Category Archives: Magazines

The Magnet

I gave my Magnet talk at Manchester yesterday. That’s one I really enjoyed researching, but I ought to move on now. I had intended to publish the paper on this blog, but I now think I’d rather wait, and incorporate it into a longer piece of writing about ways in which popular culture found ways […]

Who read the ‘Magnet’?

In its heyday the Magnet sold over 200,000 copies a week. Since many copies were likely to have been shared, passed around or swapped the readership would have been higher than this. In 1916, the magazine printed this page of readers’ photos. One wears a a straw boater and one a yarmulke; others wear cloth […]

On the night that the old cow died

You look for one thing and find another. I was checking a reference in the New Statesman of 1917 (in the pleasant Archive Room of the newly restored Central Reference Library in Manchester), and flicked through the rest of the bound volume to see what else was interesting. Much was – a grudging review of […]

Being Young During World War One

A conference on the subject of growing up during the Great War will be held at Manchester Metropolitan University on November 6th to 7th this year. I’m very happy about this because I got the email yesterday to say that they are going to let me give my paper on the Magnet comics during the […]

Kipling in ‘The Tribunal’

I’m mostly working on an essay about Kipling at the moment, so my day at Bradford reading the conscientious objectors’ paper The Tribunal was quite a bracing change of tone and political attitude. I was therefore slightly surprised when I found Kipling within these pacifist pages. As well as news of tribunals, and of the […]

C. W. Daniel, radical publisher

I spent Tuesday afternoon pleasantly, bookshopping in Sheffield, and bought something of a rarity from Rare and Racy, the books-and-music shop on Devonshire Street. It is a small pamphlet issued as a tribute to pacifist publisher C. W. Daniel, shortly after his death in 1955. I’ve written about Daniel here before, especially after my research […]

A Sassoon afternoon

I spent a pleasant afternoon yesterday at the Annual general meeting of the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship. We met in the Lamb pub in Lamb’s Conduit Street, Bloomsbury. This used to be Charles Dickens’s local, apparently, and it’s where Ted Hughes took Sylvia Plath on their first date. And they serve very good fish and chips. […]

Sickbed reading: Wodehouse, Mitford, Horatio Bottomley

I’ve been a bit knocked sideways by illness for the past week, so the big question has been – what to read? Previously, I had been reading a lot of Henry Williamson, but he was out of the question. Williamson can make me feel queasy even when I’m in the best of health. My daughter […]

The Wipers Times (and Wodehouse?)

Next week on BBC TV there’s a promising-looking film about The Wipers Times. Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are the authors. It will tell the story of how they found a printing press under the blasted ramparts of Ypres, and put it to use to create a very witty paper.  I Like Newman’s comments on […]

P.G. Wodehouse and Shell-Shock Amnesia

The Indiscretions of Archie (1920) is an odd book, and one of Wodehouse’s less satisfactory novels. I think it was written in America, before Wodehouse returned to England after the War, though it imagines an Englishman crossing the Atlantic in the opposite direction. The original Strand Magazine serialisation began: Peace had come at last. The […]


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