Sunday 31 July 2022

Newsletter 43

Hello again.

Perhaps (and in a departure from the usual newsletter preamble) one of you clued-up newsletter readers can help me?

This week I've been trying to find out the precise date on which Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus first appeared in English. I know it was published in November 1922 - but when, exactly?

We all know the publication dates of the other two modernist masterpieces of the 20th century. Ulysses was officially published as a single volume by Shakespeare and Company on Joyce's 40th birthday, 2nd February 2022, or numero-palindromically 2.2.22.

The Waste Land has a more complex publication history. 

According to Donald Gallup's Eliot bibliography the poem was originally published in the UK in the first issue  of The Criterion, the literary magazine founded and edited by Eliot, appearing 'almost simultaneously (i.e., ca. 15 October)' in the United States in the November 1922 issue of The Dial magazine. The poem was published in the US in book form on 15th December by Boni & Liveright, and this was the first version to include the author's notes, added at the publisher's request to bulk up what would have otherwise been a very slim volume indeed. (We'll have a gathering to mark The Waste Land centenary, probably on Sunday October 16th as the date nearest to the original appearance in print. 

Back to Wittgenstein. The English language translation of the Tractatus (originally published in German as Logisch-philosophische Abhandlungburst  in 1921) appeared  at some point between the publication of Ulysses and The Waste Land (and I expect like me you can't help thinking of the Lady Chatterley ban and the Beatles' first LP). But as far as the precise date is concerned I have so far drawn a blank.

Wittgenstein received the proofs of this edition from the commissioning editor Charles Ogden in July 1922, and returned them with his corrections on August 4. The translation was the work of the prodigiously gifted Frank Ramsey, who worked through the original line by line with the author.  

This bilingual edition  was published, we can assume, in early November 1922. Wittgenstein wrote to Ogden on November 15th: 'Thanks so much for your letter & the books which arrived yesterday. They really look very nice. I wished their contents were half as good as their external appearance.'  (Source:

I've contacted University College London, which owns the publisher Kegan Paul's archive and hope to hear from them, or dig around in this large collection myself, when I can find the time.

Until I hear from UCL - can any newsletter readers help me?

Thank you.

Now - to business!


Newsletter contents

1.   Aid for Ukraine

2.   This week’s online gathering

3.   Indie press news

        Galley Beggar Press

        Influx Press

        Saraband Books

        Cōnfingō Publishing

4.  Assiette ludique

5.  Flaubert on spinach

6.  Women and the making of Ulysses

7.  Funferall in Berlin

8.  Women's Poetry Prize 2022

9.  Next week's online gathering

10. Nudge

11. PS



1.  Aid for Ukraine

It drags on, and on, and the dire need of those caught up in this ghastly war demands a response. We all have many calls on our generosity and disposable income (if any), but few are as pressing as this.

Please give what you can, when you can: the most far-reaching programme is the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. You can donate quickly and easily here.


2.  This week's online gathering

This week's gathering has a railway theme. I'll be exploring the life work and legacy of the remarkable writer and activist L.T.C. Rolt; the poets Sasha Dugdale and Simon Barraclough will read from their work. Author, historian and broadcaster Tim Dunn (Secrets of the London Underground) will join us to talk about the heritage railway scene and we'll have film clips and music and many other beneficial delights.


3.  Indie press news

Booker indies!

Three indie presses are included in this year's Booker Prize long list. 

Congratulations to London's Influx Press for The Trees by Percival Everitt, Norwich indie Galley Beggar Press for After Sappho by Selby wynn Schwartz and Saraband, based in Glasgow and Manchester, for Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet.

Being selected for the Booker can involve onerous financial commitment on the part of a small publisher (unless the Booker people have improved the policies that discriminate against small presses). The big houses have the resources to participate in all the brouhaha...)

I was also delighted to see Alan Garner included (at 88 he's the oldest ever Booker nominee) His short novel Treacle Walker is a career highlight. I read it in bed early on Christmas Day morning last year and have since read it twice more with increasing wonder. Garner is the living author I've read all my life since first encountering Elidor as a child. Then The Weirdstone of Brisingamen and The Moon of Gomrath The Owl Service (see below) and Red Shift and everything else since. I've been reading Garner's books for half a century and Treacle Walker strikes me as his very best novel.

                                        Recognise this?

