This is the penultimate issue of Penguin New Writing, from 1950, and I think John Lehmann is losing his grip (again). He actually opens the art section with two paintings by a woman, Wilhelmina Barns-Graham: this has never happened before. Other notable contributors include Paul Bowles, Cecil Day-Lewis, Kathleen Raine and Tom Hopkinson. Lehmann's 'Foreword' … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 39: woman sighted
You might remember that I set up a publishing house this year, Handheld Press. We've published two books already - Ernest Bramah's What Might Have Been, and John Buchan's The Runagates Club - and there are three more in production. We're hoping to publish ten a year. It's looking good so far. All Handheld books … Continue reading Help make Handheld Press ebooks visible
On Vulpes Libris I've posted a furious review of Antonia White's marvellous novel Frost in May. I've been meaning to read this for years, but could never find a second-hand copy, which I think is indicative. It's one of those novels that, if you respond to it, you have to keep it. It was also … Continue reading Now posting on Vulpes Libris: Antonia White’s Frost in May
I think I must have read this Angela Thirkell novel first when I was 13, stuck in bed with mumps, and very bored. It entranced me. The tiresome adult children converging on the beleaguered and saintly mother; the glow of perfection cast over the rightful landowning classes; the crashing irruption of the Adams family into … Continue reading Angela Thirkell’s The Headmistress
There is full-on puffery in John Lehmann's Foreword to Penguin New Writing in this 1949 issue. It's been only a few issues since he sent out a plea for someone to contribute something funny; he's lost all sense of proportion now. His Foreword begins with the question of how can we know 'if a man … Continue reading Penguin New Writing 38: John Lehmann loses his judgement
This is a memoir by the first female professor in the UK, Edith Morley, Professor of English Language at the University of Reading. It’s an essential read for anyone exploring the history of women’s higher education in Britain, and for those keen on reliving the struggles of women to make headway in a profession that … Continue reading Edith Morley’s Before and After. Reminiscences of a Working Life
A slightly unfortunate phrasing, that: as if she'd written a novel called Death, or Sudden Demise. It's a great novel, and I talk about it over on Vulpes Libris. Go see.