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New Left Review I/3, May-June 1960

Colin Falck

The Glittering Coffin

by Dennis Potter: Gollancz, 18s.

dennis potter’s “scattered, highly impressionistic and youthful description of a few of the social and political problems of present-day Britain” had so much national reviewing space and talent lavished on it at the time of its publication that there ought not to be anything left to say. And in fact, when allowances have been made for the occasional middle-aged obtuseness that refused to see that the book was about anything at all (and for the strange and personal vindictiveness of the Guardian reviewer who, though not yet middle-aged, refused to see that the New Left was about anything at all either), there was a remarkable agreement in critical judgments from which, for the most part, I have no wish to dissent. But the very fact of this reverential treatment, with the implication that here at last is the authentic voice of the New Left (which therefore deserves to be listened to seriously and even, being still small, to be patronisingly encouraged), may well make the New Left wonder whether to regard The Glittering Coffin as an asset or an embarrassment. The serialisation in The Daily Sketch can hardly have done much good to anyone’s reputation.

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Colin Falck, ‘The Glittering Coffin’, NLR I/3: £3

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