The International Literary Quarterly
Contributors

Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Donald Adamson
Diran Adebayo
Nausheen Ahmad
Toheed Ahmad
Amanda Aizpuriete
Baba Akote
Elisa Albo
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Rosetta Allan
María Teresa Andruetto
Innokenty Annensky
Claudia Apablaza
Robert Appelbaum
Michael Arditti
Jenny Argante
Sandra Arnold
C.J.K. Arkell
Agnar Artúvertin
Sarah Arvio
Rosemary Ashton
Mammed Aslan
Coral Atkinson
Rose Ausländer
Shushan Avagyan
Razif Bahari
Elizabeth Baines
Jo Baker
Ismail Bala
Evgeny Baratynsky
Saule Abdrakhman-kyzy Batay
Konstantin Nikolaevich Batyushkov
William Bedford
Gillian Beer
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Ilya Bernstein
Mashey Bernstein
Christopher Betts
Sujata Bhatt
Sven Birkerts
Linda Black
Chana Bloch
Amy Bloom
Mary Blum Devor
Michael Blumenthal
Jean Boase-Beier
Jorge Luis Borges
Alison Brackenbury
Julia Brannigan
Theo Breuer
Iain Britton
Françoise Brodsky
Amy Brown
Bernard Brown
Diane Brown
Gay Buckingham
Carmen Bugan
Stephen Burt
Zarah Butcher McGunnigle
James Byrne
Kevin Cadwallander
Howard Camner
Mary Caponegro
Marisa Cappetta
Helena Cardoso
Adrian Castro
Luis Cernuda
Firat Cewerî
Pierre Chappuis
Neil Charleton
Janet Charman
Sampurna Chattarji
Amit Chaudhuri
Mèlissa Chiasson
Ronald Christ
Alex Cigale
Sally Cline
Marcelo Cohen
Lila Cona
Eugenio Conchez
Andrew Cowan
Mary Creswell
Christine Crow
Pedro Xavier Solís Cuadra
Majella Cullinane
P. Scott Cunningham
Emma Currie
Jeni Curtis
Stephen Cushman
David Dabydeen
Susan Daitch
Rubén Dario
Jean de la Fontaine
Denys Johnson Davies
Lydia Davis
Robert Davreu
David Dawnay
Jill Dawson
Rosalía de Castro
Joanne Rocky Delaplaine
Patricia Delmar
Christine De Luca
Tumusiime Kabwende Deo
Paul Scott Derrick
Josephine Dickinson
Belinda Diepenheim
Jenny Diski
Rita Dove
Arkadii Dragomoschenko
Paulette Dubé
Denise Duhamel
Jonathan Dunne
S. B. Easwaran
Jorge Edwards
David Eggleton
Mohamed El-Bisatie
Tsvetanka Elenkova
Johanna Emeney
Osama Esber
Fiona Farrell
Ernest Farrés
Elaine Feinstein
Gigi Fenster
Micah Timona Ferris
Vasil Filipov
Maria Filippakopoulou
Ruth Fogelman
Peter France
Alexandra Fraser
Bashabi Fraser
Janis Freegard
Robin Fry
Alice Fulton
Ulrich Gabriel
Manana Gelashvili
Laurice Gilbert
Paul Giles
Zulfikar Ghose
Corey Ginsberg
Chrissie Gittins
Sarah Glazer
Michael Glover
George Gömöri
Giles Goodland
Martin Goodman
Roberta Gordenstein
Mina Gorji
Maria Grech Ganado
David Gregory
Philip Gross
Carla Guelfenbein
Daniel Gunn
Charles Hadfield
Haidar Haidar
Ruth Halkon
Tomás Harris
Geoffrey Hartman
Siobhan Harvey
Beatriz Hausner
John Haynes
Jennifer Hearn
Helen Heath
Geoffrey Heptonstall
Felisberto Hernández
W.N. Herbert
William Hershaw
Michael Hettich
Allen Hibbard
Hassan Hilmi
Rhisiart Hincks
Kerry Hines
Amanda Hopkinson
Adam Horovitz
David Howard
Sue Hubbard
Aamer Hussein
Fahmida Hussain
Alexander Hutchison
Sabine Huynh
Juan Kruz Igerabide Sarasola
Neil Langdon Inglis
Jouni Inkala
Ofonime Inyang
Kevin Ireland
Michael Ives
Philippe Jacottet
Robert Alan Jamieson
Rebecca Jany
Andrea Jeftanovic
Ana Jelnikar
Miroslav Jindra
Stephanie Johnson
Bret Anthony Johnston
Marion Jones
Tim Jones
Gabriel Josipovici
Pierre-Albert Jourdan
Sophie Judah
Tomoko Kanda
Maarja Kangro
Jana Kantorová-Báliková
Fawzi Karim
Kapka Kassabova
Susan Kelly-DeWitt
Mimi Khalvati
Daniil Kharms
