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Index: Biography, Memoir and Autobiographical Prose

Tyne Cot.

Written for the 106th Anniversary of the Battle of Passchendaele, November 2017 By Will Stone.     few miles outside Ypres in West Flanders on a gently rising slope stands the largest military cemetery in the Commonwealth. Its name, Tyne Cot, originates from the low farm buildings which once stood on the summit, buildings whose […]

Never again.

By Igor Webb.   ounted on the wall next to my desk is a large (24″ x 18″) formal black-and-white photo of me in a gilded frame, aged maybe three. When the news of the Hamas invasion of Israel, and of the Israeli response, first broke, it was this old photo that immediately came to […]


Anthony Rudolf: ‘Posing for months on end for one statuette, with great pride and high hopes that it would be completed and cast and displayed in a glass case, Pauline watched the artist desperately try to improve and complete it. No such luck.’

Master Ru.

Peter Knobler: ‘I heard Master Ru begin on this new visitor as he had on me, and I felt a little less wimpescent when her guttural noises began.’

The Round Church, Cambridge.

Christopher Landrum: ‘Whatever was not said, I felt it important for my memory to try to mark the events that had unfolded there that day…’

Fundamental Things.

Igor Webb: ‘And this was the food we baked in these dishes and put on these plates. The plates are all blue…’

The Loves of Marina Tsvetaeva.

CDC Reeve: ‘In her autobiographical story, “My Pushkin,” Tsvetaeva tells of her reaction to a scene from Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, which her mother thinks she is too young to understand: “Like a little fool—six years old—she’s fallen in love with Onegin!”’


Marina Tsvetaeva:The Kirillovnas, I certify with delight, loved me most of all, maybe precisely for my greediness, bloom, strength—Andrusha was tall and thin, Asya was small and thin—therefore it was a daughter like me that they, childless, wanted—one for all of them!’


John Wilkinson: ‘With Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” the violet hour recurs as the eventide bringing into sharp and estranged focus, activities and settings which otherwise are banal..’


Dan Coyle: ‘Carroll County was my Provence, Mount Airy my Arles, rusty cars and clapboard sheds my Roman ruins. When a certain slant of late-afternoon sunlight fell on such a ruin, I took it as a blessing of sorts. My life a ruin, I would make art of it.’

A resumé of Resistance.

Ian Seed: ‘”Curriculum Violette” offers us a fleeting and yet powerful portrait of the life of Violette Szabo (1921-45), a French-born British agent who fought alongside members of the French Resistance and who died in Ravensbrück concentration camp.’

The Iron Pier.

John Matthias: ‘She remembers a cold November night when she was in her bath with the curtains drawn across the window in strict adherence to the blackout rules. She hears a foghorn out at sea, which she thinks strange because the night is clear. Suddenly the door bursts open and her mother rushes in waving a telegram. “Darling it’s over, it’s over,” she shouts.’


Nigel Wheale: ‘On the staircase, hung with a wildly florid wallpaper, peony blooms on a dark green ground, a locked gun cabinet next a tall thin glass-fronted case, inside a single racket and shuttlecock. Also, a large, nineteenth-century studio portrait: an intimidating, whiskered man – the grandfather from the island further north? – and standing next to him, a girl, about twelve years old, who stares out with the meaningful gaze that only old or ‘anthropological’ photographs seem to capture, some quality of the iris caught in a particular way.’

Le meurtre.

Michelene Wandor: ‘The scene is set for a detective story/political thriller. The opening chapters are short, sometimes poetic, vivid, trailing possible clues and questions. As I read it, I expected Hercule Poirot to appear at any moment, twirling his moustache, gathering the cast together to solve the mystery, to point out the culprit, who is then turned over to the police.’

Adorno and the ‘Philosophy of Modern Music’.

Tronn Overend: ‘Adorno selects the thesis and the antithesis of Stravinsky and Schoenberg as his case studies. In Kantian terms, they are in permanent opposition, never reconciliation. In other words, there can be no synthesis, because, as Schoenberg had remarked, ‘the middle road is the only one which does not lead to Rome.”‘