Cōnfingō Publishing

Published this week (and featured earlier this year in a Glue Factory gathering dedicated to all things Bowie) Waiting For the Gift is an anthology of new short stories inspired by David Bowie’s 1977 album Low, which, stands as both his creative apex and an album which pushed popular music to its outer limits.
The eleven short stories in Waiting for the Gift, each of which takes a song on the album as its title and inspiration, provide a collective response from some of the best contemporary writers of fiction. Featuring original work from Dima Alzayat, Anne Billson, Rowan Hisayo Buchanan, Jen Calleja, Ruby Cowling, Wendy Erskine, Keeley Forsyth, David Hayden, Zoë McLean, Adam Marek, Preti Taneja, Melissa Wan and Hugo Wilcken.


4. Assiette ludique

Here's another plate. It's French, 19th century 19th century and features a rebus (or rébus). 

The distinguished translator (and friend of the Glue Factory) Frank Wynne instantly figured out the first few lines but then declared himself stumped. 

His version goes thus:

En vain jeune fille vous voulez fuir

l’amour, en vain pourtant et vous prenez

un détour pour courir après vous ce Dieu porte

des ailes . . .


Can any readers of this newsletter tackle the remaining porcine lines? 

The best effort will be included in next week's newsletter (and a decent translation into English would also be welcome).



Flaubert on spinach

Ne jamais rater la phrase célèbre de Prudhomme: « Je ne les aime pas, j’en suis bien aise, car si je les aimais, j’en mangerais, et je ne puis pas les souffrir. » 

[Never forget the famous phrase of Prudhomme's: "I don't like it, and I'm glad I don't like it, because if I liked it I'd eat it, and I can't stand it"]

This observation is a kind of a template that can, with minimal alteration, apply to almost anything else - football, texting, cultural studies and the Daily Mail. Or anybody, come to that: I don't like the Culture Secretary and I'm glad I don't like her because if I did I'd have to respect her and I can't stand the shameless mediocrity.

Flaubert's Dictionnaire des idées reçues (Dictionary of Received Ideas, from which the spinach quotation above is taken) is among the funniest books ever written, and can still make us laugh today - and indeed 'laugh out loud' - because the kind of complacent stupidity he gleefully records hasn't changed at all since the book first appeared in (I dunno - look it up. 1880s maybe?).

Flaubert brilliantly, hilariously, cold-bloodeldly lampoons the pompous and unreflecting assumptions and prejudices of the bourgeoisie (and there are none more lampoonable) in order to illuminate the thinking (or lack of it) that underlies the complacent, the witless and the gullible - all of us, that is.

Here are some other entries, sourced on Wikipedia:

ABSINTHE. Extra-violent poison: one glass and you're dead. Newspapermen drink it as they write their copy. Has killed more soldiers than the Bedouin.

ARCHIMEDES. On hearing his name, shout "Eureka!" Or else: "Give me a fulcrum and I will move the world." There is also Archimedes' screw, but you are not expected to know what it is.

FEUDALISM. No need to have one single precise notion about it: thunder against.

OMEGA. Second letter of the Greek alphabet.

THIRTEEN. Avoid being thirteen at table; it brings bad luck. The sceptics should not fail to crack jokes: "What is the difference? I'll eat enough for two!" Or again, if there are ladies, ask if any is pregnant.

WALTZ. Wax indignant about. A lascivious, impure dance that should only be danced by old ladies.

The complete Dictionary is available to read online in full in French or English. An hour well spent.


6. Women and the Making of Ulysses

Dr Clare Hutton (distinguished Joycean and Glue Factory contributor) curated this fascinating exhibition at the Harry Ransom Center in Texas to mark the centenary of the publication of Ulysses. You can now see many of the objects that featured in the exhibition online, with a commentary. Scroll down for a wonderful double portrait of Sylvia beach and Harriet Shaw Weaver in 1960:


7.  Funferall in Berlin 

The publisher Katy Deryshire this week tweeted details of the 2022 Reader in Berlin competition

The theme this year is 'Escape' and entry is open to published and unpublished writers resident anywhere in the world.

The Winner will receive a three-week residency at Berlin’s The Circus Hotel  

The dates of residency are January 2nd to January 22, 2023. The competition winner will receive their very own apartment, plus a month’s breakfast vouchers for the Circus Hotel, and up to 100 euros in travel costs toward their travel to Berlin. The winning writer and the two runners up will be featured on the SAND Journal website. This feature will include publication of their winning entry, an interview, or both, depending on the author’s preference.

Two runners up will receive two nights in a double room of their own at The Circus Hotel over January’s competition prize-giving event, and a travel budget to a maximum of 100 euros each to cover their journey to Berlin. Their winning entries will be published in SAND Journal online.

A further seven shortlisted writers will win goodie bags, plus invitations to the prize-giving event on January 2023. 


8. The Women Poets’ Prize

The Women Poets’ Prize runs every two years, is free to enter and is open to any woman poet living in the UK. All entries are read and judged by women poets. 

