The Listener


The Listener was a weekly magazine, established in 1929 under the chairmanship of Lord Reith. It was designed to complement the BBC’s educational output and covered a wide range of topics. It drew extensively from the BBC’s broadcasting output, often reprinting talks programmes or supplementing them with further illustrations and information. The magazine was a controversial move by the BBC. Other magazine proprietors criticised the corporation for encroaching on territory beyond its remit. As a compromise, the magazine was only allowed to commission ten per cent original content and could only feature a limited amount of advertisements.

The magazine built its reputation on its intellectual and artistic output with its focus on broadcasting matters, the arts, intellectual life and politics. By 1948 it attracted a readership of 153,000. It featured contributions from a wide range of artists scientists and intellectuals, such as E. M. Forster, George Orwell, Laurence Binyon, Herbert Read, William Rothenstein and Mulk Raj Anand. In the 1940s it published many items originally broadcast to India by the BBC's Indian Section of the Eastern Service. It featured reviews of Indian authors and also provided comprehensive survey pieces on Indian art, history, and religion.

The magazine covered extensively the constitutional crises from the Round Table Conference to Indian independence with a view of providing a balanced overview of the issues. Politicians and activists from all sides were given a voice, either as part of round table discussions or articles. During the Second World War, the magazine became a useful propaganda tool, reporting extensively on the Indian contribution to the war effort.

After heavy losses the BBC decided to close down the publication in January 1991.


Watson, Francis, ‘The Case of Jamini Roy’, The Listener (9 May 1946), p. 620


Francis Watson’s article coincided with an exhibition of Roy’s work at the Arcade Gallery in 1946. He traces here the late success of the artist and discusses his artistic merit in the face of his newly-found commercial success. This orginally commissioned article (rather than a reprinted broadcast) is an example of the variety of reporting in a main-stream magazine like The Listener.

Date began: 
16 Jan 1929

He certainly abandoned the academic European traditions as unsatisfactory and irrelevant; but the other road - the road that starts with a dogmatic ‘Indianisation’ of theme and concentration on line rather than form, and ends in so many cases in meretricious insipidity – this road Jamini Roy declined to take; or rather, having followed it a little way and seen where it led, he turned back and found his own way.
He had to return only to his point of departure. When you first see a Jamini Roy painting (and you can do so in London now, for an Exhibition of his work was opened by E. M. Forster at the Arcade Gallery on 25 April), though you recognise what is loosely called the ‘primitive’ appeal, you are unlikely to think immediately of a particular example of Bengal folk-art, since it is a fairly safe assumption that you have not come across any. But, if having seen a Jamini Roy exhibition or visited his house, you should find your way to the folk-art rooms in the Ashutosh Museum at Calcutta, you will see drawings and paintings that almost bear his signature, and you will find that they have been collected from remote villages by the industrious curator...That is where he got it from; from his own people, and they got it from their fathers and from their grandfathers unto many generations.

I am not sure which I like best about Jamini Roy, the way he has created a market or his cheerful readiness to blow the bottom out of it.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Publisher: British Broadcasting Corporation

Editors: Richard S. Lambert (1929-39), Alan Thomas (until 1959),  J. R. Ackerley (Literary editor 1935-1959)


Contributors: Mulk Raj Anand, W. G. Archer, C. F. Andrews, Laurence Binyon, Edmund Blunden, H. N. Brailsford, Robert Bridges, Agatha Christie, Indira Devi of Kapurthala, Bonamy Dobree, George Dunbar, T. S. Eliot, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry, Eric Gill, Robert Graves, Desmond Hawkins, Laurence Housman, Aldous Huxley, Julian Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, C. L. R. James, J. M. Keynes, The Aga Khan, George Lansbury, Harold Laski, John Lehmann, Wyndham Lewis, Henry Moore, Edwin Muir, Ruby Navalkar, Firoz Khan Noon, George Orwell, Herbert Read, William Rothenstein, Bertrand Russell, V. Sackville-West, George Bernard Shaw, Edith Sitwell, Sacheverell Sitwell, Stephen Spender, Cornelia Sorabji, Dylan Thomas, Edward Thompson, H. G. Wells, Rebecca West, Leonard Woolf.

Date ended: 
30 Jan 1991
Archive source: 

Biritish Library Newspapers, Colindale, London

Books Reviewed Include: 

Ali, Ahmed, Twilight in Delhi. Reviewed by Edwin Muir.

Anand, Mulk Raj, The Hindu View of Art. Reviewed by Herbert Read.

Anand, Mulk Raj, The Sword and the Sickle. Reviewed by Edwin Muir.

Anand, Mulk Raj, and  Fingh, I. (eds), Indian Short Stories. Reviewed by Sean O'Faolain.

Andrews, C. F., Mahatma Gandhi: His Own Story. Reviewed by S.K. Ratcliffe.

Menen, Aubrey, The Prevalence of Witches. Reviewed by Francis King.

Narayan, R. K., An Astrologer's Day. Reviewed by P.H. Newby.

Narayan, R. K., The Bachelor of Arts. Reviewed by Edwin Muir.

Narayan, R. K., The English Teacher. Reviewed by Edwin Muir.

Rolland, Romain, Prophets of the New India. Reviewed by S. K. Ratcliffe.


Savoy Hill
London, WC2R 0BP
United Kingdom

C. E. M. Joad


C. E. M. Joad was an English philosopher and popular educator. He was educated at Oxford and, after serving as a civil servant, was appointed Head of Philosophy at Birkbeck College (University of London) in 1930. A prolific writer and conservationist, he shot to fame as a broadcasting star when he joined the BBC radio programme ‘The Brain Trust’ in 1942. He was convicted of fare-dodging and was sacked by the BBC in 1948.

As an undergraduate at Oxford, Joad became an admirer of George Bernard Shaw; he turned to socialism and was a committed pacifist throughout his life. He was a member of the Fabian Society but was expelled in 1925 due to his philandering (he rejoined in 1943). In 1931, he became Director of Propaganda for the New Party, but soon left the party along with John Strachey when its leader Oswald Mosley turned to fascism. In 1932 he founded with H. G. Wells and others the Federation of Progressive Societies and Individuals.

Joad looked to eastern philosophy as an antidote to western modernity. He attended a number of Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s lectures and wrote on his philosophy (Counter Attack from the East, 1933). He also wrote a book on Indian civilization (1936) assisted by Girija Mookerjee, and was a regular contributor to the Anglo-Indian Theosophist periodical Aryan Path. Joad was an admirer of Gandhi, and contributed to a collection of essays (edited by S. Radhakrishnan) on Gandhi to celebrate his 70th birthday.

Mulk Raj Anand, in Conversations in Bloomsbury, records a long talk he had with Joad about God and philosophy. Anand and Joad both attended Professor Dawes Hicks’s seminar at University College London, and it appears that this is how they got to know each other. Joad also met through Anand his fellow student Nikhil Sen and his girlfriend Edna Thomson.