Velimir Khlebnikov
Akhmad hoji Khorazmiy
David Kinloch
John Kinsella
Yudit Kiss
Tomislav Kuzmanović
Andrea Labinger
Charles Lambert
Christopher Lane
Jan Lauwereyns
Fernando Lavandeira
Graeme Lay
Ilias Layios
Hiên-Minh Lê
Mikhail Lermontov
Miriam Levine
Suzanne Jill Levine
Micaela Lewitt
Zhimin Li
Joanne Limburg
Birgit Linder
Pippa Little
Parvin Loloi
Christopher Louvet
Helen Lowe
Ana Lucic
Aonghas MacNeacail
Kona Macphee
Kate Mahony
Sara Maitland
Channah Magori
Vasyl Makhno
Marcelo Maturana Montañez
Stephanie Mayne
Ben Mazer
Harvey Molloy
Osip Mandelstam
Alberto Manguel
Olga Markelova
Laura Marney
Geraldine Maxwell
John McAuliffe
Peter McCarey
John McCullough
Richard McKane
John MacKinven
Cilla McQueen
Edie Meidav
Ernst Meister
Lina Meruane
Jesse Millner
Deborah Moggach
Mawatle J. Mojalefa
Jonathan Morley
César Moro
Helen Mort
Laura Moser
Andrew Motion
Paola Musa
Robin Myers
André Naffis-Sahely
Vivek Narayanan
Bob Natifu
María Negroni
Hernán Neira
Barbra Nightingale
Paschalis Nikolaou
James Norcliffe
Carol Novack
Annakuly Nurmammedov
Joyce Carol Oates
Sunday Enessi Ododo
Obododimma Oha
Michael O'Leary
Antonio Diaz Oliva
Wilson Orhiunu
Maris O'Rourke
Sue Orr
Wendy O'Shea-Meddour
María Claudia Otsubo
Ruth Padel
Ron Padgett
Thalia Pandiri
Judith Dell Panny
Hom Paribag
Lawrence Patchett
Ian Patterson
Georges Perros
Pascale Petit
Aleksandar Petrov
Mario Petrucci
Geoffrey Philp
Toni Piccini
Henning Pieterse
Robert Pinsky
Mark Pirie
David Plante
Nicolás Poblete
Sara Poisson
Clare Pollard
Mori Ponsowy
Wena Poon
Orest Popovych
Jem Poster
Begonya Pozo
Pauline Prior-Pitt
Eugenia Prado Bassi
Ian Probstein
Sheenagh Pugh
Kate Pullinger
Zosimo Quibilan, Jr
Vera V. Radojević
Margaret Ranger
Tessa Ransford
Shruti Rao
Irina Ratushinskaya
Tanyo Ravicz
Richard Reeve
Sue Reidy
Joan Retallack
Laura Richardson
Harry Ricketts
Ron Riddell
Cynthia Rimsky
Loreto Riveiro Alvarez
James Robertson
Peter Robertson
Gonzalo Rojas
Dilys Rose
Gabriel Rosenstock
Jack Ross
Anthony Rudolf
Basant Rungta
Joseph Ryan
Sean Rys
Jostein Sæbøe
André Naffis Sahely
Eurig Salisbury
Fiona Sampson
Polly Samson
Priya Sarukkai Chabria
Maree Scarlett
John Schad
Michael Schmidt
L.E. Scott
Maureen Seaton
Alexis Sellas
Hadaa Sendoo
Chris Serio
Resul Shabani
Bina Shah
Yasir Shah
Daniel Shapiro
Ruth Sharman
Tina Shaw
David Shields
Ana María Shua
Christine Simon
Iain Sinclair
Katri Skala
Carole Smith
Ian C. Smith
Elizabeth Smither
John Stauffer
Jim Stewart
Susan Stewart
Jesper Svenbro
Virgil Suárez
Lars-Håkan Svensson
Sridala Swami
Rebecca Swift
George Szirtes
Chee-Lay Tan
Tugrul Tanyol
José-Flore Tappy
Alejandro Tarrab
Campbell Taylor
John Taylor
Judith Taylor
Petar Tchouhov
Miguel Teruel
John Thieme
Karen Thornber
Tim Tomlinson
Angela Topping
David Trinidad
Kola Tubosun
Nick Vagnoni
Joost Vandecasteele
Jan van Mersbergen
Latika Vasil
Yassen Vassilev
Lawrence Venuti
Lidia Vianu
Dev Virahsawmy
Anthony Vivis
Richard Von Sturmer
Răzvan Voncu
Nasos Vayenas
Mauricio Wacquez
Julie Marie Wade
Alan Wall
Marina Warner
Mia Watkins
Peter Wells
Stanley Wells
Laura Watkinson
Joe Wiinikka-Lydon
Hayden Williams
Edwin Williamson
Ronald V. Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Alison Wong
Leslie Woodard
Elzbieta Wójcik-Leese
Niel Wright
Manolis Xexakis
Xu Xi
Gao Xingjian
Sonja Yelich
Tamar Yoseloff
Augustus Young
Soltobay Zaripbekov
Karen Zelas
Alan Ziegler
Ariel Zinder

