fiction = 'literary prose or poetry'; remit = 'assigned or expected task'

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Tue Nov 20 01:15:43 UTC 2012

I can't make this stuff up. I can only hope that it's not a straw in the

In front of me is p. 20 of the Times (London) for May 14, 1985 (so long ago
that possibly this is a non-issue). Norman Stone, the British historian, is
writing of a Publishing Association panel he had just chaired whose job (or
"remit" as they now say on cable news ) was to promote "20 titles under the
general heading, 'The Bloody Muse' - that is, fiction [n.b. -JL.] concerned
with modern war."

Among the books selected were Robert Graves's memoir, _Good-bye to All
That_ (somewhat fictionalized but not really fiction) and "Churchill's
_River War_." The latter is young Winston's 1899 memoir of his service in
the Sudan: emphatically not fiction.

Michael Herr's Vietnam memoir _Dispatches_ was considered, though passed
over because it left the judges "rather cold." George Orwell's nonfiction
_Homage to Catalonia_ was rejected only because Orwell had been big the
previous year.

One of the books finally selected was James Fenton's double-barreled
collection of poetry, _The Memory of War and Children in Exile_.

Though most of the books chosen were indeed novels, and a few were
translations, what Stone or his Times editor really wished to say was that
the panel was to choose "prose and poetry."

Not *fiction.*


"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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