Published works: 

Robert Owen, Idealist, Fabian Tract no. 182 (London: Fabian Society, June 1917)

Essays in Common Sense Philosophy (London: Headley Bros., 1919) 

Common-Sense Ethics (London: Methuen, 1921)

Common-Sense Theology (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1922)

The Highbrows: A Modern Novel (London: Jonathan Cape, 1922)

Priscilla and Charybdis, and Other Stories (London: Herbert Jenkins, 1924) 

Samuel Butler, 1835-1902 (London: Leonard Parsons, 1924) 

Introduction to Modern Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924)

Introduction to Modern Political Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1924)   

The Case for the New Party (London: Bird & Sons, 1925)

Mind and Matter: The Philosophical Introduction to Modern Science (London: Nisbet & Co., 1925) 

Thrasymachus: or, the Future of Morals (London: Kegan Paul & Co., 1925)

(with John Strachey) After-Dinner Philosophy (London: Routledge & Sons, 1926)

The Babbitt Warren (London: Kegan Paul & Co., 1926)

The Bookmark (London: John Westhouse, 1926)

The Mind and its Workings (London: Benn, 1927)

Diogenes, or the Future of Leisure (London: Kegan Paul & Co., 1928)

The Future of Life. A Theory of Vitalism (London and New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1928)

(with Chapman Cohen) Materialism: Has It Been Exploded? (London: Watts & Co., 1928)

The Meaning of Life (London: Watts & Co., 1928)

Matter, Life and Value (London: Oxford University Press, 1929) 

The Present and Future of Religion (London: Ernest Benn, 1930)

The Horrors of the Countryside (London: Hogarth Press, 1931)

The Story of Civilization (London: A. & C. Black, 1931)

Philosophical Aspects of Modern Science (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1932)

Under the Fifth Rib: A Belligerent Autobiography (London: Faber & Faber, 1932) (reissued as The Book of Joad, London, 1939)

Counter Attack from the East: The Philosophy of Radhakrishnan (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1933)

Guide to Modern Thought (London: Faber & Faber, 1933)

(with Arnold Henry Moore Lunn) Is Christianity True? A Correspondence between Arnold Lunn and C. E. M. Joad (London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1933) 

Liberty To-day (London: Watts & Co., 1934)

A Charter for Ramblers (London: Hutchinson & Co., 1934) 

(ed.) Manifesto: Being the Book of the Federation of Progressive Societies and Individuals (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1934)

Return to Philosophy: Being a Defence of Reason, an Affirmation of Values and a Plea for Philosophy (London: Faber & Faber, 1935)

The Future of Morals (London: K. Paul, 1936)

The Dictator Resigns (London: Methuen & Co., 1936)

The Story of Indian Civilisation (London: Macmillan & Co., 1936)

Guide to Philosophy (London: Victor Gollancz, 1936)

The Testament of Joad (London: Faber & Faber, 1937) 

Guide to Modern Wickedness (London: Faber & Faber, 1938)

Guide to the Philosophy of Morals and Politics (London: Victor Gollancz, 1938)

(ed.) How to Write, Think and Speak Correctly (London: Odhams Press, 1939)

Why War? (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1939)

‘The Authority of Detachment and Moral Force’, in Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (ed.) Mahatma Gandhi: Essays and Reflections on his Life and Work, Presented to him on his Seventieth Birthday, October 2nd, 1939 (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1939), pp. 155-61

Journey through the War Mind (London: Faber & Faber, 1940)

Philosophy for Our Times (London: T. Nelson & Sons, 1940)

What is at Stake, and Why Not Say So? (London: Victor Gollancz, 1940)

The Philosophy of Federal Union (London: Macmillan & Co., 1941)

Pieces of Mind (London: Faber & Faber, 1942)

God and Evil (London: Faber & Faber, 1942)

The Adventures of the Young Soldier in Search of a Better World, with drawings by Mervyn Peake (London: Faber & Faber, 1942)

An Old Countryside for New People (London and Letchworth: J. M. Dent & Sons, 1942) 

Philosophy (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1944)

About Education (London: Faber & Faber, 1945)

Opinions (London: Westhouse, 1945)

The Untutored Townsman’s Invasion of the Country (London: Faber & Faber, 1945)

(with Shaw Desmond) Spiritualism (London: Muse Arts, 1946)

More Opinions (London: Westhouse, 1946)

Conditions of Survival (London: Federal Union, 1946)

The Rational Approach to Conscription (London: No Conscription Council, 1947)

Specialisation and the Humanities (London: Birkbeck College, 1947)

Decadence: A Philosophical Inquiry (London: Faber & Faber, 1948)

A Year More or Less (London: Victor Gollancz, 1948)

The Principles of Parliamentary Democracy (London: Falcon Press, 1949)

Shaw (London: Victor Gollancz, 1949) 

A Critique of Logical Positivism (London: Victor Gollancz, 1950)

An Introduction to Contemporary Knowledge (Leeds: E. J. Arnold & Son, 1950)

The Pleasure of Being Oneself (London: George Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1951)

A First Encounter with Philosophy (London: James Blackwood & Co., 1952)

The Recovery of Belief : A Restatement of Christian Philosophy (London: Faber & Faber, 1952) 

(ed.) Shaw and Society: An Anthology and a Symposium (London: Odhams Press, 1953)

Folly Farm (London: Faber & Faber, 1954)


Joad, C. E. M., The Story of Indian Civilisation (London: Macmillan & Co., 1936), pp. viii-x

Date of birth: 
12 Aug 1891

Mulk Raj Anand, W. Arnold-Forster, G. M. Boumphrey, Fenner Brockway, Janet Chance, G. K. Chesterton, Clough William-Ellis, John Carl Flügel, Emma Goldman, M. K. Gandhi, Basil Henry Liddell Hart, Dawes Hicks, Kingsley Martin (friend, pacifist, editor of the New Statesman in 1931), Francis Meynell, Naomi Mitchison, Girija Mookerjee, George Orwell, D. N. Pritt, Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Archibald Robertson, Bernard Russell, Nikhil Sen, George Bernard Shaw, John Strachey, W. Olaf Stapledon, Marie Carmichael Stopes, J. W. N. Sullivan, Edna Thomson, Sybil Thorndyke, Allan Young, Rebecca West, H. G. Wells, Julian Huxley, Archibald Bruce Campbell (the BBC 'Brain Trust').

BBC, Federation of Progressive Societies and Individuals.

Contributions to periodicals: 

Spectator (review of Oswald Spengler, The Decline of the West, 142.5246, 12 January 1929)

Spectator (review of S. Radhakrishnan, Kalki or the Future of Civilisation, 142.5251, 16 February 1929)

Aryan Path (‘What Eastern Religions had to Offer to Western Civilization’, 1.1, 1930)

Spectator (review of Margaret Barton and Osbert Sitwell (eds) Victoriana, 146.5369, 23 May 1931)

Spectator (‘The English, Are they Human?’, 147.5377, 18 July 1931)

Aryan Path (‘The Puzzle of Indian Philosophy’, review of Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian Philosophy, 3.8, 1932)

The London Mercury (‘The Pacifist Case’, review of Bertrand Russell, Which Way to Peace, 35.205, November 1932)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Why Pacifists are Ineffective’, 6.124, 8 July 1933)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Pacifists Escape from Dilemma’, 6.144, 25 November 1933)

Aryan Path (‘The Revival of Hedonism’, 4.11, November 1933)

Contemporary Review (‘The Future and Prospects of Life’, 145, January - June 1934)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Shaw Stories’, review of Bernard Shaw, Short Stories and Shavings, 7.172, 9 June 1934)

Aryan Path, (‘A Western Theory’, 7.8, 1936)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Constructive Pacifism’, 12.285, 8 August 1936)

Aryan Path (‘The Testimony of Indian Philosophy’, review on S. Radhakrishna and J. H. Muirhead (eds) Contemporary Indian Philosophy, 8.2, 1937)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Culture and Philosophy of India’, review of W. H. Morehead and A. C. Chatterjee, A Short History of India, Radhakumud Mookerji; Hindu Civilisation; S. Radhakrishna and J. H. Muirhead (eds) Contemporary Indian Philosophy, 13.307, 9 January 1937)

