Episode 23: Nicholas Royle ('critic')
Play • 49 min

Charlie and Nicholas Royle (Quilt; An English Guide To Birdwatching; Mother: A Memoir) discuss killing yourself – your avatar – off in your fiction, using ‘it is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife’, and sharing a name with another British writer who also writes fiction… that is also about birds…

Please note that the first reading is set in a public toilet and discusses explicitly concepts around discomfort in this regard, ‘size’, and so forth.

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Nicholas' critical and essay books are as follows: Helene Cixous: Dreamer, Realist, Analyst, Writing (2020) An Introduction to Literature, Criticism and Theory (5th edition, 2016, co-authored with Andrew Bennett) This Thing Called Literature (2015, co-authored with Andrew Bennett) Veering: A Theory of Literature (2011) In Memory of Jacques Derrida (2009) How to Read Shakespeare (2005, new edition 2014) Jacques Derrida (2003) The Uncanny (2003) Deconstructions: A User's Guide (2000) (as editor) E.M. Forster (1999) After Derrida (1995) Elizabeth Bowen and the Dissolution of the Novel: Still Lives (1995, co-authored with Andrew Bennett) Telepathy and Literature: Essays on the Reading Mind (1990)

The Guardian’s review of An English Guide to Birdwatching My review of the same The Financial Times’ review of the same The Art of the Novel on the publisher’s website Publisher’s page on Nicholas’ book on Helene Cixous

You can contact the show at books@carnelianvalley.com

Question Index

01:05 You’re a professor of English – do you have an outright favourite area of study? 02:49 You’ve written a lot of books on literary criticism and theory, but what was it that got you wanting to start writing fiction? 04:42 Have you ever had someone ask what on earth your books are about? 06:27 What is behind the theme of death? 09:33 What’s it like to kill yourself off in your fiction? 13:41 You use wordplay throughout your books – what is it you like the most about it? 21:10 When did you first know that there was another writer with your name? 24:15 Quilt’s afterword is very much related to the content of An English Guide To Birdwatching – were the initial parts of An English Guide written closely in time with Quilt? 27:43 Why does modern day Stephen Osmer write for the London Literary Gazette, which ceased production in 1863? 36:38 Can you tell us about your mother in terms of your relationship with her? 40:52 How did you mother influence your interest in books and writing? 43:34 What’s next? 44:37 Do things like exploration or language, close reading, and so forth, have value in the wider world?

Purchase Links

Quilt: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Waterstones Hive Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Chapters

An English Guide To Birdwatching: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Waterstones Hive Barnes & Noble IndieBound Indigo Chapters

Mother: A Memoir: Amazon UK Amazon US Amazon Canada Waterstones Hive

I am an Amazon Associate and earn a small commission on qualifying purchases.  Likewise IndieBound.

Photograph used with permission from the author.

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