2018 Richard Aldington Conference


in joint sponsorship with


JULY 30 – AUGUST 1, 2018

Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France


The X International Aldington Society & VI International Imagism Conference will return to its conference headquarters in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, France, July 30 – August 1, 2018.

The International Richard Aldington Society was founded and its first conference held at the home of Catha Aldington in Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the summer of 2000. In 2007 and 2010, the first two Imagism Conferences were held at Brunnenburg Castle in Italy, with the Aldington Society and the Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society as joint sponsors of the 2010 conference. In 2018 the Roberts Society will hold its first-ever annual conference abroad, in conjunction with the Aldington/Imagism meeting.

Since many potential Aldington/Imagism conferees will be participating in the International Hemingway Conference in Paris, July 22 – 28, 2018, we stress that our conference activities will begin right after the Hemingway Conference ends, allowing two days for relocation from Paris to the South of France. Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer is an ancient beachfront and seaside pilgrimage village on the Mediterranean, in the heart of the numinous Camargue.

As always, we welcome papers that focus on Richard Aldington and his colleagues and contemporaries (Pound, H.D. et al) or on Imagism. Thus we invite papers that deal with any aspect of the life and work of Aldington, or with the “Imagist Movement;” Aldington and the Imagists (Pound, H.D., F. S. Flint, Ford Madox Ford, Amy Lowell, James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, T. S. Eliot, Elizabeth Madox Roberts, et al). And since 2018 is the year of the Great War Centenary and France will be at the heart of the global commemoration, possible topics include Aldington, Pound, Roberts, the Imagists (et al) and the Great War. We also welcome papers related to the engagement of these writers with France. And given the time and place proximity of the Aldington and Hemingway Conferences, we invite papers that deal comparatively with, for example, Hemingway’s writing on the Great War (e.g., the two major World War One novels of 1929—Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and Aldington’s Death of a Hero). We also stress that all approaches and all topics dealing with Aldington/Imagism/Roberts are welcome.

2018 will be the year of a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to participate in First World War Centenary events and what the French call Le tourisme de mémoire—Remembrance Tourism (before, during, and after our conference)—as well as an extraordinary chance to combine two conferences in two of the world’s most enchanted places—Hemingway in Paris and Aldington/Roberts/Imagism in the Camargue. Mark your calendars now, watch for forthcoming CFP details, and plan to be in France in the summer of 2018.

{Address any questions regarding all events described above to the Co-Directors of both the Aldington/Imagism/Roberts Conference and the Hemingway in Paris Conference—Matthew Nickel <mattcnickel@gmail.com> and H. R. Stoneback <hrs714@gmail.com>.


Obituary: Charles ‘Mike’ Doyle

Aldington biographer Charles ‘Mike’ Doyle sadly died on 28 December 2016.  These obituaries at legacy.com and in the Globe and Mail give a powerful sense of the remarkable life he lived.

Doyle’s contribution to Aldington Studies was valuable, and his biography paved the way for later work in the field.  Recent biographer Vivien Whelpton had recently been corresponding with Doyle, and offers the following reminiscence:

I am sad that – as in the case of Norman Gates – I never had a chance to meet Mike Doyle. In fact I only established contact with him five weeks before his death, when I wrote to thank him for giving the University of Victoria permission to give me access to his archive there. He responded promptly. Despite his eighty-eight years, he clearly still had an active intellectual life, was reading lots of poetry, putting together an anthology and had become excited by the work of a Quebec poet-songwriter, Giles Vigneault. He told me: ‘Just ask for whatever you want and I’ll see what I can do.’ His files, however, were ‘upstairs’ and he was now confined to the ground floor of his home.

In response to some of my own speculations, he told me that the woman in Aldington’s life who had most intrigued him was Brigit Patmore and that he would have like to find out more about her. (So would I!) However, he had moved on, after the biography, to studying Modernist connections between poetry and painting. He was still writing, he told me, though no longer poetry. With reference to the latter, he offered to send me a copy of his ‘Echoes from Pluto’, published in 2013. That offer was made on 5 December; how I wish now, that I had accepted it immediately. As it was, it was some months before I had put together a list of the questions I wanted to ask him; when that request received no response, I contacted the university, who told me the sad news – that he had died only three weeks after his last email to me.