Aryan Path (‘What is Soul?’, 8.5, May 1937)

Aryan Path (‘Guide to Mysticism’, review of Radhakamal Mukerjee, Theory and Art of Mysticism, 8.11, November 1937)

Aryan Path (‘Religion of the West’, 9.3, March 1938)

Spectator (‘The East Admonishes the West’, 161.5745, 5 August 1938)

Aryan Path (‘Educating and Organizing For Peace: Free Trade and Disarmament’, 10.1, January 1939)

Spectator (review of Wyndham Lewis, The Jews, Are They Human?, 162.5783, 28 April 1939)

Aryan Path (‘Indian Logicians: A Study in Indian and Western Philosophizing’, review of S. C. Chatterjee, The Nyaya Theory of Knowledge, 10.10, October 1939)

Aryan Path (‘The Only Cure: The Renaissance of Mysticism in Western Thought’, 11.6, June 1940)

New Statesman and Nation (‘An Open Letter to H. G. Wells’, 20.495, 17 August 1940)

The Evening Standard (‘The Most Ordinary of Great Men’, 14 August 1946)

New Statesman and Nation (‘Tribute to Shaw’, 40.1028, 18 November 1950)


Jagadisan M. Kumarappa, Aryan Path 4.1, January 1933, pp. 62-3 (Under the Fifth Rib)

J. W. N. Sullivan, Aryan Path 4.2, February 1933, pp. 121-3 (Philosophical Aspects of Modern Science)

K. S. Shelvankar, Aryan Path 4.8, August 1933, pp. 563-4 (Guide to Modern Thought)

J. P. W., Aryan Path 4.12, December 1933, pp. 841-4 (Is Christianity True?)

P. Mahadevan, Aryan Path 10.10, October 1939, pp. 505-6 (Guide to Modern Wickedness)

Aryan Path 11.7, July 1940, pp. 607-8 (Journey Through the War Mind)

K. S. Ramaswami Sastri, Aryan Path 11.12, December 1940, pp. 360-3 (Philosophy for Our Times)

Brailsford, Henry Noel, New Statesman and Nation 46.1182, 31 October 1953, p. 532 (Shaw and Society)


I am in no sense an authority on India. I have never visited the country and have to rely for my view of it upon reading and talk, upon fairly extensive talk, with Indian students visiting England. Thus the book that follows is in the nature less of a scroll continuously unfolding, and revealing as it unfolds, the whole pageant of Indian life and thought, than of a series of historical vignettes. What follows is, therefore, less the story of Indian civilisation, than an account of the reactions produced by that story in a highly interested spectator, a product of the very different civilisation of the West, whose primary purpose in writing has been to make clear to himself what it is that India has or has had which marks off her civilisation from that of all other peoples, and how much of this ‘something’, which romantic writers call ‘the spirit of India’, may safely adopt without danger to her ‘spirit’ or to what still remains to her of it.

Such information as this book contains, such authority as it possesses, are due to Girija Mookerjee but for whose collaboration it could not have been written.

Secondary works: 

Thomas, Geoffrey, Cyril Joad (London: Birkbeck College, 1992)

Martin, Kingsley, ‘Cyril Joad’, New Statesman and Nation 45.1154 (18 April 1953), pp. 446-7


The extract gives an interesting insight into Joad’s views of India, and his relationship with the Indian students whom he met in London.

Archive source: 

Joad’s correspondence with Sir Arnold Lunn, The Sir Arnold Lunn Papers, Lauinger Library Special Collection, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

Correspondence between Joad and Liddell Hart, Papers of Capt Sir Basil Henry Liddell Hart, ref: GB99 KCLMA Liddell Hart, Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives, King’s College, London

Senate House Library, University of London

Joad’s correspondence with New Statesman magazine, Sussex University Library Special Collections

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Cyril Edwin Mitchinson Joad

Date of death: 
09 Apr 1953
Location of death: 

Balliol College, University of Oxford; Birkbeck College, University of London.

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

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

Dylan Thomas


Dylan Thomas was born in 1914 in Swansea, Wales, to David John Thomas and Florence Hannah. He left school at the age of 16 and went to work for the local evening newspaper while he developed his poetry.

T. S. Eliot and Stephen Spender took notice of Thomas when he published some of his poems in the BBC journal The Listener in 1934. While he became known in literary circles in London, he remained a relatively obscure figure to the public. He toured the bars of Fitzrovia where he met Mulk Raj Anand, among others. In a letter to Pamela Hansford Johnson, dated 6 August 1937, Thomas wrote:

Last week, a man called Mulk Raj Anand made a big curry for everybody about. The first course was beans, little ones. I ate two and couldn’t speak. A little man called Wallace B. Nichols, who has made small fortune out of writing epic poems on people like Cromwell and Nelson and Mrs Elsie Guddy, took a whole mouthful and was assisted out. He writes for the Cornhill. After the main dish, which was so unbelievably hot that everyone, except the Indian, was crying like Shirley Temple, a woman, Mrs Henderson, looked down onto her plate and saw, lying at one corner of it, a curious rubbery thing that looked like a red, discarded French letter. In interest, she picked it up and found it was the entire skin from her tongue. (Collected Letters, p. 296)

M. J. Tambimuttu, who had come to Britain in 1938, was a great admirer and supporter of Thomas’ poetry. Thomas wrote regularly for Tambimuttu's Poetry London and contributed to his anthology Poetry in Wartime (1942). In wartime London, he also wrote scripts for the BBC Overseas Services.
After the war, Thomas struggled to make a living as a poet and, in 1948, he moved back to Wales. There, his life deteriorated further, and he spent much of his income on alcohol. In the early 1950s, Thomas went to America where his health worsened. He died on 9 Novemeber 1953 at St Vincent’s Hospital in New York City.
Published works: 

18 Poems (London: Sunday Referee; Pardon Bookshop, 1934)

Twenty-Five Poems (London: Dent, 1936)

Map of Love (London: Dent, 1939)

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (London: Dent, 1940)

'Deaths and Entrances', in Poetry in Wartime, ed. by M. J. Tambimuttu (London: Faber & Faber, 1942), pp. 169-70

'On a Wedding Anniversary', in Poetry in Wartime, ed. by M. J. Tambimuttu (London: Faber & Faber, 1942), pp. 170-1

New Poems (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1943)

Deaths and Entrances: Poems (London: Dent, 1946)

Selected Writings (New York: James Laughlin, 1946)

Twenty-Six Poems (London: Dent, 1949)

Collected Poems, 1934-1952 (London: Dent, 1952)

In Country Sleep, and Other Poems (New York: James Laughlin, 1952)

The Doctor and the Devils...From the Story by Donald Taylor (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1953)

A Child's Christmas in Wales (Norfolk, CT: New Directions, 1954)

Quite Early One Morning (London: Dent, 1954)

Conversation about Christmas (New York: printed for the friends of J. Laughlin and New Directions, 1954)

Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices (London: Dent, 1954)

Adventures in the Skin Trade (London: Putnam, 1955)

A Prospect of the Sea, and Other Stories and Prose Writings (London: Dent, 1955)

Letters to Vernon Watkins (London: Dent, 1957; Faber & Faber, 1957)

The Beach of Falesá: Based on a Story by Robert Louis Stevenson (London: Jonathan Cape, 1964)

Rebecca's Daughters (London: Triton Publishing Co., 1965)

The Death of the King's Canary (London: Hutchinson, 1976)

Collected Stories (London: Dent, 1983)

Collected Letters of Dylan Thomas (London: Dent, 1985)

After the Fair and Other Stories (London: Macmillan, 1986)

The Broadcasts (London: Dent, 1991)

Dylan Thomas: Poems (London: Faber & Faber, 2004)

Date of birth: 
27 Oct 1914

Mulk Raj Anand (fellow companion in Fitzrovia, London), Lawrence Durrell, T. S. Eliot (published some of Thomas’ poems in Criterion), Christopher Isherwood (hosted Thomas while in California), Louis MacNeice (Thomas acted in one of MacNeice’s plays), Julian Maclaren-Ross, Edith Sitwell, Stephen Spender (broadcast with Thomas and reviewed his Collected Poems), M. J. Tambimuttu (edited several of Thomas’s poetry collections).  

