James’s inveighing as usual against the modern world, almost all the lower classes and not a few of the upper ones, but when he’s in a sunnier mood his old sweet self. Good on gossip because he doesn’t care if the subjects of his mordancy survive to read his diary entries once published. Always good on houses – well, for gosh sake, you’d expect that, given his cv. Very very good on fleeting views of landscapes, ‘fleeting’ because glimpsed in fading or otherwise swift-changing light, weather conditions, seasons etc. His love for his dogs and his shame and self-hatred when he’s been beastly to them very touching. Some hilarious anecdotes. Not enuf, I think, given the surrounding cocoon of self-preoccupation. Be warned. Some entries here overlap with those for the years 1971-73 of ‘Diaries 1971-1983’. Not all, though, so you have to read both volumes to savour every nugget. And ‘Diaries 1971-1983’ is itself an abridgement. His wife Alvilde a constantly brooding presence, mostly off stage but with some good entrances and lines in the scenes that follow.