Not Entitled A Memoir

Frank Kermode

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

272 Pages



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From one of the great modern critics of English literature comes this wholly different kind of text: a luminous account of his own life. Throughout this uniquely personal work, Frank Kermode touches on the deeper, lighter, ineffable issues of autobiography, and he does so with his characteristic grace, precision, and amused wisdom. Tracing his life from his childhood through his six years in the Royal Navy during World War II, and from his student days in Liverpool to his battles at Cambridge over the literature curriculum and faculty, he shows us the miraculous connections between life and literature, between the world and the word. Indeed, Not Entitled transforms and ennobles both phenomena.


Praise for Not Entitled

"A beautifully composed memoir . . . this may be Frank Kermode's most quietly brilliant, as it is his most endearing, achievement."—Michael Dirda, The Washington Post

"An oddly beautiful, or beautifully odd, book—a witty and rueful exercise in self-deprecation . . . Not Entitled remarkably conveys the 'microclimate' of depression at the heart of a clever diffidence while being steadily entertaining, and even poetical."—John Updike, The New Yorker

"A triumph of tone . . . Kermode has written mainly of the gentle shocks and surprises that compose the part of a life that we choose. He has remembered safely and remembered well."—David Bromwich, The New York Times Book Review

"Vividly rendered . . . This engaging memoir hearkens to the faint yet lingering music of lost time."—Robert Taylor, The Boston Globe

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Frank Kermode

  • Frank Kermode has written and edited many works, including Forms of Meaning and The Oxford Book of Letters. He lives in Cambridge, England, and teaches frequently in the United States.