A Vanished Hand: My Autograph Album

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A Vanished Hand: My Autograph Album is a postscript to Anthony Rudolf's memoir of childhood, The Arithmetic of Memory (1999) and accompanies the newly published Silent Conversations: A Reader's Life. The autograph album, testimony to Rudolf's teenage years, was presumed lost for thirty years until it emerged, energies intact, beneath a pile of books in the author's loft. Describing the circumstances of each autograph, he is led down unexpected trails, such as a visit to Bushey Jewish Cemetery, where he explores the wording on Alma Cogan's tombstone, only a few yards from that of the author's parents. All the autographs are reproduced, among them Rudolf's summer hero, Denis Compton, and his winter hero Billy Wright. A high point is the hilarious account of the longest table tennis point ever played, triggered by the autograph of Alex Ehrlich. In addition to these three memoirs, Anthony Rudolf, born in London in 1942, has written several other books, most recently, Zigzag (2010), a volume of poetry and related prose. His writings include literary and art criticism, short stories under the narrative influence of Paula Rego and poetry translations from French and Russian. An occasional broad-caster, he was visiting lecturer in Arts and Humanities at London Metropolitan University and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the Universities of Hertfordshire and Westminster. He is Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Association, and Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.