252pp 2013 OUT OF PRINT (P) B821



This volume comprises three inter-related memoirs, an imaginative blend of autobiography, social history and fiction. Each is set in its own period of the twentieth century; each evokes a distinct phase of British cultural life. The personal merges constantly with the factual, individual experience with historical context. Drawing on a twin passion for jazz and books, the literary historian traces his involvement with the jazz revivalist movement in 1950s London, the aspiring university worlds of Sussex and Leicester in the 1960s, and the fraught political atmosphere of Edinburgh University in the 1980s. Permeating his account of national events is the deeply personal influence of Keating's working-class upbringing. This creates a vital tension between public and private values and from it there emerges a mysterious strain of idealism and yearning for solitariness, which gives to the work an air of sadness as well as achievement, of loss as well as gain.