Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Poetry of the First World War: An Anthology

Edited by Tim Kendall “There are strange Hells within the minds War made …” Ivor Gurney. ~:~ Up until very recently had anyone asked me to recommend just one book … Continue reading

November 11, 2014 · 8 Comments

“Good luck, everyone …”

  On this Armistice Day, the moment that comedy collided with tragedy:  © BBC   (The scheduled post will appear later this morning.)

November 11, 2014 · 3 Comments

The Lost Domain (Le Grand Meaulnes) by Alain-Fournier

Translated by Frank Davison. The first time someone told me I MUST read Le Grand Meaulnes I was a teenager and studying for my French Literature ‘A’ level. We had … Continue reading

August 27, 2014 · 11 Comments

Vulpes Random: The Thirty-Nine Steps

I was on the radio on Tuesday, on BBC Radio Three, on a late-night discussion programme called Free Thinking, talking about John Buchan, The Thirty-Nine Steps, and the run-up to … Continue reading

June 26, 2014 · 5 Comments

VL Q&A: Chris Ward, author of Living on the Western Front (Annals and Stories, 1914-1919)

What I wanted to do was disrupt narrative structures and upset realist expectations by imitating an early-medieval annalist… but it proved impossible. In the first place because every sentence is … Continue reading

April 11, 2014 · 6 Comments

Lord Peter Wimsey and the Great War

Remembrance. Armistice Day. It’s complicated. Or it is as far as I’m concerned. Every year I’m assailed by such a mixture of family history, childhood memories, political and personal reflections … Continue reading

November 13, 2013 · 9 Comments

Fred’s War

I spend a great deal of my working life reading stories and histories from the First World War. It’s hardly a holiday for me to read a novel about the … Continue reading

November 11, 2013 · 1 Comment

Beyond the German Garden

At last the world has a decent scholarly study of (some of) the novels of Elizabeth von Arnim. She has legions of fans, but no biography remains in print, and … Continue reading

July 10, 2013 · 7 Comments

Tories clinging to the wreckage

Richard Carr’s detailed study, Veteran MPs and Conservative Politics in the Aftermath of the Great War: The Memory of All That,  is a very focused history book. It’s about the … Continue reading

May 17, 2013 · 1 Comment

The Liberation of Celia Kahn by J. David Simons + GIVEAWAY

Glasgow 1915. Set against the background of rent strikes, anti-war sentiment and a revolution brewing in Russia, a young Jewish woman from the Gorbals gains her first taste for protest … Continue reading

February 16, 2011 · 13 Comments

‘Blackadder goes forth’ or ‘How I learned to enjoy ‘rat au van’

It is 7 November 2009, I’m enjoying a glass of Pedro Ximinez sherry after a delightful dinner while listening to the ticking of an early trench watch (dated from 1919). … Continue reading

November 10, 2009 · 10 Comments



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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)