Category Archives: novels

‘The House by the River’

Last year I gave a paper at the Oxford War Poetry conference, about the ways that war poets were depicted in novels of the twenties. I gave it the title ‘I too am a murderer’(a quotation from Patrick Hamilton’s Rope) – but I had no idea then that there was a 1921 in novel in […]

Eliot, Lawrence and ‘Lady Chatterley’

From the forthcoming BBC version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover Last week’s Times Literary Supplement included a recently rediscovered 1927 essay by T. S. Eliot on modern British novelists. Eliot’s judgement on D. H. Lawrence is devastating:

C. S. Forester: Randall and the River of Time (1951)

A few days ago I complained that C.S. Forster had chosen to ignore the military achievements of the last hundred days of the War when he write The General, his attack on hidebound military incompetence. In Randall and the River of Time, written fourteen years later, he made up for this by giving a very […]

‘Barbed Wire’ and Hall Caine

This is just a quick note to recommend the film Barbed Wire (1927), available from Grapevine Video. Pola Negri plays a Frenchwoman whose family’s farm is commandeered by the authorities as a prison camp for captured Germans. At first she is prejudiced against them, because her brother has been reported killed in action. Gradually, though, […]

C. S. Forester, Hornblower and ‘The General’

It is C.S. Forester month at the Sheffield Hallam Popular Fiction Reading Group, and I have been reading (with considerable pleasure) the first Hornblower novel, The Happy Return (1937), but also re-reading The General (1936), Forester’s brilliant fictionalisation of the Liddell Hart view of the Great War and its military leadership. Reading the two 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 […]

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