Mike’s warmth, humour, modesty and kindliness were all evident from our brief correspondence. It was only when I read the obituary that the University of Victoria sent me that I discovered quite what an extraordinary man he was. I am looking forward to reading the copy of ‘Echoes from Pluto’ which I have now ordered.

Aldington in Berkshire

Former NCLSN editor David Wilkinson published last year The Death of a Hero:
The Quest for First World War Poet Richard Aldington’s Berkshire Retreat.

Aldington biographer Vivien Whelpton wrote the following about Wilkinson’s book:

I have read your manuscript with fascination, delight and awe. I knew of its existence and was familiar with some of the material [but] most of it is a revelation. And I so admire the imagination, ingenuity and determination with which you went about your quest, as well as the warmth and sympathy with which it is written. How fortunate for Aldington scholarship that it was YOU who moved into Malthouse Cottage – and that you did so WHEN you did. . . . The most fascinating aspect of it for me is the revelation that Aldington is a novelist in the Thomas Hardy mould – particularly in ‘The Colonel’s Daughter’, ‘Women Must Work’ and some of the stories. I can’t think of any other novelist whose work is so closely modeled on people, places and events around him. How interesting to discover that even a character like ‘Coz’ is taken from life.’ . . . One of my favourite chapters is ‘The Village’. I really liked the way you used Jessie Capper’s journal to structure that chapter. I got such a strong sense of the village as it was – and of your own love of it. And the way you follow Aldington and T S Eliot’s walk in the third chapter had already given me a strong ‘visual’ sense of the place. . . . There is so much warmth and humour in your story – and some lovely anecdotes.

Mort d’un Heros

Mort d'un Heros Cover

NCLSN correspondent Michael Copp writes:

I’ve just acquired ‘Mort d’un Heros’, the translation by Madeleine Vernon and Henry Davray, and published by Albin Michel in January 1931. Two points of interest: there are no censored sections with asterisks; the book is published in two separate volumes – I ‘Vivre’, and II ‘Vers la Mort’.

Aldington, Chatto, and Heinemann

Aldington biographer Vivien Whelpton sends the following request for information:

Despite a through trawl of the Chatto and Windus and Random House archives (at Reading and Northampton respectively) as well as all the Aldington collections at S.I.U., I have been unable to find out why Aldington abruptly left Chatto for Heinemann in 1936.

The arrangements were made between his agent, Ralph Pinker, Harold Raymond at Chatto and Frere at Heinemann, without any involvement of Aldington himself, apparently (so Pinker tells the others) because Aldington was so ‘irrationally’ angry that he could not put pen to paper himself. In 1948 he tells Alister Kershaw that it was his anger with Ian Parsons (a partner at Chatto’s) that drove him away from the firm. But I would really like to know what the provocation was!

I am also struggling to achieve an understanding of what went wrong with the relationship between Aldington and Patmore in the mid 1930s leading up to his elopement with Netta Patmore. Because the couple were together all the time, there is not correspondence with which to build up a picture of the relationship and its deterioration. Again, any views or insights would be very much appreciated. I had hoped to establish contact with Diana Pingatore, who was working on the life of Brigit Patmore but have been unable to do so.

Finally, I am seeking information about William Dibben, the book-dealer (but not by profession) who supplied Aldington with books and who, apparently, was a friend of Alister Kershaw. Aldington’s correspondence with Dibben ends abruptly in 1956, and I would like to understand the reason for this.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received at vivien [at] vivienwhelpton [dot] com.

New NCLSN blog

Over the coming days I’ll be uploading the first posts to the NCLSN blog.

It’s proved increasingly difficult in recent years to firstly find, and secondly find the time to format four A4 pages of news every quarter as per the ‘traditional’ newsletter format started by Professor Norman Gates in 1973.  You can see recent archives here.

While it’s sad, of course, to move formats, this change should ensure that the Newsletter continues well into the future.

My hopes, then, in rebooting the Newsletter as a blog are that regular posts will allow others to contribute directly, keep Aldington in view and, perhaps, stimulate further interest in this underrated and underanalysed author.

Working on WordPress is, I find, just as intuitive as using any modern word processor. If you’d like to be added to the blog as a contributor, please e-mail me: afrayn [dot] ac [at] gmail [dot] com.

Andrew Frayn