Indian Writing


The Indian Writing magazine ran irregularly from 1940 to 1945. Ostensibly a literary magazine, Indian Writing was a platform for the radical, anti-colonial, broadly Marxist South Asian activists based in London to articulate their critique of Indo-British relations, alongside their own views on politics and culture, which would have been seen as extremist at the time.

The first issue of Indian Writing was written in 1940 with war ‘an immediate reality’ and the possibility of anti-colonial ‘revolutions’ imminent. Contributions to Indian Writing charted the Cripps mission to India, alongside a critique of the BBC’s Allied War Propaganda. Editors Iqbal Singh and Ahmed Ali forcefully voiced their objection to the use of Indian soldiers as ‘cannon fodder’ and to ‘the spectacle of innocent nations and peoples being dragged into the homicidal delirium of rival imperialist powers’ in the Second World War (Indian Writing 1.2 (1940), p. 68). In this way the magazine revealed the tensions between nationalism, anti-fascism and anti-imperialism of this period. The Book Review section of the Indian Writing magazine, served as a key space for South Asian writers like Ahmed Ali and Mulk Raj Anand to comment on each other’s novels as well as on other books on South Asia. This coverage was particularly important in the context of a broader, insular reviewing culture notably the resistance these South Asian fictional texts met from the more conservative, parochial elements of the British literary establishment, regarding their politics and use of Indian English.

Secondary works: 

Ranasinha, Ruvani, South Asian Writers in Twentieth-Century Britain: Culture in Translation (Oxford: Clarendon, 2007)


Indian Writing 1.1 (1940), p. 3

Date began: 
01 Apr 1940

As Gorky observed: 'Culture is more necessary in storm than in peace.' it is more necessary because it is precisely in the stormy periods of transition that it becomes imperative to maintain some sense of the continuity of human thought and endeavour, and even more, to understand the processes which lead to new cultural integrations.

In launching Indian Writing we take Gorky’s view. And for good reason. It does not seem altogether fantastic to suggest that we are witnessing today a significant shift of the bases of culture, that initiative in cultural matters is passing to those vast masses of humanity who have so far served only as pawns for the profit of Western Imperialism. In this respect, the awakening of India is one of the most important facts of contemporary history. No single magazine could possibly claim to represent this great movement in all its complex aspects. We only hope to interpret its specifically cultural implications. […] We are interested primarily in publishing imaginative literature which is alive with the realities of to-day.

Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: Ahmed Ali, Krishnarao Shelvankar, Iqbal Singh, Alagu Subramaniam.

Roland Hardless (business manager)


The magazine reflects the Indian Writing editors’ perceived need to literally create their own space in the form of a literary magazine, to articulate their own views on politics and culture. The magazine demonstrates London’s role as a global centre and facilitator for anti-imperialism and diasporic nationalism.


Contributors: K. Ahmed Abbas, Mulk Raj Anand, Peter Blackman, Jack Chen, Ismat Chughtai, Cedric Dover, Attia Habibullah, Sher Jung, Pieter Keuneman, Enver Kureishi, Krishna Menon, Saadat Hussain Manto, R. K. Narayan, Jawaharlal Nehru, Clemens Palme Dutt, Raja Rao, S. Raja Ratnam, Bharati Sarabhai, Rabindranath Tagore, Suresh Vaidya.

Date ended: 
01 Jul 1942
Precise date ended unknown: 
Books Reviewed Include: 

Ali, Ahmed, Twilight in Delhi. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.

Anand, Mulk Raj, Across the Black Waters. Reviewed by Iqbal Singh.

Barns, Margarita, The Indian Press. Reviewed by Krishnarao Shelvankar.

Bromfield, Louise, Night in Bombay. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.

Chintamani, C. Y., Indian Politics since the Mutiny. Reviewed by Krishnarao Shelvankar.

Coatman, John, India: The Road to Self-Government. Reviewed by Krishna Menon.

Hemingway, Ernest, For Whom the Bell Tolls. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.

Indian Progressive Writers Association, Naya Adab: Anthology of Progressive Literature. Reviewed by Ahmed Ali.

Koestler, Arthur, Scum of the Earth. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.

Montagu, Ivor, The Traitor Class. Reviewed by Krishnarao Shelvankar.

Nehru, Jawaharlal, the Unity of India. Reviewed by Clemens Palme Dutt.

Palme Dutt, Rajani, India to-day. Reviewed by Iqbal Singh.

Rao, P. Kodanda, East versus West: A denial of contrasts, reviewed by Krishnarao Shelvankar.

Rilke, R. M., Selected Poems, reviewed by Iqbal Singh.

Shelvankar, Krishnarao, The Problem of India. Reviewed by Iqbal Singh.

Singh, Anup, Nehru: The Rising Star of India. Reviewed by Krishnarao Shelvankar.

Smith, Nicol, Burma Road, reviewed by Pieter Keuneman.

Spender, Stephen, The Backward Son. Reviewed by MulkRaj Anand.

Thompson, Edward, Enlist India for Freedom. Reviewed by Cedric Dover.

Zaheer, Sajjad, One Night in London. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.

Zoshchenko, Michael, The Woman who could not Read. Reviewed by Iqbal Singh.


16 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN
United Kingdom

Asian Horizon


In the editorial of its inaugural edition, this short-lived periodical states its aim ‘to provide a forum for the discussion of the problems facing this new Asia and those who seek to work in harmony with the countries of the East’. Triggered by the newly independent status of Asian nations, it sought to give a voice to their peoples in order to enable western readers to gain better access to this region of the world. Asian Horizon published short fiction and poetry, essays on different areas and aspects of the continent, and book reviews. Examples include a short story titled ‘The Liar’ by Mulk Raj Anand, a poem by the London-based Aga Bashir, and essays on contemporary Pakistani fiction and an exhibition of Asian artists held in London in 1950. Produced and published in London, it included work by several contributors based in the Indian subcontinent and other parts of Asia, as well as in Britain.


Lo, Kenneth, Asian Horizon 2.4 (Spring 1950), p. 41


The extract is taken from a review of an exhibition of Asian artists sponsored and arranged by Asian Horizon and funded by D. P. Chaudhuri who founded the Asian Institute a few months previously.

Date began: 
01 Jan 1948

In the past there have been in London exhibitions of the works of individual artists from Asia. The exhibition at the Asian Institute Gallery during the third week in April was the first time that a joint exhibition had been arranged. It was quite a conglomeration of artistic works, some of no small value, as various and as wide apart as the traditions and background of Asia. During the ten days of the exhibition, it was viewed by over 1,000 people.

