Prepare for high-stakes romantic melodrama, early 1920s style. This Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is about Dornford Yates' first two novels. Anthony Lyveden was published in 1921 and its sequel, Valerie French, appeared in 1923: they were written after he had made his name with several collections of brilliant and witty short stories … Continue reading Dornford Yates’s Gothic melodramas, in Anthony Lyveden & Valerie French
Some years ago I wrote a scholarly chapter on how clothes were used as social indicators in the fiction of P G Wodehouse and Dornford Yates. This was for Middlebrow Wodehouse (ed. Ann Rea), and was a thoroughly enjoyable chapter to research. Costume history is one of my favourite branches of history, and I've been … Continue reading Bertie Wodehouse’s socks and spats
Antony Hope's invention* of the cardboard kingdom in The Prisoner of Zenda is the subject of this week's Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up. Hope was a respectable Victorian London lawyer, but he had a secret passion for the romantic and dramatic, and wrote many novels. His most famous is The Prisoner of Zenda, from … Continue reading Antony Hope’s The Prisoner of Zenda
This special podcast scripts recap from Why I Really like This Book, is on Scoop, Evelyn Waugh's magnificent satire about newspaper journalism. Scoop is also a member of The 1938 Club, a week of book reviews and blog posts about the reading of 1938, that's taking place between 11 and 17 April 2016. British journalism changed radically at … Continue reading The 1938 Club! Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop
Brief toot on my academic trumpet here: I had another article published, on how the intensely middlebrow and thriller / comedy novelist Dornford Yates used techniques and ideas from avant garde thinking when writing about fast cars, car chases, driving at speed, and the thrill of speed on the open road (clue: it's all from Marinetti's Futurist Manifesto). You … Continue reading Fast cars and the open road: Reading speed in Dornford Yates
Today’s letter in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is Y, and today’s author’s name really begins with M, but his pen-name, by which he was made famous from the 1920s, begins with Y. Dornford Yates was the pseudonym of Cecil William Mercer, and he was famous for two kinds of fiction. The first … Continue reading Rampaging in the Pyrenees: Dornford Yates’s Adèle and Co.
Novelists Against Social Change: Conservative Popular Fiction, 1920-1960 (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) This is my very own book, that I've been writing for what seems like forever: a long study of how John Buchan, Dornford Yates and Angela Thirkell wrote their conservatism into their best-selling fiction. It's now finally been published, with stunning cover art by Barry Rowe. … Continue reading My very own book: Novelists Against Social Change
For the full horror of an evil woman using class and sex warfare you might consider trying Dornford Yates’s magnificently toe-curling novel, This Publican, from 1938, which I podcasted about a few years ago. Its villain Rowena is the most loathsome woman character I’ve ever read, but it is faintly possible that she could be read differently … Continue reading Terror of the tyrannical wife, in Dornford Yates’s This Publican
This podcast was written for a miniseries on Thrillers for Gentlemen, looking at the kind of thriller or spy novel that was masculine without being brutal, and that was written about men of a certain generation who understood the value of the gentleman’s club, and worked within its rules. This time, I was exploring a … Continue reading Running through the south of France with John Welcome and Run for Cover (1958)
This podcast was written for the miniseries on Thrillers for Gentlemen. I was looking at the kind of thriller or spy novel that was masculine without being brutal, and that was written about men of a certain generation who understood the value of the gentleman’s club, and worked within its rules. These thrillers were tough, … Continue reading Was James Bond a gentleman?