Obituary: John Carswell
Friday 28 November 1997
Although I never met the other John Carswell, over the years our paths have crossed with some confusion. His mother was Catherine Carswell, a friend of D.H. Lawrence; my mother bore the same name, and was not. He was a writer and so am I; indeed, at one stage we both had the same publisher, Oxford University Press, which was under the illusion in its catalogue that we were one and the same. When I was sent his royalties by mistake, I was cheered up to find they were as meagre as mine.
A little later, I received a letter from Sir George Weidenfeld, correctly addressed to me in Beirut, inviting me to write a book about the rise of the British economy in the 18th century. I replied that, while this was not in the forefront of my mind, I would be happy to write about the fall of the Armenians in the 17th century. I did not receive a reply.
Over the years, I had bills both from his wine merchant and his bootmaker. I also received an invitation to become a member of the Travellers Club, which I accepted with alacrity. I may well be an impostor.
When he was Secretary of the British Academy, he sent me a letter addressed to "Dear John Carswell" telling me the academy had just awarded me a grant of pounds 5,000, and signed "John Carswell". At this point he must surely have become aware of the complications of having an alter ego. In 1967, as I wrote fervent letters to the Times from Beirut about the plight of the Palestinians, it was unfortunately he who became the target of vociferous attacks from British Zionists, who had looked up the name in the London telephone book.
We never met, and friends who knew both of us said that this was perhaps just as well. But, now he is no longer with us, I rather miss him.
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
- 1 Scottish independence results live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
- 2 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 3 Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scottish independence results live - The reunited kingdom: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum
Iranian blogger found guilty of insulting Prophet Mohammad on Facebook sentenced to death
Scottish independence: YouGov final prediction puts No campaign 8 points ahead - but Yes team remains optimistic
Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Highly Competitive Package: Austen Lloyd: CITY - FINANCIAL SERVICES - Senior...
Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Residential Conveyancer - Wiltshire We have a...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Leicester: Long term position for a KS2...
£24000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Graduate BI Consultant (B...