Category Archives: History

Twenties Novelists consider War Poets

I’ve just put online a paper I wrote a few years ago. It’s called ‘I too am a Murderer’: Representations of War Poets in Fictions of the 1920s. You can find it by clicking here. I first wrote it for the excellent Oxford centenary conference in 2014, where it was received quite well. I went […]

1914/2022

I’m watching ITV News, and the word Przemyśl jumps out at me from the bottom of the screen. It is one of the places where Ukranian refugees are being welcomed to Poland. But the name strikes memories, of course. This is not the first time it has been in the news. In the autumn of […]

The 1921 Census

I’ve already posted about Evadne Price’s interesting appearance in the census, and will be adding a few more details about other writers in due course. I consulted the census at the Manchester Central Reference Library, a place dear to me since my BA student days, nearly sixty years ago. Apart from the National Archives at […]

John Bull

Insofar as Horatio Bottomley’s magazine John Bull is remembered in the history books it is as a purveyor of rabid Jingoism and hatred of the ‘Germhuns’. For a while I’ve been developing the idea that there was more to it than that, and that it was a strong populist voice, critical of the status quo. […]

Beer

After a long while away, I was back at the British Library at Boston Spa today. For too long I’ve been meaning to take a proper look at Horatio Bottomley’s John Bull magazine. Today I got deep into some 1917 issues on microfilm. Loathed by the respectable in his time, and vilified by all decent […]

‘Kipling in the News’

I spent last Thursday and Friday at the Kipling in the News conference in London. It was rather a strange one, because it was what they call hybrid. Current restrictions and problems keep many from travelling, so only a few of us met at the City University near Islington. The rest joined in from afar […]

End of a War

Wars in Afghanistan don’t usually end well. This painting by Lady Butler is called Remnants of an Army. It shows William Brydon, assistant surgeon in the Bengal Army, arriving at the gates of Jalalabad in January 1842. He is bringing news of the sorry fate of 16,000 soldiers and camp followers from the 1842 retreat […]

Objectors and Tribunals

I’ve been dipping into Philip Snowden’s Autobiography (found yesterday in a charity shop). Snowden was the M.P. most consistently arguing for the rights of conscientious objectors. He is very interesting on the tribunals, claiming that the Military Service Act was generous in intention, giving definite rights to those unwilling to fight. I cannot speak too […]

Hemingway

I am an admirer of Ken Burns’s documentaries, from his revelatory series on the American Civil War to his recent very enjoyable take on Country Music. His Hemingway (now showing on BBC4) is well up to standard in most respects, clearly explaining the life and work of this remarkable writer. One thing jarred. During the […]

Horatio Bottomley and the TLS

A couple of weeks ago, the TLS published a long article by Neil Berry about that awful old rogue, Horatio Bottomley. Mr Berry took the standard line on him, deploring his dishonesty, vulgarity and jingoism, which is fair enough up to a point – but actually Bottomley’s magazine, John Bull, is much more interesting than […]