This is a very early E F Benson novel, published long before his Edwardian and post-First World War triumphs would appear, but it shows signs that the experienced Bensonite can recognise as an indication of future sublimity. It’s a Victorian novelette, that in any other hands would never have made it out of the cheap … Continue reading E F Benson, The Money Market
I must be one of the last people among the middlebrow fanciers to have read Beverley Nichols. He is perfect bedtime reading: light, frivolous, witty, of an earlier period so there won't be anything nasty in the woodshed, and unexpectedly moving. I first noticed his existence in a delightfully poisonous parody in Leonard Russell's immortal … Continue reading The shrine of Beverley Nichols: should one worship?
This time in the Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up I’m reading a novel of utter frivolity. It’s called Dodo’s Daughter, and is a sequel to the earlier and unforgettably frivolous novel of Edwardian society life, Dodo. Dodo is a ditzy lady, invented by that great chronicler of society silliness, E F Benson. Nowadays … Continue reading E F Benson and Dodo’s Daughter
When William Came by Saki (H H Munro) is a complicated novel. On the face of it, it’s a straight propagandist story at the peak of the anti-German pre-First World War war fever craze, to warn the British to start preparing for war and get the young men into the army as soon as possible. … Continue reading Saki’s When William Came
The immortal E F Benson begins this podcast scripts catch-up from Really Like this Book, loosely based on the English country village. I wanted to collect together novels that showed different aspects of an English village in fiction, to see how a village was used, and what the village actually was. Benson's undying contribution to this … Continue reading Glorious snobbery at village scale: E F Benson’s Queen Lucia
If you like E F Benson’s petty bitchery, and the psychological dissection of Barbara Pym's novels, you will love Jane Hervey’s Vain Shadow, first published in 1963. It is now a Persephone reprint in its demurely anonymous grey cover, now synonymous with a certain type of novel, recovered from the past, for middle-class readers. Virago … Continue reading 1950s county family looks nervously at social change: Jane Hervey’s Vain Shadow
Today’s letter in the Really Like This Book's podcast script rerun is M. A G Macdonell’s England, Their England, from 1933, is a satirical novel about English society, and has long had a grip on my understanding of the English. I was (am) a hybrid Anglo-Scot, never quite accepted by my Scottish school-friends or my English cousins … Continue reading A G Macdonell and England, Their England