Richard Aldington

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Newsletter Table of Contents


(The Richard Aldington Newsletter)


Vol. 39, No. 4                  Winter 2011

Editor: Andrew Frayn, English and American Studies, Samuel Alexander Building, University of Manchester,
Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL. UK.  E-mail:

Associate Editor: David Wilkinson, 2B Bedford Road, St. Ives, Cornwall.
TR26 1SP. UK. E-mail:

RA and H.D. Website: 
Correspondent and website editor: Paul Hernandez
Correspondents: Michael Copp, Simon Hewett, Stephen Steele, F.-J. Temple, Caroline Zilboorg.
Bibliographer: Shelley Cox.  Biographers: Charles Doyle, Vivien Whelpton.

Editor Andrew Frayn notes that RA’s short story ‘Deserter’, from Roads to Glory, is included in the recent collection British Literature of World War I, general editors Andrew Maunder and Angela K. Smith (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2011).  Volume one of the series, edited by Andrew Maunder, is dedicated to The Short Story and the Novella, and features primarily wartime short stories; Aldington’s is one of only four in the collection which post-dates the war.  Other writers featured include Ford Madox Ford, Frank Richards, Jessie Pope, John Galsworthy, and Herbert Read.  Each story has a short biographical and contextual introduction.  Maunder’s introduction to ‘Deserter’ is unsympathetic to Aldington, describing him as ‘highly strung and cynical’.  The observation that he ‘had no enthusiasm for the forthcoming conflict’ (both p. 267) overlooks the fact that according to Life for Life’s Sake, which is cited, Aldington attempted to enlist on the first day of the war.  While he was not enthusiastic, he certainly did not shy away from the prospect of ‘doing his bit’, as is insinuated.

            This is an extensive and expensive (£450) set of works, aimed at the academic library market.  Three full novels are featured as vols. 2 – 4, and the fifth and final volume contains dramas about the war.  While there are some niggling errors – the introduction to ‘Deserter’ mentions ‘Walter Lowenfalls’, for example – it is a valuable piece of work in making available again many ‘lost’, non-canonical texts.




Correspondent Caroline Zilboorg’s edition of H.D.’s Bid Me to Live (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2011) was published in late September, just as our last newsletter went to press.  Zilboorg provides a substantial critical introduction, based on her extensive previous critical and editorial work on RA and H.D., and fully annotates the text, which is reset for this edition.  The University Press of Florida has a growing series of critical editions of H.D.’s work, edited by leading scholars in the field and offering definitive, usable texts.  While the volume is available only in hardback at the moment, Zilboorg hopes that it will become available in paperback and as e-book in due course.




Our associate editor David Wilkinson reported [NCLSN, Vol. 34, No. 2. Summer 2006] that Booth Books were offering a copy of The Art of Lydia Lopokova by Cyril W. Beaumont with hand-coloured illustrations by RA's Padworth companion, Arabella Yorke (C.W. Beaumont, 1920) for £400.00. Another copy has turned up recently. In October J. & J. Lubrano Music of Lloyd Harbor, New York were asking £880 for their copy.




Correspondent Caroline Zilboorg’s novel Transgressions is available now on Kindle.  The novel is about the early stages of the relationship between RA and H.D., from their meeting into the war years.  A paperback edition will be available in the near future; if you are able to access the internet you can buy Kindle books to read on screen – you do not need to buy the device itself to be able to read Caroline’s work.  The novel will be reviewed in a subsequent issue of the NCLSN.


Buy Transgressions on Amazon




Correspondent Caroline Zilboorg notes that the new Cambridge Companion to H.D., edited by Nephie J. Christodoulides and Polina Mackay (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), has no mention in its chronology of her marriage to or divorce from RA.  The neglect in H.D. studies of this profoundly important relationship – for both parties – remains a problematic lacuna.




Composer Gabriel Jackson has recently set the series of RA  poems ‘Images’ to music.  The piece was premiered at the Leeds Lieder Festival in early October, sung by the soprano Dame Felicity Lott, accompanied by pianist Malcolm Martineau.  The performance was reviewed favourably in the Yorkshire Post.  The prospect of further performances looks unlikely, unfortunately, due to permissions issues; Gabriel is hopeful that these might be resolved amicably, as many audience members were coming across RA for the first time and were inspired to read further.




Correspondent Michael Copp draws our attention to a review of his Imagist Dialogues. It is a lengthy article-cum-review by C.D. Blanton in the Journal of Historical Biography, Vol. 8, Fall 2010, published by the University of the Fraser Valley, Canada. Blanton's essay is full of interesting and thought-provoking insights into the legacy of Imagism. Here are some selected brief extracts:


'. . . few of [Imagism's] most distinctive efforts have lasted as anything more than modernism's juvenilia. And yet, from The Cantos to The Waste Land, the period's later and larger poetic projects remain ambiguously predicated on some version of its basic insight.'


