Letters of Introduction
In Letters of Introduction Kevin Jackson invents a new genre, the Alphabet Essay. Always inventive, scholarly and sometimes zany, Jackson approaches ten writers and two 'themes', building an alphabet around each: 'A is for' to 'Z is for'. The alphabet touches on his subjects' history, their culture, their private and intimate lives, their anxieties, and most importantly their achievement. The Alphabets are introductory and exploratory. Jackson picks his way through the worlds of Hildegard of Bingen, William Blake, Dante, Duke Ellington, Freud, Goethe, the Harlem Renaissance, Paul Klee, Friedrich Nietzsche, Surrealism, Andy Warhol and Marguerite Yourcenar. As he goes he finds out more and more, by association, through legend and gossip, in imagination. It is a wonderful process, an approach which imposes wonderful juxtapositions and elicits delicious ironies. The form is redolent of childhood, the content is remote from childish things.