Category Archives: personal

Talking about Rose

This week I gave a Zoom talk about Rose Allatini, at the kind invitation of the Huddersfield University Research Seminars. It was good to do. This year I had three academic conferences lined up at which I was to give a paper, and each of them has either been cancelled, or has disappeared into the […]

A Kipling bargain

I can’t believe my luck. Some years ago, the Cambridge University Press published Thomas Pinney’s three-volume edition of Kipling’s collected poems. I blogged about the publication at the time, but the price of the set was £225 -beyond the budget of an ageing pensioner such as myself. A few weeks ago, loitering on Bookfinder.com, as […]

Carlyle’s Statue

The news last week, suddenly, was all about the toppling of statues. When it comes to the bronze representation of a slave-owner like Colston in Bristol, my only feeling is a mild surprise that it hasn’t been quietly got rid of long ago (which would have avoided its noisy elimination this week). But when I […]

Plus

Returning readers may notice a difference in the masthead of this blog. I’m now calling it Great War Fiction Plus. The reason is simple. I started the blog back in 2006, when I was just beginning my Ph.D. research. For many years, Great War material was almost all I read. I’m still interested in the […]

Troy, and then Standen

There are many good reasons for enjoying the Troy: Myth and Reality exhibition at the British Museum. Some remarkable ancient artefacts, some fine Victorian paintings, and so on. But what filled me with delight was in a small section devoted to Troy and Gallipoli. Under a a painting of the landing a small book was […]

Playing with FaceApp

What kind of poet would Wilfred Owen have become had he survived the war? It’s one of the unanswerable questions that it’s fun to occasionally consider. It happened to be in the back of my mind when I was playing with the silly but clever little computer program, FaceApp, which takes any photo portrait and […]

‘The Many Lives of Arnold Bennett’ at Keele

The fourteenth annual Arnold Bennett Conference was held at Keele University last weekend, and was an extremely enjoyable affair. Samira Ahmed It began on Friday evening, when Samira Ahmed, the BBC radio and television presenter, gave a public lecture. Her topic was ‘What can Bennett Teach Post-Brexit Britain?’ This was a lively talk, and her […]

To the Front, with Sassoon

Marion and I are off to London today, and tomorrow will be heading to Ebbsfleet, to join a tour organised by Battle Honours, in conjunction with the Siegfried Sassoon Fellowship: Siegfried Sassoon on the Western Front. We’ll be following the poet’s wartime career, beginning in Festubert, where he met Robert Graves (‘a young poet, captain […]

Aberdeen

I’m looking forward to heading north to Aberdeen tomorrow. Mostly because of the Fictional First World War conference, but also because it is where my father’s family comes from. My grandfather (also George Simmers) was born there in 1868, at 191, Gallowgate. This picture, of another house in the street, probably gives an idea of […]

The York National Book Fair

I hadn’t been to an event like this for a couple of years, so enjoyed my visit to York Racecourse on Friday, to what is billed as Britain’s largest Antiquarian book fair. I didn’t buy much, though. The fair is aimed at book collectors, and I’m more of a book amasser, whose books pile up […]