Literary magazines

Macmillan's Magazine


Macmillan’s Magazine was a monthly literary magazine, generally regarded as the first shilling periodical in Britain. It was also one of the first periodicals in which authors were expected to sign their names.

Founded in 1859, the magazine was the brainchild of the bookseller Alexander Macmillan, UCL Professor of English David Masson, the lawyer John Ludlow and above all Thomas Hughes, the author of Tom Brown’s Schooldays. Hughes saw the gap in the market for a new thoroughgoing literary magazine, with ‘everyone to sign his own name and no flippancy or abuse allowed.’ Although the four men did not intend Macmillan’s to serve as an organ of Christian Socialism, as a publication it was somewhat imbued with their ethos of service and plain-speaking in matters of social concern.

The magazine is noted for rejecting Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles due to what Mowbray Morris termed excessive ‘succulence’, and also for promoting the work of the young Rudyard Kipling in England, sometimes under the pseudonym ‘Yussuf.’  Other pieces by Indians or about India included stories by Cornelia Sorabji and Flora Annie Steel. From 1883 to 1885 the magazine was edited by John Morley, future Secretary of State for India and co-architect of the Morley-Minto governmental reforms.

Secondary works: 

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

Worth, George J., Macmillan’s Magazine, 1859-1907: ‘No Flippancy or Abuse Allowed’ (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2003)

Date began: 
01 Jan 1859
Precise date began unknown: 

Contributors included: Rudyard Kipling, Cornelia Sorabji, Flora Annie Steel.

Date ended: 
01 Jan 1907
Precise date ended unknown: 
Tags for Making Britain: 

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

Left Review


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

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

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

The journal ceased publication in May 1938.


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

Secondary works: 

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

Date began: 
01 Oct 1934

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

Key Individuals' Details: 

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


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

Date ended: 
01 May 1938
Books Reviewed Include: 

Anand, Mulk Raj, Coolie. Reviewed by Geoffrey West

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

Anand, Mulk Raj, Untouchable. Reviewed by John Sommerfield

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

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

Nehru, Jawaharlal, An Autobiography. Reviewed by Montagu Slater

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

Rao, Raja, Kanthapura. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand

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

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

Singh, Iqbal, Gautama Buddha. Reviewed by Robin Jardine


Collet's Bookshop
66 Charing Cross Road
London, WC2H 0EH
United Kingdom

The London Mercury


The London Mercury was a monthly magazine published by Field Press Ltd.  It was published first in 1919, one year after the end of the First World War. It sought to fill a gap in the market of literary magazines. According to its founding editor it was unique among other literary journals as it combined the publication of creative writing, reviews of the contemporary literary output, publishing poetry, prose writing and full-length literary essays, and critical surveys of books. Its mission was to foster the teaching of English and the appreciation of the arts.

Especially after Rolfe Arnold Scott-James took over as editor in 1934, the magazine increasingly featured short stories and poetry by Indian writers. It also included survey articles and reviews by Indian writers on topics such as Indian art and Indian literature. Reviews of books on India were also increasingly published by the journal. The journal absorbed The Bookman in 1934. In the  late 1930s, the magazine ran into financial difficulties. The last issue was published in April 1939, after which the journal was absorbed into Life and Letters Today.



 'Editorial Notes', The London Mercury 39.234 (April 1939), p. 274

Other names: 

The London Mercury with which is incorporated The Bookman

The London Mercury and Bookman


In his final editorial for the journal, the editor Scott-James restates the mission of the magazine. Subsumed into Life and Letters Today, the journal would carry on this tradition. The journal was characterized by a broad range of materials  and sought to expose its readership to fiction and non-fiction written by South-Asian artists, writers and cultural commentators, exemplified here in this final statement of the journal's brief.

Date began: 
01 Nov 1919

From the first Squire designed this magazine  as an organ of independent and disinterested opinion and that it has always been. My own conception of the magazine has been that it existed to serve the cause of creative ideas from whatever source they were drawn, more especially in reference to our own time, and to do what it could to promote an interest in such ideas, whether they were manifested in the stories and poems we published or the books we reviewed, or whether, more broadly, they were shown to be applicable to current practical problems. Whatever seemed to be informed and enlightened by the creative imagination – that I conceived to be within our province; and side by side with it, of course, one looked for the critical judgment, which in itself is allied to the creative.

Key Individuals' Details: 

Editors: John Collings Squire (1919-34), Rolfe Arnold Scott-James (1934-9).


Contributors: Mulk Raj Anand, J. C. Ghosh, Bharati Sarabhai, Rabindranath Tagore, J. Vijaya-Tunga, Suresh Vaidya, William Butler Yeats.