Neville Wallis of the ‘Observer’ described the exhibition thus: ‘…East and West meet most happily in the mysterious, decorative paintings of A. D. Thomas, an Indian Christian.’

The New Statesman reporter described his impression thus:

‘The exhibits themselves vary in quality even more than in most shows. I liked particularly a fresco by a Pakistan painter. There was distinguished work from each country. The Chinese seems to be least influenced by the tradition of the West. Even when they paint an English seaside resort it is just as Chinese as Pekin. The outstanding Indian painter is A. D. Thomas and, amongst the others, Mr. Abeyasinghe deserves to be as well known here as he is in Ceylon.’

Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Dorothy Woodman (editor), D. P. Chaudhuri (assistant editor).

Editorial associates: Vernon Bartlett, Jack Cranmer-Byng, Maung Ohn, Hurustiati Subandrio, Poey Ungphakorn, Nguyen Van-Nhan, Chun-Chan Yeh.


That an exhibition of Asian artists was held in the metropolis – and that it was well attended – suggests a degree of receptiveness to the work of South Asian (as well as other Asian) artists on the part of the British. It is probable that this receptiveness was increasing in the wake of Indian independence. The comments by both reviewers signal an element of hybridity, or a cross-fertilization of ideas, in the work of South Asian artists in this period.


Contributors: Stanley Abeyasinghe, Mulk Raj Anand, Aga Bashir, A. S. Bokhari, A. S. Bozman, Ismat Chugtai, Chitra Fernando, Abdul Majid, Aslam Malik, Lord Pethick-Lawrence, Kenneth Lo, M. Masud, Lester Peries, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, B. Rajan, G. P. Rajaratnam, S. Raja Ratnam, Suhdir Sen, Feliks Topolski, Ranjita Sarath Chandra, Khushwant Singh, M. J. Tambimuttu, Beryl de Zoete.

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1951
Archive source: 

British Library, St Pancras

Precise date ended unknown: 
Books Reviewed Include: 

Coomaraswamy, Ananda Kentish, The Bugbear of Literacy (London: Dennis Dobson, 1949)

Gandhi, M. K. The Story of my Experiments with Truth: An Autobiography, trans. Mahadev Desai (London: Phoenix Press, 1949)

Polak, H. S. L., Brailsford, H. N. and Pethick-Lawrence, F. W., Mahatma Gandhi (London: Odhams Press, 1948)


34 Victoria Street
London, SW1H 0EU
United Kingdom

Horizon: Review of Literature and Art


Founded and edited by Cyril Connolly, with financial backing from Peter Watson (who was also its art editor), Horizon was a London-based magazine which published short fiction, essays on literature and art, and book reviews by an impressive range of contributors including W. H. Auden, George Orwell, E. M. Forster and Stephen Spender, who was also the magazine’s uncredited associate editor in its early years. Several of its contributors had connections with South Asian writers in Britain in the 1940s, and the magazine displays an awareness of the work of Indian writers in the form of numerous advertisements for their published fiction as well as for periodicals featuring their work. In spite of this, however, Horizon itself gave surprisingly little space to articles by these writers or about their work. An article on ‘Kalighat Folk Painters’ by Ajit Mookerjee, and an essay on the artist Jamini Roy by E. Mary Milford, are two of the rare exceptions to this tendency to confine itself to Euro-American literature and art.

Secondary works: 

Shelden, Michael, Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of Horizon (London: Hamilton, 1989)

Date began: 
01 Jan 1940
Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Cyril Connolly (editor), Stephen Spender (unofficial associate editor), Peter Watson (art editor).


W. H. Auden, George Barker, John Betjeman, Laurence Binyon, Maurice Blanchot, Elizabeth Bowen, Alex Comfort, Paul Eluard, William Empson, E. M. Forster, Lucian Freud, Barbara Hepworth, Aldous Huxley, C. E. M. Joad, Augustus John, John Lehmann, Cecil Day Lewis, Jack Lindsay, Julian Maclaren-Ross, Louis MacNeice, Henry Miller, Ajit Mookerjee, George Orwell, Ben Nicholson, Peter Quennell, Kathleen Raine, Osbert Sitwell, Dylan Thomas, Ruthven Todd.

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1950
Archive source: 

British Library, St Pancras

Precise date ended unknown: 
Books Reviewed Include: 

Fielden, Lionel, Beggar My Neighbour (London: Secker & Warburg, 1943). Reviewed by George Orwell.

Menon, Narayana, The Development of William Butler Yeats (London: Oliver & Boyd, 1942). Reviewed by George Orwell.

The Bookman


The Bookman was a monthly magazine published by Hodder & Staughton. First published in 1891, The Bookman was initially conceived as an advertising tool for Hodder and Stoughton’s catalogue. The journal also published essays and reviews. The journal was quick to respond to new technological innovations, including columns on film, photography and a new supplement called 'The Illustrated Bookman', which featured articles on travel writing and accompanying photographs that from today's perspective could be read as 'orientalist'. These photographs exoticized the locale, highlighting the places' strangeness, otherness and their attraction as a space for adventure and exploration.

Under the editorship of Hugh Ross-Williamson in the 1930s, the journal increasingly reviewed books on India and Indian political issues. Aubrey Menen became the drama critic for The Bookman from October 1933 to May 1934. His columns engaged with the state of London's commercial theatre and argued for an alternative theatre that was poltically engaging and addressed a wider constituency. He also intervened into debates around the creation of a national theatre. He called for a more realist style of acting and lamented the influence of film that in his opinion had lead to a dumbing down of theatre. The journal published a number of survey articles on Indian writing, and regularly reviewed books on Indian politics. The journal was incorporated into the London Mercury in 1935, which was absorbed into Life & Letters today in 1939.

Date began: 
01 Oct 1891
Key Individuals' Details: 

William Robertson Nicoll (editor), Arthur St. John Adcock (editor), Hugh Ross Williamson (editor).

Date ended: 
01 Dec 1934
Books Reviewed Include: 

Andrews, C. F., Mahatma Gandhi at Work (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931)

Bernays, Robert, Naked Fakir (London: Gollancz, 1931). Reviewed by J. R. Glorney Bolton.

Butler, Harcourt, India Insistent  (London: Heinemann, 1931)

Craig, A. E. R., The Palace of Intrigue (London: Harmsorth, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.

Crozier, F. P., A Word To Gandhi: The Lesson of Ireland (London Williams & Norgate, 1931)

Kennion, R. L., Diversions of an Indian Political (Edinburgh: Blackwell, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.

