In Youth is Pleasure
by Denton Welch
Foreword by William Burroughs
272 pages, paperback
First published in 1945, In Youth is Pleasure is a beautiful and unassuming coming-of-age novel by the English writer and painter Denton Welch (1915-1948). Painfully sensitive and sad Orville Pym is fifteen years old, and this novel recounts the summer holiday after his first miserable year at public school — but as in all of Welch’s work what is most important are the details of his characters’ surroundings. Welch is a Proustian writer of uncanny powers of observation who, as William Burroughs writes, “makes the reader aware of the magic that is right under his eyes.” Also included in this edition is the first U.S. publication of I Left my Grandfather’s House. This first-person account of a idyllic walking tour in the British countryside undertaken when Welch was eighteen makes a fascinating companion piece to the fictionalized, though no less autobiographical, In Youth is Pleasure.
“Welch has achieved a curious kind of cult status, his name bandied about by critics but little known among the public at large… This exquisitely designed reissue is an exhilarating literary event.” — New York Newsday
“Denton Welch makes the reader aware of the magic that is right under his eyes… Whenever a student tells me he has nothing to write about I refer him to Denton Welch. It is time Denton received the attention he deserves.”
— William S. Burroughs
“Delicacy of perception is precisely the same thing as delicacy of description. Denton Welch is like a British baby Proust in his astounding grasp of his own (usually ‘mundane’) experience. Nothing much happens in his books but the most wonderful writing.”
— Richard Hell
“The masterpiece of British sissy literature… there couldn’t be a queerer book.” — Out!
“Beauty goes hand in hand with terror, formal elegance with informal brutality, the archaic with the modern.”
— Marguerite Young, New York Times Book Review