 

President, Publisher & Founding Editor:
Peter Robertson
Vice-President: Glenna Luschei
Vice-President: Sari Nusseibeh
Vice-President: Elena Poniatowska
U. S. General Editor: Neil Langdon Inglis
London Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Geraldine Maxwell
New York Editor/Senior Editor-at-Large: Meena Alexander
Washington D.C. Editor/Senior
Editor-at-Large:
Laura Moser
Argentine Editor: Yamila Musa
Deputy Editor: Allen Hibbard
Deputy Editor: Jerónimo Mohar Volkow
Deputy Editor: Bina Shah
Advisory Consultant: Jill Dawson
General Editor: Beatriz Hausner
General Editor: Malvina Segui
Art Editor: Lara Alcantara-Lansberg
Art Editor: Calum Colvin
Deputy General Editor: Jeff Barry

Consulting Editors
Shanta Acharya
Marjorie Agosín
Daniel Albright
Meena Alexander
Maria Teresa Andruetto
Frank Ankersmit
Rosemary Ashton
Reza Aslan
Leonard Barkan
Michael Barry
Shadi Bartsch
Thomas Bartscherer
Susan Bassnett
Gillian Beer
David Bellos
Richard Berengarten
Charles Bernstein
Sujata Bhatt
Mario Biagioli
Jean Boase-Beier
Elleke Boehmer
Eavan Boland
Stephen Booth
Alain de Botton
Carmen Boullossa
Rachel Bowlby
Svetlana Boym
Peter Brooks
Marina Brownlee
Roberto Brodsky
Carmen Bugan
Jenni Calder
Stanley Cavell
Hollis Clayson
Sarah Churchwell
Marcelo Cohen
Kristina Cordero
Drucilla Cornell
Junot Díaz
André Dombrowski
Denis Donoghue
Ariel Dorfman
Rita Dove
Denise Duhamel
Klaus Ebner
Robert Elsie
Stefano Evangelista
Orlando Figes
Tibor Fischer
Shelley Fisher Fishkin
Peter France
Nancy Fraser
Maureen Freely
Michael Fried
Marjorie Garber
Anne Garréta
Marilyn Gaull
Zulfikar Ghose
Paul Giles
Lydia Goehr
Vasco Graça Moura
A. C. Grayling
Stephen Greenblatt
Lavinia Greenlaw
Lawrence Grossberg
Edith Grossman
Elizabeth Grosz
Boris Groys
David Harsent
Benjamin Harshav
Geoffrey Hartman
François Hartog
Molly Haskell
Selina Hastings
Beatriz Hausner
Valerie Henitiuk
Kathryn Hughes
Aamer Hussein
Djelal Kadir
Kapka Kassabova
John Kelly
Martin Kern
Mimi Khalvati
Joseph Koerner
Annette Kolodny
Julia Kristeva
George Landow
Chang-Rae Lee
Mabel Lee
Linda Leith
Suzanne Jill Levine
Lydia Liu
Margot Livesey
Julia Lovell
Thomas Luschei
Willy Maley
Alberto Manguel
Ben Marcus
Paul Mariani
Marina Mayoral
Richard McCabe
Campbell McGrath
Jamie McKendrick
Edie Meidav
Jack Miles
Toril Moi
Susana Moore
Laura Mulvey
Azar Nafisi
Martha Nussbaum
Tim Parks
Clare Pettitt
Caryl Phillips
Robert Pinsky
Elizabeth Powers
Elizabeth Prettejohn
Martin Puchner
Kate Pullinger
Paula Rabinowitz
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan
James Richardson
François Rigolot
Geoffrey Robertson
Ritchie Robertson
Avital Ronell
Carla Sassi
Michael Scammell
Celeste Schenck
Daniel Shapiro
Sudeep Sen
Hadaa Sendoo
Miranda Seymour
Daniel Shapiro
Mimi Sheller
Elaine Showalter
Penelope Shuttle
Werner Sollors
Frances Spalding
Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak
Julian Stallabrass
Susan Stewart
Rebecca Stott
Mark Strand
Kathryn Sutherland
John Whittier Treat
David Treuer
David Trinidad
Marjorie Trusted
Lidia Vianu
Victor Vitanza
Marina Warner
David Wellbery
Edwin Williamson
Michael Wood
Theodore Zeldin