Polak, Millie Graham, M. Gandhi: the Man (London: Allen & Unwin, 1931)

Tagore, Rabindranath, The Golden Boat, trans. by Bhattacharya, Bhabani (London: Allen & Unwin, 1932). Reviewed by  J. Vijaya-Tunga.

Poetry London


M. J. Tambimuttu and Anthony Dickins launched this literary magazine in 1939, with the former as literary editor and the latter as general editor, but it was Tambimuttu who was the driving force behind it. Well regarded in the literary world, it featured the work of many of the most influential British poets of the period, including Lawrence Durrell, W. H. Auden, Louis MacNeice and Stephen Spender, as well as reviews of poetry, fictions, plays, literary magazines and scholarly work, and some short prose, critical essays and illustrations. It also published work by new poets, declaring in its first editorial that 'every man has poetry within him'. Indeed, T. S. Eliot said of the magazine: 'It is only in Poetry London that I can consistently expect to find new poets who matter'. Initially funded by subscriptions and donations, and frequently suffering from paper shortages during the Second World War, the magazine was beset by financial difficulties and appeared irregularly. From 1942 to 1947, it gained the backing of publishers Nicholson & Watson, who also asked Tambimuttu to develop his own imprint of books, Editions Poetry London. As well as writers, Editions Poetry London promoted several artists, publishing work by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, among others. After Nicholson & Watson withdrew their support in 1947, the magazine gained the financial backing of Richard March until its demise in 1951.

Correspondence between Tambimuttu and his contributors (MSS Add 88907-8, British Library, St Pancras) highlights the central position occupied by Poetry London and its editor Tambimuttu within the literary and artistic networks of 1940s London. Letters to the editor suggest that several well known cultural figures felt much personal affection for Tambimuttu and that the magazine was held in high regard by the literary establishment, as well as triggering debate and controversy. There is some rather limited evidence of connections between Tambimuttu and other Indian writers, resident in both India and Britain (for example, Ahmed Ali and Cedric Dover) – although the work of Indian poets and writers rarely appears in the magazine. The correspondence also gives insight into the impact of war on literary culture.

Other names: 


Poetry (London)

Secondary works: 

Beckett, Chris, ‘Tambimuttu and the Poetry London Papers at the British Library: Reputation and Evidence’, Electronic British Library Journal (2009): http://www.bl.uk/eblj/2009articles/article9.html

Maclaren-Ross, J., Memoirs of the Forties (London: Alan Ross Ltd, 1965)

Ranasinha, Ruvani, South Asian Writers in Twentieht-Century Britain: Culture in Translation (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007)

Williams, Jane, Tambimuttu: Bridge Between Two Worlds (London: Peter Owen, 1989)

Date began: 
01 Feb 1939
Precise date began unknown: 
Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: M. J. Tambimuttu (until 1949), Anthony Dickins (early issues), Richard March (from 1949).


George Barker, Audrey Beecham, Ronald Bottrall, Robert Cecil, Alex Comfort, Dorian Cooke, Keith Douglas, Lawrence Durrell, T. S. Eliot, Paul Eluard, Gavin Ewart, G. S. Fraser, Lucian Freud, Diana Gardner, David Gascoyne, Barbara Hepworth, Pierre Jean Jouve, Alun Lewis, Louis MacNeice, Walter de la Mare, Henry Miller, Joan Miro, Henry Moore, Nicholas Moore, Pablo Neruda, George Orwell, Mervyn Peake, Paul Potts, Kathleen Raine, Balachandra RajanHerbert Read, Keidrych Rhys, Anne Ridler, Rainer Maria Rilke, Francis Scarfe, Edith Sitwell, Stephen Spender, Graham Sutherland, Dylan Thomas, Henry Treece, Gerald Wilde, Stephen Coates.

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1951
Archive source: 

Add. MS 88907, M. J. Tambimuttu papers, British Library, St Pancras

Add. MS 88908, Richard March papers, British Library, St Pancras

Northwestern University, Chicago

Poetry London–New York records, Columbia University Rare Book and Manuscript Library, New York

Precise date ended unknown: 
Books Reviewed Include: 

Aiken, Conrad, The Soldier: A Poem (London: Editions Poetry, 1946)

Auden, W. H., 'For the Time Being'

Connolly, Cyril, Horizon: A Review of Literature and Art

Durrell, Lawrence, A Private Country (London: Faber & Faber, 1943)

Eliot, T. S., The Family Reunion (London: Faber & Faber, 1939)

Eliot, T. S., East Coker  (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Empson, William, The Gathering Storm (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Garcia Lorca, Federico, Poems, trans. by Stephen Spender and J. L. Gili; selection and introduction by R. M. Nadal (London: Dolphin, 1939)

MacNeice, Louis, Autumn Journal: A Poem (London: Faber & Faber, 1939)

Menon, V. K. Narayana, The Development of William Butler Yeats (London: Oliver & Boyd, 1942)

Read, Herbert, Poems

Sassoon, Siegfried, Rhymed Ruminations (London: Chiswick Press, 1939)

Spender, Stephen, The Still Centre (London: Faber & Faber, 1939)

The Geeta: The Gospel of the Lord Shri Krishna, trans. by Shri Purohit Swami (London: Faber & Faber, [1935] 1942)

Tambimuttu, M. J., Out of This War: A Poem (London: Fortune Press, 1941)

Watkins, Vernon, The Lamp and the Veil: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1945)


Marchmont Street
London, WC1N 1RE
United Kingdom
Craven House, London, WC2A 2HT
United Kingdom
Manchester Square
London, W1U 3EJ
United Kingdom
Tags for Making Britain: 

Una Marson


Una Marson was born and grew up in Jamaica. After her work on the editorial staff of the Jamaica Critic in 1926, she founded her own magazine The Cosmopolitan, which she also edited. Having established herself in Jamaica, Marson moved to London in 1932 to experience life outside Jamaica and to find a wider audience for her literary work. She lodged with Harold Arundel Moody, and became involved with the League of Coloured Peoples. She worked for the League as its unpaid Assistant Secretary, organising student activities, receptions, meetings, trips and concerts. During her stay in England from Marson continued to publish on feminist issues, as she had in Jamaica. She also became increasingly interested in discussions about race, eugenics and the colour-bar, focussing on the most pressing issues faced by black migrants living in Britain.

