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Michael Wallerstein
with a Preface by
Ian Robinson

ISBN 978 0 9567048 3 2
50 pp. paperback
demy 8vo £4.80

Spell is the third and last of a series of short books in which Mr Wallerstein defends English against a “loss of linguistic resource” inseparable from the cultural collapse of the last thirty or so years.
     English prose has become much less expressive and coherent, as he demonstrated in Dear Mr Howard. Lexical and grammatical incorrectness in speech is shown, in The Liza Doolittle Syndrome, to be a failure to make sense.
     Now Spell takes on the spelling reformers who say that English spelling is chaotic and needs to be made more simply phonetic. Wallerstein demonstrates that this view comes from a drastically simplified idea of what spelling and punctuation do, and ignores the graphically informative nature of the system—another way of missing linguistic resource.
     The three booklets together constitute a defence of English in our time, that is, of whatever possibility we may have of making sense in our own language.
     They may be had for £4.80 each post free or the set of three post free only from this website for £10.00: to order go to
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  • “He has a sharp eye for orthographic patterns
    . . . and impressive convictions concerning the underlying rules of the written language.”—TLS


    Who Killed the Bible?
    Ian Robinson

    second edition, with a new concluding chapter
    “The English Bible and the Idea of a Christian Society”

    ISBN 978 0 907839 87 3
    xii + 136 pp A5 paperback £9.60

    Mr Robinson’s argument, that all recent English translations of the Bible go wrong because they put into practice both mistaken theories and a mistaken notion of theory, needs to be followed in detail. This much-revised second edition concludes with a new chapter about the relation of the English Bible to the nation. It should be read in conjunction with the downloadable essay “Is the Bible a Book?” listed in the third column on this page.


    Paperback editions of Christopher Morgan's two collections

    The Fire Jump
    and Other Poems


    Stalking the A4

    From the cover of the latter:

    Especially in the twenty-first century it is not faint praise to call a writer a supreme master of the iambic pentameter, and Morgan's fluency in other forms is amazing. But Christopher Morgan should not be offered as a poets' poet, to be relished only by connoisseurs of verse: these poems are moving and funny as well as immediatey appealing.

    For the new edition of The Fire Jump Morgan has included one new poem, discarded the French and Spanish poems, and revised and re-ordered the whole collection.

    Stalking the A4
    978 0 9567048 1 8
    60 pp. demy 8vo £6.00

    The Fire Jump & Other Poems
    978 0 9559996 6 6
    85 pp. demy 8vo £6.00

    To order one or both go to
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  • *

    The St Peter’s
    Chant Book

    compiled and arranged by
    David Wulstan

    This handy-sized volume, made for the choir of St Peter’s College, Oxford, has settings for all the chants of the Matins and Evensong of the Book of Common Prayer. The Psalms are organised by days, as in that Book, and there is a range of alternatives for the Te Deum, Benedictus, Benedicite, Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Easter Anthems / Venite. Composers come from all the centuries of Anglican chant and include no less than four Purcells.
         Professor Wulstan is perhaps the only living scholar distinguished both as a Hebraist, a musicologist and a conductor—he founded and for many years conducted the Clerkes of Oxenford, the pioneers of authentic performance of Tudor church music—but is also an experienced church organist and has a good idea of what choirs and congregations are likely to be able to sing well. His advice about phrasing and pointing is practical as well as authoritative.
         The Introduction gives a succinct account of the development of Anglican chant and its relation to the original Hebrew of the Psalms, together with some useful Notes for Musical Directors. A version of this Intro-duction appeared in Faith & Worship 69, Michaelmas 2011, and can be read on the Prayer Book Society website.
         Any musically literate person following the Prayer Book custom of reading through the Psalms once a month could for a change enjoy using this book to sing them, but its most likely users are church and college choirs or choir-led congregations. Any choirmaster or church-warden ordering ten or more copies may have a discount on the already low price: please email us to inquire or to request a specimen copy.
    pp. x + 36
    ISBN 978 0 9567048 2 5
    10.2 x 7.2 inches ringbound, £8.00 post free

    to order go to
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    Directors Brian Lee (chairman)
    Ian Robinson (secretary)
    Michael DiSanto      Duke Maskell

    Since 1970 we have been publishing criticism, fiction, poetry, theology, politics. Our list shows that what Matthew Arnold called criticism of life can still flourish.

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    The third Peter Toon Memorial Lecture

    Pusey House, St Giles, Oxford
    6.00 p.m. Wednesday 10 June

    The Revd Dr George Westhaver
    Principal of Pusey House

    “The Converting Word:
    The Contemporary Import of
    Tractarian Biblical Scholarship”

    preceded by
    4.00 p.m. Afternoon Tea
    5.00 p.m. Evensong
    for the Eve of St Barnabas, Apostle
    preacher Rev. Simon Vibert
    Vice Principal, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