Contributions to periodicals: 

New English Weekly

Poetry London

The Listener

Secondary works: 

Brinnin, John Malcolm, A Casebook on Dylan Thomas (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Co., 1960)

Brinnin, John Malcolm, Dylan Thomas in America (London: Dent, 1956)

Caesar, Adrian, Dividing Lines: Poetry, Class and Ideology in the 1930s (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1991)

Davies, Aneirin Talfan, Dylan: Druid of the Broken Body (London: Dent, 1964)

Dugdale, J. S., Brodie's Notes on Dylan Thomas's Under Milk Wood (London: Pan, 1976)

Ferris, Paul, Caitlin: The Life of Caitlin Thomas (London: Hutchinson, 1993)

Ferris, Paul, Dylan Thomas (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1977)

Ferris, Paul, 'Thomas, Dylan Marlais (1914–1953)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

FitzGibbon, Constantine, The Life of Dylan Thomas (London: Dent, 1965)

Fryer, Jonathan, Dylan: The Nine Lives of Dylan Thomas (London: Kyle Cathie, 1993)

Gaston, Georg, Critical Essays on Dylan Thomas (Boston: G. K. Hall, 1989)

Heaney, Seamus, Dylan the Durable?: On Dylan Thomas (Bennington, VT: Bennington College, 1992)

Holt, Heather, Dylan Thomas: the Actor (Swansea: Heather Holt, 2003)

Hughes, Beryl, The Cat's Whiskers (Hove: B. Hughes, 1998)

Jones, Daniel, My Friend Dylan Thomas (London: Dent, 1977)

Lane, Gary, A Concordance to the Poems of Dylan Thomas (Metuchen: Scarecrow Press, 1976)

Lycett, Andrew, Dylan Thomas: A New Life (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2003)

Magoon, Joseph, A Bibliography of Writings about Dylan Thomas for 1960 to 1989 (Bournemouth: J. Magoon, 1944)

Maud, Ralph Noel and Davies, A. T., The Colour of Saying: An Anthology of Verse Spoken by Dylan Thomas (London: Dent, 1963)

Maud, Ralph Noel, Dylan Thomas in Print: A Bibliographical History (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1970)

Moynihan, William T., The Craft and Art of Dylan Thomas (New York: Cornell University Press, 1966; London: Oxford University Press, 1966)

Nashold, James and Tremlett, George, The Death of Dylan Thomas (Edinburgh: Mainstream, 1997)

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

Read, Bill, The Days of Dyland Thomas (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1965)

Rowe, David, Dylan: Fern Hill to Milk Wood: The Bumpy Road to Glory (Llandysul: Gomer, 1999)

Sinclair, Andrew, Dylan the Bard: A Life of Dylan Thomas (London: Constable, 1999)

Thomas, Caitlin, Caitlin: A Warring Absence (London: Secker & Warburg, 1986)

Thomas, Caitlin, Double Drink Story: My Life with Dylan Thomas (London: Virago, 1998)

Thomas, David M., Dylan Remembered, Vol. 1, 1913-1934 (Bridgend: Seren, 2003)

Thomas-Ellis, Aeronwy, A Daughter Remembers Dylan: Christmas and Other Memories (Twickenham: Merton Books, 2006)

Tolley, Arthur Trevor, The Poetry of the Forties (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985)

Watkins, Gwen, Portrait of a Friend (Llandysul: Gomer, 1983)

Willetts, Paul, Fear and Loathing in Fitzrovia: The Bizarre Life of Writer, Actor, Soho Dandy Julian Maclaren-Ross (Stockport: Dewi Lewis, 2003)

Williams, Robert Coleman, A Concordance to the Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967)

Archive source: 

Correspondence, poems and papers, Houghton Library, Harvard University

Letter, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Papers of and relating to Thomas, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas

Letters, Victoria University, University of Toronto

Letters to Vernon Watkins, Add. Ms 52612, British Library, St Pancras

Letters to Desmond Hawkins, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Letters to Percy Eynon Smart, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

Extensive biographical information in the tapes of Colin Edwards Collection, National Library of Wales, Aberystwyth

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Dylan Marlais Thomas

Date of death: 
09 Nov 1953
Location of death: 
St Vincent's Hospital, New York
Tags for Making Britain: 

George Orwell


George Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair in Motihair, Bihar to Richard Walmsley Blair, an official in the Opium Department of the Indian Civil Service, and Ida Mabel Limouzin. His mother moved with her children to England and settled in Henley-on-Thames in 1904. Orwell was educated at St Cyprian’s School and Eton where he was briefly taught French by Aldous Huxley.

Instead of opting to study at Cambridge or Oxford, which would have been a logical step for an Eton-educated man, Orwell applied for a colonial job in Burma, where a large number of his mother’s family, including his grandmother, still lived. He joined the Indian Imperial Police Force in 1922. As part of his training he learnt Burmese and Hindustani. Orwell resigned his position after five years and returned to England to become a full-time writer. He drew on his experiences of imperialism for Burmese Days, ‘A Hanging’ and ‘Shooting an Elephant’ which unmasks how much he loathed the colonial administrative system of which he had become a part. Victor Gollancz turned down Burmese Days for fear of libel action and it was published in the USA in 1934.

After his return, Orwell started to build his reputation as left-wing writer. He was well-known for his social reportage in books like Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) or Homage to Catalonia (1938), based on his experiences during the Spanish Civil War. Since the early 1930s Orwell reviewed and wrote poems and sketches for the Journal Adelphi.

Orwell’s network of Indian friends expanded when he joined the BBC Indian Section of the Eastern Service  as Talks Assistant in 1941. Orwell was deemed a suitable candidate because of his Anglo-Indian background, his service in Burma, his frank honesty and his proficiency in Burmese and Hindustani. Orwell had already broadcast on the BBC Home Service. After Z. A. Bokhari had produced a number of talks by Orwell for the Eastern Service, he recommended him for a full position with the Indian section, which Orwell took up on 16 August 1941. He attended training courses together with William Empson who had also just started working for the BBC in London. Orwell worked as part of the BBC’s efforts to counter the German propaganda machine and to communicate to India the importance of its support for Britain in the war effort. Orwell was instrumental in arranging a diverse schedule of programmes on arts, culture and politics, such as the literary magazine programme ‘Voice’, which brought together a wide range of South Asian, British and Caribbean writers. It would provide the template for Una Marson’s ‘Caribbean Voices’. Orwell and Mulk Raj Anand became good friends while working at the BBC. Anand would cook Indian meals for Orwell. Both had shared similar experiences while fighting with Republicans during the Spanish Civil War. Orwell commissioned Anand to write a talk on the event, however it did not pass the censor. He also befriended the Eurasian writer Cedric Dover, commissioning him to write talks for the Indian section, recommending him to publishers and editors and supporting him for a grant at the Royal Literary Fund.

