COLLECTION by Robert Aickman
PUBLICATION Tartarus Press
ARTWORK by Stephen J Clark
Jacketed Hard Cover ISBN 978-1-905784-68-4 [£32.50]
Robert Aickman (1914-1981) knew himself to be 'several different people'writer of 'strange stories' and novelist, critic, literary agent, and saviour of the waterways. The River Runs Uphill, mostly written in 1967 and first published in 1986, is Aickmans second volume of autobiography, the first being The Attempted Rescue (1966). This new edition reinstates material pruned by Aickman from earlier drafts, including the original 'Chapter Ten: Kyogen', which deals with his theatre criticism and other matters related to 'life, death and the human heart'. Other reinstated passages add colour and detail to the story of the part played by Aickman in the post-War struggle to save the British waterways from abandonment and destruction, which lies at the heart of this book.
The River Runs Uphill is largely an account of the first few years of the Inland Waterways Association, the campaigning organisation founded by Aickman, his wife Ray, and Angela and L.T.C. Rolt in 1946, up to the Market Harborough Festival of Boats and Arts in 1950, and the publication of We Are For the Dark with Elizabeth Jane Howard in 1951. It is a story of some adventure and romance, with Aickman casting himself in the role of knight errant, spending the greater part of twenty years fighting for the cause, often battling divergent interests and dissenting personalities in his own organisation. Aickmans fascinating views and opinions are given a thorough airing in The River Runs Uphill, and we are presented with a more informed view of the author as a formidable campaigner and leader.