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Cyril Connolly (September 10, 1903 – November 26, 1974)

A major figure on the British literary scene during the 1930s, ’40s, and ’50s, critic Cyril Connolly was, with Peter WATSON, one of the founders and editors of Horizon, an influential literary magazine. His reviews in the Observer and the Sunday Times attracted a wide audience.

Connolly was married three times, but at the time of his first marriage he wrote to a former schoolmate, “Of course, the problem is that I am still homosexual, emotionally.”

Gale Temple, in an article about Henry JAMES, describes Connolly, like James, as being in a state of permanent adolescence, “a melancholic yearning for his days at Eton when sexually undifferentiated forms of intragender camaraderie and togetherness imbued life with seemingly infinite promise.”

Frank Kermode, writing in the New Republic, described Connolly thus: “Although plump and far from handsome, he seems to have had a powerful attraction for women, or anyway for those who responded to his appeals for pity and agreed with his opinion that a chronic shortage of cash and the consequent need to work at something—writing reviews, for instance—was preventing him from producing a work of genius, which was the only kind of work, he believed, worth bothering about.”

Stern, Keith (2009-09-01). Queers in History: The Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Historical Gays, Lesbians and Bisexuals (Kindle Locations 3691-3701). Perseus Books Group. Kindle Edition.

Further Readings:

Cyril Connolly: A Life by Jeremy Lewis
Paperback: 653 pages
Publisher: Random House UK (May 19, 1998)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0712666354
ISBN-13: 978-0712666350
Amazon: Cyril Connolly: A Life

Astonishingly precocious in his youth, Cyril Connolly was haunted for the rest of his life by an acute sense of failure and romantic yearning. His two greatest books, The Unquiet Grave and Enemies of Promise, are classics of English prose, combining wit, romanticism, and merciless self-knowledge. He was an essayist and parodist of genius, a superb literary journalist, and nurturer of some of the finest writers of his time. Jeremy Lewis is the ideal biographer of Connolly—sympathetic to his doubts and failings, celebratory of his achievements, and delighted by his humor. This book is an illuminating portrait of the man and the literary era in which he played such a key role.


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Tags: essayist: cyril connolly, gay classics, queers in history
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