> Skip to content
  • Published: 21 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781446448649
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook

Injury Time

A Memoir

'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.

  • Published: 21 February 2019
  • ISBN: 9781446448649
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook

About the author

D J Enright

Born in 1920, educated at Leamington College and Downing College, Cambridge, D. J. Enright spent over twenty years teaching English at universities in Egypt, Japan, Berlin, Thailand, and Singapore. He returned to London in 1970 and later became a director of London publishers Chatto & Windus. First and foremost a poet, he published many collections in over fifty years, including Collected Poems: 1948-98 (1998), and translations from Japanese and German verse. He wrote novels for both adults and children, and revised with Madeleine Enright the English translation of Proust's In Search of Lost Time (1992), while his enormous output of non-fiction includes his Memoirs of a Mendicant Professor (1969), a number of critical works, and several anthologies, among them The Oxford Book of Death (1983) and The Faber Book of Fevers and Frets (1989). Observations on life (high and low), literature, morals and manners, human or animal, are recorded in The Way of the Cat (1992), and two companion volumes to Injury Time - Interplay: A Kind of Commonplace Book (1995) and Play Resumed: A Journal (1999). D. J. Enright received the Cholmondeley Award in 1974; he was awarded the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry in 1981 and appointed OBE in 1991. Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1961, he was made Companion of Literature by the Society in 1998, an honour granted to no more than ten living writers at any one time. He died on the last day of 2002, after battling vigorously against cancer for seven years.

Praise for Injury Time

One of the most outstanding writers of his generation - an admirable poet, a wise critic and much more besides

John 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 art

William 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 book


His gentle manner makes his occasional sharp judgements all the more devastating

Robert 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 gate

Clive James

Related titles