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Slightly Foxed Issue 31
  • ISBN: 9781906562298
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: Sept 2011
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Cover artist: Robert Field, ‘White Moon’
  • ISSN: 174-5794
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 31

‘The Return of Grouse’


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The independent-minded quarterly that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary magazine.

In this issue

Tim Mackintosh-Smith meets Norman Douglas in Calabria • Laurence Scott recalls the unexpected humour of teaching poetry to adults • David Spiller champions Nevil Shute • Caroline Moore revels in Victorian sensationalism • Stephen Honey undergoes a poker player’s education • Oliver Pritchett examines the etiquette of book-signings • James Roose-Evans meets a Cockney bookseller • Catherine Merrick follows the discovery of the double helix • Ranjit Bolt admires Dickens’s mistress . . .

The Return of Grouse • LAURENCE SCOTT

Neil Astley (ed.), Staying Alive; Being Alive

Water Pistols at Fifty Paces • HAZEL WOOD

Ysenda Maxtone Graham, Mr Tibbits’s Catholic School

The Long Arm of Coincidence • CAROLINE MOORE

Wilkie Collins, Poor Miss Finch

From Convent to Kitchen Table • ALEXANDER LUCIE-SMITH

On the novels of Alice Thomas Ellis

Honest Jim and the Double Helix • CATHERINE MERRICK

James Watson, The Double Helix; Brenda Maddox, Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA

A Winning Hand • STEPHEN HONEY

Herbert O. Yardley, The Education of a Poker Player

Another, Darker Continent • TIM MACKINTOSH-SMITH

Norman Douglas, Old Calabria

Vanishing Point • MARTIN SORRELL

Rupert Martin (ed.), Night Trick by O. Winston Link

Pearls and a Fur Jacket • FRANCES DONNELLY

Anne Scott-James, In the Mink

A Matter of Dedication • OLIVER PRITCHETT

On the etiquette of book-signing

Sam Pepys from Walworth • JAMES ROOSE-EVANS

Fred Bason, Diaries


Rose Tremain, Restoration

Siberian Taiga • PATRICK EVANS

Vladimir Klavdievich Arseniev, Dersu the Trapper

The Real Thing • JEREMY LEWIS

R. S. Surtees, Mr Sponge’s Sporting Tour

A Prisoner of Her Time • RANJIT BOLT

Claire Tomalin, The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens

Deliberately Engineered • DAVID SPILLER

On the novels of Nevil Shute

Frogs, Books and Bears • SHEILA RHODES

On bookselling and the joy of children’s literature

About Slightly Foxed

The independent-minded quarterly that combines good looks, good writing and a personal approach. Slightly Foxed introduces its readers to books that are no longer new and fashionable but have lasting appeal. Good-humoured, unpretentious and a bit eccentric, it’s more like a well-read friend than a literary magazine. Read more about Slightly Foxed.

Slightly Foxed Issue 31: From the Editors

There’s an invigorating sharpness in the air now, that frosty tang that brings with it thoughts of country walks, winter fires, evenings with a good book, the possibilities of a new term. And with...

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The Return of Grouse

An upstairs room in a north London public library. I was teaching ‘Introduction to Contemporary Poetry’ to a class of twelve adults, and we’d been going for about twenty minutes. They were all...

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Water Pistols at Fifty Paces

The year was 1934, and Richard (‘Dick’) Tibbits, it seems, had been approached by Father Talbot of the Brompton Oratory with the suggestion that there was need for a Catholic boys’ prep school...

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The Long Arm of Coincidence

Can you resist a Victorian novel featuring a blind heroine and identical twins, rivals for her love – one of whom turns dark blue in the course of the novel? If not, read no further, but rush off...

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Honest Jim and the Double Helix

It isn’t every day that I eat pizza with a Nobel laureate. The experience was a fringe benefit of an undergraduate studentship at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, a cluster of biological research...

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A Winning Hand

Over twenty years ago, I started a regular weekly poker game with a group of friends who had all recently gravitated to London. We had been inspired to do this by Anthony Holden’s beguiling...

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Another, Darker Continent

‘I like these old travellers,’ wrote Norman Douglas, ‘not so much for what they actually say, as for their implicit outlook on life.’ The comment comes apropos his early eighteenth-century...

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Vanishing Point

Think of an Edward Hopper picture, Main Street, Anywheresville, USA, a warm summer’s evening. Geometric buildings, neat and desolate. Give them names: Northfork Drug; The Hub Men’s Clothing;...

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Pearls and a Fur Jacket

Anne Scott-James was one of the ‘First Ladies’ of Fleet Street, though she preferred the title ‘one of the first career girls’. Her novel In the Mink, published in 1952, is a thinly disguised...

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A Matter of Dedication

Before this book-signing craze gets completely out of hand, we must establish some rules. After all, what may be considered correct in Waterstone’s could be frowned upon in Hatchards and be beyond...

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Sam Pepys from Walworth

It was the second-hand book-dealer Malcolm Applin, whose catalogue I find always opens doors and windows, who first introduced me to the Cockney bookseller and writer Fred Bason. Fred had been...

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The King’s Spaniel

I have no idea on what my father based this and I’m sure he was genuinely trying to console, but for years afterwards I avoided novels that mixed politics and facts, particularly historical novels....

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Siberian Taiga

The dog pricked up his ears, which was surprising because so far he hadn’t seemed all that bright. Vanya and I turned to look. At the edge of the clearing a man in a white woollen suit was just...

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The Real Thing

One of Rudyard Kipling’s stories, ‘My Son’s Wife’, features a high-minded young aesthete named Midmore, who spends his days pondering the improvement of society. Midmore inherits a country...

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A Prisoner of Her Time

Why wasn’t Charles Dickens knighted, assuming he wasn’t offered the honour and declined it, as some authorities believe? Would it have been because he spilled so much ink lambasting the...

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Deliberately Engineered

It is over fifty years since the death of Nevil Shute, who from 1940 to 1960 was probably the best-selling novelist in Britain. You could hardly not read Shute in those days. I devoured him...

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Frogs, Books and Bears

‘Where is Patrick Spotter?’ The Japanese customer looked somewhat annoyed. She had been told that the staff of Heffers Children’s Bookshop in Cambridge were so knowledgeable that they could...

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