Edith Sitwell, Bath (1932) I am now a resident of Bath, in south-west England (or will be in 6 weeks or so, builders permitting). When our old house was being packed I fished Edith Sitwell’s Bath out of the bookcase from the very hands of the packers, so as to have time to read it … Continue reading Three short reading pleasures
The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman was published in 1914, and is the story of Ellen Sawbridge who marries her older suitor Isaac Harman when she is 18. He delays the wedding by a few weeks so that the announcement of his knighthood in the Birthday Honours will appear on their wedding day, making her … Continue reading H G Wells is aggravating again: The Wife of Sir Isaac Harman
I took a while to get into this sturdy family saga: it was blocking the reading pile for weeks while I struggled to pay it proper attention. Then something clicked, and the peculiarities of The Fountain Overflows (1956) began to attract my attention. At first I thought that it was rather like Rose Macaulay’s Told … Continue reading Rebecca West, The Fountain Overflows
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?
101 years after publication, this week's Really Like This Book podcast scripts catch-up is H G Wells’s novel Mr Britling Sees It Through. It was sold to a public who really did not know which way this war would go, in a strange category of literature, the in-war novel: neither pre-war, nor post-war. The author does not … Continue reading H G Wells: Mr Britling Sees it Through
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