During her first stay in Britain, Marson organized, staged and compered an evening of entertainment at the Indian Students Hostel. The line-up included the American singer John Payne, the pianist Bruce Wendell and the Guyanese clarinettist Rudolph Dunbar. By 1937 she was editor of the League’s journal and its spokesperson, working closely with Moody. Marson was also a member of the International Alliance of Women for Equal Suffrage and Citizenship and the British Commonwealth League (BCL). At the latter she met Myra Steadman, daughter of the suffragette Myra Sadd Brown. The All India Women’s congress was affiliated with the BCL. During the period she also became involved with the Left Book Club and encountered the writings of Rabindranath Tagore.

After two years in Jamaica, Marson returned to Britain in 1938. In 1939 Marson was offered work by the BBC as a freelancer for the magazine programme 'Picture Page' to arrange interviews with visitors from the Empire. She also drafted three-minute scripts for the programme. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Marson lectured occasionally at the Imperial Institute and worked as a talks and script writer for the BBC. In 1941 she was appointed full-time programme assistant to the BBC Empire Service, where she hosted and coordinated the broadcasts under the title 'Calling the West Indies'.

In November 1942 George Orwell asked her to contribute to the six-part poetry magazine 'Voice', broadcast on the Indian Section of the BBC’s Eastern Service, with Marson taking part in the fourth programme dedicated to American poetry, which also featured William Empson. She read her poem ‘Banjo Boy’. In the December edition of the programme she appeared alongside M. J. Tambimuttu, T. S. Eliot, Mulk Raj Anand, Narayana Menon and William Empson. This led Una to devise a similar programme for the West Indies, titled 'Caribbean Voices', which in later years under the direction of Henry Swanzy would introduce authors such as George Lamming, Sam Selvon, V. S. Naipaul and Edward Kamau Braithwaite to a wider audience. The programme ran for fifteen years until 1958. She returned to Jamaica in 1945 and died in 1965 from a heart attack.

Published works: 

Tropic Reveries (Kingston, Jamaica: Gleaner, 1930)

‘At What a Price’ (1932) [unpublished play]

Moth and the Star (Kingston, Jamaica: Una Marson, 1937)

London Calling (1938) [play]

‘Pocomania’ (Kingston, Jamaica, 1938) [unpublished MS]

Towards the Stars: Poems (London: London University Press, 1945)

Heights and Depths (Kingston, Jamaica: Una Marson, n.d.)


‘A Call to Downing Street’, Public Opinion, 11 Sept. 1937 , p.5

Date of birth: 
06 Feb 1905

Mulk Raj Anand, Z. A. Bokhari, Vera Brittain, Venu Chitale, T. S. Eliot, William Empson, Victor Gollancz, A. E. T. Henry (BBC), C. L. R. James, Jomo Kenyatta, Cecil Madden (BBC), Narayana MenonHarold Moody, George Orwell, Nancy Parratt, Christopher Pemberton (BBC), M. J. Tambimuttu, Mary Treadgold (BBC).

British Drama League, The International Alliance of Women, International League for Peace and Freedom

Contributions to periodicals: 

The Cosmopolitan

Jamaica Critic

The Keys

The Listener

Public Opinion


It is impossible to live in London, associating with peoples of other Colonies of the British Empire, without realising that British peoples the world over are working for self-realisation and development towards the highest and the best.

Secondary works: 

Delia, Jarrett-Macaulay, The Life of Una Marson, 1905–1965 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1998)

Donnell, Alison, ‘Una Marson: feminism, anti-colonialism and a forgotten fight for freedom,’ in Bill Schwarz (ed.) West Indian Intellectuals in Britain (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003), pp. 114-31

Narain, Denise de Caires, 'Literary Mothers? Una Marson and Phyllis Shand Allfrey', Contemporary Caribbean Women's Poetry: Making Style (New York London: Routledge, 2002)


Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives, Caversham Park, Reading

George Orwell Archive, University of London

Una Marson papers, National Library of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica

City of birth: 
Sharon Village near Santa Cruz
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Una Maud Victoria Marson


14 The Mansions, Mill Lane West Hampstead
London, NW6 1TE
United Kingdom
51° 33' 5.5404" N, 0° 11' 56.7564" W
164 Queen’s Road Peckham
London, SE15 2JR
United Kingdom
51° 28' 23.7072" N, 0° 3' 5.0544" W
Date of death: 
06 May 1965
Location of death: 
Kingston Jamaica
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1932
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1932-6; 1938-45

Robert Bridges


Robert Bridges was born in Walmer, Kent, to father John Thomas Bridges and mother Harriet Elizabeth Affleck. He entered Eton College in 1854 and started writing poetry, and enrolled at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, in the Michaelmas term of 1863. In 1872 he joined the Savile Club where he got to know Edmund William Gosse.

In 1884, Bridges married Monica Waterhouse, who was a cousin of Roger Fry. Through this marriage, Bridges was introduced to a younger generation of writers who included W. B. Yeats, Ezra Pound, Robert Graves, Virginia Woolf and E. M. Forster. In 1912, William Rothenstein introduced Bridges to Rabindranath Tagore, whom he met again in Oxford in 1913. Tagore had won the Nobel Prize for Gitanjali in 1913 and Bridges wanted to include excerpts from it in his anthology, The Spirit of Man (1915). Gitanjali had been introduced to the British public by W. B. Yeats in 1912. Yeats and Rothenstein were to play an instrumental role in the communication between Tagore and Bridges. The controversy surrounding Tagore's inclusion in Bridges' anthology stems from Bridges' desire to refine the English of one of the Gitanjali poems. But Tagore refused and it was only the intervention of Yeats, at Bridges' request, that persuaded Tagore to let Bridges make the changes. Bridges only met Tagore on very few occasions; otherwise their relationship was entirely through correspondence and mutual friends.

One of those mutual friends was Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy, a student at Oxford, who assisted Bridges in choosing 'Oriental' poems for his anthology. In a letter to Bridges dated 8 July 1914, Tagore mentions his affection for Suhrawardy: 'I am glad you speak so well of Suhrawardy for whom I felt a very great attraction when I came to know him in Oxford, and the memory of my meeting with him still gives me pleasure.'

Basanta Kumar Mallik enrolled at Oxford in 1912 and soon became a frequent guest at Bridges' Boar's Hill home, where also W. B. Yeats was a frequent visitor.

In 1913, Bridges was made poet laureate and he remained a best selling poet throughout the 1920s. He died at his home on 21 April 1930. 

