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My dear Douglas, Mary Butts and a performance of letters

And Douglas Goldring?

Douglas Goldring - Photo by Elliot & Fry

The Life of Douglas Goldring

Douglas Goldring was an English writer, journalist, editor, and poet. Born the 7th of January, 1887 in Greenwich, England (Wikipedia). He attended Oxford University in 1906, but left before he could finish his degree due to financial reasons (Woodward 196).

When Britain declared war in early August of 1914, Goldring was quick to enlist, but was invalided out of the army after suffering a prolonged illness in October, and was never deployed (Woodward 195, Wikipedia). During his recovery, Goldring was converted to the pacifist cause, and when conscription was introduced in Britain in early 1916, Goldring refused to serve in any military capacity (Woodward 197). Managing to avoid any repercussions for his beliefs, Goldring travelled to Ireland in May of 1916, and while he remained there for the rest of the war, the country served as the focus of his next two novels (Woodward 200, 207).

While in Ireland, Goldring married Beatrice ‘Betty’ Duncan in November 1917, and they had two children (Woodward 203, Wikipedia). Goldring joined the 1917 Club, where he met other notable figures, such as writer Aldous Huxley, future British Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald, and journalist E.D. Morel, the latter of which greatly influenced Goldring’s own political views and musings (Wikipedia). Goldring spent much of the early 1920s either in Paris or the French Riviera, before leaving for Gothenburg, Sweden to teach from 1925 to 1927 (Wikipedia).

Goldring died on the 9th of April, 1960, and his archive of works now resides in the Special Collections department of the University of Victoria (Wikipedia).

The English Review - vol. 1, no. 1
The Tramp Cover - April 1910
The Fortune by Douglas Goldring
Streets and Other Verses by Douglas Goldring

Goldring's Works

Prior to the war, Goldring served as sub-editor for Ford Madox Ford’s The English Review and P. Anderson Graham’s Country Life, before launching his own literary publication at the age of 23 (Southworth 35). Goldring’s publication, The Tramp: An Open Air Magazine, was released monthly from March 1910 to March 1911, and featured the works of other notable writers such as Violet Hunt, Rose Macaulay, and F.S. Flint (Southworth 35, 44, 46). The Tramp focused upon fictional and non-fictional works about the beauty of the outdoors, as well as the eponymous individuals who roamed the countryside (Southworth 37, 42). Unfortunately, interest waned and the publication only ran for a year, leaving Goldring broke and forced to write multiple stories under various pseudonyms to complete the final issue (Southworth 47).

Goldring went on to write a great variety of literary works, ranging from periodicals, travelogues, plays, novels and poems, to name a few. His travelogues about Ireland were intended to “promote understanding and pave the way to reconciliation,” considering the Easter Rising had just occurred prior to Goldring’s arrival in Ireland (Woodward 195, 201).

Unfortunately, Goldring’s own antisemitism is very present throughout his novel The Fortune (Woodward 202).

In 1935, Goldring wrote his memoir, titled Odd Man Out: The Autobiography of a ‘Propaganda Novelist,’ which, while detailing the events of his life, also expressed his thoughts regarding his contemporary novelists and the difficulties of writing about the war (Woodward 199).

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