Orwell became increasingly frustrated with the threat of censorship and questioned the effectiveness of the Service’s broadcasts. He also resented being challenged by Bokhari for his published journalism in newspapers such as the Observer and New Statesman. He resigned his position in September 1943. After leaving the BBC, Orwell began work on his most famous works Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His time at the BBC provided rich material for the latter novel. He continued to publish journalism and became the literary editor of Tribune. Orwell died of Tuberculosis in 1950.

Published works: 

Down and Out in Paris and London (London: Victor Gollancz, 1933)

Burmese Days, etc. (New York: Harper, 1934)

A Clergyman's Daughter (London: Victor Gollancz, 1935)

Keep the Aspidistra Flying (London: Victor Gollancz, 1936)

The Road to Wigan Pier (London: Victor Gollancz, 1937)

Homage to Catalonia (London: Secker & Warburg, 1938)

Coming Up for Air (London: Victor Gollancz, 1939)

Animal Farm: A Fairy Story (London: Secker & Warburg, 1945)

Nineteen Eighty-Four (London: Secker & Warburg, 1949)

The Complete Works of George Orwell, ed. by Peter Davison (London: Secker & Warburg, 1998)

Date of birth: 
25 Jun 1903
Contributions to periodicals: 



New Statesman

The Listener



Secondary works: 

Buitenhuis, Peter, and Nadel, Ira Bruce, George Orwell: A Reassessment (Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1988)

Burgess, Anthony, 1985 (London: Hutchinson, 1978)

Calder, Jenni, Chronicles of Conscience: A Study of George Orwell and Arthur Koestler (London: Secker & Warburg, 1968)

Coppard, Audrey, and Crick, Bernard R., Orwell Remembered (London: British Broadcasting Corporation, 1984) 

Crick, Bernard R., George Orwell: A Life (London: Secker & Warburg, 1980)

Crick, Bernard, 'Blair, Eric Arthur [George Orwell] (1903–1950)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

Hitchens, Christopher, Orwell's Victory (London: Allen Lane, 2002)

Milosz, Czeslaw, The Captive Mind (London: Secker & Warburg, 1953)

Rosenfeld, I., 'Decency and Death', Partisan Review (May 1950)

Shelden, Michael, Orwell: The Authorised Biography (London: Heinemann, 1991)

Stansky, Peter, and Abrahams, William, The Unknown Orwell (London: Constable, 1972)

Stansky, Peter, and Abrahams, William, Orwell: The Transformation (London: Constable, 1979)

Woodcock, George, The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell (London: Cape, 1967)

Stansky, Peter, and Abrahams, William, Orwell: The Transformation (London: Constable, 1979)

Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading

Correspondence, literary MSS, notebooks and diary, University College London Special Collections, University of London

Correspondence with Secker and Warburg, publishers, University College London Special Collections, University of London

Recieved Letters, Nauscript Collection, British Library, St Pancras

Involved in events: 
City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Eric Arthur Blair

Date of death: 
21 Jan 1950
Location of death: 
University College Hospital, London
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1904
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

1906-21, 1927-36, 1937-50


77 Parliament Hill, London, NW3 1NR

David Gascoyne


David Gascoyne was an English poet, writer and translator. In 1933, he visited Paris and became acquainted with Surrealist artists such as Max Ernst, Paul Éluard and Salvador Dalí. Gascoyne played a significant role in promoting the Surrealist movement in Britain; he wrote A Short Survey of Surrealism (1935), and organized the London International Surrealist Exhibition in 1936 with Herbert Read and Roland Penrose. He also translated some key Surrealist works into English, such as André Breton's What is Surrealism? In 1936, he travelled to Barcelona to help the Propaganda Bureau of the Catalonian Government during the Spanish Civil War. In the 1940s and 1950s, he worked at the BBC, presenting programmes on poetry.

Gascoyne started his career as a poet in his teens, publishing his first collection of poems in 1932 when he was only 16. He gained critical recognition when his Poems, 1937-1942, illustrated by Graham Sutherland, was published in 1943 as a volume of Tambimuttu’s Editions Poetry London. His poems were also collected in Tambimuttu’s Poetry in Wartime (1942), and he was a contributor to Tambimuttu’s literary periodical journal Poetry London.

Gascoyne kept journals in the late 1930s, Paris Journal 1937-1939 (published in 1978) and Journal 1936-37 (published in 1980). These are important documents, not only of Gascoyne’s spiritual journey but also of the intellectual milieu of the period; they record his friendship with Dylan Thomas, Kathleen Raine, Roger Roughton, Lawrence Durrell, Henry Miller, and others.

Published works: 

Roman Balcony (London: Lincoln Williams, 1932)

Opening Day (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1933)

A Short Survey of Surrealism (London: Cobden-Sanderson, 1935)

Man's Life is this Meat (London: Parton Press, 1936)

Hölderlin's Madness (London: Dent, 1938)

Poems, 1937-1942, with drawings by Graham Sutherland (London: Nicholson & Watson/Editions Poetry London, 1943)

A Vagrant, and Other Poems (London: Lehmann, 1950)

Thomas Carlyle (London & New York: Longmans, Green, for the British Council, 1952)

Night Thoughts (London: Deutsch, 1956; New York: Grove, 1956)

Collected Poems, ed. by Robin Skelton (London: Oxford University Press/Deutsch; New York: Oxford University Press, 1965)

The Sun at Midnight (London: Enitharmon Press, 1970)

Three Poems (London: Enitharmon Press, 1976)

Paris Journal 1937-1939 (London: Enitharmon Press, 1978)

Journal 1936-37, Death of an Explorer, Léon Chestov (London: Enitharmon Press, 1980)

Early Poems (Warwick, UK: Greville Press, 1980)

La Mano del Poeta (Genoa: Edizioni S. Marco dei Giustiniani, 1982)

Antennae (San Francisco: City Lights, 1982)

Rencontres avec Benjamin Fondane (St Nazaire: Editions Arcane, 1984)

Tankens Doft, ed. by Lars-Inge Nilsson (Lund : Ellerstöms, 1988)

‘PL Editions and Graham Sutherland’, in Jane Williams (ed.) Tambimuttu: Bridge between Two Worlds (London: Peter Owen, 1989), pp. 112-18

Selected Poems (Chester Springs, PA: Dufour Editions, 1994)

Encounter with Silence: Poems, 1950 (London: Enitharmon Press, 1998)


‘Tambimuttu (1915-1983)’, PN Review 34, 10.2 (1983), p. 8

Date of birth: 
10 Oct 1916

Extract from David Gascoyne’s obituary of Tambimuttu.


George Barker, André Breton, Alan Clodd, Cyril Connolly, Salvador Dalí, Lawrence Durrell, Paul Éluard, William Empson, Humphrey Jennings, Pierre Jean Jouve, Henry Miller, Alida Munro, Roland Penrose, Kathleen Raine, Herbert Read, Humphrey Searle, Stephen Spender, Edith Sitwell, Graham Sutherland, M. J. Tambimuttu Dylan Thomas, Robin Waterfield.

