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Slightly Foxed Issue 42
  • ISBN: 9781906562656
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 June 2014
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Cover artist: George Devlin, ‘Searing Heat: Baumes de Venise’
  • ISSN: 1742-5794
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 42

‘Small World’


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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

Michael Holroyd joins the Borrowers • Penelope Lively meets the child that books built • Jeremy Lewis goes down Tewkesbury way • Sue Gee travels to Corfu with Lawrence Durrell • Christian Tyler salutes a Chinese dissident • Mark Haworth-Booth returns to Kettle’s Yard • Adam Foulds describes his most precious book • Sophie Breese celebrates the novelist Barbara Comyns • Glyn Frewer relives his days as a second-hand bookseller • Robin Blake braves a high wind in Jamaica . . .


Mary Norton, The Complete Borrowers

Down Tewkesbury Way • JEREMY LEWIS

John Moore, Portrait of Elmbury

Sophia Fairclough and Me • SOPHIE BREESE

On the novels of Barbara Comyns


Jim Ede, A Way of Life: Kettle’s Yard

Where the Blue Really Begins • SUE GEE

Lawrence Durrell, Prospero’s Cell; Bitter Lemons of Cyprus

Too Hot to Handle • CHRISTIAN TYLER

Wei Jingsheng, The Courage to Stand Alone: Letters from Prison and Other Writings

Why Must She Grow up? • ROBIN BLAKE

Richard Hughes, A High Wind in Jamaica

The Most Precious Book I Own • ADAM FOULDS

A Book of Jewish Thoughts


Irma Kurtz, The Great American Bus Ride

A Scientist for All Seasons • CATHERINE MERRICK

E. O. Wilson, Biophilia

Mad about the Girl • CONSTANTINE FRASER

Max Beerbohm, Zuleika Dobson

Magic Casements • PENELOPE LIVELY

Francis Spufford, The Child that Books Built

The House that Jack Built • GRANT MCINTYRE

Patrick O’Brian, The Aubrey/Maturin novels

Et in Arcadia • JONATHAN SALE

Kenneth Grahame, The Golden Age; Dream Days

Before Mrs Miniver • VALERIE GROVE

Jan Struther, Try Anything Twice

A Blooming Miracle • GORDON BOWKER

James Joyce, Ulysses

Turning a Page • GLYN FREWER

Second-hand bookselling

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 42: From the Editors

With travel in the air, summer’s a time when we think particularly of all those subscribers who read their copies of Slightly Foxed in farflung places. We have subscribers in 60 countries now, and...

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‘Strawberries, and only strawberries, could now be thought or spoken of. “The best fruit in England — every body’s favourite — always wholesome. — These the finest beds and finest sorts....

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The House that Jack Built

Most people would agree that Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey/Maturin novels, set when Britain’s Navy had first Napoleon and then the USA to confront, are among the best historical fiction the...

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Down Tewkesbury Way

‘I have written a book which gives me much pleasure. It is a kind of full-length portrait of a small country town – this small town – between the wars. The sort of life that will never come...

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Turning a Page

My father was a bibliophile, a bibliographer and a university librarian for fifty years, and I cannot remember a time when I was without books. It was inevitable, therefore, that I should grow up...

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Small World

In my late seventies I have finally found for myself – that is without the aid of my biographical subjects – a children’s writer whose satire on adult behaviour is subtly developed and...

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Sophia Fairclough and Me

I was first introduced to Sophia Fairclough in 1985 by my new English teacher, the kind who came to lessons without notes and charmed those susceptible to such charm with his raw excitement for good...

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Living Art

One of the most charming and illuminating memoirs I know is also the largest. A Way of Life: Kettle’s Yard by Jim Ede, published by Cambridge University Press in 1984, is almost a foot square and...

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Where the Blue Really Begins

In the summer of 1965, I hitchhiked with two school friends to Greece. We had just done our A levels, with mixed results. In Corfu, we all met our first boyfriends: likewise. What cast the real...

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Too Hot to Handle

It wasn’t until the Beijing massacre in June 1989 that I really began to understand what democracy means. At school we learned about the birth of democracy in ancient Athens; as a teenager I...

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Why Must She Grow up?

The book was A High Wind in Jamaica (1929) and it is indeed a short book, but one that grips and fizzes with ideas, images and energy. Thirty-five years ago, as an inexperienced schoolteacher, I had...

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The Most Precious Book I Own

There is only one book I own that I know I will always want to keep. It’s small and unprepossessing, navy blue, about five inches by three, and is inscribed ‘Pte I. Masidlover’, who was my...

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Hound Dogs

When I was 18 I travelled around America by Greyhound bus. I still have the Hagstrom folding map I took with me, my gap-year odyssey marked out in black felt-tip pen: west from New York, skirting the...

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A Scientist for All Seasons

Edward O. Wilson, naturalist, theorist and Harvard Professor of Entomology, will be 85 this year: he is showing little sign of slowing down. In an eminent and eclectic career spanning six decades he...

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Magic Casements

Francis Spufford’s The Child that Books Built is a short book that seems long, expansive, excursive. Of course – it cites a host of other books, from Where the Wild Things Are through The Little...

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Et in Arcadia

My father was an intellectually austere Cambridge academic, so we never had a copy of The Wind in the Willows in the house. No talking toads on this family syllabus, thank you! But Kenneth Grahame...

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Before Mrs Miniver

Try Anything Twice is a collection of her earlier work, first published in 1938. When Virago reprinted it in 1990 I was captivated. The journalistic essay is an almost period form now (only Katharine...

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A Blooming Miracle

I first encountered James Joyce on the banks of the Suez Canal, a bleak and unpromising setting for any meeting. In one direction lay desert, scorching and soulless, in the other the silhouettes of...

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