'Many of you will not have lived before. You would never have dreamt of it. Now you are living, and we hope that you will enjoy it. But it is our responsibility to warn you that LIFE CAN GO DOWN IN VALUE AS WELL AS UP, and the past is not a sure guide to the future. Living can be bad for your well-being and even lead to death' - D.J.Enright, from 'Warnings, warnings!' in Old Men and Comets
The distinguished poet, essayist and critic D. J. Enright died on the last day of December 2002. He had just put the finishing touches to Injury Time, a memoir and his third commonplace book in which the dying writer muses upon his own condition and that of the world he knows he is leaving.
Comparing himself to the Chinese scholar Sima Qian, who chose an 'ignoble punishment' (in Dennis Enright's case, treatment for his cancer; in Qian's, castration) over respectable death in order to finish a book, he contemplates literature, manners, morals, people and, especially, the English language in all its glories and eccentricities - while recording his battle against cancer and his hospital experiences.
Moving, and at times deeply poignant, imbued with its author's legendary humanity and wit, Injury Time is, nevertheless, funny, bracing and, above all, positive.
Praise for Injury Time
One of the most outstanding writers of his generation - an admirable poet, a wise critic and much more besidesJohn Gross, Sunday Telegraph
The needling, questing Enright imagination finds as much to be happy about in the ridiculous as it does in the greatest glories of literature and artWilliam Trevor, Spectator
Injury Time is the final part of his trilogy of commonplace books, and the most moving. Shadowed by the prognosis of death and defiantly funny even about that... A marvellous bookGuardian
His gentle manner makes his occasional sharp judgements all the more devastatingRobert Conquest, Times Literary Supplement
D.J.Enright's learning is not only prodigious, it is pertinent... [His literature] would help to restore humanism to the universities if it could be handed out to new students at the gateClive James