By MICHAEL CAINES
In the spring of 1963, Sylvia Townsend Warner received a copy of some privately printed poems "inscribed with immodesty", as she put it: "from an unknown worshipper". Yet these were poems that she liked, as she frankly noted, because they were "of my own way of writing".
The poet duly received a letter of thanks (and Warner could be a wonderfully charming letter-writer of note), but, unfortunately, was to die barely a year later. Warner mourned him as a "friend I never managed to have": he was T. H. White, like her, a novelist as well a poet, and a person she was soon to get to know all too well, not as a friend, but as a biographical subject.
This was a somewhat surprising situation. . . .