Published works: 

The Growth of Love: A Poem in Twenty-Four Sonnets (London, 1876)

Prometheus the Firegiver (Oxford: Printed at the private press of H. Daniel, 1883)

Eros and Psyche: A Poem in Twelve Measures. The Story Done Into English from the Latin of Apuleius (London: Bell, 1885)

Eight Plays (London: Bell, 1885-1894)

The Feast of Bacchus (Oxford: Privately printed by H. Daniel, 1889)

The Shorter Poems of Robert Bridges (London: Bell, 1890)

Eden: An Oratorio (London: Bell, 1891)

Achilles in Scyros (London: Bell, 1892)

The Humours of the Court: A Comedy in Three Acts (London: Bell, 1893)

Milton's Prosody (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1893)

John Keats: A Critical Essay (London: Privately printed, 1895)

The Small Hymn-Book: The Word Book of the Yattendon Hymnal (Oxford: Blackwell, Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent, 1899)

Poetical Works, 6 vols (London: Murray, 1898-1905)

Now in Wintry Delights (Oxford: Daniel Press, 1903)

Demeter: A Mask (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1905)

On the Influence of the Audience (1907)

On the Present State of English Pronunciation (1910)

About Hymns (London, 1912)

A Tract on the Present State of English Pronunciation (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913)

The Spirit of Man: An Anthology in English and French from the Philosophers and Poets ([S.I.]: Longmans, 1915)

An Address to the Swindon Branch of the Workers' Educational Association (Oxford: Claredon Press, 1916)

Ibant Obscuri: An Experiment in the Classical Hexameter (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1916)

Ode on the Tercentenary Commemoration of Shakespeare (1916)

The Necessity of Poetry: An Address (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1918)

Britannia Victrix (London: Oxford University Press, 1919)

On English Homophones (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1919)

October, and Other Poems (London: William Heinemann, 1920)

On the Dialectical Words in Edmund Blunden's Poems (1921)

Pictoral, Picturesque, Romantic, Grotesque, Classical (1923)

Collected Essays, Papers, etc., 10 vols (London: Oxford University Press, 1923-1934)

The Chilswell Book of English Poetry (London: Longmans, 1924)

New Verse (Oxford: Clarendon, 1925)

Robert Bridges (London: Ernest Benn, 1925)

The Society's Work (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925)

The Tapestry: Poems (London: F. W. & S. M., 1925)

The Testament of Beauty (Oxford: Clarendon, 1929)

On Receiving Trivia from the Author (Stanford Dingley: Mill House Press, 1930)

Three Friends: Memoirs of Digby Mackworth Dolben, Richard Watson Dixon, Henry Bradley (London: Oxford University Press, 1932)

The Selected Letters of Robert Bridges: With the Correspondence of Robert Bridges and Lionel Muirhead, Donald E. Stanford (ed.), (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1982-1984)


Letter to Rabindranath Tagore in Robert Bridges, The Selected Letters of Robert Bridges: With the Correspondence of Robert Bridges and Lionel Muirhead, vol. 2 (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1984), pp. 666-667

Date of birth: 
23 Oct 1844

Letter from Bridges to Tagore concerning the inclusion of Tagore's poem 'Nest and the Sky' in Bridges anthology, The Spirit of Man.


E. M. Forster, Edmund William Gosse (met at the Savile Club), Robert Graves (neighbour at Boar's Hill), Basanta Kumar Mallik (Mallik was a frequent guest at Bridges' Boar's Hill home), Roger Fry, Harold MonroEzra Pound, William Rothenstein (Rothenstein introduced Bridges to Tagore), George Bernard Shaw, Hasan Shahid Suhrawardy (helped Bridges select 'Oriental' poems for The Spirit of Man) Rabindranath Tagore (Bridges edited and included three of Tagore's poems from Gitanjali in his 1915 anthology, The Spirit of Man), Edward John Thompson, Virginia Woolf, William Butler Yeats (persuaded Tagore to let Bridges include some of his poems in The Spirit of Man).


My dear Tagore

In my last letter I asked you if I might insert my rendering of your poem of the Nest and the Sky in my forthcoming anthology. I only want this one poem for my book and I gathered from your reply to me that you would allow me to use my version of it: but when application was made to Macmillan he refused me permission to make any change in your published version. I was much disappointed.

Secondary works: 

Bridges, Robert, The Selected Letters of Robert Bridges: With the Correspondence of Robert Bridges and Lionel Muirhead, 2 vols (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1982-1984)

Hamilton, Lee Templin, Robert Bridges: An Annotated Bibliography, 1873-1988 (Newark: University of Delaware Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1991)

Hasan, Iqbal, Robert Bridges: A Critical Study of His Poetry, Masques and Plays (Aligarh: Printwell, 1983)

Kelshall, T. M., Robert Bridges: Poet Laureate (London: Robert Scott, 1924)

Phillips, Catherine, 'Bridges, Robert Seymour (1844-1930)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/32066]

Phillips, Catherine, Robert Bridges: A Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992)

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage (London: Vincent Stuart, 1961)

Rothenstein, William, Tagore, Rabindranath, and Lago, Mary M., Imperfect Encounter: Letters of William Rothenstein and Rabindranath Tagore, 1911-1914 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1972)

Ritz, Jean Georges, Robert Bridges and Gerard Hopkins, 1863-1889: A Literary Friendship (London: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Sparrow, John Hanbury Angus, Robert Bridges (London: Longmans, 1962)

Tagore, Rabindranath, Dutta, Krishna, and Robinson, Andrew, Selected Letters of Rabindranath Tagore (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997)

Thompson, Edward John, Robert Bridges, 1844-1930 (London: Oxford University Press, 1944)

Thompson, E. P., Alien Homage: Edward Thompson and Rabindranath Tagore (Delhi; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993)

Young, Francis Brett, Robert Bridges: A Critical Study (London: Martin Secker, 1914)


Indicative of the controversy surrounding the inclusion of Tagore's poem in Bridges' anthology.