Three winners are selected. They receive an 18-month package of practical and pastoral support for their creative and professional development through opportunities donated by The Rebecca Swift Foundation.

The winners receive:

  • £1000 cash prize each
  • One-to-one and group resilience coaching with Shamshad Khan
  • One-to-one mentoring via The Literary Consultancy’s 'Chapter and Verse' scheme
  • Introduction to film-poetry and digital practices with Bath Spa University
  • Performance coaching with national spoken word charity Apples & Snakes
  • Introduction to poetry festivals and presses with Verve Press
  • Craft workshops with the Poetry School
  • History of UK Poetry workshop in-house with Faber & Faber
  • Bookbinding workshop with CityLit

In addition to these opportunities, winners and alumnae receive the continued support of the WPP staff team, who support and amplify their achievements via their social media channels, and membership of the Women Poets’ Network, which seeks to foster lasting connections between women poets across the UK.

All long listed poets also receive one year’s free access to the Being A Writer platform which focuses on cultivating creativity and building resilience.


9. About next week

Next week's live online gathering (on Sunday 7th August) marks the centenary of the birth of the poet Philip Larkin, who was born in Coventry on 9th August, 1922.

We'll be joined by the writer Roy Watkins who knew Larkin well when he was an undergraduate in Hull, but who has never shared these fascinating memories in public before. Dr Penny McCarthy will talk about an intriguing connection between Larkin's poem 'High Windows' and a celebrated 19th century novel, and we'll have readings by Michael Hughes, Abigail Parry, Lara Pawson, Jake Goldsmith and others, as well as wonderful archive footage and some hot jazz. Plus Larkin himself, of course.

A friend once observed to me, rather waspishly, that the less one knows about Larkin the more one loves him. I can see the point of such an observation and realise that Larkin, more than most 20th century poets, is subject to the massive condescension of posterity. My own life wouldn't bear close scrutiny, so I'm not lining up to cast stones. What survives of him, what matters, is the poetry. And anyone immune to the poetry of Larkin, or who condemns the man without recognising the ineffable beauty and humanity and permanent value of his work, is somehow failing to be fully human. 

So ner.


10. Nudge

Big breath, Rant coming.

Government data shows that net government debt when the Tories came into office in 2010 was £995 billion. At the end of March 2022 is was £2,342 billion. That is an increase of £1,347 billion, representing 57.5% of all government borrowing. They are the biggest borrowers, ever.

British Gas owner Centrica has seen operating profits increase five-fold to £1.34 billion. Meanwhile British households face annual energy bills of £3,850, three times what they were paying at the start of 2022. This would put more than half of British households in fuel poverty.

In the UK inflation this month has hit a 40-year high of 9.4% as the cost of living crisis mounts - and it’s set to hit 11% by end of the year. That's the official figure.

In the UK this year the price of bread is up 13%; pasta is up 16%; baked beans are up 21%; butter is up 21.5%; milk is up 26.3%; fuel costs are up 42% in the year; and energy costs are up 54%, and rising.

For ordinary people this means real inflation is over 20% and climbing.

Rising energy prices, food bills, fuel costs and more. We’re all experiencing them. But for people on the lowest incomes, the cost of surviving this crisis is already too high.

Last winter saw people having to make impossible decisions between heating and eating. And, as it stands, this summer will be unbearable for thousands of families.

Many people can’t afford to buy food due to huge price rises and inflation. Some food banks are having to provide cold food because people can no longer afford to heat meals.

School summer holidays mean no free school meals for many children.

The Glue Factory newsletter and weekly live gatherings are free to all. So please consider making a donation to The Trussell Trust, the UK's leading food bank charity: (or, if you're outside the UK, your local equivalent).

Thank you.



Last year, British Telecom made £1.3 billion profit, paid out £700m to shareholders, gave its CEO Philip Jansen a 32% pay rise and, at the same time, set up food banks for its own underpaid workers.

This Friday saw the first telecoms strike since 1987 and the first national call centre strike in British history. Tens of thousands of BT workers joined the picket line, most of them for the first time in their lives. 

Tory leadership candidate Liz Truss says she'll do 'everything in her power' to make such strikes illegal. This government has already changed the law so that private companies can bring in temporary staff to work when their employees are on strike. What was until earlier this month illegal is now within the law. Hard-won democratic rights are being wiped out as each week passes and we're likely to have two more years of this, the systematic destruction of the Social Contract. Plus the Queen will die and there will be twelve (12) days of national mourning during which no end of wicked things will be perpetrated while our attention is directed elsewhere.

      She is small, she contains platitudes (with acknowledgements to Walt Whitman)