Contributions to periodicals: 

New Verse  (‘Answers to an Enquiry’, 11, 11 October 1934)

New Verse (‘The Public Rose’, 13, 13 February 1935)

Purpose: A Quarterly Magazine (‘Selected Poems by Marianne Moore (A Review)’, October - December 1935)

Cahiers d’Arts (‘Premier Manifeste Anglais du Surréalisme (Fragment)’, 10, 1935)

Literary Review (Poetry and Reality’, May 1936)

Comment (‘Henry Miller’, 11.39, 19 September 1936)

Left Review (‘Authors Take Sides on the Spanish War’, 1937)

Criterion (17.66, October 1937)

New Verse (‘Sixteen Comments on Auden’, 26-27, November 1937)

New Road (‘A Lttle Anthology of Existential Thought’, 4, 1946)

Poetry Quarterly (‘Introducing Kenneth Patchen’, 1, 1946)

Poetry Quarterly (‘Note on Symbolism: Its Role in Metaphysical Thought’, 2, 1946)

Horizon (‘Léon Chestov: After Ten Years’ Silence’, 118, October 1949)

London Magazine (‘A New Poem by Pierre Jean Jouve: “Language”’, 2.2, February 1955)

Two Rivers (‘The Sun at Midnight’, 1.1, Winter 1969)

Literary Review (‘Antonia White: A Personal Appreciation’, 21, 25 July-8 August 1980)

Poetry Review (‘Renard’s Gift’, 70, 1980)

Times Literary Supplement (‘Sweeping the World’s Surface’, 3 October 1980)

Times Literary Supplement (‘Misguided Tour’, 5 December 1980)

Adam (‘My indebtedness to Jouve’, 422.424, 1980)

P. N. Review 14 (‘David Wright: A Few Words of Reminiscence and Appreciation’, 6.6, 1980)

Selected Poems, Tememos 1 (Review of Angelos Sikelianos, 1, 1981)

Encrages (‘Le Surréalisme et la Jeune Poésie Anglaise: Souvenirs de l’Avant-Guerre’, 6, 1981)

Temenos (‘A Kind of Declaration’, 1, 1982)

Temenos (‘Prelude to a New Fin-de-Siècle’ (a poem), 2, 1982)

Poetry London/Apple Magazine (‘Gascoyne’s Choice’, 2, 1982)

Times Literary Supplement (‘Good Places and Bad’, 1 October 1982)

New Departures (‘Departures’, 15, 1983)

Temenos (‘Reviews – Ancient Egypt Revisited’, 4, 1983)

P.N. Review 34 (‘Tambimuttu (1915-1983)’, 10.4, 1983)

Resurgence (‘Thoughts of Edgar Morin’, 113, November/December 1985)

Resurgence (‘Self Discharged’, 115, March/April 1986)

Agenda (‘On the State of Poetry’, 27.3, 1989)

Times Literary Supplement (‘Loplop and his Aviary: The Surrealist Visions of Marx Ernst and Man Ray’, 8 March 1991)

Times Literary Supplement (‘Alchemist of the Spirit: Breton’s Esoteric Treasure Hunt’, 23 August 1991)

Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal (‘Fellow Bondsman’, 1, 1992)


Times Literary Supplement, 2 February 1933, p. 79 (Roman Balcony)

Times Literary Supplement, 28 September 1933, pp. 653-4 (Opening Day)

G. Price-Jones, Times Literary Supplement, 4 January 1936, p. 10 (A Short Survey of Surrealism)

Geoffrey Walton, Scrutiny, March 1936, pp. 452-4 (A Short Survey of Surrealism)

Times Literary Supplement, 30 May 1936, p. 462 (Man's Life is this Meat)

Times Literary Supplement, 11 June 1938, p. 406 (Hölderlin's Madness)

Hugh I'Anson Fausset, Times Literary Supplement, 5 February 1944, p. 68 (Poems 1937-1942)

Kathleen Raine, Dublin Review, April 1944, pp. 187-92

Mary Visick, Times Literary Supplement, 12 January 1951, p. 18 (A Vagrant, and Other Poems)

Gordon Wharton, Times Literary Supplement, 18 January 1957, p. 32 (Night Thoughts)

Kathleen Jessie Raine, Times Literary Supplement, August 12 1965, p. 696

M. Edwards, Times Literary Supplement, October 1971, p. 1168 (Collected Verse Translations and The Sun at Midnight)

Stephen Spender, Times Literary Supplement, 27 October 1978, p. 1249 (Paris Journal 1937-1939)

Alan Young, PN Review, 1980, pp. 64-65 (Paris Journal 1937-1939)

Philip Gardner, Times Literary Supplement, 6 February 1981, p. 132 (Journal 1936-37)

Alan Ross, London Magazine, 21.3, June 1981, pp. 8-9 (Paris Journals 1937-1939 and Journal 1936-1937’)

Valentine Cunningham, Times Literary Supplement, 26 August 1988, p. 941

Andrew Frisardi, The Kenyon Review, Summer - Fall 2001, p. 206 (Selected Prose 1934-1996)


As I shall ever be indebted to Tambimuttu for publishing the first collection of my poems to be taken seriously by certain critics, it is not possible for me to express in conclusion a wholly unbiased or definitive opinion regarding him. He was warmly impulsive and loyal; he inspired loyalty and affection in a wide variety of not inconsiderable people; he could at times be exasperating but, as our wise mutual friend Robin Waterfield sometimes said of him, ‘One has to take Tambi like the weather’. His worst fault may well be said to have been his generosity. The reproach that someone, especially a man of letters, is generous to a fault, is unfortunately one that is now in increasing decline.

Secondary works: 

Atkinson, Ann, ‘David Gascoyne: A Check-List’, Twentieth Century Literature 6 (1961), pp. 180-92

Benford, Colin T., David Gascoyne, a Bibliography of his Works, 1929-1985 (Ryde, Isle of Wight: Heritage Books, 1986)

Christensen, Peter, ‘David Gascoyne: Confessional Novelist’, Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal 1 (1992), pp. 72-90

Cronin, Anthony, ‘Poetry & Ideas-II: David Gascoyne’, London Magazine 4.7 (1957), pp. 49-55

Duncan, Erika, ‘The Silent Poet: Profile of David Gascoyne’. Book Forum: An International Transdisciplinary Quarterly 4 (1979), pp. 655-71

Duncan, Erika, Unless Soul Clap its Hands: Portraits and Passages (New York: Schocken Books, 1984)

Jennings, Elizabeth, ‘The Restoration of Symbols’, Twentieth Century 165 (1959), pp. 567-77

MacNiven, Ian S., ‘Emblems of Friendship: Lawrence Durrell and David Gascoyne’, Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal 2 (1993), pp. 131-3

Quinn, Bernetta, ‘Symbolic Landscape in David Gascoyne’, Contemporary Literature 12.4 (1971), pp. 466-94

Raine, Kathleen, ‘David Gascoyne and the Prophetic Role’, Sewanee Review 75 (1967), pp. 193-229

Ray, Paul C., ‘Meaning and Textuality: A Surrealist Example’, Twentieth Century Literature: A Scholarly and Critical Journal 26.3 (1980), pp. 306-22

Silkin, Jon, ‘David Gascoyne’, Agenda 19.2-3 (1981 Summer - Autumn), pp. 59-70

Stanford, Derek, ‘David Gascoyne: A Spiritual Itinerary’, Month 29 (1963), pp. 156-69

Stanford, Derek, ‘David Gascoyne and the Unacademics’, Meanjin Quarterly 23 (1964), pp. 70-9

Stanford, Derek, ‘Gascoyne in Retrospect’, Poetry Review 56 (1965), pp. 238-47


The concluding paragraph of Gascoyne’s obituary gives insight into Tambimuttu’s character as Gascoyne saw it and the nature of their friendship.