Archive source: 

Letters to Rabindranath Tagore, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Robert Graves, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Edmund William Gosse, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Harold Monro, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to William Rothenstein, Bridges papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to George Bernard Shaw, British Library, St Pancras, London, and Bodleian Library, Oxford

MSS, correspondence and literary letters, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Henry Bradley, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to A. H. Bullen, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Samuel Butler, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Bertram Dobell, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Alfred Fairbank, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to H. A. L. Fisher, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Edmund Gosse, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to J. W. MacKail, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Harold Minto, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Gilbert Murray, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Henry Newbolt, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Logan Pearsall Smith in the Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to E. J. Thompson, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with W. B. Yeats, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to Lascelles Abercrombie, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Letters to A. C. Benson, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Samuel Butler, Sir Sidney Cockerell, Norman MacColl, E. W. Scripture, Charles Wood, British Library, St Pancras, London

Add. Ms 50529, correspondence with George Bernard Shaw, British Library, St Pancras, London

Add. Ms 73235, letters to G. K. Chesterton, British Library, St Pancras, London

Letters to F. J. H. Jenkinson, Cambridge University Library

Letters to Edmund Gosse, Perkins Library, Duke University

Letters to Sir William Rothenstein, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Letters to E. M. Forster, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters to Roger Fry (incl. copies), King’s College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters to Sir Thomas Barlow; letters to Samuel Gee, Royal College of Physicians of London

Letters to C. V. Stanford, Royal College of Music, London

Letters to Percy Withers, Somerville College, Oxford

Correspondence with R. C. Trevelyan, Trinity College, Cambridge

Letters to George Bell & Sons; letters to Sir Hubert Parry and Lord Arthur Ponsonby, University of Reading Library

Letters to Sir Thomas Barlow and Lady Barlow, Wellcome Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine, London

Letters to C. H. O. Daniel, Worcester College, Oxford

City of birth: 
Walmer, Kent
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Robert Seymour Bridges

Date of death: 
21 Apr 1930
Location of death: 
Chilswell, England

35 Great Ormond Street, London (student at St. Bartholomew's Hospital; 1869)

50 Maddox Street, London (1872)

52 Bedford Square, London (1877)

Boar's Hill, outside Oxford (Bridges built Chilswell on Boar's Hill)

Robert Graves


Robert von Ranke Graves was born in 1895 to Alfred Perceval Graves and Amalie Elizabeth Sophie. Brought up in a literary family, Graves published his poetry in The Carthusian as early as 1911. In 1914, he was destined for St John's College, when war broke out and he was commissioned into the Royal Welsh Fusiliers. In 1916, he was badly wounded and believed to be dead, and in 1917 he was hospitalized with shell-shock. After he was decommissioned in 1919, he began studying English at St John's College, Oxford.

It was at the Lotus Club in Oxford in 1922 that Graves met Basanta Kumar Mallik, a Bengali who studied law then philosophy at Oxford. Mallik was sixteen years older than Graves but the two became close friends. They shared a commitment to truth and to morality, a discomfort with received tradition, and a search for an understanding and a resolution of the phenomenon of war. While Mallik returned to India in 1923, his philosophy had a significant impact on Graves' writing. This influence can be found in many of the poems included in the latter half of Whipperginny (1923), the 'Introductory Letter' to The Feather Bed (1923), Mock Beggar Hall (1924)and Welchman's Hose (1925). The 'M' of Graves' poem 'To "M" in India' (The Marmosite's Miscellany, 1925) refers to Mallik. The friendship soured, however, and when Mallik returned to Britain in 1936 Graves refused to meet him. The circumstances surrounding their falling out remain obscure but it is known that all references to Mallik have been expunged from editions of Graves' autobiography Good-Bye To All That subsequent to 1929.

After a brief stint as professor of English Literature at Cairo University in 1926, Graves returned to England in July 1926 where he embarked on a sexual and working relationship with Laura Riding, spending some time in Deyá, Mallorca. His writing improved and he wrote the prize-winning historical novel, I, Claudius (1934). By the end of 1934, Graves had sold the film rights for I, Claudius to Alexander Korda. It was to star Charles Laughton and Merle Oberon but the project never materialized.

Graves continued to write throughout his life and had several mistresses. In the 1950s, his reputation soared and he won several prizes, held professorships and gave talks in the United States. In the 1970s, his health started to decline and he ended his working life in 1975. He lived for another ten years until he died from heart failure on 7 December 1985 in Mallorca.

Published works: 

Over the Brazier (London: Poetry Bookshop, 1916)

Fairies and Fusiliers (1917)

Goliath and David (London: Charles Whittingham, 1917)

Country Sentiment (London: Martin Secker, 1920)

 On Poetry: Being an Irregular Approach to the Psychology of this Art (London: William Heinemann, 1922)

The Feather Bed (Richmond: L. and V. Woolf, 1923)

Whipperginny (London: Heinemann, 1923)

The Meaning of Dreams (London: Cecil Palmer, 1924)

Mock Beggar Hall (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1924)

Contemporary Techniques of Poetry: A Political Analogy (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1925)

John Kemp's Wager: A Ballad Opera (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1925)

The Marmosite's Miscellany (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1925)

My Head! My Head!: Being the History of Elisha and the Shunamite Woman; With the Histiry of Moses as Elisha Related It, and Her Questions Put to Him (London: Martin Secker, 1925)

Welchman's Hose (London: The Fleuron, 1925)

Another Future of Poetry (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1926)

Impenetrability; or, the Proper Habit of English (London: L. and V. Woolf, 1926)

The English Ballad: A Short Critical Survey (London: Ernest Benn, 1927)

Lars Porsena; or, The Future of Swearing and Improper Language (London: Kegan Paul, 1927)

Poems, 1914-1926 (London: William Heinemann, 1927)

(with Laura Riding) Survey of Modernist Poetry (London: William Heinemann, 1927)

Mrs Fisher; or, the Future of Humour (London: Kegan Paul, 1928)

Good-Bye To All That: An Autobiography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929)

But It Still Goes On: An Accumulation (1930)

Poems, 1930-1933 (1933)

The Real David Copperfield (London: Barker, 1933)

Claudius the God and His Wife Messalina (London: Arthur Barker, 1934)

I, Claudius (London: Arthur Barker, 1934)

Lawrence and the Arabs (Jonathan Cape, 1934)

'Antigua, Penny, Puce' (Deyá, Mallorca: Seizin Press, 1936; London: Constable, 1936)

The Antigua Stamp (New York: Random House, 1937)

Collected Poems (London: Cassell, 1938)

Count Belisarius (London: Cassell, 1938)

The Long Week-End: A Social History of Great Britain, 1918-1939 (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

No More Ghosts: Selected Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Sergeant Lamb of the Ninth (London: Methuen, 1940)

Proceed, Sergeant Lamb (London: Methuen, 1941)

The Story of Marie Powell, Wife to Mr Milton (London: Cassell, 1943)

The Golden Fleece (London: Cassell, 1944)

Hercules, My Shipmate: A Novel (New York: Creative Age Press, 1945)

King Jesus (London: Cassell, 1946)

Poems, 1938-1945 (1946)

(with Alan Hodge) The Reader Over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for for Writers of English Prose (London: Cape, 1947)

Collected Poems (1948)

The White Goddess: A Historical Grammar of Poetic Myth (1948)

