3 MARCH 1961, Page 16


Sig,.--While not sharing Professor Enright's views, I would have made the same .slips as he has about Take a Girl Like You. Mr. Amis's letter makes it quite clear that we were wrong. And I cannot see what purpose is served by the letter from your correspondent in Belfast, who simply repeats Pro- fessor Enright's points in a nasty tone contrasting notably with the sharp but decent one which had hitherto prevailed; no vendettas here, please!

But Professor Enright's slips do not substantially affect his argument. Without wishing to deal with this in full, I think it requires one obvious and im- portant amendment. To put Beethoven's name as twelfth man in a cricket team of Hies noires, even if we take Mr. Amis as concioning (or instigating) it, cannot be properly called a 'Sneer.' It is surely some- thing less mean and less self-justificatory--a rasp- berry. To blow a raspberry at Beethoven may not be a sign of good taste, but surely it is not actually immoral, as Professor Enright rather implies? (And, really, even if an author could be proved to be in sympathy with his leading character. this could in no case be pressed to extend to details such as his taste in music--Patrick is a keen cricketer, for ex- ample: is Mr. Amis?) Mr. Amis is nevertheless a little to blame, by his own standards, if even some readers (Miss White- horn was brighter than 'Professor Enright or myself) were left with a false impression-about a forthcoming marriage. The text does not justify us, it is true, but Mr. Amis detests, and rightly, literature that needs explanation and exegesis, and he might per- haps have found some way of making it unnecessary in this cast, though I see the difficulties.—Yours faithfully,