Left Review


Collet's Bookshop
66 Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0EH
United Kingdom
Date began: 
01 Oct 1934
Date ended: 
01 May 1938

The Left Review was first published in October 1934 from Collet’s Bookshop in Charing Cross Road London, the same address as the Writers’ International (British Section). The journal published a selection of poetry, short fiction and non-fiction. It was seen as providing a much needed left wing perspective and filled a gap in the market of literary magazines. It also incorporated regular reports and updates from the British Section of the Writers’ International. The journal was committed to the fight against Fascism and Imperialism and sought to expose so-called hidden forms of war against the peoples of India, Ireland, Africa and China. It published many British figures with connections to South Asians in Britain. The journal sought to foster the development in England of a literature of the struggle for socialism and to publish work that reflected working life in contemporary England.

On 13 April 1935 it held a conference of contributors at Conway Hall, London, to determine the future direction of the Left Review. The journal was committed to highlighting the propaganda potential of literature. Furthermore, it wanted to raise awareness that propaganda is also literature to show how it can be used best as a tool for educating the masses.

The journal reviewed Indian writers such as Mulk Raj Anand, Iqbal Singh and Jawaharlal Nehru. Anand also published several short stories and an essay on New Indian Literature in the journal. Other Indian writers soon followed. The journal also published on Nehru’s campaign for Indian liberties and short stories by Alagu Subramaniam (‘This time the fan’), Sarat Chandra Chatterjee (‘The Drought’, in a translation by Sasadhar Sinha) and Ahmed Ali (‘Mr. Shamsul Hasan’), as well as poetry by Fredoon Kabraji (‘The Patriots’).

The journal ceased publication in May 1938.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: Montague Slater (until 1936), Amabel Williams-Ellis (until 1936), T. H. Wintringham (until 1936), Edgell Rickword (from January 1936), Alick West, D. K. Kitchin (from March 1936), Derek Kahn (assistant editor from June 1936), Randall Swingler (July 1937 - May 1938).


Contributors include: Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, Bertold Brecht, Cedric Dover, Eric Gill, Robert Graves, Andre van Gyseghem, Langston Hughes, Freedon Kabraji, Derek Kahn, John Lehmann, Barbara Nixon, Charles Madge, Naomi Mitchison, Edwin Muir, Pablo Neruda, Harry Pollitt, J. B. Priestley, Herbert Read, Paul Robeson, Siegfried Sassoon, Pulin Behari Seal, George Bernard Shaw, Sasadhar Sinha, Osbert Sitwell, Stephen Spender, John Strachey, Alagu Subramaniam, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Stefan Zweig.

Books Reviewed Include: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, Coolie. Reviewed by Geoffrey West

Anand, Mulk Raj, Two Leaves in a Bud. Reviewed by Arthur Clader-Marshall

Anand, Mulk Raj, Untouchable. Reviewed by John Sommerfield

Beauchamp, Joan and Lawrence, Martin, British Imperialism in India. Reviewed by T. H. Wintringham

Kincaid, Dennis, Their Ways Divide. Reviewed by Edward Hodgkin

Nehru, Jawaharlal, An Autobiography. Reviewed by Montagu Slater

Nehru Jawaharlal, India and the World. Reviewed by Montagu Slater

Rao, Raja, Kanthapura. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand

Spender, Stephen, The Burning Cactus. Reviewed by Derek Khan

Palme Dutt, Rajani, World Politics 1918-1936. Reviewed by R. Bishop

Singh, Iqbal, Gautama Buddha. Reviewed by Robin Jardine

Secondary works: 

Brooker, Peter & Thacker, Andrew (eds.), The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines (Oxford: OUP, 2009)


Slater, Montague ‘The Purpose of a Left Review’, Left Review 1.9 (June 1935), p. 365


To whom are you appealing? It is the question that comes oftenest to LEFT REVIEW. To which section, to which stratum? In answer I would say that we are appealing to all who are looking for a vital expression of revolutionary work. If you want to get a notion of how men can change the world by understanding it and conquering their own past: come and look. If you want to see how men are changing themselves as part of the process of world change: read. If you want to take part in the creation of literature of the classless future, and help prepare the ground for the masterpieces in which the future will live before it has come true: write. It took many a score of writers to make a Cervantes. It is a more crowded world now. We shall need thousands.