    Column 116
    copyright © 2015 Duke Maskell

    Another British Value

    There used to be phrases current—often symptoms of war-time paranoia or totalitarian propaganda—like “fifth column”, “the enemy within” and “enemy of the people”. What they denoted, no matter quite who used them or for quite what purpose or with quite what justification, was enemies—enemies of the state and the people, working, from within, to bring about your downfall or defeat by some clearly identifiable enemy without: if you were British, in 1914 or 1939, German; if you were German, throughout the thirties, International Jewry; if you were American or British, during the Cold War, Soviet; if you were Soviet, from 1917 to 1989, all the various forces of international capitalism.
             Such phrases no longer have any life in them, scarcely the life even of jokes (except perhaps in Ukraine?). But new phrases, wonderfully current and full of life—or use at least—have taken their place, phases like “extremist”, “divisive” and “undermining British values”.
             But these new phrases aren’t quite the same as those they have replaced. What the old spoke of as threatened was a discrete and identifiable something, an us, a Britain or Germany or Soviet Union, a people and the state identified with it, the threat to which was similarly discrete and identifiable, a them, the enemy, another hostile country or ideology.
             But these “British values” (usually said to be or include such things as tolerance, fair-mindedness, democracy, equality, equal rights, the rule of law, free speech, acceptance of different faiths and so on) might be found, or not, anywhere and everywhere. No one pretends—do they?—that such “values” are more British than, say, Swedish or, nowadays, German? (The Germans evidently cite “tolerance” as a “German value” and seem to be exercising it in favour of African migrants very much more enthusiastically than—immediately after our 2015 election—we are ourselves.)
             And, appropriately, the threat to “British values” need not have any connection with an external enemy either: it comes from “extremists” of every kind, including those who, by any measure, undeniably belong to us and wish us well. It includes, of course, British jihadists who want to shoot us, bomb us, behead us, absorb us into a Caliphate and impose Sharia Law on us and who are connected with an external enemy, fellow-jihadists in ISIL and Al-Qaeda and so on. But (according to Theresa May) it also includes “neo-Nazis”, not German neo-Nazis wanting to refight the Second World War, but our own neo-Nazis, belonging, presumably, to such organisations as the British National Party and the English Defence League, which not only fight local council elections but whose names declare their patriotism. They may want the jihadists bombed or beheaded but they not only have no wish to bomb or behead any of the rest of us, they don’t seem to advocate doing so even to the jihadists. Nevertheless, in the new lexicon, in the interest of even-handedness, they, just as much as the jihadists themselves, are part of what in the old lexicon would have been called “the enemy within”. This enemy, it seems, may be someone who is too enthusiastically, or in the wrong way, a friend.
             To complicate matters a bit more, both sets of extremists are, from the perspective of the new lexicon, part of us too, because what they have in common—both those anxious to bomb us and those not—is that they divide us, divide the larger Muslim community which the jihadists belong to from the larger still Christian and post-Christian society which the neo-Nazis do. Both are part of the threat and both are part of the threatened, so much so that young would-be jihadists are what is known as “vulnerable young people”—young people “vulnerable”, that is, not to being beheaded or bombed themselves but to be in danger of bombing and beheading other people!
             Talk of “fifth columns” may have been, for the most part, a symptom of paranoia, but at least you knew where you were with it. This new way of talking is nonsense squared, it’s Big Brother through the Looking Glass, Humpty Dumpty talking Newspeak. (And, now, there, perhaps, is a British value.)

                                                          Duke Maskell

    Edgeways Books
    is a division of
    The Brynmill Press Ltd.



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    Web Texts


    The new edition of Who Killed the Bible?, re-ordered, substantially revised and with a new concluding chapter “The English Bible and the Idea of a Christian Society”, can be had now as an e-book for £4.00.

    The reset editions of Wittgenstein on Frazer and Roger Elliott's “Discourses that Persuade . . .” can both be had as e-texts.


    Is the Bible a Book?
    Ian Robinson

    Modern scholarship tends to ignore the whole by concentrating on the parts and their origins. This essay shows that the Bible can be one book only if the New Testament is allowed to read the Old Testament.


    F. R. Leavis
    the Cambridge Don

    Ian Robinson

    An extensively revised talk previously published in an abridged form in
    The Use of English


    Every Literature Helps
    Presidential Address
    to the Leicester Theological Society
    Duncan Campbell OP

    How literature does good is one of the great questions raised by all serious readers and unlikely to receive a definitive answer. Also, the world’s literature is very extensive. So to survey it in an hour’s lecture, organised around the question (asked from the point of view of a Christian priest) how literature helps, is to undertake at least two daunting tasks at once. Fr Campbell does so jauntily and as a critic with fresh responses to some wonderful works. Because this is genuine criticism it invites replies of the form “yes, but”. The memorable remark on the damnation of the leading characters in Wuthering Heights would be even better if extended to include the self-righteous Nelly Dean. The deepest insight in Bleak House is surely not about renunciation of the beloved but about forgiveness. (On which theme see John Haddon’s book The Comedy of Forgiveness.) And so on. Here, that is, is a treatment of real questions that deserves attention and discussion—as a new demonstration that literary criticism is a non-scientific non-methodical form of thought.


    Poetry in the New Matrix
    The Poet Laureate
    and the Bane
    Brian Lee

    This thirty-two page pamphlet continues the series that includes Poetry and the System with some reflections on recent events and their bearing on the state of poetry and our common life.


    A. C. Capey

    Mr Capey’s long-promised criticism of twentieth-century Bible translations

    F. R. Leavis
    David Matthews

    Mr Matthews’s memories of more than sixty years, going back to the great days of Downing, are a fresh testimony to the greatest English critic of modern times.