Another Oxford attendee, novelist Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966) is perhaps best known for his books, ‘Brideshead Revisited’ (made into a popular TV series in 1981 with Jeremy Irons) and ‘A Handful of Dust’.
The son of a publisher, Waugh did not however, complete his degree and initially became a private school teacher.
The strong Roman Catholic theme threaded throughout ‘Brideshead Revisited’ is reflective of Waugh’s conversion to the faith in 1930.
Written during WW2, 'Brideshead Revisited' is still regarded by many to be Waugh's best work, although of course, he has his critics, some of whom panned the novel as being over-the-top and snobbish.
Indeed, ‘King of Satire’ is a title which could be well applied to Waugh, who put to paper the various comings and goings of the upper-class London socialites.
It should be remembered however, that Waugh produced a collection of other work, including the comedic ‘The Loved One’ in 1948, as well as ‘The Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold’ and various journalistic and autobiographical writings.
Led by the artists Henri Matisse and Andre Derain, the official Fauvism Movement lasted only four years (1904-08), although the style of ‘Les Fauves’ (‘the wild beasts’) began around 1900.
Inspired by and retaining qualities of Impressionism, the Fauvist paintings were both simple and abstract, brough to life by bright colours and wild brush strokes.
‘The Hungry Lion Throws Itself on the Antelope’ by Henri Rosseau (pictured here) was not Fauvist, nor was Rosseau a Fauvist painter, but it is thought this artwork may have been influential to the Movement.
British painter Henry Taylor Lamb (1883-1960) was born in Australia and studied art in Paris.
Lamb was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts during WW1 in the Royal Medical Corps. During the Second World War, he deployed his artistic talents by producing official paintings.
Lamb helped found the Camden Town Group of English Post-Impressionist artists and later became a member of the Royal Academy. He was also a Trustee of the National Portrait Gallery from 1942 and of the Tate Gallery from 1944-51.
Upper-class English socialite Lady Ottoline Violet Anne Morrell (1873-1938) personified the social side of the artistic and literary world.
A descendent of the First Duke of Wellington and Bess of Hardwick, and cousin to Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (who became Queen when her husband, the Duke of York, was crowned King George VI), Lady Ottoline was certainly well connected.
Mingling with writers such as TS Eliot, DH Lawrence and Aldous Huxley, Lady Ottoline hosted countless parties and get-togethers at her country house in Garsington, near Oxford.
The Tudor property served as a retreat from her London townhouse in Bloomsbury; she bought it with her husband Philip Morrell in 1914. They restored the house to its former glory, creating landscaped Italian-style gardens with statues and a large ornamental pool.
Lady Ottoline was a complex character: she oozed style and wealth, while concealing money problems; she was shy, yet hosted major social events; she was respected by many and considered a mentor, yet ridiculed for her eccentric sense of fashion and her religious beliefs.
The capital and largest city in France, Paris epitomises culture and artistic style. Perched on the banks of the River Seine, the northern-based city has many notable landmarks, including the Pont des Artes (Bridge of Arts), seen in the photograph and the Pont Neuf (New Bridge), located behind it.
Also in the picture is the French Institute, on the right, at the end of the Pont des Artes. The famous Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral towers are seen in the distance behind these landmarks.
Of great significance in the history of Paris was the Industrial Revolution in the 1840s, which changed the face of the city forever.
South-western Biarritz meanwhile, is just a five-hour train journey from the capital and is similarly famous, but for its beautiful coastline rather than artistic architecture. A surfer’s paradise, the large town of Biarritz remains an intensely popular holiday destination today.
French artist André Derain (1880 -1954) began the Fauvist Movement with fellow painter, Henri Matisse, although he later left this style behind, toning things down with more Gothic tones between 1911-1914.
At the relative height of his fame in the 1920s, Derain received the Carnegie Prize and enjoyed many major exhibitions of his work. He is also remembered for his collection of ballet designs.
Segovia is located just north of Madrid, which is the capital of Spain and the country's largest city.
Seville meanwhile, is the artistic, financial and cultural capital of the south.
Algeciras is shown at the bottom of the map by the coloured marker and boasts one of the largest ports in Europe (pictured). It is also the biggest city in the Bay of Gibraltar.
‘Lives of the Most Eminent English Poets’ was a collection of brief biographies of 18th Century poets penned by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784).
A total of 52 poets feature in the collection, including John Milton, John Dryden, Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift.
Samuel Johnson wrote the famous ‘Dictionary of the English Language’, one of his best known works, and also put his hand to essays, poems, biographies and criticism.
