B. S. Johnson (1933–1973), an admirer of Joyce and Beckett, was a novelist whose works combine verbal inventiveness with typographical innovations. His works include Albert Angelo (1964), Trawl (1966), The Unfortunates (1969), House Mother Normal (1971) and Christie Malry’s Own Double-Entry (1973).
This year is the eightieth anniversary of the birth (5 February) and, rather more sadly, the fortieth of the death (November 13) of B. S. Johnson. Now, I realize that you may not have heard of him – in fact, there’s a good chance you won’t have; the Independent once called Johnson ‘the ultimate forgotten author’ – but I’m hoping that you’ll want to know more. Why? Well . . .