Category Archives: novels

G. F. Bradby: The Marquis’s Eye

This is my third Bradby novel, after The Lanchester Tradition, a satirical look at public schools, and For This I had Borne Him, an elegiac First World War novel. The Marquis’s Eye was published in 1904, and I took a look at it because I had read that it satirised Boer War patriotism and Mafficking. […]

Review: An Arnold Bennett Companion

Declaration of interest: I’m not exactly unbiased, since this collection includes my own essay: ‘Against Prussianism’: Bennett and the Great War’. Arnold Bennett is a great novelist who remains seriously under-celebrated. Even to many students of English Literature he is known only as Virginia Woolf’s whipping boy. Cultivated readers who can talk sensibly The Great […]

First fictional psychoanalysis?

Rose Allatini’s novel When I was a Queen in Babylon (1921) is uneven, but contains many pleasures and surprises. I’ll write a fuller account of it later, but now want to ask: Is this the first English novel to contain a description of Freudian psychoanalytical sessions? Plenty of other novelists were interested in Freudian ideas […]

The Well of Loneliness

Radclyffe Hall’s The Well of Loneliness is rarely mentioned in discussions of war novels. It is famous as the novel about Lesbianism that was prosecuted and banned in 1928. The War, though, is at the heart of the novel. Stephen, the ‘invert’ heroine has been shunned and rejected in peacetime. War gives her a chance […]

The War Workers

The good news is that on  the Reading 1900-1950 blog there is a new review by Val383 of E.M. Delafield’s The War Workers, one of my favourites among novels published during the War years. The even better news is that The War Workers is now available as an ebook from  Girlebooks, an organisation new to […]

Theosophists and lesbians

One of my current projects is trying to understand Rose Allatini, author of the remarkable novel Despised and Rejected (1918). Since the novel was prosecuted and banned, it is not surprising that Allatini seems to have shirked the subject of deviant sexualities in her later fiction. The 1935 novel Girl of Good Family (written under […]

Letchworth (a footnote to John Buchan)

In John Buchan’s  Mr Standfast (1919), Richard Hannay is sent on an undercover mission to ‘the Garden City of Biggleswick’, to live among the   high-minded pacifists who set the place’s tone. One of the residents describes the city: ‘It is one great laboratory of thought,’ said Mrs Jimson. ‘It is glorious to feel that […]

‘An Arnold Bennett Companion’

The very good news is that An Arnold Bennett Companion, edited by John Shapcott, has now been published. The cover, by the way, is one of Bennett’s own watercolours. I’m especially interested in this book because it includes a chapter by me, on Arnold Bennett and the Great War.

Margate, 1922

In The Waste Land (1922). T.S. Eliot, having spent time in Margate while recovering from a nervous breakdown, wrote: “On Margate Sands. I can connect Nothing with nothing. The broken finger-nails of dirty hands. My people humble people who expect Nothing.” In 1922 (the annus mirabilis of modernism) Margate was also referenced in another key […]

‘For This I Had Borne Him’ by G. F. Bradby

During the Boer War, G.F. Bradby had written caustically about the way the British were conducting the campaign, and about the moral support given by the Church. As well as his Kipling parody, ‘Processional’, which I have mentioned before, he wrote, among other poems, ‘The Concentration Camps: October, 1901’: Five thousand little children’s graves upon […]

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