Spain's second largest city, Barcelona boasts gorgeous architecture, including what is internationally acknowledged as being a symbol for the city – the Sagrada Familia (pictured). The church, designed by architect Antoni Gaudi, remains famously unfinished to this day, despite work having started in 1882. A target date for completion is set for 2026…
As capital of the Catalan region, Barcelona is filled with picturesque parks, 68 to be exact and has seven beautiful beaches, as well as many medieval buildings. Saturated in art, culture and entertainment opportunities, Barcelona, seemingly, has everything!
The medieval town of Perpignan meanwhile, is the capital of the Pyrenees-Orientales area of southern France. Founded in the 10th century, Perpignan was most affluent in the decades which closely followed, with the people making a comfortable living from luxury crafts, including cloth, leather and goldsmith work.
Moving onto Narbonne, just 849km from Paris, the commune was once a busy port, but environmental influences and competing ports put an end to that.
The cathedral remains a symbol of the once successful port and is one of the highest in France. It was however, never fully completed, as the scale of the building would for one, have meant removing the city’s wall…
The city of Arles was, for some years, the residence of the artist Vincent van Gogh and was also popular once upon a time with Roman Emperors, who used the city as a base during military operations. Arles subsequently contains various Roman remnants, including the ruins of an arena.
Finally, Avignon, on the left bank of the Rhone, also has a famous Roman connection in the city’s cathedral – the Notre Dame des Doms. Avignon was once the place for popes and anti-popes and so also contains the well known Palais des Papes (Palace of the Popes).
Other aspects of Avignon include spacious and picturesque parks and gardens.
Set in Vienna before the Great War, 'Merry Go Round' is the perfect title for a film which tells the tangled tale of circus girl Agnes, who falls for a necktie salesman...or so she thinks. Said salesman is actually a married Count and his case of mistaken identity will problems surely cause.
To add to the complications, unrequited love comes in the form of fellow circus employee, Bartholomew - a hunchback - who has eyes only for Agnes...
She once socialised with Pablo Picasso and and was significant in the artworld as a female Cubist painter, of which there were few.
Another esteemed writer gracing the pages of LMS’s journal is Dubliner James Joyce, arguably most famous for ‘Ulysses’ – a literary mountain many have tried to conquer…
James Augustine Aloysius Joyce (1882-1941) wrote both novels and poetry, although like many writers, he too turned his hand to occasional journalism and wrote many published letters.
Amongst his well known and loved novels are ‘A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man’, ‘Dubliners’, ‘Finnegans Wake’ and of course, ‘Ulysses’. Joyce made his name by creating literature depicting a stream of consciousness – a remarkable achievement, but one which continues to confound some readers, such is its quite literal representation of a stream of thoughts as they pass through his character’s mind!
Dublin remained in Joyce’s heart, despite his soujourns away from his home city and this love of Dublin is reflected in his work. Indeed, Joyce wrote from Zurich, from Paris, from Italy... about Dublin (he emigrated to Europe in his twenties) and all with intense accuracy and realism.
James Joyce was the eldest son of a lower-middle class Dublin family - one of ten children (two others had died of typhoid). He could be described as being a rather top class student at the Jesuit schools he attended and later at University College in Dublin.
Moving to Paris to study medicine upon graduation, things could have turned out very differently in the life of James Joyce if he had not found the French lectures a little over his head...
‘Ulysses’ – the name can strike trepidation in a reader’s heart - excitement, apprehension and just plain bafflement. The literary giant amongst novels, ‘Ulysses’ has become a lot more accessible over the years, with bitesize summaries and interpretations now widely available to help introduce the book to a new audience.
At its time of publication however in 1922, James Joyce’s masterpiece was met with both acclaim and quite frankly, wonderment. Unleashed to the public in the same year as TS Eliot’s ‘Wasteland’ poem (see previous bookmark), it was a big year for literature.
‘Ulysses’ is essentially a tale retold – it is Homer’s Odyssey lifted and reset in Dublin (of course) and takes the reader on a day in the life of its characters, delving deep into Dublin and the reality of life in the city.
Joyce perfected his ‘stream of consciousness’ writing style within the tome, which includes 18 lengthy chapters, each of which depicts an hour of the day at hand. All aspects of life – monotony, comedy, parody and much much more, is presented on paper, leaving the reader quite exhausted at the end of it all, such is the sheer range of literary technique included.
Interestingly and significantly, each chapter of ‘Ulysses’ is associated with a specific colour, art or science and bodily organ.
With the book as detailed and realistic as it is, one could almost forget Joyce was not resident in Dublin at the time of writing it. Indeed, he plagued friends and family for information throughout the writing of ‘Ulysses’, to ensure details were spot on.
He actually began the novel in Zurich, finishing the epic work in Paris.
William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806) was the youngest ever British Prime Minister and served during the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars.
