Those of you who know DGR will know that she’s been talking about Penelope Fitzgerald again. This prompted me to burrow around in what I call my house to find a book that I knew I had. I bought it in Cambridge when I spent a weekend there, several years ago with Dovegrey Reader, Random Jottings and a few others. You can see that it is still in its protective plastic covering. That’s right, I haven’t even looked at it. I think that the collection of Katherine Mansfield was probably bought because a certain young man, the artist now known as Stuck-in-a-Book, waxed lyrical about KM.
I am a product of my age, born in 1957 with parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles who had the thrifty practices of wartime living still coursing through their veins. Again I quote my maternal grandmother, “put it by for later”. This behaviour has its rewards. I am currently attempting to “be sensible” and not spend money on non-essentials but because of past lapses there are treasures to be unearthed on my own territory. All this means that I receive double or even triple pleasure. First comes the slightly guilty delight of buying something that you have absolutely no need of whatsoever. Second comes the joy of finding something you had momentarily allowed to slip from your mental filing system and no doubt there is that third stage, the consumption of the goods.
The KM stories are in an ex-library copy so I will not be the first to have gorged on those fruits. The PF looks almost pristine, so pristine I wonder if it has even been read before.