Journals

Coming home after a few days away, I was very pleased to find copies of two journals on the doormat, and not just because each contained a book review  written by me.
Siegfried’s Journal is the publication of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship. It has my appreciative review of Merryn Williams’s very good recent anthology of Georgian poetry, but some more substantial pieces as well. Of major interest to admirers of Sassoon is a memoir by George Thomas Richardson, son of the ‘Tom Dixon’ of the Sherston books. This was written in 1985, and includes a young boy’s memories of ‘Mr Sassoon, then twenty-six years old and already becoming famous as a poet […] a tall young man, and from from the crown of his top hat down to hand-made riding-boots […] every inch the young sporting gentleman.’ George remembers the outbreak of war and the requisitioning of horses. His account of Sassoon’s war stresses his courage and proudly details the citation for his M.C., but the protest goes unmentioned.
The issue also contains a really solid piece of research by Harold Pollins, about Jewish officers in the British Army during the Great War.
Did you know that throughout the War the Jewish Chronicle regularly printed the slogan: ‘England has been all she could be to Jews, Jews will be all they can be to England.’?
The other publication is the Newsletter of the Arnold Bennett Society, which includes my review of John Shapcott’s new edition of The Pretty Lady, but focuses  more on Clayhanger, which will be the main topic at this year’s Bennett conference in Stoke. There is an interesting article on the 1970s TV adaptation of the novel, which was designed to be ITV’s answer to the BBC’s big hit with The Forsyte Saga. It is the telly Forsytes that have given Galsworthy his current reputation as a purveyor of posh soap opera, and unfortunately the TV  Clayhanger didn’t even catch the public’s imagination in the way that the Forsytes did, leaving many with the impression that Bennett belonged to the category of worthy but dull. Which is both unjust and untrue.

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