He was the son of the famous statesman William Pitt the Elder and was governing the country at the tender age of 24. (He was also Chancellor of the Exchequer during his career).
Pitt the Younger can be accredited with the introduction of the dreaded income tax and also adjusted customs and excise duties, making them more simple and mangeable.
Imperial and foreign policy were other key areas on Pitt the Younger’s political agenda, but success with the India Act of 1784 was followed by failure with France and war was declared on the UK in 1793.
Pitt the Younger’s successes plummeted when his attempts to unite Ireland with Britain backfired with his Act of Union in 1801 and his resignation promptly followed the same year.
However, the threat of Napoleon caused the king to invite Pitt back to government and he became prime minister again in May 1804. Pitt the Younger brought Britain into the Third Coalition against France (made up of Austria, Russia and Sweden) and in 1805 the British defeated the French navy at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Pitt the Younger is buried at Westminster Abbey.
Anthony Dymoke Powell (pronounced ‘pole’) (1905-2000) was named one of Britain’s 50 ‘Greatest Writers since 1945’ in 2008 and continues to influence modern readers with his epic work ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’.
The English novelist wrote what is one of the longest fictional works in English literature by basing its contents on a painting by Nicolas Poussin.
Published between 1951 and 1975, ‘A Dance to the Music of Time’ comprises 12 volumes and depicts English life in all its forms during the mid 20th century – politics, culture and military life are all put under the spotlight, often in a humourous way. Powell was a good friend of fellow writer, Evelyn Waugh, whom he had met in Oxford as a young man and with whom he met up with again upon his return to London in 1926.
Meanwhile, Henry Vincent Yorke (1905-1973) wrote under the name Henry Green and was considered in the same realm as fellow novelist Virginia Woolf when it came to quality literature. Indeed, his work has been called some the most important in English modernist literature and include the famous novel ‘Loving’, which tells the tale of servants living below the stairs of an Irish country house during WW2 and what they got up to whilst their employers were away with the war.
Henry Green was another Oxford student, but like Evelyn Waugh, left without a degree, instead, returning home to Birmingham to work in the family business, during which time he wrote his second book, ‘Living’, inspired by his experiences in the factory.
Coghill deployed more creative methods of teaching and inspired in his role as amateur theatre director at Oxford University’s Dramatic Society.
He was also an associate of the literary discussion group ‘The Inklings’ with JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.
Wystan Hugh Auden (1907-1973) – another renowned writer, who penned around 400 poems, grew up in Birmingham and later became an American citizen.
Poems by WH Auden are admired for their style and tone and encompass everything from love to politics and all that lies between.
An Oxford graduate, WH Auden also penned a variety of essays, literary reviews and led a controversial and indeed influential life.
The Bodleian Library was Oxford's main research library and is one of Europe's oldest.
Meanwhile, Henry VIII famously had six wives and severed ties between the Church of England and the church in Rome.
'North by Night' is a fictional book created by William Boyd within his novel, along with the books written by LMS and Peter Scabius.
The strike referred to by LMS was the ten-day General Strike of 1926, which lasted from May 3 to May 13.
It was called by the Trades Union Congress on behalf of the coal miners, who were fighting against wage reduction and longer working hours.
The degree of support for the strike from British workers shocked the government, and indeed the TUC, with almost two million people taking to the streets. Middle class and aristocratic volunteers maintained essential services, as portrayed in the novel Brideshead Revisited.
The strike was ultimately disastrous for workers, as they achieved none of their demands and ended up with worse conditions than before. The government subsequently made it more difficult for trades unions to strike.
As a special constable, LMS simply personnified a police officer who was not an official member of the police force.
TUC - the Trades Union Congress - is the UK's federation of trade unions, of which there are about 58.
The Russian Revolution refers to a number of individual
A previous revolution in 1905 is thought to have influenced the 1917 uprisings.
George Orwell's novel 'Animal Farm', addresses the dangerous themes of revolution and draws on Russia for inspiration in its content.
Research suggests this is a fictional painter, created by William Boyd. Any evidence to the contrary will be gratefully received.
It is assumed LMS was implying the moustache mentioned here was typical of that worn by the swashbuckling French corsairs, although this particular corsair (pictured) is minus a moustache and others viewed boasted dissimilar styles...
However, the corsair (a glorified pirate) was someone assigned to raid enemy ships on behalf of France and their flamboyant reputation and look is probably what LMS is referring to here.
The distinct dislike LMS holds for Virginia Woolf (1882-1941) in the novel is reflective of more than a few within her social circles, although she did tend to divide opinion.
Adeline Virginia Woolf was however, of profound importance in the literary world and authored many famous and still highly esteemed books, including ‘Mrs Dalloway’, ‘To the Lighthouse’ and ‘A Room of One’s Own’.