Archive source: 

Gascoyne Notebooks, Manuscripts, British Library, St. Pancras

Beinecke Library, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Buffalo State College, State University of New York

McFarlin Library, University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Brotherton Library, University of Leeds

Berg collection, Humanities and Social Sciences Library, The New York Public Library

Sound Archive, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Date of death: 
25 Nov 2001
Location of death: 
Newport, Isle of Wight

E. M. Forster


Edward Morgan Forster was brought up by his mother, Alice Clara (Lily) Whichelo, after his architect father died in 1880. Despite his father’s premature death, he was raised in relative affluence, attending Tonbridge School and later King’s College, Cambridge, where he studied classics and history and began to write fiction. After a period of travelling in Europe, in 1904 he settled with his mother in Weybridge where all of his six novels, including Howards End (1910), were completed. In 1906 he began to tutor the young Syed Ross Masood in Latin in preparation for the latter’s Oxford degree. Forster fell in love with Masood; while his feelings were unreciprocated, the two developed a close friendship, and Forster claimed it was through Masood that he developed a lifelong and passionate interest in India, particularly Muslim India. It was also through Masood that he met several other young Indians studying in Britain in the early twentieth century – many of whom went on to assume important professional including governmental positions in India.

Between October 1912 and April 1913, Forster travelled through India, staying initially with Masood and his family in Aligarh before visiting Delhi, Lahore, the Kyber Pass, Simla, Allahabad, Benares and Bankipore, among other places. This trip bore the seeds of his novel A Passage to India which he began to write on his return to Weybridge. From 1915 to 1919, during the First World War, he was based in Alexandria where he served as a Red Cross searcher and continued to write stories and essays. In 1921, Forster returned to India for a short period to take up the position of Private Secretary to the Maharajah of Dewas. Back in London, he continued work on A Passage to India. By this time, he enjoyed a considerable literary reputation, reviewing for several magazines and associating with members of the Bloomsbury Group and other renowned writers of the day.

It was arguably with the publication of A Passage to India in 1924 that he can be said to have achieved fame, becoming a commentator and broadcaster, as well as a reviewer and essayist, a spokesperson and figurehead for individual freedoms, liberalism and tolerance, and a critic of the inequalities of race and empire. In 1935 he attended the Paris Congress of International Writers for the Defence of Culture, where his talk, titled ‘Liberty in England’, highlighted the partiality of this notion and the failure to apply it to India. Mulk Raj Anand and Sajjad Zaheer were also present at the Congress, and many of the speeches there were said to be seminal to their subsequent foundation of the Progressive Writers’ Association. In 1945, Forster returned to India to attend the All-India PEN Conference in Jaipur where Sarojini Naidu, Nehru and Radhakrishnan all spoke.

Forster developed friendships with numerous Indian writers, often facilitating their entry into the British literary world by recommending writers to publishers, offering advice to them, writing prefaces to their work, or reviewing it favourably. For example, he praised Iqbal’s Secrets of Self, Tagore’s Chitra and Tambimuttu’s Poetry in Wartime in reviews, and wrote introductions to G. V. Desani’s Hali and – most famously – Mulk Raj Anand’s The Untouchable, which was rejected nineteen times before Wishart accepted the manuscript with Forster’s endorsement. In the 1930s and 1940s, he gave several BBC radio broadcasts, including to Indian audiences in the series ‘We Talk to India: Some Books’. Whether broadcasting to the British or to Indians, he frequently discussed fiction by Indian writers of the time, thereby further legitimizing this work. Forster also agreed to the Indian playwright Santha Rama Rau adapting A Passage to India for the theatre in 1960. He maintained many of these connections through correspondence for much of his life, and several Indian writers marked their appreciation to Forster by contributing to K. Natwar-Singh’s volume of essays in honour of the writer.

On his mother’s death in 1945, Forster moved from their home in Surrey to rooms in King’s College, which granted him an honorary fellowship. He based himself at King’s until his death in 1970, continuing his interest in the Indian subcontinent and his friendship for its people throughout.

Published works: 

Where Angels Fear to Tread (London: Edward Arnold, 1905)

The Longest Journey (Edinburgh and London: William Blackwood & Sons, 1907)

A Room with a View (London: Edward Arnold, 1908)

Howards End (London: Edward Arnold, 1910)

A Passage to India (London: Edward Arnold, 1924)

Goldsworthy Lowes Dickinson (London: Edward Arnold, 1934)

Abinger Harvest (London: Edward Arnold, 1936)

Two Cheers for Democracy (London: Edward Arnold, 1951)

The Hills of Devi: Being Letters from Dewas State Senior (London: Edward Arnold, 1953)

Maurice: A Novel (London: Edward Arnold, 1971)

Only Connect: Letters to Indian Friends, ed. by Syed Hamid Husain (London: Arnold-Heinemann, 1979)

(with Mary Lago and P. N. Furbank) Selected Letters of E. M. Forster (London: Collins, 1983)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1879

J. R. Ackerley, Muhammad al-Adl, Syed Ali Akbar, Ahmed Ali, Mulk Raj Anand, Vanessa Bell, Zulfikhar Bokhari, Robert Bridges, Benjamin Britten, May Buckingham, Robert Buckingham, Edward Carpenter, C. Cavafy, Nirad Chaudhury, Hsiao Ch'ien, Eric Crozier, M. V. Desai, G. V. Desani, Mukul Dey, Cedric Dover, T. S. Eliot, Roger Fry, Duncan Grant, Robert Graves, Christiana Herringham, Aldous Huxley, Akbar Hydari, Lady Hydari, Mohammad Iqbal, K. R. Srinivasa Iyengar, Amin Jung, John Maynard Keynes, Vilayat Khan, D. H. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence, John Lehmann, Cecil Day Lewis, Desmond MacCarthy, Walter de la Mare, Akbar Masood, Syed Ross Masood, Sheikh Mohammad Meer, Narayana Menon, Abu Saeed Mirza, Ahmad Mirza, Sajjad Mirza, Naomi Mitchison, Syed Mohiuddin, Ajit Mookerjee, R. K. Narayan, George Orwell, Balachanda Rajan, Abdur Rashid, Raja Rao, Santha Rama Rau, William Rothenstein, Jamini Roy, Siegfried Sassoon, Ranjee Shahani, Haroon Khan Sherwani, K. Natwar-Singh, Stephen Spender, Lytton Strachey, Rabindranath Tagore, M. J. Tambimuttu, S. A. Vahid, H. G. Wells, Leonard Woolf, Virginia Woolf, Sajjad Zaheer.

National Council for Civil Liberties

Contributions to periodicals: 
Secondary works: 

Ackerley, J. R., E. M. Forster: A Portrait (London: Ian McKelvie, 1970)

Beauman, Nicola, Morgan: A Biography of E. M. Forster (London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1993)

Copley, Antony, A Spiritual Bloomsbury: Hinduism and Homosexuality in the Lives and Writing of Edward Carpenter, E. M. Forster, and Christopher Isherwood (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2006)

Forster, E. M. and Gardner, Philip, Commonplace Book (London: Scolar, 1985)

Furbank, Philip Nicholas, E. M. Forster: A Life, vol. 1: The Growth of the Novelist (1879-1914) (London: Secker & Warburg, 1977)

Furbank, Philip Nicholas, E. M. Forster: A Life, vol. 2: Polycrates' Ring (1914-1970) (London: Secker & Warburg, 1978)

Gardner, Philip and Forster, Edward Morgan, E. M. Forster: The Critical Heritage (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973)

King, Francis Henry, E. M. Forster and His World (London: Thames & Hudson, 1978)

Kirkpatrick, Brownlee Jean and Forster, Edward Morgan, A Bibliography of E. M. Forster...With a Foreword by E. M. Forster (London: Rupert Hart-Davis, 1965)

Lago, Mary, Calendar of the Letters of E. M. Forster (London: Mansell, 1985)

McDowell, Frederick P. W., E. M. Forster: An Annotated Bibliography of Writings About Him (De Kalb: Northern Illinois University Press, 1976)