Date ended: 
01 Apr 1939
Archive source: 

British Library, St Pancras

Books Reviewed Include: 

Bose, Subhas C., The Indian Struggle. Reviewed by E. Farley Oaten.

Rawlinson, H. G., India: A Short Cultural History. Reviewed by Mulk Raj Anand.


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.

The Africa and Orient Review


The Africa and Orient Review continued the Africa Times and Orient Review, which was published irregularly between 1912 and 1918. The Africa and Orient Review was published continuously from January to September 1920, with another issue in December 1920. It was edited by Dusé Mohammed Ali and had its offices in 158 Fleet Street, London EC4. The journal attempted to decentre Eurocentric perspectives on British action in the Middle East, Africa and India. The journal's brief was to help overcome misunderstandings and prejudice by providing accurate information to its readership on topics of interest to the British Empire. The journal took an anti-imperialist stance, supporting the right of subject peoples of the British Empire for self-determination. Its mission was to inform the British public about the 'aims and desires of the African and Oriental'. It saw its target audience as politicians, thinkers, publicists and cabinet ministers.

The journal featured not only political articles, but also attempted to include light-hearted matters, for instance a 'coloured ladies' beauty contest, inviting readers to send in photographs. The journal also featured a photograph of the Man of the Month, which was judged to be Rabindranath Tagore in the April 1920 issue for returning his knighthood in protest of the 1919 Amritsar Massacre. Of interest are also Ali’s sharply observed editorials, such as on the House of Commons debate of the Amritsar Massacre and on the legacy of Dadabhai Naoroji. While early issues maintain a balance between topical essays about all three regions, the later issues refocus their attention mainly on Africa and Egypt.

Other names: 

The African Times and Orient Review

Secondary works: 

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

Date began: 
01 Jan 1920
Key Individuals' Details: 

Dusé Mohammed Ali (editor and contributor)


Shaikh M. H. Kidwai of Gadia (contributor)

Date ended: 
01 Dec 1920


158 Fleet Street
London, EC4 A2
United Kingdom
Tags for Making Britain: 

Jinadasa Vijayatunga


Author, teacher and journalist Jinadasa Vijayatunga grew up in the village of Urala before attending a boarding school in Galle in Southern Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). His Sinhalese-speaking parents employed a tutor to teach him English. He began his career as a teacher and journalist in Sri Lanka. He then taught in Tagore’s school in Bengal, and then as an examiner in Sinhalese for Calcutta University, 1927-8. He taught in New York from 1928 to 1931 before he went to London as a journalist. He lived most of his adult life abroad in America, England and India, before returning to Sri Lanka towards the end of his life.

Vijayatunga’s fiction published in London focuses on Sri Lanka. Grass for My Feet (1935) provides a series of vignettes of village life in Sri Lanka. It is based on Vijayatunga’s childhood memories growing up in a small remote village in Sri Lanka at the turn of the century. His book Island Story (1949) is a more factual account. It purports to convey an intimate knowledge of the island in terms of its people, history, culture and geographical layout. His choice of topics – Green Field and Valleys, The Gift of Water, Tea Gardens, Island Neighbours, Kings and Heroes of Old, Kandy the Lake City – suggests a desire to represent both Ceylon’s ancient traditions and present-day life. Published in the year after Ceylon gained independence, the book illuminates the newly independent country to the rest of the world. Both books were well-received in both Britain and Sri Lanka. They were hailed as great literary achievements and unique introductions of the island. Sri Lankan and Indian publishers have recently re-published these two works.

Published works: 

Grass for my Feet: Sketches of Life in a Ceylon Village (London: Arnold & Co, 1935)

Maharanee and Other Stories (Colombo: Gunasena & Co, 1947)

Trebizond: A Second Book of Poems (Colombo: M.D. Gunasena &Co. 1948)

What I Think (Colombo: Gunasena & Co, 1948)

The Glass Princess, and Other Singhala Folk Tales (Illustrations by Sita Vijayatunga) (Colombo: M. D. Gunasena & Co., 1949)

Yoga: The way of Self-Fulfilment, etc., (London/Bombay: Casement Publication 1953)

Isle of Lanka, Ceylon. (Bombay: Orient Longmans, 1955)

Lumbini to Kusinara - In the Footsteps of the Buddha (Maharagama: Saman Press, 1960)

Rodiya Girl and Other Stories (Maharagama: Saman Press, 1960)

The Sun Temple of Konarka (Delhi: Publications Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India, 1963)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1902
Precise DOB unknown: 
Archive source: 

National Archives, Colombo, Sri Lanka

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 
Current name country of birth: 
Sri Lanka
Other names: 

