Category Archives: publishing

The Kipling Journal

Officers of the Irish Guards, Warley. John Kipling third from left. The September Kipling Journal arrived here yesterday. It is a special edition devoted to the theme of Kipling and the Great War, marking the centenary of the death of  John Kipling, at Loos. It contains a very useful piece by Tonie and Valmai Holt […]

Square jaws, trench music and a grim Christmas story

I’m still looking for, and finding,  anecdotes about British soldiers and their songs and music. Here’s a story from The Square Jaw, the English translation of La Mâchoire Carrée (1917), an account of fighting in the British part of the line, by the French journalists Henry Ruffin et André Tudesq. It compresses a lot of […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

T. S. Eliot and Haig’s funeral

On 7 February, 1928, T. S. Eliot wrote a letter to his mother, describing Douglas Haig’s funeral procession, on its way to Westminster Abbey: The funeral started at the Scotch church, which was flying the Scotch flag at half-mast [….] Well then there were the Scotch pipers of the Guards, and they started the ‘Lament […]

The War as a marker of age

I’m getting things together for my talk on Evadne Price (Helen Zenna Smith) at the Marginalised Mainstream conference this weekend, and I’ve been struck by something. In 1930, Price’s publisher Albert E. Marriott (alias Netley Lucas,  swindler and con-man) had asked her to write a spoof war book, All Quaint on the Western Front (under […]

A. J. P. Taylor’s captions

A. J. P Taylor’s Penguin history book, The First World War: An Illustrated History, probably did as much as Oh What a Lovely War to imprint on those growing up in the the sixties and seventies the ironic view of the First World War as merely a futile waste, conducted by buffoons. Even those who […]

The prevention of war books?

In her 1937 autobiography, Three Ways Home, Sheila Kaye-Smith considers the commercial failure of her wartime novel Little England: The explanation […] does not lie entirely in the book itself, but also in the time of its appearance. that must share the responsibility for the small impression that it made. It was a war book, […]

How the First World War is taught

The recent controversy about how schoolchildren are taught about World War I has been strong on assertion but light on factual evidence. The excellent World War I in the Classroom group  will soon be publishing the results of their large-scale survey about the teaching of the subject, and that should tell us much. While we’re […]