Category Archives: publishing

‘Not So Quiet…’ – Netley Lucas’s story

Having greatly enjoyed Matt Houlbrook’s biography of Netley Lucas, I have now been taking a look at Lucas’s second autobiography, an odd book called My Selves, ‘by Netley Lucas and Evelyn Graham’ (Graham was the name under which Lucas achieved considerable success writing royal biographies). The book was published in 1934, after Lucas’s release from […]

Middlebrow Wodehouse

I don’t think it’s on general sale yet, but my contributor’s copy of Middlebrow Wodehouse arrived on Saturday. I was very chuffed to see my chapter on Wodehouse and the First World War in print, in such a sturdy and attractive volume.

Who read the ‘Magnet’?

In its heyday the Magnet sold over 200,000 copies a week. Since many copies were likely to have been shared, passed around or swapped the readership would have been higher than this. In 1916, the magazine printed this page of readers’ photos. One wears a a straw boater and one a yarmulke; others wear cloth […]

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 […]