On Ebay again, I’ve bought a job lot of David Low caricatures as issued as supplements to the New Statesman in 1926.

Most are named, but one is puzzling me:

The initials Y.Y. are foxing me – though I have an idea that I ought to know who this is. Can anyone enlighten me?

All of the caricatures are pretty good, but this one of Lloyd George really delights me:


  1. janevsw
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    According to this it’s Robert Lynd – I think the letters are a red herring.

    • janevsw
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Found here by reverse image searching (right-click on image if you are in Chrome and select the “Search for this image in Google” option: I had to add David Low caricature bookshelves to the search box before it picked this up.


  2. Andrew Brown
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Apparently YY were the initials that he used to write under for the New Statesman. I think it was meant to be that if you said Ys out loud it sounds like ‘Wise’…

    • Roger
      Posted May 14, 2020 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      …or a reference to the children’s verse:

      YY U R
      YY U B
      IC U R
      YY 4 ME


  3. Posted May 14, 2020 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    According to Lynd’s Wikipedia page, ‘He used the pseudonym Y.Y. (Ys, or wise) in writing for the New Statesman.’

  4. Tom Deveson
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Warning – rude word alert:


    In Robert Lynd’s essay ‘James Joyce and a New Kind of Fiction’ [1935] I read the sentence:

    ‘There are things that even hardened war veterans do not like to see in cold print.’

    Was he thinking of:


    ‘…Shouts rang shrill from the boys’ playfield and a whirring whistle.
    Again: a goal. I am among them, among their battling bodies in a medley, the joust of life. You mean that knockkneed mother’s darling who seems to be slightly crawsick? Jousts. Time shocked rebounds, shock by shock. Jousts, slush and uproar of battles, the frozen deathspew of the slain, a shout of spearspikes baited with men’s bloodied guts….’


    ‘…PRIVATE CARR: (With ferocious articulation) I’ll do him in, so help me fucking Christ! I’ll wring the bastard fucker’s bleeding blasted fucking windpipe!
    OLD GUMMY GRANNY: (Thrusts a dagger towards Stephen’s hand) Remove him, acushla. At 8.35 a.m. you will be in heaven and Ireland will be free. (She prays) O good God, take him!…’


    Sinbad the Sailor and Tinbad the Tailor and Jinbad the Jailer and Whinbad the Whaler and Ninbad the Nailer and Finbad the Failer and Binbad the Bailer and Pinbad the Pailer and Minbad the Mailer and Hinbad the Hailer and Rinbad the Railer and Dinbad the Kailer and Vinbad the Quailer and Linbad the Yailer and Xinbad the Phthailer….’


    ‘…I hate those eels cod yes Ill get a nice piece of cod Im always getting enough for 3 forgetting anyway Im sick of that everlasting butchers meat from Buckleys loin chops and leg beef and rib steak and scrag of mutton and calfs pluck the very name is enough or a picnic suppose we all gave 5/- each and or let him pay it and invite some other woman for him who Mrs Fleming and drove out to the furry glen or the strawberry beds wed have him examining all the horses toenails first like he does with the letters…’

    James Joyce and his wife Nora Barnacle held their wedding lunch at the Lynds’ house after getting married at Hampstead Town Hall on 4 July 1931.

  5. Tom Deveson
    Posted May 14, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    The L-G is excellent.

    My parents had this over which I used to pore. My brother has it now:

  6. Posted May 14, 2020 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Thanks to all those who’ve set me straight on this. I’ve not read Robert Lynd. I wonder if he’s worth it. Looks like a nice chap, anyway.

    • lydiasyson
      Posted May 15, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      He is well worth reading! A model essay writer and very charming. Very funny on light matters and very wise on Irish and international ones. David Low was a good friend and Hampstead neighbour of the Lynds, and writes fondly and amusingly of both, and of Sylvia’s gatherings (and also Joyce lurking in the bottom of the garden avoiding party games, if I remember rightly) in his autobiography.

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