Category Archives: novels

‘Utterly Immoral’ – Robert Keable and ‘Simon called Peter’

Simon Keable-Elliott is the grandson of the novelist Robert Keable, and is understandably interested in his grandfather’s life and work – and especially in Simon called Peter, the book that caused outrage in Britain when published in 1921. It is the story of an Anglican clergyman who goes to war as a chaplain, but starts […]

‘New Army Education’

I learned to wash in shell-holes, and to shave myself in tea,While the fragments of a mirror did a balance on my knee.I learned to dodge the whizz-bangs and the flying lumps of lead,And to keep a foot of earth between the snipers and my head.I learned to keep my haversack well-filled with buckshee food,To […]

The Good, The Bad and The Extraordinary

The Sheffield Hallam University Popular Fiction Reading Group (1900-1950) has now reached its tenth birthday, and celebrations are planned. There will be an event at the University on July 19th (of which more later), and there will be a publication. The Good, the Bad and the Extraordinary is a collection of reviews by members of […]

Geoffrey Hill on Owen, Rosenberg and ‘Pity’

This post is a recommendation to take a look at the lectures that the late Geoffrey Hill gave when Professor of Poetry at Oxford between 2010 and 2015.You can find them at: https://www.english.ox.ac.uk/professor-sir-geoffrey-hill-lectures I don’t know how long they’ve been online, and this is probably old news to many people, but I’ve only just discovered […]

Woolf, ‘Sapper’, Edgar Wallace

Sometimes the census just tells you what you already knew. Here is the return submitted by Leonard and Virginia Woolf, from an address oddly transcribed as ‘Rodmell, Lewes, Southease & Rodmell, Sussex, England’: Living with the couple are Nellie and Lettie, brought to life so vividly in Alison Light’s book Mrs Woolf and the Servants.

Bourne

I loked for Frederic Manning in the 1921 census, and found him at Edenham, near Bourne in Lincolnshire: He was lodging with the family of Joseph Kirby, a farm labourer, and probably starting to write Her Privates We. He named the hero of the novel Bourne, the same as the village. He must have liked […]

Rosie

Over the time I’ve spent with Rose Allatini, author of Despised and Rejected, and so frequently disappointed by life, I have found her using several names: R. Allatini, A.T. Fitzroy, R.L. Scott, Mrs Cyril Scott, Lucian Wainwright, Eunice Buckley… Now, in the 1921 census, she has yet another name. The census was taken just a […]

Evadne Price tells the truth (to an extent)

A life-story that I’ve been interested in for a long while is that of Evadne Price, who as ‘Helen Zenna Smith’ wrote Not So Quiet…, one of the most striking pretend-memoirs of the war. By now it is accepted that she is the Eva Price who was born in Australia in 1888, married a man […]

Listening to Kipling

Yesterday I spent a very enjoyable evening listening to Kipling. The Kipling Society has for a while organised regular Zoom get-togethers where memebers and enthusiasts take turns to read favourites from the Kipling canon – poems, or parts of stories, or songs. Yesterday, there were about twenty of us reading, and I came away with […]

Handbook of British Literature and Culture of the First World War

It’s arrived. This Handbook has been a long time in the preparation. The editors, Ralf Schneider and Jane Potter, originally hoped to publish it during the centenary period, but problems had to be overcome, and contributors had to be coordinated, so it has only recently arrived on Amazon – and my contributor’s copy arrived today. […]