Second Part

0:09:07 After Reading, I went to Manchester; I was invited to the Chair at Manchester but didn't want to go; if they had given me a readership at Reading I would have stayed; I needed more salary as I had two children by then; Manchester was a rather grim place in those days; it was a difficult time from the family point of view because it was before the anti-smoke laws and my children were ill all the time; finally the doctor said we should take them away from the area; went to Bristol until I was asked to go to London; have moved around too much; really wanted to stay at Reading but it wouldn't have remained the same as it expanded enormously for one thing; it was in a big old house when I went there and the upper floors were so unsafe that you weren't allowed to have more than two students there at a time; came to Cambridge in 1974 to King Edward VII Chair; I was offered fellowships at Fitzwilliam and Peterhouse; I was strongly advised by Noel Annan to have nothing to do with either of them, in fact he strongly advised me to have nothing to do with Cambridge because of the bad temper of the English faculty; he wanted me to stay in London and in a way I would have been happy to do that; persuaded to come and Annan and Leach worked out some way of evading the restrictions on having me at King's; I had to take another year at London, and although it was all settled in 1973 I came in 1974; got to know Leach patchily, he was not awfully easy to get on with, though I had a wonderfully good time when we were in New York together; at meetings of the Fellowship Electors he would listen patiently until suddenly exploding; remember a meeting of the electors when Martin Rees had got onto the list two very brilliant young men and Sydney Brenner gave them a terrific grilling; Martin said to him when they left, "You weren't interviewing them for a Nobel Prize"; arrived too late in life to make real friendships at King's; Tony Tanner was in America when I arrived; he had gone to Johns Hopkins and had resigned, but decided immediately it was a disaster so returned; the good thing about King's was that since there was a vacancy in the faculty it didn't seem unreasonable that he should apply for his own job and get it; the snag was that it was far easier to do that since the faculty post was being advertised than to get back into King's; Edmund Leach was a bit stiff about that but it was worked in the end

9:53:21 Cambridge is mad in a way but it does work, partly because people want it to work; when I first came here it seemed to be expected of me that I should do something about the mess in the English Faculty; of course, I immediately made enemies and as a result was a total failure in everything I tried; then I saw how many vested interests there were in keeping things just as they were; I remember people of whom I have a certain respect like Hugh Sykes Davies, his vision of Cambridge which was admirable in its way, like a Platonic academy with teachers walking by the banks of the river; we discovered that there were undergraduates who had been through their three years and had never been taught directly by a member of the Faculty but by post graduates; a scandal I thought; we did a report on it for the annual faculty meeting and it was ruled out of order, they didn't want to discuss it; so we had lots of disappointments like that; I thought it would be a help to get Christopher Ricks, whom I admired, here, which we achieved; that was like dropping a match into the powder, after which there was bitter enmity on all sides; I knew Ricks well and thought we were not so different in our views about things and that if we worked together we might be able to make some sense of the place, but we couldn't; in the end I packed it in as I got so tired of it all; one issue was Colin MacCabe; he had done his probationary period and it was time to say whether he would be promoted or not; Ricks was violently opposed to him, not without reason; he and I went to MacCabe's lectures and found great improvements in them; Christoper admitted this but he just didn't like MacCabe and a lot of people didn't; I didn't particularly like him myself but I didn't think he ought to be treated in this way; the matter was complicated by the fact that Geoffrey Hill had applied for a lectureship, and Ricks was a great supporter of his; so MacCabe departed to glory and Hill came; it was making me ill, also I was over sixty and could go; then I had an invitation to a Chair at Columbia which seemed altogether more attractive; I only stayed for two years there as I realised then that I didn't want to teach any more; I had never really left Cambridge we had kept the house; I had remarried in 1970; she was a rather brilliant literary critic, Anita Van Vactor, much admired in some American circles but not well-known here; she did some teaching here and helped Tony Tanner with the American course

19:25:14 On religious beliefs: Church of England, choirboy, I think more as part of social aspiration than anything else; my mother was as religious as any woman of that time was likely to be; don't think my father was religious; I think I am religious but haven't got a religion; do like religious poetry and music; the annual St Mathew Passion, which I heard in London this year rather than King's, it a totally religious work; not angry with God but not very pleased with Him; Herbert is my Anglican poet; meaning of the title of my autobiography - 'Not Entitled' - implies that the wind is against you; I have been very lucky, in fact, but the war meant that six years in one's twenties were lost; also a reference to the poverty of my childhood; think that literary criticism is an important trade, an honourable occupation; I admired Empson; he was important to me though neither of us liked the other; we actually wrote together; later I came to see what a very silly man he was and after that I was able to use him; he affects the tone of what I write still; even more he affects Rix's tone strangely enough; Empson is the most powerful critical mind in our time; one became habituated to his normal insulting way of treating people; the fact that he was always slightly drunk is what is really behind all that; also, in his last years he suffered from discipleship; far too many of his writings were collected and published when it should have been seen that this was doing him a disservice; Kenneth Burke was something of a crank but had a good head on him, as they say; I had some effect from him; some too from the much despised French theorists, people like Derrida who was quite unjustly treated as a kind of madman round here; the graduate seminar at University College, London, was a happy moment in my academic life; people would come from Cambridge and the whole thing grew and grew; occasionally we would get some novelist to come and they would bring friends; it became quite famous; at that time comment was benign but then everything turned very nasty with the MacCabe affair; apart from Shakespeare, would take the complete works of Milton to a desert island