BS Johnson's novel 'The Unfortunates'
From Hayley Cotterill on August 21st, 2017
Brian Stanley Johnson (1933-1973) set his 1969 novel The Unfortunates in Nottingham. The novel is an experimental ‘book in a box’ made up of 27 unbound sections. The first and last chapter are specified but the remainder can be read in any order. The book takes the form of memories of his friendship with Anthony Tillinghast, a University of Nottingham student and academic, whose early death from cancer had a profound effect on Johnson, who committed suicide aged forty. One section gives Johnson’s opinions of the newly completed Portland Building at the University, with its ‘unnecessarily wide corridors’, ‘enormous rooms for relaxation’ and ‘spongy new armchairs’.
A first edition of the book (Special Collection PR6060.O46) featured in the Weston Gallery exhibition Collected Words: From the Literary Collections at the University of Nottingham