‘Turning, Flying: The Rural Year’, in
A History of English Georgic Writing, ed. Paddy Bullard, Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp. 57-78.
From my essay:
'In the Georgics things can ‘turn’ unexpectedly into other things. Most astonishingly the solid innards of an ox can liquify and then send swarms of bees flying into the sky. The trudging beast of the plough has metamorphosed into something airborne. Releasing himself from calendar instruction into mythic story-telling, and from soil into air, Virgil asserts a degree of creative freedom that English georgic writers would not often claim for themselves. Yet much of the power of their work, like his, will lie in its fusion of rhythmically predictable and newly imagined turns in the wheel of the year.'
‘Life Begins: Art, War, and Resurrection’, in
Revisiting Modern British Art, ed. Jo Baring, Lund Humphries/Ingram Collection, 2022, pp. 25-34.
From my essay:
'Ford Madox Ford's great novel about the immediate postwar period is Last Post (1928) and at its centre is a man lying on a bed in a garden. It's not clear what exactly is wrong with him. This recumbent figure is the brother of Christopher Tietjens, the Christ-like, burden-bearing soldier-hero of the Parades End tetralogy of which Last Post is the peculiar, static, sidelong final part. Ford is suggestively unclear about the relationship between the brothers. Are they, in some symbolic sense, one person, who both lives and dies in the aftermath of the war?'
'Stanley Spencer was always ready for the stirring of new life. He was in this sense the opposite of T.S. Eliot who begins The Waste Land with such apprehension. He saw forms of resurrection all around him and moved straight towards them. He amplified and rejoiced in every hint of a sleeping thing coming to wakefulness. Resurrection is the central subject of his postwar work, and not only a subject but a physical force that animates almost every scene and body. It does not chafe and pain, but imbues his people with confidence and ease of movement.'
'Chalk' in Sussex Landscape: Chalk, Wood, and Water, ed. Simon Martin, Yale University Press / Pallant House, 2022.