Assistant Editor: Sara Besserman
Assistant Editor: Ana de Biase
Assistant Editor: Conor Bracken
Assistant Editor: Eugenio Conchez
Assistant Editor: Patricia Delmar
Assistant Editor: Lucila Gallino
Assistant Editor: Sophie Lewis
Assistant Editor: Krista Oehlke
Assistant Editor: Siska Rappé
Assistant Editor: Naomi Schub
Assistant Editor: Stephanie Smith
Assistant Editor: Emily Snyder
Assistant Editor: Robert Toperter
Assistant Editor: Laurence Webb
Art Consultant: Verónica Barbatano
Art Consultant: Angie Roytgolz

 

Neil Langdon Inglis

The Power of Prose:
Abdication
By Brian Inglis
A review by: Neil Langdon Inglis
 

 

Royal marriages, and the collision of duty and preference, remain topical. Queen Elizabeth II, always one step ahead of her Republican critics, sees the sense in importing new blood and fresh air into a hidebound institution. Hence her approval of Prince Harry's wedding to American Meghan Markle.

And yet the Queen is old enough to remember a different time, when her uncle King Edward VIII announced his intention to marry another US divorcee, Wallis Simpson. This news was greeted with a spectrum of hostility, ranging from a traditionalist sense that such things were "not done," to the studied indifference of socialists.

In his superb account of the Simpson controversy (Abdication, pubs. MacMillan, 1966, now reissued in e-book form by Endeavour Media), Brian Inglis tells us that the Labour Party establishment approved of the Monarchy for its stability (Clement Atlee had ruled that Edward's predecessor King George was a "democrat." Under Edward, the institution seemed much less safe.). For the radical left and its devotees (the book's photo gallery shows the smitten Nye Bevan alongside his bride, the giggling Jenny Lee), the Crown was a relic and embarrassment. And yet the new king's undisguised interest in social policy, his brief yet riveting comments on poverty and unemployment, presented the Tory and Labour parties with a challenge to be weathered, and in the eyes of some, a quandary best disposed of.

Brian Inglis is at his most objective—and it must be said, most fun—in this best-seller from his early days at the helm of Granada Television's 1960s documentary series All Our Yesterdays. The language on the cover explains the stakes: "The first full account of Edward VIII's agony and crisis—the grueling test of a nation and its prince." For an author wary of the Establishment, who ignored the royals except when hailing their support for his own personal hobby-horses (such as unorthodox medicine), Brian Inglis's treatment of King Edward VIII is surprisingly fair and sympathetic. Brian Inglis's role as the nation's historian—an avuncular and weekly presence in homes throughout the country—meant that he had to tread carefully.

When I visited the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford in 2008 (as part of my own family history project), the staff pulled two episodes of AOY from their vaults. Brian Inglis was a midstream replacement for the first AOY broadcaster James Cameron. As such, the eyes of the world were upon him—his nerves are apparent from his body language, a fidgeting later concealed through camera-work. His first AOY appearance addressed the events of the Abdication, as dictated by the show's format, which focused on the events of 25 years previously. Inglis portrays the early life of the Prince—a young man in a hurry, popular, dynamic, vibrant, and full of promise.

