Confessions and Impressions by Ethel Mannin (1930)

This book has a fair amount in common with Beverley Nichols’ autobiography-but-really-about-other -people Twenty-Five. Just shows the appetite for celebrity gossip has existed for many years! Nichols was himself a literary celebrity and appears in Mannin’s book. She rated his ‘genius’ over Noel Coward! (For an academic article in which I analyse Nichols at great … Continue reading

The Killer and the Slain by Hugh Walpole (1942)

Review by Thecla: This is a dark, uncanny novel, one of Walpole’s macabre works. It is subtitled “A Strange Story” and the dedication to Henry James reads “This macabre is dedicated in loving memory and humble admiration to the great author of The Turn of the Screw.” This is Walpole’s version of the doppelgänger story. … Continue reading

Farthing Hall by Hugh Walpole and J. B. Priestley (1929)

This novel is a collaboration between Walpole and Priestley. Walpole, the older novelist, writes as the young artist, while Priestley takes the character of the middle-aged academic. There’s a nice article about their ‘friendship of opposites’ here. Review by Jane Varley: The plot unfolds in an exchange of letters between two friends – a forty … Continue reading

Hugh Walpole (1884-1941)

Next, reviews of Hugh Walpole. Who reads Walpole now? Very few people, I suspect. There is an excellent 2013 article on the BBC which wonders if a new theatre adaptation of his most famous novel, Rogue Herries, will bring new readers and a revived reputation. I don’t think it has happened! Walpole was an important literary figure … Continue reading

‘Culture Wars’ conference papers

Culture Wars 1900-1950 14th June 2014 Giacomo Patri, White Collar (1938)   Some of the papers from our collection conference on the 14th June are now online. We had a great day, listening and talking and thinking, and, most importantly, had an excellent lunch (thank you Sheffield Hallam catering)! There were some fascinating papers, particularly … Continue reading

In the Mountains by Elizabeth von Arnim (1920)

The first edition of this novel was published anonymously, though it must have been obvious to readers familiar with Elizabeth’s style that she was the author. The contemporary Times Literary Supplement reviewer wrote that the novel, ‘by an anonymous but surely by a very practised hand, holds a peculiar quality of surprise. [...] Behind the exceedingly careful, … Continue reading

The Pastor’s Wife by Elizabeth von Arnim (1914)

Review by Sylvia D: The Pastor’s Wife is a joy to read. It is witty, thought-provoking, full of wonderful descriptive passages and a fine study of human isolation. The main character, Ingeborg Bullivant, moves from the tyranny of an unbending, pompous Bishop of a father to being helpmeet to a stolid German pastor for whom … Continue reading

Elizabeth and her German Garden (1898)

Next we have a run of Elizabeth von Arnim reviews. I’ve now read Elizabeth von Arnim with both my reading groups, because I simply love hearing people’s reactions to reading her. This time was particularly enjoyable as everyone was struck by the quality of the writing and wanted to read more. I was a very … Continue reading