The Metropolitan Critic
My first book, The Metropolitan Critic was published in 1974 by Faber & Faber. There was only ever a hardback. A second edition, with a new Foreword and postscripts to the essays, was published by Jonathan Cape in hardback in 1994, and was followed up in 1995 by a Picador paperback. Julian Barnes used to make jokes about how the original edition had two photographs of me on the jacket. The second edition had four of them.
A postscript about postscripts: Though it attracted some kind reviews, the first edition of The Metropolitan Critic eventually seemed embarrassingly exuberant even to the man who had written it. When I reissued the book twenty years later, I attached postscripts to some of the pieces, rather than try to cheat time by toning down their style and updating their conclusions. In this, the ultimate stage of retrieval, these postscripts are retained, but so, once again, are all the original excesses. For someone who so clearly fancied himself in the book's title role, I certainly didn't set much store by a sober demeanour. Too late, and too dishonest, to try fixing that now.
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