Category Archives: novels

Larkin and Greyfriars

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am rarely so enthusiastic as when exploring old issues of the Magnet comic, in which ‘Frank Richards’ each week delivered new instalments of the exploits of Harry Wharton, Billy Bunter and co. at Greyfriars School. Visiting Hull just in time to catch the deeply enjoyable Philip […]

‘Spy’ by Bernard Newman

The excellent news that came to me this week is that the grandchildren and step-grandchildren of Bernard Newman have taken control of his literary estate, and are engaged on the project of republishing his books. I have therefore spent two very enjoyable train journeys reading his Spy of 1935. This tells how he, Bernard Newman, […]

‘The Many Lives of Arnold Bennett’ at Keele

The fourteenth annual Arnold Bennett Conference was held at Keele University last weekend, and was an extremely enjoyable affair. Samira Ahmed It began on Friday evening, when Samira Ahmed, the BBC radio and television presenter, gave a public lecture. Her topic was ‘What can Bennett Teach Post-Brexit Britain?’ This was a lively talk, and her […]

General Kelly and Forester’s ‘The General’

Chief of Staff John Kelly has the reputation of being the most stable figure in President Trump’s chaotic White House. From what one can gather, he has brought a semblance of order and organisation to the place, and has engineered the removal of some of Mr Trump’s more erratic political associates. Earlier this year, he […]

Coming back to Dornford Yates

I read quite a bit of Dornford Yates when I was researching post-war thrillers, but I hadn’t looked at one of his novels for quite a while. Last Saturday, though, I was in the excellent Daisy Lane Books in Holmfirth, and noticed that they had a row of Yateses, so I thought I’d take another […]

Following Sassoon in France

Last week’s trip to France with Battle Honours Tours exceeded my expectations. The tour’s title was Sassoon on the Western Front, and our itinerary followed his military progress, around the places in France where he served and fought. We had two guides. Rory Stephens took us through the military background with commendably revisionist enthusiasm and […]

More on Kipling and Syphilis

Some more thoughts on this subject, partly as a response to Roger’s comment on my ‘Kipling and Syphilis’ post of a fortnight ago. How likely is it that syphilis is a theme of ‘Dayspring Mishandled’? It can at least be shown that venereal disease was a concern of Kipling’s throughout his career. As I suggested […]

‘Khaki and Kisses’ at Sheffield

Last minute reminder for ‘Khaki and Kisses’, three talks on First World War fiction at Sheffield Hallam University tomorrow (Thursday 22nd). I shall be speaking about Great War fiction generally; then Prof. Chris Hopkins will discuss the romantic novels of Berta Ruck and Dr Erica Brown will talk about Elizabeth von Armin. Full details are […]

Wonder Woman (12A)

Huddled in a front line trench in November 1918, a Belgian refugee bemoans her flight to some visitors. Inflamed by the narrative, one of the visitors, a young woman, rips off her coat and dress, and, clad only in a sort of armour plated swimming costume, nimbly slips over the top to confront the enemy. […]

Kipling and Syphilis

The June edition of the Kipling Journal arrived today, including a letter I wrote to the editor about the story ‘Dayspring Mishandled’ (collected in Limits and Renewals of 1932). I suggest that the hidden theme of the story is the subject of syphilis (unmentionable in the family-oriented magazines where Kipling’s work was usually published) . […]