Jinadasa Vijaya-Tunga

Jinnadasa Vijaya-Tunga

Jinadasa Vijayatunge

Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1931
Precise 1st arrival date unknown: 
Dates of time spent in Britain: 

ca. 1931-48



Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah


Ikbal Ali Shah was the Son of the Nawab of Sardhana, and great grandson of the Afghan statesman Jan Fishan Khan. He came to Britain before the First World War and studied at Oxford and Edinburgh University, where he met his wife, the Scottish author Morag Murray. They had three children, the Sufi writers and translators Amina Shah (1918), Omar Ali-Shah (1922-2005) and Idries Shah (1924-96), with whom Doris Lessing later studied Sufism. He wrote collections of tales and adventure, like The Golden Caravan, as well as non-fiction like The Spirit of the East. He later taught Sufi "classes" in England, which were the precursors to the Sufi school established by his son, Idries Shah. Ikbal Ali Shah also wrote biographies, including on President Kemal Attaturk whom he claims to have known personally.

Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah was a prolific writer of articles, and books relating to South Asia, Sufism and the Muslim World. He published in The Bookman and other journals, but struggled to live by his writing. In 1939 he contacted the India Office for work as a writer in the Information Department, for whom he wrote articles useful for Muslim papers in India and he provided the Ministry with a regular service of news along these lines. In a letter dated 19 January 1939, A. H. Joyce (Secretary Political, External Department) stated that the India Office had known Ikbal Ali Shah ‘as a contributor of articles, principally to the provincial newspapers in this country, on matters affecting the Muslim world and particularly those affecting India and Afghanistan. He is also the author of quite a number of books of a popular type covering a similar field’ (L/I/1/1509). He was also a prolific speaker and addressed the Oxford Majlis in 1941 on the topic ‘Incompatibility of Islamic and Fascist Philosophies’, and lascars in the East End on ‘English, Their Country and Their Ways’. He also wrote a paper ‘Little Arabia in Britain', on Cardiff’s Muslim community.

Ikbal Ali Shah was linked to the controversy surrounding the 1967 publication of a new translation of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat, by his son Omar Ali-Shah and the English poet Robert Graves. The translation was based on an annotated "crib", supposedly derived from an old manuscript said to have been in the Shah family's possession for 800 years. L. P. Elwell-Sutton, an Orientalist at Edinburgh University, and others who reviewed the book, expressed their conviction that the story of the ancient family manuscript was false. Graves had been led to believe that Ikbal Ali Shah had access to the disputed manuscript. Shah was about to produce it at the time of his death from a car accident, to allay the growing controversy surrounding the translation. He and his wife are buried in the Muslim section of the cemetery at Brookwood, Woking, Surrey.

Published works: 

Afghanistan of the Afghans (1928)

Westward to Mecca (1928)

Eastward to Persia (1930)

The Golden East (1931)

Mohamed: The Prophet (1932)

Alone in Arabian Nights (1933)

Islamic Sufism (1933)

The Golden Pilgrimage (1933)

The Prince Aga Khan (1933)

Afridi Gold (1934)

Kemal: Maker of Modern Turkey (1934)

The Controlling Minds of Asia (1937)

(ed.) Coronation Book of Oriental Literature (1937)

(ed.) The Golden Treasury of Indian Literature (1938)

Nepal: Home of the Gods (1938)

Spirit of the East (1939)

Occultism: Its Theory and Practice (1952)

Date of birth: 
01 Jan 1894

Robert Graves, Morag Murray.

Contributions to periodicals: 
Precise DOB unknown: 
Archive source: 

L/I/1/1509 Sirdar Ikbal Ali Shah, India Office Records, Asian and African Studies Reading Room, British Library, St Pancras

City of birth: 
Country of birth: 


University of Edinburgh Edinburgh, EH8 9AD
United Kingdom
55° 57' 7.956" N, 3° 10' 19.4196" W
Oxford University Oxford, OX2 6QD
United Kingdom
51° 47' 13.6464" N, 1° 17' 24.6012" W
Date of death: 
04 Nov 1969
Date of 1st arrival in Britain: 
01 Jan 1914
Dates of time spent in Britain: 



Edinburgh, London, Oxford.

John Lehmann


John Lehmann was a writer, poet and publisher. He was the editor of the hugely influential magazine New Writing (1936-40), which also published South Asian writers such as Ahmed Ali and Mulk Raj Anand. He was managing director for Virginia and Leonard Woolf's Hogarth Press from 1938-46, before founding his own publishing company.

Date of birth: 
02 Jun 1907
Secondary works: 

Hughes, David, ‘Lehmann, (Rudolph) John Frederick (1907–1987)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004) []

City of birth: 
Bourne End, Buckinghamshire
Country of birth: 
Other names: 

Rudolph John Frederick Lehmann

Date of death: 
07 Apr 1987
Location of death: 


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


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