The Common Asphodel: Collected Essays on Poetry, 1922-1949 (1949)

The Islands of Unwisdom (Garden City: Doubleday, 1949)

Seven Days in New Crete: A Novel (London: Cassell, 1949)

Occupation: Writer (New York: Creative Age Press, 1950)

The Nazarene Gospel Restored (London: Cassell, 1953)

Majorca Observed (London: Cassell, 1954)

Adam's Rib and Other Anomalous Elements in the Hebrew Creation Myth (Clairvaux: Trianon Press, 1955)

The Crowning Privilege (London: Cassell, 1955)

The Greek Myths, Vols 1 & 2 (London: Penguin, 1955)

Homer's Daughter (London: Cassell, 1955)

Catacrok! Mostly Stories, Mostly Funny (London: Cassell, 1956)

(ed.) English and Scottish Ballads (London: William Heinemann, 1957)

Jesus in Rome: A Historical Conjecture (London: Cassell, 1957)

Five Pens in Hand (Garden City: Doubleday, 1958)

Collected Poems, 1959 (London: Cassell, 1959)

The Growing Privilege: Collected Essays on Poetry (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1959)

Food for Centaurs: Stories, Talks, Critical Studies, Poems (Garden City: Doubleday, 1960)

Greek Gods and Myths (Garden City: Doubleday, 1960)

More Poems (London: Cassell, 1961)

Myths of Ancient Greece (London: Cassell, 1961)

The Big Green Book (New York: Crowell-Collier Press, 1962)

The More Deserving Cases: Eighteen Old Poems for Reconsideration (Marlborough: Marlborough College Press, 1962)

New Poems, 1962 (London: Cassell, 1962)

Oxford Addresses on Poetry (London: Cassell, 1962)

Nine Hundred Iron Chariots (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1963)

Ann at Highwood Hall (London: Cassell, 1964)

Hebrew Myths: The Book of Genesis (London: Cassell, 1964)

Man Does, Woman Is (London: Cassell, 1964)

Love Respelt (London: Cassell, 1965)

Mammon and the Black Goddess (London: Cassell, 1965)

Colophon to 'Love Respelt' (London: Rota, 1967)

Beyond Giving: Poems (London: Bernard Rota, 1969)

The Crane Bag, and Other Disputed Subjects (London: Cassell, 1969)

Advice from a Mother (London: Poem-of-the-Moth Club, 1970)

The Green-Sailed Vessel: Poems (London: Bertram Rota, 1971)

Difficult Questions, Easy Answers (London: Cassell, 1972)

The Hanged My Saintly Billy (London: Arrow Books, 1972)

At the Gate: Poems (London: Bertram Rota, 1974)

Collected Poems (London: Cassell, 1975)

An Ancient Castle (London: Peter Owen, 1980)

In Broken Images: Selected Letters of Robert Graves, 1914-1946 (London: Hutchinson, 1982)

Eleven Songs (Deyá, Mallorca: New Seizin Press, 1983)

Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves, 1946-1972 (London: Hutchinson, 1984)

Cynics and Romantics (Sidcot: Gruffyground Press, 1989)

Across the Gulf: Late Poems (Mallorca: New Seizin Press, 1992)


Graves, Robert, Good-Bye To All That: An Autobiography (London: Jonathan Cape, 1929), pp. 403-4

Date of birth: 
24 Jul 1895

Robert Graves describes Basanta Kumar Mallik's philosophy.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Basanta's philosophy was a development of formal metaphysics, but with characteristically Indian insistence on ethics. He believed in no hierarchy of ultimate values or the possibility of any unifying religion or ideology. But at the same time he insisted on the necessity of strict self-discipline in the individual in meeting every possible demand made on him from whatever quarter, and he recommended constant self-watchfulness against either dominating or being dominated by any other individual. This view of strict personal morality consistent with scepticism of social morality agreed very well with my practice.

Secondary works: 

Graves, Richard Perceval, 'Graves, Robert von Ranke (1895-1985)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford Univesity Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/31166]

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Assault Heroic, 1895-1926 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1986)

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves: The Years with Laura, 1926-1940 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1990)

Graves, Richard Perceval, Robert Graves and the White Goddess, 1940-1985 (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1995)

Quinn, Patrick J., The Great War and the Missing Muse: The Early Writings of Robert Graves and Siegfried Sassoon (Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 1994; London: Associated University Presses, 1994)

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli, Basanta Kumar Mallik: A Garland of Homage (London: Vincent Stuart, 1961)

Sondhi, Madhuri Santanam, and Walker, Mary M., 'Basanta Kumar Mallik and Robert Graves: Personal Encounters and Processes in Socio-Cultural Thought', Gravesiana 1 (1996), pp. 109-46

Archive source: 

Correspondence and papers, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois

Papers, University of Liverpool Library

Correspondence, literary MSS and papers, University of San Francisco

Correspondence, diaries and literary MSS, University of Victoria, British Columbia

Letters to Alexander Pugh and letters to E. J. Thompson, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Correspondence with Kenneth Charles Gay, Lilly Library, Bloomington, Indiana University

Correspondence with Basil Liddell Hart, Liddell Hart Centre, King's College, London

Letters to W. S. Henry and letters to C. K. Scott Moncrief, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Letters to Alun Lewis and Gweno Lewis, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Letters and MSS to Edward Marsh, New York Public Library, New York

Correspondence with Edmund Blunden, University of Iowa, Iowa City

Letters to James Reeves, University of San Francisco Library

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Robert von Ranke Graves

Date of death: 
07 Dec 1985
Location of death: 
Deyá, Mallorca, Spain

St John's College, Oxford


Thomas Sturge Moore


Thomas Sturge Moore was a poet, author, playwright, wood-engraver and critic. Moore was the brother of Bloomsbury philosopher G. E. Moore. He was good friends with William Butler Yeats (introduced by Laurence Binyon in 1899).

Moore helped correct English translations of Rabindranath Tagore and Purohit Swami, and was one of the people who nominated Tagore for the Nobel Prize. Moore's wife, Marie Sturge Moore, translated Tagore's The Crescent Moon into French, which appeared in 1924 under the title La Jeune Lune. After having introduced Purohit Swami to Yeats, Moore fell out with the Swami over his work on correcting the Swami's English. When Purohit Swami offered Moore £10 as part payment for his work, Moore became offended by the sum, not expecting any payment and rather expecting a share of the royalties. Moore was also friends with the Indian artist and engraver Mukul Dey who had taught at Tagore's Santiniketan and exhibited at Wembley in 1924.

