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Butchering remainders


Penelope Fitzgerald

I’m reading J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country at the moment, for reasons which really aren’t worth going into, but the Penguin Classics edition is enlivened by a slyly humorous introduction by the late Penelope Fitzgerald, an introduction which opens with this little gem:

“I first heard of J.L. Carr through a apassage in Michael Holroyd’s Unreceived Opinions. Holroyd had had, from George Ellerbeck, a family butcher in Kettering, a letter telling him he had won the Ellerbeck Literary Award, consisting of a non-transferable meat token for one pound of best steak and a copy of Carr’s novel The Harpole Report . . . The letter went on: ‘The prize is only awarded at infrequent intervals, and you are only its third recipient. The circumstances are that Mr Carr, who makes a living by writing, is one of my customers and pays me in part with unsold works known, I understand, as Remainders.’ Never before or snce have I heard of anyone who managed to settle up with a butcher, even in part, with Remainders. It is a rational and beneficial idea, but it took Jim Carr to carry it out.”

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One Comment Post a comment
  1. I hope that butcher made sausages too. They are also rational and beneficial 🙂

    March 21, 2009

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