When the time came for Brian Inglis to write a book-length treatment of the Abdication, it is clear that further research, including Edward's own sparkling memoirs, would be no hardship. More to the point, Inglis could identify with Edward's choice of a romantic partner who was prepared to answer back to him.

Nor was Wallis tempted to shed her Americanism. The American woman of her generation "judged it important to be a little different, or in any case interesting, and was prepared to pit her ideas spiritedly against those of the male." When on her arrival in England she found that English women were still accepting the status of an inferior sex—“if they had strong opinions they kept them safely buttoned up"—she refused to allow herself to be over-awed, continuing to speak her mind as freely as before. Sometimes this startled people, sometimes it annoyed them. Anti-Americanism was quite common in the circles in which she found herself, and though women were allowed a certain latitude, they were not thanked if they tried to give their views on the topics of the day. That was for men. But Wallis refused "to cancel out my own personality and substitute an artificial one, made to an English pattern...I clung the more fiercely to my own American ways and opinions—possibly to the point of exaggeration.”

The parallels between the royal love affair and Brian Inglis's courtship of my mother are too vivid and inescapable to ignore. Upon announcing his own engagement to Ruth Langdon at the start of the 1960s (not a career-ending decision in my father's case), Brian Inglis was amused to observe The Daily Mail hunting down his own previous conquests to gauge their reactions to this unwelcome news.

It would go completely against Brian Inglis's grain to introduce personal touches into a work of history, but here, as in other areas, he could not resist. In his account, Edward's accession to the Throne is attended by auguries, noticeable to rock-ribbed skeptics in Whitehall (and even to Premier Baldwin, "not normally psychic"—although he appears to have experienced hunches, a quality Brian Inglis would later liken to extrasensory perception).

The only outwardly disturbing signs of the times were certain omens. The British do not believe in astrology or in the occult, but millions of them follow their horoscopes with an avidity that is hardly accounted for by the usual explanation—that it is for amusement. The British do not place credence in fortune tellers—but they listen to them. The British affect not to believe in omens—but they notice them. They noted when the Maltese cross on top of the royal crown—on which there is a sapphire, flanked by eight medium-sized and ninety-two smaller diamonds—fell off when the crown was being borne through the streets of London on King George V's coffin.

Nor can the author resist hurling slingshots at the Establishment worthies of his youth. Cosmo Gordon Lang, Archbishop of Canterbury, is remembered for his remark that if the 19th century was regarded as the age of production, the 20th century would be considered the age of redistribution. The Church of England's mystical bond with the great British public is dismissed as a "hoax."

Moving on to other public figures, a linking thread emerges: few showed signs of greatness in their youth. Stanley Baldwin was remembered at Harrow for his stash of pornography (viewed with horror by the staff, but not "by the boys"). Neville Chamberlain tried and failed to grow sisal in the Caribbean. Later the appeaser Geoffrey Dawson (editor of The Times) mocks opinions he disagrees with as "mischievous", when greater receptivity to alternative viewpoints would have done him no harm whatsoever. Even King Edward is portrayed as an unremarkable student, yet he developed a flair for public life, and grew to be loved, even revered, by the general public. But only up to a point, and only for so long.

Official secrets legislation is unkind to works of instant history, even those written 25 years after the fact, as Brian Inglis was the first to admit.

Of necessity, mine is an interim assessment. The materials for a definitive study will not be available for many years. Some of the relevant papers are in the royal archives. State papers, too, are withheld under what used to be known as the "Fifty Year Rule," banning inspections for that period.

But personal recollections by authors preparing "the first draft of history" have their own merit, their distinctive freshness and wisdom. The young Prince had a verve and approachability that captured the fancy of a nation—and, it would seem, of the budding historian Brian Inglis as well. And if the Abdication soon faded from memory and ceased to be the most important issue of the 1930s, that was only because a multitude of other pressing concerns would shortly capture the world's attention in the runup to the Second World War. Consider the era of Appeasement; the deadly march of the German Army across Europe; wanton destruction, bloodbaths, and hellfire; the remaking of the global chessboard; and the resilience of the human spirit and endurance of the creative impulse in times of bleakest devastation. These and countless other stories would be explained and analyzed as Brian Inglis guided audiences through the WWII period from his presenter's chair at the helm of All Our Yesterdays.

"The Power of Prose"