Plomer, William, At Home: Memoirs (London: Jonathan Cape, 1958)

Stape, John Henry, E. M. Forster: Interviews and Recollections (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1992)

Stape, John Henry, An E. M. Forster Chronology (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1993)

Trilling, Lionel, E. M. Forster: A Study (London: Hogarth Press, 1944)

Woolf, Leonard, Sowing: An Autobiography of the Years, 1880-1904 (London: Hogarth, 1960)

Woolf, Virginia and Bell, Anne Olivier, The Diary of Virginia Woolf, 5 vols (London: Hogarth Press, 1977-84)

Archive source: 

Correspondence, literary manuscripts, journals, other papers, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters, Historical Manuscripts Commission, National Register of Archives

Letters and literary manuscripts, Richard A. Gleeson Library, University of San Francisco

Letters to S. S. Koteliansky, Add. Ms 48974, British Library, St Pancras 

Correspondence with the Society of Authors, Add. Ms 56704, British Library, St Pancras 

Correspondence with Marie Stopes, Add. Ms 58502, British Library, St Pancras 

Correspondence with Sibyl Colefax, Bodleian Library, Oxford

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

Letters to V. N. Datta, Cambridge University Library

Letters to Lord Kennet and Lady Kennet, Cambridge University Library

Correspondence with Christopher Isherwood, Huntington Library, San Marino, California 

Letters to Sir George Barnes, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge 

Letters to Vanessa Bell, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Correspondence with the Buckingham family, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Correspondence with A. E. Felkin, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge 

Correspondence with J. M. Keynes, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters, postcards, and telegram to G. H. W. Rylands, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Letters to W. G. H. Sprott, King's College Archive Centre, Cambridge

Correspondence with Sir B. H. Liddell Hart, Liddell Hart C., King's London

Correspondence with James Hanley, Liverpool Record Office and Local Studies Service

Letters to Naomi Mitchison, National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh

Letters to Hugh Walpole, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas

Correspondence with Lord Clark, Tate Collection

Letters to Elizabeth Trevelyan, Trinity College, Cambridge

Letters to William Plomer, Durham University

Letters to Kingsley Martin, University of Sussex Special Collections

Correspondence with New Statesman magazine, University of Sussex Special Collections

Correspondence with Leonard Woolf, University of Sussex Special Collections

Correspondence with Leonard Woolf and Virginia Woolf, University of Sussex Special Collections

Correspondence and statements relating to the trial of Lady Chatterley's Lover, University of Bristol Library

Letters to Sir Alex Randall, McPherson Library, University of Victoria, British Columbia

Performance recordings, National Sound Archive, British Library

Involved in events: 

Congress of International Writers for the Defence of Culture, Paris, 1935

All-India PEN Conference, Jaipur, 1945

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Edward Morgan Forster

Date of death: 
07 Jun 1970
Location of death: 
11 Salisbury Avenue, Coventry

Dryhurst, Dryhill Park Road, Tonbridge; King's College, Cambridge; 11 Drayton Court, South Kensington, London; Weybridge; West Hackhurst, Abinger Hammer, Surrey.

Indira Devi


Maharajkumari Indira Devi was born on 26 February 1912 to Maharaja Paramjit Singh and Maharani Brinda of Kapurthala. She left India for Britain in 1935 at the age of twenty-three. Only her sisters Princesses Sushila and Ourmilla knew of her intentions. In England she studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London with a view to becoming a movie star. While she did not fulfil this ambition, she managed to work briefly with Alexander Korda at London Films, who wanted to launch her as his next big star after Merle Oberon. However the difficulties of the film industry in the late 1930s meant she did not get her big break in the movie business.

After the outbreak of the Second World War, Indira Devi successfully passed the St John Ambulance examination and drove motor ambulances during air raids. She also worked for a while as a postal censor. She joined the BBC in 1942 and became known as the ‘Radio Princess’. She hosted a half-hour radio programme in Hindustani for Indian forces stationed in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. She broadcast the programme 'The Debate continues', a weekly report to India on the proceedings in the House of Commons, where she was the only woman in the Press Gallery. She broadcast many talks series for the Indian Section of the Eastern Service Division. She also broadcast on the Home Service. She was offered a permanent contract with the Overseas Service Division in 1943. She continued to work for the BBC until 1968. Princess Indira died in Ibiza, Spain in September 1979.

Published works: 

The Revenge of the Gods: A Story of Ancient Egypt (London: The Eastern Press, 1928)

Date of birth: 
26 Feb 1912
Secondary works: 

Bance, Peter, The Sikhs in Britain: 150 Years of Photographs (Stroud: Sutton Publishing, 2007)

Orwell, George (ed.), Talking to India (London: Allen and Unwin, 1943)

Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Maharajkumari Indira Devi of Kapurthala, The Radio Princess, Indira of Kapurthala


512a Nell Gwynn House
Sloane Avenue, Kensington
London, SW3 3AU
United Kingdom
51° 29' 32.2476" N, 0° 9' 56.736" W
Hepatica Cottage Ivinghoe Aston, LU7 9DQ
United Kingdom
51° 51' 14.0472" N, 0° 37' 5.5308" W
Date of death: 
01 Sep 1979
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1935
Dates of time spent in Britain: 


Venu Chitale


Venu Chitale was a talks broadcaster and assistant to George Orwell at the BBC’s Indian Section of the Eastern Service. She arrived in Britain in the mid-1930s. She had come to Britain with her teacher in Poona, Winnie Duplex, to study at University College, London.

She joined the BBC in 1940 when the service expanded to broadcast different Indian languages including Marathi, her mother tongue. From 1941, Chitale assisted George Orwell in his work as a talks programme assistant for the BBC Indian section of the Eastern Service from 1941-43. She broadcast on his series of talks ‘Through Eastern Eyes’ as well as his 1942 magazine programme 'Voice'. She also broadcast as part of the series of talks ‘The Hand That Rocks The Cradle’, which focused on the role of women in the war effort. Like Indira Devi of Kapurthala, she also broadcast on the Home Service, where she served as a newsreader at the height of the war. She contributed to programmes such as ‘Indian Recipes’ and the ‘Kitchen Front’ series, which was produced by Jean Rowntree. Orwell was particularly impressed by Chitale and she was often complimented for her speaking voice. She became a full-time member of staff as the Marathi Programme Assistant in 1942.

While in London, Chitale also became involved with the India League and forged a close relationship with Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit, Jawaharlal Nehru’s sister. She returned to India in 1950 and married Prof T. G. Khare. She published several novels and died in 1995.

Published works: 

In Transit, Foreword by Mulk Raj Anand (Bombay: Hind Kitabs, 1950)

Incognito (Pune: Sriniwas Cards, 1993)

Date of birth: 
28 Dec 1912
Secondary works: 

De Souza, Eunice and Pereira, Lindsay (eds), Women’s Voices: Selections from Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Indian Writing in English (Delhi: OUP India, 2002)

West, W. J. (ed.), Orwell: The War Broadcasts (London: Duckworth/BBC, 1985)

Archive source: 

BBC Written Archives Centre, Caversham Park, Reading

City of birth: 
Shirole, Kolhapur
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Leelabhai Ganesh Khare


Central Club YMCA
Great Russell Street
London, W.C.1B 3PE
United Kingdom
51° 31' 4.8504" N, 0° 7' 36.2964" W
48 New Cavendish Street
London, W1W 6XY
United Kingdom
51° 31' 8.2956" N, 0° 8' 57.3864" W
Date of death: 
01 Jan 1995
Precise date of death unknown: 
Location of death: 
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1937
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



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