'.  .  .  Aldington and Flint provided much of Imagism's recognizable style and most of its critical coherence throughout the 1910s, as well as the better part of the labour that secured it a modest place in English letters (reception was always better across the Atlantic).'


'.  .  . in the largest sense, it was the war that ended Imagism. The effect is clearly discernible in Aldington's war poetry, more subtly perhaps in the language of shells and poppies that infiltrates and deepens H.D.'s Sea Garden (1916); the pristine equanimity of the Imagist lyric could not withstand the pressure of events or the destruction of the pre-war social order that produced it.'


'By the mid-decade [1920s], Flint's own voice had faded almost entirely, while Aldington's had lost the ethereal detachment on which it once traded.

            In this respect, what seems most at stake in the correspondence is not Imagism but its aftermath, including the construction of a literary history that ultimately consigned both poets to a lesser place. It is difficult to avoid the impression of Flint and Aldington as modernism's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, minor characters without whom the play cannot proceed.'


'Imagism had never been suited to produce dominating & outstanding figures in the first place, but merely to clear the ground on which they might emerge. Its force depended too much on its collaborative aspect, its capacity for understatement, and its distrust of large abstractions. .  .  . If Imagism was in some sense the opening through which twentieth-century poetry moved, it was also the last cultural gasp of an imperial era eclipsed in the process.'




Editor Andrew Frayn also reviewed Imagist Dialogues favourably in the most recent issue (vol. 6, no. 2) of the Edinburgh University Press journal Modernist Cultures.




Editor Andrew Frayn wrote a piece for the Guardian newspaper on the Armistice Day weekend on the mythologising of the First World War and the growing compulsion to remember.  The full version is available online at their ‘Comment is Free’ site, and an edited version was included in the main Remembrance Day feature (Saturday 12th November 2011, p. 17).




Correspondent Michael Copp notes that a photograph in the Guardian, 6 December 2011, shows the installation of a slab in Poets' Corner Westminster Abbey to commemorate Ted Hughes. Next to it can be seen the stone commemorating 16 First World War Poets, headed by RA's name. Also visible, close by, are Edward Lear, Anthony Trollope, T.S. Eliot, and Tennyson. RA is in good company.




Biographer Vivien Whelpton was shortlisted for the Biographers’ Club Tony Lothian Prize, and attended the awards ceremony in London.  While the prize went to another entrant, it must be seen as a boost for the project to achieve such recognition.




The promised piece on correspondence with the Fallases by Biographer Whelpton will be held over to the next issue for reasons of space.








JUNE 1-3, 2012



In June 2012 the biennial International Richard Aldington Society Conference will be held in the historic and celebrated pilgrimage town of Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer--seaside location on the Mediterranean coast of the Camargue in the South of France--where the first five IRAS conferences were held. The opening reception of the conference will be on the first of June at the Saintes-Maries home of Catherine Aldington (1938-2011), the first president of the IRAS, to whom the conference is dedicated.


After the remarkable success of the last IRAS conference, held at Brunnenburg Castle in Italy in June 2010, IRAS officers and the conference directors have again decided on a joint conference, with a focus on Richard Aldington and his colleagues and contemporaries or on Imagism. Thus we invite conference papers that deal with any aspect of the life and work of Aldington, or with any aspect of the "Imagist Movement." Possible topics include Aldington and the Great War, Aldington and Imagism, Aldington and Ezra Pound (or other contemporaries), Imagism and Aldington (or Ezra Pound, Lawrence Durrell, T. S. Eliot, F. S. Flint, Ford Madox Ford, H.D., Ernest Hemingway, James Joyce, Amy Lowell, Elizabeth Madox Roberts et al—in particular, their connections with Aldington or Imagism).


Send your title and brief abstract (approximately 150 words) before the January 15, 2012 deadline to BOTH conference co-directors: Daniel Kempton <> and H. R. Stoneback <>. At the bottom of the abstract include your name, academic affiliation, and e-mail address. (Please put IRAS ALDINGTON CONFERENCE in the subject line of your e-mail.)


If you submit your abstract by January 15, or if you indicate interest (by e-mailing the conference directors) in attending the conference without presenting a paper, you will receive by February 1, 2012 an e-mailed announcement concerning lodging, registration, and conference updates.


Please remember to send all conference inquiries and communications to BOTH conference directors.


We look forward to seeing you this coming June by the sea in Les-Saintes-Maries--one of the most extraordinary conference venues in the world.