chapter
Poems
Pages 8

The ordinary biographer, as people know him, is an Old Man of the Sea straddling a victim whose stature scarcely exceeds his own; the commonplace mind is presented with slow-motion by double-exposure photography. Minor politicians are written up by still more minor politicians, industrial magnates by advertisenemt managers, actresses by salaried husbands, philanthropists by sentimentalists, sporting peers by journalistic touts, exiled princesses by unemployed courtiers, private prodigies by adoring mothers, and God season after season by epileptics and rationalists. Biography has become the most formless of forms, outraging literary canons far more importantly than those of taste. Mr. Lawrence, the novelist, giving a hundred-page biography of his reactions to the personality of Maurice Magnus, and Mr. Douglas, the novelist, being moved to write a protest against Mr. Lawrence's particular narrative and the general method of which it is an example. Magnuss own narrative is worth reading for its description of a famously brutal institution.