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Spell
by
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


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    Who Killed the Bible?
    by
    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.

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    Paperback editions of Christopher Morgan's two collections

    The Fire Jump
    and Other Poems


    and

    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
  • Shop.


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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
  • Shop.

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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.

    If this page does not show correctly in Internet Explorer, click on Tools at the top of the page, select Compatibility View and tick Display all websites.









    CHRISTOPHER  MORGAN

    Christopher Morgan died
    after a long illness
    on 24 July,
    in his seventy-first year.

          Love and song will never cease
          While poets sing the lover’s tale.
          Say now, we are not too frail
          For passion, nor too tough for peace.
                                            The Human World, February 1971






    copyright © 2014 The Brynmill Press Ltd


    British Values

    At the recent UKIP conference quite a lot was said (to applause) about British values. Immigrants, it was felt, should accept British values. We heard less about what British values are and nothing about what authority they could have or where it could come from.
         A value must be something had in common. The pound coin is what used to be called “legal tender” with a fixed value relative to other British currency units. The opinion that a pound is really worth 240 pence is ineffective and does not affect the value either of the pound or the penny.
         What moral, spiritual, cultural matters count as values, and is there such a thing as a common “British value” which not to share is not to be British?
         When efforts are made to define British values they usually include the now traditional freedoms of speech, the press, public assembly, and voting. The point of all these is to allow different opinions and judgement. As a value, freedom to differ must be paradoxical. We have in common that we value having nothing in common? And if there could be found anybody holding the opinion that freedom of the press is not good, would that be unBritish?
         Then: what we are offered as values are not always held by people who are indisputably British. Attachment to “democracy” for instance. Are monarchists unBritish?
         Is freedom of speech, in any case, in practice, a British value? It is not valued if a British man or woman expresses the opinion that races differ. At the Conservative Party conference the week after UKIP, the Home Secretary announced that if the Conservatives win the next general election, laws will be introduced to prevent “extremists” addressing public meetings or using the social media to propound their views. “Extremist” goes with “populist”: extremists and populists are those who hold views contrary to the views held by the governing élite. However interpreted, the proposal is to inhibit freedom of speech and the media.
         But does that make Mrs May unBritish? Could it be that the real British value is muddling through?

         It is a blessing to be able to be proud of one’s country: but if not it has to be loved anyway. (While we are glancing at values let us postpone what love means.) What is desireable in immigrants as in natives is that they should love their country. It is not a promising start if an immigrant has come here just to make more money than was to be made at home, often by the exercise of real skills needed at home. It does not bode well that the immigrant seems not to have had much love for his own country.
         What has to be loved is the country itself, even if its character shows that there is urgent need for improvement. The character of a nation is not the same as the values its ruling classes instil. Remember the USSR.

         In any case must not a value in the life of the community be something we not only share but commit ourselves to as good? But are we not then on the threshold of belief?
         If it’s a question of common belief everything gets simpler. The Church of England and the Church of Scotland are by law established, and what the Church of England believes is to be found in the Catholic creeds and the Church’s formularies.
         Why is nobody suggesting that immigration should be limited to people who have been baptised and confirmed? Because then the élite would return to the assertion of toleration as a value, that is, of what we don’t all believe, and we are no wiser about what is British.
         Joseph Conrad was nearly the ideal immigrant: not only making his new country home, but falling in love with its language. T. S. Eliot was even better because he worked out both in his poems and Notes Towards the Definition of Culture what sense there can be in the idea of what is really British, and of chiding and laughing at it, but loving it.





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    Web Texts


    E-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.

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    Is the Bible a Book?
    by
    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.

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    F. R. Leavis
    the Cambridge Don

    by
    Ian Robinson

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

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    Every Literature Helps
    Presidential Address
    to the Leicester Theological Society
    by
    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 we see the notice about The Comedy of Forgiveness in column 1.) 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.

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    Poetry in the New Matrix
    The Poet Laureate
    and the Bane
    by
    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.
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    Translation
    vs
    Paraphrase

    by
    A. C. Capey

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


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    Memories
    of
    F. R. Leavis
    by
    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.
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