Author Archives: George Simmers

After many years as a teacher, I retired and began researching for a Ph.D. on the fiction of the Great War – especially the books, stories and plays that were written during the War or immediately afterwards.

Wikipedia Day

Today I went to Sheffield Hallam University for a day course in editing Wikipedia. I rather enjoyed it. There was some instruction in using the Wikipedia mark-up language; this is not difficult, but is annoyingly different from HTML, and is not entirely intuitive, so takes a bit of getting used to. Then, with Jbosh1940 I […]

Jon Stallworthy (1935-2014)

I was very sad to learn today of the death of Jon Stallworthy, who did so much for First World War literary studies. He was the external examiner for my doctorate, and I treasure the memory of the afternoon I spent being gently but meticulously questioned about my thesis by someone who knew so much […]

Poppies, adverts, libraries

Next spring, Sainsbury’s will doubtless be celebrating Easter with a feelgood mini-movie about the crucifixion, so that they can sell more chocolate eggs. A good-looking young Roman soldier could cheer up the Virgin Mary by handing her a Kinder Surprise… It’s been a funny old fortnight for Remembrance-watchers. I didn’t get to see the poppies […]

Jonathan Smith’s ‘Wilfred and Eileen’

When I was in Lamb’s Conduit Street the other week, I couldn’t pass the Persephone Bookshop without popping in. I came out with a copy of Wilfred and Eileen, first published in 1976, and reissued by Persphone last year. It’s a book I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Jonathan Smith was a teacher […]

Shell-Shock and magic: ‘The Enchanted Cottage’ (1924)

When I first heard of the 1924 film The Enchanted Cottage I was told it belonged to the vast legion of the many, many lost silent movies. Then I learned from the useful Silent Era website that a print did exist in the Library of Congress archive. And now a DVD is on sale from […]

F. W. Harvey’s lost novel: ‘A War Romance’

F.W. Harvey’s poetry achieved considerable fame during the Great War, but he has never become a sizeable presence in more recent anthologies. (Which is why I posted one of his poems here yesterday; I was willing to bet that not very many people knew it.) He has his enthusiastic supporters, though, in Glocestershire and elsewhere, […]

F. W. Harvey’s ‘Ballad of Army Pay’

I shall soon be posting a review of F.W.Harvey’s recently rediscovered novel, A War Romance. In the meantime, though, I can’t resist posting this poem of Harvey’s, since he’s a poet who doesn’t get reprinted enough. (He isn’t even in my favourite anthology The Winter of the World, though he should be). Harvey’s biographer says, […]

A. J. P. Taylor’s captions

A. J. P Taylor’s Penguin history book, The First World War: An Illustrated History, probably did as much as Oh What a Lovely War to imprint on those growing up in the the sixties and seventies the ironic view of the First World War as merely a futile waste, conducted by buffoons. Even those who […]

Helen Zenna Smith, and the Manchester Guardian

I’ll be giving a talk at the Marginalised Mainstream conference in November, about the various literary disguises of Evadne Price, and especially the novels she wrote under the pseudonym ‘Helen Zenna Smith’. Out of curiosity, I took a look at the Manchester Guardian archive, to see whether they had reviewed her novels, and found a […]

‘War, Art and Surgery’ at the Hunterian Museum

I had a bit of spare time in London last Friday, so took a look at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons in Lincoln’s Inn Fields. I’d never been there before. The main museum space is packed with medical curiosities – deformed skulls and pickled gall bladders, that sort of thing. Invaluable […]


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