Culture Articles

The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford

29 February 2024 | by Simon Webb

'Ford may have used a wealthy US Quaker as his narrator because such a man could find himself caught up in these events while still being able to observe them.' | Detail of bookcover for The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford

The Good Soldier (1915) is routinely included in lists of the best novels written in English. John Dowell, its narrator, is a Quaker from an old Pennsylvania family. He is one of those unreliable narrators, far from disinterested. He is one of the four main characters in the novel – the quartet...

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What the skeleton said

29 February 2024 | by Rosemary Mathew

'Yet no tongue utters words from my wide mouth, This silent mouth.' | by Jon Butterworth on Unsplash

When alive I was male. My hips have Told you this. A warrior, a soldier. You need only see my shin, dented, Axe-marked, the whole leg mis-shapen While still in my teens. Fighting was harsh, and weapons primitive. My hands, when they held blood, damaged by war, My skin burned,...

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Elisabeth Frink: A view from within

22 February 2024 | by Marigold Bentley

Elizabeth Frink’s Walking Madonna (1981) |

Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) produced startling sculptures and artworks that continue to intrigue today. But what motivated her? How did she come to develop her art, and what was she trying to portray?

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Friends’ Meeting House Pakefield

15 February 2024 | by Patricia Peters

'Old Friends jostle for places in the Meeting house I feel their presence as we sit in silence for an hour.' | Friends’ Meeting House Pakefield

Too small to be called a hall a house in an overgrown garden, where old horizontal slabs hold faint names of the long dead.

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I Seek a Kind Person by Julian Borger

08 February 2024 | by Ruth Tod

‘I had known about these things in my head but not really known it in my heart and body, until I read these deeply-expressive accounts.' | Book cover of I Seek a Kind Person

The title of this new book is the first line of an advertisement that was placed in the tuition column of The Manchester Guardian in August 1938, by Leo and Erna Borger. The full advertisement read: ‘I Seek a kind person who will educate my Boy, aged 11. Viennese of good family....

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Extract from The Convict’s Appeal

08 February 2024 | by Bernard Barton (1784-1849)

'Nor lightly take that life away, Which God thought fit to give!' | The Poems and Letters by Bernard Barton

Still, surely it deserves a thought, An awful, solemn pause, Whether the Creed, by Christians taught, Can justify their laws? Which doom not death alone, but – far As human power is given, Thus place before the Almighty’s bar, Man – unprepar’d for Heaven!

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Dinosaurs

01 February 2024 | by Roger Iredale

The deaths are classified ‘collateral’: puffs of dust across a landscape of ‘we have no option but to…’ |

It was not from the tongues of angels that came the whine of exocets intent on harm to tribesmen, comrades, friends. The deaths are classified ‘collateral’: puffs of dust across a landscape of ‘we have no option but to…’

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Being Real: The apostle Paul’s hardship narratives and the stories we tell today, by Philip Plyming

25 January 2024 | by Simon Webb

'Why did Paul write so much about his own sufferings, including what may have been medical afflictions, such as the enigmatic thorn in his flesh?' | Book cover of Being Real: The apostle Paul’s hardship narratives and the stories we tell today, by Philip Plyming

Philip Plyming is the new cathedral dean up here in Durham. He is also new to publishing books: the last thing he brought out was a 2001 pamphlet called ‘Harry Potter and the Meaning of Life’. Now he is in charge of the cathedral where scenes in the boy-wizard film were...

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A bypass ticket online

25 January 2024 | by Patricia Peters

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Failing sight, loss of hearing, Sleepless night, muddled thinking Pad for leaks, dressings for ulcers And painful feet which can’t be mended. You don’t think about getting old. It won’t happen to you, not yet. Not yet, and when it does you think That you will go...

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A Friday morning in November

18 January 2024 | by Jennifer Bell

'To sleep. The city burned an orange glow | Warm in the night; occasional rumbles ' |

They lay buried in white dust for two hours A table flying from the blast settled Across their bodies as they drifted just As in a normal bed time calling them To sleep. The city burned an orange glow Warm in the night; occasional rumbles Marked the distance as in...

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