The passing of traditions

Photo: Ben Kirby. Courtesy of Pexels Whatever Happened To Tradition? History, Belonging and the Future of the West Tim Stanley, Bloomsbury Continuum, October 2021, 272 pages, £20 KEN BELL finds that banished traditions can come back in new ways The central theme of Tim Stanley’s Whatever Happened to Tradition is that tradition in the West…

A journey into Britain’s recent past

Image: Clem Onojeghuo. Courtesy of Pexels About Britain: A Journey of Seventy Years and 1,345 Miles Tim Cole, Bloomsbury Continuum, June 2021, 384 pages, £18.99 KEN BELL drives down a northwestern Memory Lane The Festival of Britain in 1951 was intended to show that the war was over and Great Britain was back on her…

Dispatches from 1643

The following is an extract from Book II of William G Carpenter’s epic poem about the English Civil Wars. The poet is Philip Meadowe, assistant to John Milton in his role as Foreign Language Secretary for the Council of State under the Protectorate.  Meadowe reads his lines to Milton at Milton’s house in Petty France,…

The enigmas of Erskine Childers

Image: Gary Woods CHRISTOPHER SANDFORD remembers a gifted novelist and nationalist contrarian The era either side of the First World War was a golden age for the spy novel. Perhaps there’s nothing like a really cataclysmic global shock to get the creative juices flowing. In July 1914, Arthur Conan Doyle put Sherlock Holmes aside long…

The hunt for Merlin

The story so far (Chapters 2-8 inclusive have all previously been published on this site, starting here). The complete poem has just been published as A Man of Heart, by Shearsman. Mid 5th century Britain. After the legions have withdrawn, the island is facing civil war, a growing number of external enemies and a steady tide of pagan…

Parnassus, and patria

Tumuli at Revesby in Lincolnshire Sunken Island: An Anthology of British Poetry Various authors, edited by Alexander Adams, foreword by William Clouston, London: Bournbrook Press, 2022, pb, 55pps, £12.50 Bournbrook Press is an offshoot of Bournbrook Magazine, founded in 2019 to offer a “primarily British audience with traditionalist, socially conservative argument and entertainment”. This venture’s…

High treasures of the Low Countries

KMSKA: The Finest Museum The Holy Family by Rubens. KMSKA Patrick De Rynck (ed.), KMSKA, 2022, hardback, 256pp, fully illus., €45 KMSKA: The Finest Hundred Patrick De Rynck (ed.),KMSKA,2022, hardback, 288pp, fully illus., €45 Bruegel and Beyond: Netherlandish Drawings in the Royal Library of Belgium, 1500-1800 Daan van Heesch, Sarah Van Ooteghem, Joris Van Grieken…

Another American empire

Corpse of Emperor Maximilian of Mexico The Last Emperor of Mexico: A Disaster in the New World Edward Shawcross, Faber & Faber, January 2022, 336 pages, £20 KEN BELL reflects on a Mexico that might have been Mexico has only ever had one ruler who cared about the Indians and he was shot by order…

Overlooked Orpheans

STUART MILLSON enjoys some neglected gems of British music Why does the spiritual toll of the Great War seem to have been harsher for Britain than for any of the other European combatants, asks organist, scholar, music-writer Robert James Stove, in commentary for a booklet which accompanies a new CD on the Australian Ars Organi…