Books: The Making of a Writer

MIDNIGHT OIL by V.S. PRITCHETT 271 pages. Random House. $6.95.

This is the second and apparently the final volume in the autobiography of Britain's best literary critic as well as one of its wisest and sanest men of letters. Pritchett's elegant prose and range of knowledge might suggest that he is a product of a proud public school and Oxford. But in Volume 1, A Cab at the Door, he wrote of a decidedly lower-middle-class upbringing as the child of feckless and eccentric parents.

Midnight Oil begins with the story of how he became a writer without benefit of higher education, literary mentors...

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