Published works: 

Altdorfer (London: At the sign of the unicorn, 1900)

Absalom (London: Unicorn Press, 1903) 

The Centaur's Booty (London: Duckworth, 1903) 

Art and Life (London: Methuen, 1910)

Tragic Mothers (London: G. Richards, 1920)

The Powers of the Air (London: G. Richards, 1920)

Judas (London: G. Richards, 1923) 

Armour for Aphrodite (London: Cayme Press, 1929)

Mystery and Tragedy (London: Cayme Press, 1930)

The Poems of T. Sturge Moore, 4 vols. (London: Macmillans, 1931-33)

The Unknown Known and a Dozen Odd Poems (London: Martin Secker for Richards Press, 1939)

Moore, T. S.  and Moore, D. C. (eds), Works and Days: From the Journal of Michael Field (London: John Murray, 1933)

Date of birth: 
04 Mar 1870

Laurence Binyon, Katherine Bradley, Edith Emma Cooper, Mukul Dey, Aldous Huxley, Harold Monro, Marie Sturge Moore (wife), G. E. Moore (brother), George Russell (AE), Ranjee G. Shahani, Purohit Swami, Rabindranath Tagore, William Butler Yeats.

Secondary works: 

Bridge, Bridge (ed.), W. B. Yeats and T. Sturge Moore: Their Correspondence, 1901-1937 (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1953)

Gwynn, Frederick L., Sturge Moore and the life of art (London: Richards Press, 1952)

Kelly, John, ‘Moore, Thomas Sturge (1870–1944)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/58827]

Legge, Sylvia, Affectionate Cousins: T. Sturge Moore and Marie Appia (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1980)

Archive source: 

Thomas Sturge Moore Papers, MS978, Senate House Library, University of London 

Letters to Rabindranath Tagore, Visva Bharati Archives, Santiniketan

Letters to Purohit Swami, Nehru Memorial Library, New Delhi

Letters from Purohit Swami, Add MS 45732, Manuscript Collection, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

T. Sturge Moore

Date of death: 
18 Jul 1944
Location of death: 
Windsor, England

40 Well Walk, Hampstead, London

Tags for Making Britain: 

G. V. Desani


G. V. Desani was born in Nairobi, Kenya, where his parents were working as wood merchants. The family returned to Karachi in 1914, where Desani was educated. He arrived in Britain at the age of 17, to escape from an arranged marriage. When he arrived in England in 1926, he was befriended by George Lansbury, who helped him acquire a reader's pass to the British Museum Reading Room. During this period he also found work as an actor in films. Furthermore, he worked as a foreign corespondent for a number of Indian newspapers and news agencies, such as the Associated Press, Reuters and The Times of India. He returned to India in 1928, touring Rajasthan, on which he subsequently lectured extensively for the Bombay, Baroda and Central India Railway Company.

Desani returned to Britain in the summer of 1939, only weeks before the outbreak of the Second World War.  He continued to work as a writer, journalist, and broadcaster for the Indian Section of the BBC Eastern Service and the Home Division. Desani broadcast both in Hindustani and in English and was praised for his wit, humour and ability as a script-writer. He also acted in radio plays. Furthermore, Desani lectured for the Ministry of Information and the Imperial Institute, regularly touring the regions and speaking to soldiers, schools and university colleges. These lectures featured as one of his Talks Programmes in Hindustani, titled 'My Lecture Tours' (broadcast 8 May 1943). They were widely praised and drew large audiences.

During this period, he wrote his best known work of fiction, the experimental novel All About Mr. Hatterr (later republished and revised as All About H. Hatterr). On publication the book was very well received by critics. For example, T. S. Eliot praised it as a remarkably original book: 'It is amazing that anyone should be able to sustain a piece of work in this style and tempo and at such length'. The critic C. E. M. Joad compared the book to 'Joyce and Miller with a difference: the difference being due to a dash of Munchhausen and the Arabian Nights'.  With its inventive use of language and its endorsement of hybridity, the work is a trailblazer for the fiction of Salman Rushdie, who has acknowledged its influence.

While in England, Desani also published his ‘poetic play’ Hali, as well as short fiction, sketches and essays. Shortly after the publication of Hali, Desani left Britain and returned to India. He was offered a position as cultural ambassador for Jawaharlal Nehru, however he did not take this up. In 1959 he travelled to Burma to study Buddhist and Hindu culture. During the 1950s and 1960 he wrote a regular column, 'Very High, Very Low', as well as articles for The Times of India and Illustrated Weekly of India. In 1967 he was appointed Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin, a position he held until his retirement in 1978. He spent the final years of his life in Dallas.

Published works: 

All About Mr. Hatterr, A Gesture (London: Aldor, 1948); revised edition published as All About H. Hatterr (London: Saturn Press, 1949)

Hali: A Poetic Play (London: Saturn Press, 1952)

Hali and Collected Stories (Kingston, NY: McPherson & Co., 1991)

Date of birth: 
08 Jul 1909

Mulk Raj Anand, A. L. Bakaya (BBC), Edmund Blunden,  Z. A. Bokhari, Ronald Boswell (BBC), Malcolm Darling (BBC), T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Attia HosainC. E. M. Joad, George Lansbury, L. F. Rushbrook Williams, Una Marson, Narayana Menon, Jawaharlal Nehru, George Orwell, Raja Rao, M. J. Tambimuttu.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Illustrated Weekly of India


Fred Urquhart, Life and Letters Today 59.136 (All About Mr Hatterr)

Secondary works: 

Bainbridge, Emma, ‘“Ball-Bearings All The Way, And Never A Dull Moment!”: An Analysis of the Writings of G. V. Desani’, unpublished PhD thesis (University of Kent at Canterbury, 2003)

Daniels, Shouri, Desani: Writer and Worldview (New Delhi: Arnold-Heinemann, 1984)

Innes, C. L., A History of Black and Asian Writing in Britain, 1700–2000, 2nd edn (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)


Archive source: 

Desani Papers, University of Texas, Austin

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Govindas Vishnoodas Desani

G. V. Dasani (changes his name to Desani in 1941)


40 Kew Bridge Court
London, W4 3AE
United Kingdom
51° 29' 19.3164" N, 0° 17' 2.796" W
Hillcrest OX1 5EZ
United Kingdom
51° 43' 26.2992" N, 1° 16' 30.414" W
6 Devonshire Terrace
London, W2 3HG
United Kingdom
51° 30' 49.6584" N, 0° 10' 48.0684" W
Date of death: 
15 Nov 2000
Location of death: 
Dallas, Texas
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1926
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1926-8, 1939-52


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