by Henry Green, introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn
Blindness—Henry Green’s first novel, begun while he was still at Eton and finished before he left university—is the story of John Haye, a young student with literary airs. It starts with an excerpt from his diary, brimming with excitement and affectation and curiosity about life and literature. Then a freak accident robs John of his sight, plunging him into despair. Forced to live with his high-handed, horsey stepmother in the country, John begins a weird dalliance with a girl named Joan, leading to a new determination. Blindness is the curse of youth and inexperience and love and ambition, but blindness, John will discover, can also be the source of vision.by Henry Green, introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn
Green’s first novel is stronger and more affecting than many a novelist’s mature work. Preternaturally accomplished in its technique and impressive in its humanity and wisdom, it suffers only in comparison to the achievement that would follow.
—From the Introduction by Daniel Mendelsohn
A quite astonishing tour de force...it announced the entry on the literary stage of the most genuinely original novelist of his day.... [Green] had an ear which was most delicately and sensitively attuned to every cadence and nuance of the English language as it is actually spoken.
Writers do not need to see but to feel, to get away from reality by closing their eyes to it. This exchange of the sensual for the cerebral is a sacrifice without which no art will be made. It is symbolized overpoweringly in Blindness.
—John Sturrock, The Times Literary Supplement
[Blindness] is a polished piece of energetic young work that students of the 20th-century novel’s development will be eager to examine. And Green’s admirers will welcome a significant addition to his relatively small canon.
Green’s remains the most interesting and vital imagination in English fiction in our time.
Green’s novels reproduce as few do the actual sensations of living.
At its highest pitch Green’s writing brings the rectangle of the printed page alive like little else in English fiction in this century.