Category Archives: Romance

The Good, The Bad and The Extraordinary

The Sheffield Hallam University Popular Fiction Reading Group (1900-1950) has now reached its tenth birthday, and celebrations are planned. There will be an event at the University on July 19th (of which more later), and there will be a publication. The Good, the Bad and the Extraordinary is a collection of reviews by members of […]

The Yoke (1907) by Hubert Wales

I’ve been thinking again recently about Kipling’s literary treatment of syphilis, so am looking around to see how other writers treated the theme during his lifetime. The most common approach is the moralistic: a sinner receives the wages of sin. There were alternatives, though, and I’ve just been reading The Yoke, a scandalous novel of […]

What’s the very worst war novel?

The worst WW1 novel? I’d generally be tempted to name one of the really poor twenty-first century efforts, like John Boyne’s The Absolutist, a book which combines an utter confidence in its own self-righteousness with an astonishing disregard for historical actuality. Recently, however, I have read a novel of 1922 which takes the (tasteless and […]

Rose Allatini and ‘romance novels’

Rose Allatini The excellent news is that Persephone Books are republishing Rose Allatini’s Despised and Rejected as one of their Spring/Summer selections. This novel, of course, was the one that, published under the name of A.T. Fitzroy, described homosexuals and conscientious objectors sympathetically, and was prosecuted in September 1918 as ‘likely to prejudice the recruiting, […]

‘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 […]