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Slightly Foxed Issue 40
  • ISBN: 9781906562571
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 December 2013
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Cover artist: Christopher Corr, ‘Now We Are Ten’
  • ISSN: 1742-5794
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 40

‘Mellow Fruitfulness’


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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

Robin Blake on the Just William books, Daisy Hay on how she fell for Jane Eyre, Derek Parker on a supreme diarist, Melissa Harrison on Ronald Blythe’s view from Wormingford, Grant McIntyre on the work of Patrick O’Brian, Ysenda Maxtone Graham on reading aloud and Posy Simmonds, pen in hand, at our bookshop. There’s an introduction, too, to the latest of our Slightly Foxed Editions, the artist Gwen Raverat’s wonderfully funny and touching memoir of her childhood in Victorian Cambridge, Period Piece . . .

Mellow Fruitfulness • MELISSA HARRISON

Ronald Blythe’s Wormingford books

Cambridge Canvas • HAZEL WOOD

Gwen Raverat, Period Piece

The Passing of Old Europe • C. J. SCHÜLER

Robert Musil, The Man without Qualities

Scourge of the Suburbs • ROBIN BLAKE

Richmal Crompton, The Just William books

Not So Plain Jane • DAISY HAY

Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

Feeling a Little Wembley • OLIVER PRITCHETT

Paul Jennings, The Oddly Books

A Friendship of Opposites • GRANT MCINTYRE

Patrick O’Brian, The Aubrey/Maturin novels


Tove Jansson, A Winter Book

Building Blocks • GUS ALEXANDER

H. B. Cresswell, The Honeywood File; The Honeywood Settlement

The Supreme Diarist? • DEREK PARKER

James Agate, Ego

When the Clock Struck Thirteen • MAGGIE FERGUSSON

Philippa Pearce, Tom’s Midnight Garden

Pox Britannica • SUE GEE

George Orwell, Burmese Days

The Heart’s Affections • VICTORIA NEUMARK

John Keats, Selected Letters

Auburn in Wartime • URSULA BUCHAN

Margery Allingham, The Oaken Heart: The Story of an English Village at War


On reading aloud

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 40: From the Editors

This fortieth issue is a very special one for us. It marks the beginning of our anniversary year – ten years since we came up with the idea for Slightly Foxed and tentatively put together our first...

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When the Clock Struck Thirteen

A lot of the stories I loved most as a child involved doors. Aged about 4, I suppose, I passed through the small, latched door in the hillside, into Mrs Tiggywinkle’s flagged kitchen, filled with...

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Not So Plain Jane

Jane Eyre was the novel that opened my eyes to literature. It was the first classic I picked up that I couldn’t put down. I read it from cover to cover in one heady weekend when I was 13: I had a...

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A Friendship of Opposites

Never one for naval yarns I didn’t at first spot Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, which are set in the wars at sea against Napoleon and then the United States. But once I’d tried one...

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Auburn in Wartime

I had heard of Margery Allingham, of course, and had read The Tiger in the Smoke as a teenager, but I had no idea that she had written an account of her life in the Essex village of Tolleshunt...

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Cambridge Canvas

For almost a decade there’s been one particular book we’ve been longing to reissue.  Now at last, as we reach our tenth anniversary, we’ve got the opportunity to do so. When I wrote about it...

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Mellow Fruitfulness

What do we lose when we become a nation of urbanites? A connection to nature, sometimes – though not necessarily. An awareness of the seasons, an understanding of the farming year; a sense of...

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Pox Britannica

In November 1922, George Orwell (or Eric Blair, as he was then) arrived in Burma, to take up a post with the Indian Imperial Police. He was 19, not long out of Eton, which he had attended on a...

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Dear Jansson San

In the 1960s, long before J. K. Rowling showed the world how literary fame might be managed, Tove Jansson, pursued by her own creations the Moomins – white hippopotamus-shaped trolls with tails but...

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The Supreme Diarist?

Though he had died in 1947 I had many of his books of collected theatre criticism, from Buzz Buzz (1914) through Brief Chronicles (1943) to the wonderful evocation of musicals and light comedies,...

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Feeling A Little Wembley

In the 1960s, at a time when I took myself more seriously, I went to work for the Observer in what I mistakenly believed was a rather important position. One afternoon, soon after my arrival, a...

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Scourge of the Suburbs

‘Rice Mould’ is a story written in 1919 for Home Magazine, a periodical aimed at women of the suburban middle class. A party is in progress at the Browns’ villa somewhere to the south of...

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The Passing of Old Europe

It was a passing reference in Robert Musil’s novel The Man without Qualities to ‘the oracular casting of lead that fate performs with us’ that jogged my memory. When I was a child, on New...

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The Heart’s Affections

I was 17 when I finished reading the letters of John Keats for the first time. It was a warm summer evening and I was lying in bed with the volume I’d chosen, rather at random, for my school’s...

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Three in a Bed

Just as he prefers to drive rather than be driven, my husband would rather read aloud than be read to. Both preferences suit me fine as I hate getting back into the original lane after overtaking and...

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