The Case of the Initial Letter – Q&A with Gavin Edwards

Posted by Bethan Hirst - Monday, 10 Aug 2020


  1. How would you like someone who has read your book to sum it up in one sentence?

It links political commitments and literary style in unusual and illuminating ways.

2. What book in your field has inspired you the most?

A very important book for me was Donald McKenzie’s Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts which, as Roger Chartier says, ‘sweeps aside the barriers between disciplines, and breaks down traditional subject boundaries’.

3. Did your research take you to any unexpected places?

Literally, it took me to the Bauhaus Archiv in Berlin, a very welcoming institution where I was able to look at the products of Bauhaus printing innovations in the 1920s and 1930s. And wandering around Berlin was fascinating.

4. Which writing process do you use (computer, longhand, dictate, other)?

Computer and longhand; just one or just the other I find boring and tiring.

5. Why did you choose to publish with MUP?

The Interventions: Rethinking the Nineteenth Century series is just right for my book.

6. What are you working on now?

Nothing yet (I’m retired). I’m reading novels, watching online movies, and – like most people – trying to think about my own and the planet’s future.

7. If you could have been the author of any book, what would it be and why?

Dante’s Inferno which made such a strong impression on me when I read in a parallel text version as a student many decades ago.

8. What other genres do you enjoy reading?

I enjoy novels, especially translations of novels written in other parts of the world that I want to find out more about; history; political theory and strategy.

9. Which authors (academic and not) would you invite to a dinner party?

Maj Sjöwall, Per Wahlöö, Vasily Grossman, Sara Paretski, Samuel Johnson, Pryamvada Gopal, Donald McKenzie.

The case of the initial letter, by Gavin Edwards is now available. Discover more about this brand new title.


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