a few blogs containing sections cut from the drafts of Wrestliana. Writers are told ‘Kill your darlings’. These are a few of mine. They’re all about particular people – Malcolm Bradbury, Ali Smith, my family. The first concerns boarding school. 1st October 1981, Top of the […]

Notes for a Young Gentleman

The opening of the new novel:     and the opening of the new novel:   Until you have read this through, do not write in it. If you choose to do so thereafter, that is your own mistake. It was spooked England, all laid out below and invisibly rushing up towards one—thirty-two feet per […]

Wrestliana – What is Cumberland and Westmoreland Wrestling?

This is my all-time favourite image of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling. It’s a great photograph, apart from anything else. And a great sports photograph. It was taken in 2015 by Jill Robson, who attends most of the summer agricultural fairs (Grasmere, Ambleside, Penrith) where this kind of wrestling traditionally takes place. Apart from the rain, […]

Wrestliana ; Or, an Historical Account of Ancient and Modern Wrestling

      This is the original Wrestliana – my great-great-great grandfather’s history of wrestling (as the oldest and greatest sport in the world) Two shillings and sixpence is what it would have cost you in 1823. In 2018, a first edition will cost you around £800. If you can find one. It’s still available print-on-demand – […]