NCLSN archives

A quick reminder that you can access the NCLSN archives from volume 30 at Paul Hernandez’s very useful website.  There’s lots of information on archives, publications, and much more.


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