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Slightly Foxed Issue 71
  • ISBN: 9781910898628
  • Pages: 96
  • Dimensions: 210 x 148mm
  • Illustrations: B/W
  • Publication date: 1 September 2021
  • Cover Artist: Jackie Morris, ‘Spring into Autumn’, watercolour and gold leaf
  • ISSN: 1742-5794
Made in Britain

Slightly Foxed Issue 71

‘Jocelin’s Folly’


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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

Andrew Joynes goes back to the Middle Ages • Margaret Drabble gets to the truth of the matter with Doris Lessing • John Smart dreams of cheese • Rachel Kelly finds consolation in poetry • Charles Elliott follows a paper trail • Clarissa Burden falls for Inspector Grant • Ken Haigh takes the Tolkien test • Caroline Jackson rides with the Irish RM • Patrick Welland reads an elegy to a family, and much more besides . . .

Jocelin’s Folly • ANDREW JOYNES

William Golding, The Spire

Elegy to a Family • PATRICK WELLAND

George Clare, Last Waltz in Vienna

A Down-to-Earth Visionary • MARGARET DRABBLE

Doris Lessing, The Four-Gated City


Richard Altick, The Scholar Adventurers

Plenty to Say • OLIVIA POTTS

The novels of Mary Wesley

Gone Fishing • ADAM SISMAN

Hugh Falkus, The Stolen Years

Magical Talisman • SUE GAISFORD

Rosemary Sutcliff, Sword Song & The Shield Ring

The Ubiquitous Canadian • MICHAEL BARBER

Charles Ritchie, The Siren Years

A Smooth Man in a Trilby • CLARISSA BURDEN

Josephine Tey’s Inspector Grant novels

Dreaming of Cheese • JOHN SMART

John Squire (ed.), Cheddar Gorge

A Strangulation of the Soul • MAGGIE FERGUSSON

Brian Masters, Killing for Company

The Price of Virtue • FRANCES DONNELLY

Anita Brookner, Hotel du Lac

The Tolkien Test • KEN HAIGH

J. R. R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Winston and Clementine • JANE RIDLEY

Mary Soames (ed.), Speaking for Themselves

Innocent or Not? • CHRISTIAN TYLER

Rita Monaldi & Francesco Sorti, Imprimatur

Out with the Galloping Major • CAROLINE JACKSON

Somerville and Ross, Some Experiences of an Irish RM

Poetry, My Mother and Me • RACHEL KELLY

The consolation of poetry

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 71: From the Editors

For many of us, the summer of 2021 will be remembered through the words of a song from forty years ago. ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ was the theme of days in which we packed and unpacked our...

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Jocelin’s Folly

Across the east end of the nave of Canterbury Cathedral, where I was a volunteer guide for over a decade, there is a stone strainer arch erected by Prior Thomas Goldstone 500 years ago. It is a kind...

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Elegy to a Family

I have a photo of Aunt Margaret standing outside Vienna’s Hofburg Palace, beret jauntily askew. It is 1937 and, aged 28, she is on her return with a friend from Czechoslovakia, travelling in an...

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A Down-to-Earth Visionary

I read Doris Lessing’s The Four-Gated City in 1969, when it was published, and I have a hardback first edition of it, still in its original dust wrapper. When I rediscovered my copy and reread it...

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Paper Trails

I have always been taken with the idea of treasure-hunting. Not that I have done much of it myself. I do recall searching (without success) for a reputed abandoned gold mine on Tom Ball Mountain in...

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Plenty to Say

A few months after my mother died, my sister and I returned home to clear out her possessions. I felt unsentimental about most of them. I readily threw away clothes, keeping only a cardigan that was...

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Gone Fishing

For me, some books act like a time machine, leading me back into my past, reminding me of how it felt to be young. This doesn’t happen often, but when it does, the effect is intense. Sensations...

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Magical Talisman

It’s silly to covet a piece of jewellery. When would you really wear Marie-Antoinette’s necklace or the Hope Diamond? Even the glittering parures paraded by red-carpet celebrities are borrowed,...

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The Ubiquitous Canadian

Charles Ritchie (1906–95) was a witty, cultivated Canadian diplomat whose voluminous diaries, a blend of anecdote, commentary and confession, were an ‘escape hatch’ from the confines of his...

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A Smooth Man in a Trilby

I was 13 and mad about horses when I was presented with Brat Farrar. The name of its author, Josephine Tey, meant nothing to me at the time and the title didn’t tell me much either, but it had a...

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Dreaming of Cheese

When I was writing a biography of John Hayward, T. S. Eliot’s flat-sharer and friend for many years, I was intrigued to come across a letter from Eliot to The Times. It was a reply to a certain Sir...

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A Strangulation of the Soul

It was dusk on a winter’s day, many years ago now, when I settled down to read the prison letters of Dennis Nilsen, the most prolific murderer in British history. They had been donated to the Royal...

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The Price of Virtue

Hotel du Lac was Anita Brookner’s fourth novel, published in 1984. To the consternation of many and the incredulity of the author, it won the Booker Prize that year. The photograph taken after the...

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The Tolkien Test

As parents, we hope our children will love the books we ourselves enjoyed, the ones that turned us into readers. But as often as not, our attempts to interest them fail. I remember a friend who was...

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Winston and Clementine

It was lockdown, and I was short of a book to read. One night I picked up the fat paperback volume of letters that I had ordered from Amazon (yes, I know, but where else could I buy a 1999 paperback...

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Innocent or Not?

Chance put this book into my hands – and I shall be forever grateful to her. Searching for local colour from late seventeenth-century Rome for a project of my own, I came across the Italian...

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Out with the Galloping Major

On one of my more recent trips to Ire­land, I took a detour through County Waterford to visit Lismore Castle. Tow­ering over the steep, wooded banks of the Blackwater, it was built nearly 900 years...

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Poetry, My Mother and Me

My mother Linda Kelly was a historian and lover of the eighteenth century, with biographies of Sheridan, Tom Moore and Talleyrand to her name. Though I studied history at university, when it comes to...

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Cover Artist: Slightly Foxed Issue 71, Jackie Morris, ‘Spring into Autumn’

Jackie Morris, born in 1961, grew up with a desire to paint. She studied art at Bath Academy of Art and has exhibited her work internationally. She is the illustrator of many books and the author of...

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