Category Archives: novels

What Helen Zenna Smith did next

It’s good to read someone enthusiastic for Not So Quiet… by ‘Helen Zenna Smith’ (alias Evadne Price). On the Paris Review website, Lucy Scholes makes a strong case for the book (admiring it with fewer reservations than I did in my 2014 paper on Evadne Price and her rather wonderful life of untruths.) Lucy Scholes […]

Arnold Bennett at the MOI

I’ve just added a new piece to my online ‘Pieces of Longer Writing’. It’s the text of a paper I gave at an Arnold Bennett Society conference in Stoke in 2017, giving an account of Bennett’s work when he was at the Ministry of Information in 1918.

Kipling advertises War Bonds

I spent a pleasant day in the British Library at Boston Spa yesterday, looking at copies of the Star evening newspaper for 1918. Among the things that caught my eye was this advertisement for War Bonds, featuring Kipling at his most rhetorically fierce. I’ve read quite a bit of war propaganda over the years, but […]

Commando No 5181

Commando comics have been on sale since 1961. For those who don’t know them – they have a small, square format, containing 64 pages of black-and-white drawings telling a war story, most often about the Second World War. They are published by D.C. Thompson of Dundee, publishers of the once-mighty Beano. The Beano is not […]

P.G. Wodehouse – the Man and his Work

The P.G. Wodehouse exhibition at the British Library that I mentioned a few weeks ago is now happily in place, and Marion and I visited while in London earlier this week. It is a fairly  small affair, in the Sir John Ritblat Treasures of the British Library room. The last exhibit I saw in that space […]

Munnings as war artist

In my ignorance, I had never realised that Alfred Munnings was a war artist. Has he featured in any of the war painting exhibitions I’ve seen over the years? If so, I don’t remember.  But a war artist he was, in 1918, embedded within the Canadian cavalry, and later with the Canadian Forestry Corps. Usually […]

Not Such Quiet Girls…

This is just a brief note to say how much I enjoyed Not Such Quiet Girls… presented by Opera North in the Howard Assembly rooms in Leeds last week. The main storyline is about a lesbian relationship that flowers in France but collapses with the end of the war. (Hall is perhaps the main influence […]

Buchan’s ‘Castle Gay’

My review of John Buchan’s CastleGay (1930) is now online on the Reading 1900-1950 website: https://reading19001950.wordpress.com/2018/11/19/castle-gay-1930-by-john-buchan/

‘Lest We Forget’ at IWM North

Selecting the Unknown Soldier. Image from ‘Lest We Forget’ Until February 24, 1919, there is a very good free exhibition at the Salford branch of the IWM. ‘Lest we Forget’ is about remembrance, and ways in which the Great War cast its shadow over succeeding years. The exhibition starts with the dead – a wall […]

Scottish Women’s Hospital

I was browsing through the interesting sequence of  Persephone Posts, and came across a link to this archive film of the Scottish Women’s Hospitals founded by Elsie Inglis: http://movingimage.nls.uk/film/0035http://movingimage.nls.uk/film/0035 It gives an idea of life in the fourteen field hospitals set up by the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies in various European theatres of […]