She also wrote essays and short stories and was/is still regarded as a great modernist writer – one of the best.
Woolf’s success in literature was marred by her many personal problems however, which eventually got the better of the young author in 1941, when depression finally overwhelmed her and she walked into the river near her home, her overcoat weighed down with stones, and drowned. Her body would not be recovered until April 18, despite the tragic incident occurring on March 28.
Woolf’s mental instability began with the sudden death of her mother when she was just 13 years old, followed by the death of her half-sister two years later. Her father’s death some years later was seemingly the final straw for Virginia and she was institutionalised for a short period. Sexual abuse from her half-brothers would also have contributed to her problems.
During her career, Woolf was a member of the Bloomsbury Group – an intellectual group of writers and artists including Rupert Brooke, Lytton Strachey and Leonard Woolf…who later became Virginia’s husband.
Woolf’s literary style is highly regarded as amongst the very best – like James Joyce, she used the stream of consciousness to convey narrative and her descriptive and perhaps rather flowery language evoked both admiration and contempt. Some critics also said her subject matter was too upper class and detached from reality.
Virginia Woolf married Leonard Sidney Woolf (1880-1969), a fellow author and a publisher, who had more than this in common with his wife…he too suffered from mental illness in a fairly significant way.
The pair purchased a printing press – the famous Hogarth Press – in 1917 and as Virginia’s condition grew steadily worse toward the end of her life, her husband devoted himself to caring for her. It was not enough however, to save her from herself.
Another English writer LMS claims acquaintance with is Mr Aldous Leonard Huxley (1894-1963), who wrote ‘Brave New World’ and made many other literary and script-writing contributions.
Huxley held an avid interest in spiritual topics such as parapsychology and mysticism and was known to take psychedelics.
An incredible intellectual, Huxley impressed academics and led the way in modern thought. He was one of many writers who frequented Lady Ottoline’s Garsington Manor and indeed, worked there as a farm labourer for a time.
It is not clear if the Miss Spender-Clay referred to here is fictional or real…there is information available which talks of a Miss Rachel Spender-Clay – a niece of the Viscount and Viscountess Astor – who later married the Hon. David Bowes-Lyon.
If this is the correct Miss Spender-Clay, it certainly put paid to Huxley’s hopes of marrying her!
LMS certainly visited the best European destinations…
Deauville, in the Basse-Normandie region of northwestern France boasts the ‘queen of the Norman beaches’ and is filled with impressive hotels and a Grand Casino.
The Normandy and Royal Hotels and Casino opened between 1911 and 1913 and in 1923 the famous wooden boardwalk, the ‘Promenade des Planches’, which borders the sea, was constructed.
Deauville is somewhere the international upper-class continue to enjoy as a holiday retreat and is more than just a seaside resort – it is the French seaside resort. It could not hold the unofficial title of ‘Parisian Riveria’ otherwise…
Vichy is famous for the alleged healing powers of its thermal springs, the result of the various dormant volcanoes in and around the area. The city enjoyed a surge of visitors during the 1930s, who all flocked to use the thermal baths.
Meanwhile, the Art Nouveau-style Opéra attracted all the key musical players to the venue and for music in France, Vichy was the place to be.
During the Second World War Vichy was occupied by the Nazi Germans (between 1940-1944).
Lyons is located in the Rhône-Alpes area, between Paris and Marseille, and is an established UNESCO World Heritage site. It is famous for food, silk and cinema, amongst many other things…
Grenoble lies nestled at the base of the French Alps and is surrounded on three sides by mountains. Key sites include the ancient Bastille fortifications, which offer great views of the area, the Palace of the Parliament of Dauphiné, the Museum of Grenoble and the Archaeological museum of Saint-Laurent.
Meanwhile, Geneva is Switzerland’s second most populated city and is at the epi-centre of finance and diplomacy. It houses the headquarters of the United Nations and the Red Cross and is where the Geneva Conventions were signed.
Hyères is located in the provence of Toulon and includes the Castle of Saint Bernard, perched upon a hill.
Between the old town and the sea lies the pine-covered hill of Costebelle, which overlooks the peninsula of Giens.
French composer Jules (Émile Frédéric) Massenet (1842-1912) produced hugely popular operas during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
His melodies made him well known as being a great talent of his time.
Christoph Willibald Ritter von Gluck (1714-1787) was another operatic composer, but from the early classical period.
Gluck wrote eight operas for the Parisian stages and Iphigénie en Tauride is considered to be one of his best.
German Romantic composer and conductor Max Christian Friedrich Bruch (1838-1920), also known as Max Karl August Bruch, produced more than 200 works, including three violin concertos, with his Violin Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 26 (1866) one of the most popular Romantic violin concertos.