Category Archives: Romance

‘Khaki and Kisses’ at Sheffield

Last minute reminder for ‘Khaki and Kisses’, three talks on First World War fiction at Sheffield Hallam University tomorrow (Thursday 22nd). I shall be speaking about Great War fiction generally; then Prof. Chris Hopkins will discuss the romantic novels of Berta Ruck and Dr Erica Brown will talk about Elizabeth von Armin. Full details are […]

The Love of an Unknown Soldier

I have recently been given the chance to look at a fascinating book, The Love of an Unknown Soldier: Found in a Dugout, first published in London in September 1918, by John Lane, The Bodley Head. (The book’s Canadian edition can be viewed online at the Internet Archive .) In an introductory explanation, Lane explains:

Joseph Hocking’s ‘Dearer than Life’

I hadn’t read a full-blooded wartime romance for a while, so when I saw a copy of Dearer than Life (1916) by Joseph Hocking among odds and ends on a table at Huddersfield’s terrific second-hand market one Tuesday, I couldn’t resist it, especially since it only cost a pound. The novel begins in Belgium, with […]

In search of A.M.Burrage

Ever since re-reading War is War by Ex-Private X, I’ve been wondering about its author, the magazine writer A.M.Burrage, and over the past week or two have done a bit of research. The results can be found in my pages list to the left, or by clicking here. The page is a work in progress, […]

“Women and War” at Birmingham

The last time I went to a Day School at the Birmingham Centre for First World War Studies, it was a pretty blokeish affair. Some excellent lectures on the strategies and tactics of the Battle of the Somme, delivered to an expert audience, clearly alert to the subtleties of military history. Yesterday, the occasion was […]

Repression Challenge – My Contender

In the Great War novels that I read, soldiers and ex-soldiers not infrequently suffer from amnesia. Sometimes this seems to come from a physical wound and sometimes as a nervous reaction to the horrors of war. Novelists from Rebecca West to Ruby M.Ayres found the theme useful as a way of exploring the psychic harm […]

Berta Ruck’s Song

A while back I mentioned how Berta Ruck and Virginia Woolf made up their quarrel. Woolf invited Ruck and her husband to a Bloomsbury party, and Berta Ruck where Berta is recorded as delighting the company with the song   “Never allow a sailor an inch above your knee.” I think that has to be a version […]

Valerie French

Anthony Lyveden by Dornford Yates is one of the books that I shall be discussing in my paper on landscape in twenties novels later this week. It’s a strange book that starts as a light comedy about an ex-officer who can only find work as a servant, and then lurches unpredictably into a gothic mode. […]

Wodehouse and Wittgenstein

During my Dornford Yates talk at the Newcastle Great War and Popular Culture conference earlier this year, I got an unexpected laugh (as well as some chuckles I’d planned for). It was when I quoted Wittgenstein saying: “I couldn’t understand the humour in Journey’s End.… I wouldn’t want to joke about a situation like that.” […]

A Photo of Keable

This photo of Keable and Jolie (his real-life Julie) was taken in Tahiti in 1923. How respectable they look. Who would guess from this photo that they were a couple whose sexual shennanigans had scandalised the Church Times? But as my mother used to say, it’s always the quiet ones…