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Slightly Foxed Issue 68
  • ISBN: 9781910898499
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 December 2020
  • Producer: Smith Settle
  • Cover Artist: Coralie Bickford-Smith, ‘Winter’s Dance’
  • ISSN: 1742-5794
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 68

‘Ring Out, Wild Bells’


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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

Henry Jeffreys props up the bar with Kingsley Amis • Marianne Fisher rings the changes • Adam Sisman goes back to MiddlemarchVictoria Neumark enters the realms of gold • Anthony Longden is intrigued by the story of a fire • Posy Fallowfield finds comfort in William Trevor • Richard Crockatt faces up to Gibbon • Frances Donnelly falls for an unusual private investigator • Laurence Scott smokes the pipe of peace, and much more besides . . .

Ring Out, Wild Bells! • MARIANNE FISHER

Jasper Snowdon, Diagrams

Golden Fire • KATE YOUNG

Laurie Lee, Cider with Rosie

Life Is the Thing • ADAM SISMAN

George Eliot, Middlemarch

A Lost Enchanted World • CHARLOTTE MOORE

Arthur Ransome, Old Peter’s Russian Tales

Strangely Prophetic • ANTHONY LONGDEN

Simon Harcourt-Smith, The Last of Uptake

The Thrillers You Keep • FRANCES DONNELLY

Ross Macdonald, The Moving Target

Put That in Your Pipe . . . • LAURENCE SCOTT

Alfred Dunhill, The Pipe Book

A Merry Malady • RICHARD PLATT

Holbrook Jackson, The Anatomy of Bibliomania

Something Wicked This Way Comes • SAM LEITH

The short stories of Ray Bradbury

No Ribaldry Please, We’re British • VICTORIA NEUMARK

Francis Turner Palgrave, The Golden Treasury

Accentuating the Positive • ANTHONY QUINN

Molly Hughes, A London Child of the 1870s

Scaling Gibbon’s Everest • RICHARD CROCKATT

Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The Magnetism of Murder • ALASTAIR GLEGG

Emlyn Williams, Beyond Belief & Dr Crippen’s Diary


William Trevor, The Story of Lucy Gault

Poor Show • PETER DAY

Alex Atkinson and Ronald Searle, The Big City


Bernard DeVoto, The Hour & Kingsley Amis, Everyday Drinking

These Old Bones • DAN RICHARDS

Writers’ totems

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 68: From the Editors

After probably the strangest year that most of us have ever experienced, London is starting to feel more familiar. There are lighted office windows around Hoxton Square, and there’s traffic again...

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Ring Out, Wild Bells!

Imagine you are walking in the English countryside and come to a village. As the day is hot and the church is open, you step inside to look around and rest in the predictably cool and dim interior....

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Golden Fire

I write these words, appropriately enough, in The Woolpack – the Slad pub that once claimed Laurie Lee as its most famous patron – with a pint of cider at my elbow. From one window, the view dips...

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Life is the Thing

Recently I decided to reread George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871–2).  Half a lifetime had passed since my first reading. I remembered how satisfying I had found the book then; now I wondered how I...

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A Lost Enchanted World

Not long ago, in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, I was transfixed by a vast oil painting; Viktor Vasnetsov’s Bogatyrs (Men of Power) – astride their horses, one brown, one black, one white. I...

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Strangely Prophetic

I always take particular pleasure in people’s stories about how they discover books. For me, the process is quite conventional, more often than not the result of a trip to the London Library,...

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The Thrillers You Keep

Ink has been spilt debating when genre novels become literary fiction. My rule of thumb for recognizing the best in any genre is this: notice what books you keep, won’t lend and need to reread...

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Put That in Your Pipe . . .

One wouldn’t normally associate a book on pipes and pipe-smoking with deceit, guilt and posterior discomfort. This is how it happened. It was 1964. I was a scholastically challenged 14-year-old...

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A Merry Malady

Let’s begin with a brief quiz. Have you ever arrived home, triumphant with glee over your latest bookshop find, only to discover that you already have the book you just purchased? Have you ever...

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

My dad turned me on to Ray Bradbury. The short stories had captivated him in his late teens and early twenties, and on his shelf was a two-volume Grafton paperback collection of them.

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No Ribaldry Please, We’re British

Our family Bible came from our mum’s side. But our real missals were her poetry books – Come Hither, edited by Walter de la Mare, and The Golden Treasury, edited by Francis Turner Palgrave. Now I...

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Accentuating the Positive

According to my journal I first read Molly Hughes’s memoir A London Child of the 1870s in October 2005, ‘a record of Islington life so charming and droll I’m puzzled as to why I’d not come...

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Scaling Gibbon’s Everest

Edward Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (published in six volumes between 1776 and 1788) must rank among the best known of unread or partly read books. At over 3,000...

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The Magnetism of Murder

In 1957 I was a schoolboy in what was then known as Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia, when Arnold Jones, my English teacher, insisted that we all go with him to hear his compatriot, the Welsh author and...

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Just the Way It Is

I first came across William Trevor in the early nineties when my son came home from school with The Children of Dynmouth, his GCSE set text. I’ve been an ardent fan ever since, although I must...

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Poor Show

I must have bought The Big City soon after it was published in 1962, when Penguin was branching out from its then standard paperback format into slightly larger books with pictures, often cartoons....

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Sayre’s Law states: ‘In any dispute the intensity of feeling is inversely proportional to the value of the issues at stake.’ I’ve noticed this in the world of booze. Some people take the...

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These Old Bones

A few days before my birth my father returned from an Arctic expedition. He’d been away for several months on Svalbard – a Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean, halfway between continental...

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