Category Archives: novels

G. F. Bradby

Last week, as I mentioned, I was impressed by this Kipling parody, which I found in the conscientious objectors’ magazine, The Tribunal Processional Lord God of battles, whom we seek On clouds and tempests throned afar, When, tired of being tamely weak, We maffick into deadly war. If it should chance to be a sin, […]

Kipling: war as ‘crazy cinema’

From a letter to Andrew Macphail, April 1917: Make up your mind that we of this generation cannot overtake the war as it is. That will be done by the ’emotion recollected in quietude’ of our children – or our grandchildren. Even for us at the back emotion and passion is overlaid like a crazy […]

Warwick Deeping’s ‘Old Wine and New’

Asked to write about Sorrell and Son for a newspaper series on bestsellers, Kingsley Amis recorded that he began by taking umbrage at the book’s snobbery, and marked particularly repellent passages by writing ‘piss and shit’ in the margin. After a while, though, he stopped annotating, because he had become so gripped by the story. […]

The Women Police, and Warwick Deeping

It’s a hundred years since the introduction of women police in Britain, and there will be a documentary about their history on BBC4 next Monday. I wonder whether the programme will explain how very unpopular they were at first, especially with women. An interesting essay by Clare Langley-Hawthorne fills in the history. The first female […]

Rose Allatini’s husband

Cyril Scott in middle age Attempting to find out more about Rose Allatini, author of the extraordinary Despised and Rejected (1918), I’ve been looking at the autobiography of her husband Cyril Scott (1879-1970). He was a composer, and Bone of Contention (1969) is mostly about his music. It is a pleasant amble through his life, […]

W. Pett Ridge: ‘The Amazing Years’ (1917)

Few best-selling novelists are quite as forgotten as William Pett Ridge (1859–1930), who a century ago mapped the fascinating social borderland where the upper-working classes meet  the lower-middles. Social mobility is his theme, and he has the knack of getting you to care about his characters as they tread the uncertain paths of early twentieth-century […]

‘Is that all?’

From W. Pett Ridge’s novel, The Amazing Years (1917): “Where were you wounded?” was the usual inquiry, and the soldier could never tell whether the questioner wanted geographical or bodily information. “l’m sure you must be dreadfully keen on getting back to the fighting line,” was a remark that did not always gain an enthusiastic […]

Girl of Good Family by ‘Lucian Wainwright’

I have really enjoyed reading Girl of Good Family (1935) by ‘Lucian Wainwright’, a pen-name of Rose Allatini. It was written nearly twenty years after her notorious banned novel Despised and Rejected, but returns to the war years described in that book. This novel is at least partly based on Allatini’s own life, but disguises […]

Allatini after Fitzroy

Thinking about C. W. Daniel has revived my curiosity about Rose Allatini, whose novel Despised and Rejected got him into so much trouble. She lived until 1980, and apparently wrote forty-odd novels, under a variety of pseudonyms, including Lucian Wainwright, Mrs Cyril Scott, and  Eunice Buckley. I can’t find out much about them, though. Are […]

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 […]

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