Mark Rutherford Society

‘Mark Rutherford‘ was the pseudonym of William Hale White (1831-1913). Rutherford is generally classed as a minor Victorian novelist, and noted for his depiction of provincial dissenting life, and of the ’loss of faith’ of the Victorian period.  Despite working for over thirty years as a civil servant, he wrote over a thousand newspaper articles, translated works by Spinoza, and wrote various works of literary criticism.

Classic work: Considered a minor Victorian classic, The Autobiography of Mark Rutherford (1881) and sequel Mark Rutherford’s Deliverance (1885) are autobiographical fictions describing White’s progress from Protestant Christianity to a form of Wordsworthian pantheism.

New readers might like to start with The Revolution in Tanner’s Lane (1887) or Clara Hopgood (1896)

Biography: The most comprehensive is Mark Rutherford, a biography of William Hale White by Catherine MacDonald Maclean. 1955, the most recent literary one is Bedford’s Victorian Pilgrim, William Hale White in Context by Michael Brealey, 2012.

The Mark Rutherford Society is hosted on The Mark Rutherford Resource.

Buy the Books: All can be found free digitally on the  Gutenberg Project. Also, second hand bookshops, online book stores and some libraries. Beware American print on demand.

The Dracula Society

In 2022, Bram Stoker’s influential novel turns 125 and in such a special year for this unique book, why not join the Dracula Society? Since it is named after one of the most evocative titles in the whole genre, and one of the most enduring and influential of Gothic novels, the Dracula Society naturally devotes a good deal of its attention to Dracula, the 1987 novel, and its author, Bram Stoker.

However, the Dracula Society’s field of interest embraces the entire Gothic literary genre, and incorporates, too, all stage and screen adaptations, and the sources of their inspiration in myth and folklore. We cater for lovers of “the vampire and his kind” – werewolves, reanimated mummies, mad scientists and their creations, and all the other monsters spawned by the Gothic genre.

Classic: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Best biography: Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote Dracula by David J. Skal

Best critical analysis: Dracula: Sense and Nonsense by Elizabeth Miller

To find out more and to join the Dracula Society go to https://www.thedraculasociety.org.uk

The ALS supports local, independent bookshops and encourages you to buy from them. For those who prefer to shop online we include the Society chosen links above.

The Housman Society

Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, and became the outstanding Classical scholar of his generation as Professor of Latin at University College London and later at the University of Cambridge. He published two volumes of poems in his lifetime, resulting in his abiding popular and critical reputation as a superb writer of English lyric poetry.  

Housman is best remembered for A Shropshire Lad, his collection of 63 poems published in 1896 and never since out of print. His poems deal mainly with love, loss and death; the mood is mainly melancholy; but the poems rhyme and scan, while their tuneful melodies keep life’s sadness at bay.

Richard Percival Graves’ full-scale biography, A. E. Housman: The Scholar-Poet (Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1979), has always been acknowledged as an authoritative and engaging biography that vividly brings its subject to life; a more recent full-scale biography by Edgar Vincent, A. E. Housman: Hero of the Hidden Life (Boydell & Brewer, 2018) contains some new information and perceptively reflects modern sensibilities. 

Details of the Society’s aims and events can be found on the website www.housman-society.co.uk as well as a list of current publications (including our centenary edition of Last Poems with a Foreword by Andrew Motion and detailed commentaries on the individual poems).  

The Trollope Society

Anthony Trollope wrote about Victorian Society, often satirising the hypocrisies and petty jealousies that permeated it (and which continue to this day). He is noted for his realistic portrayal of women and their ways of coping with a society which treated them as second class citizens.

Classic: The Way We Live Now – a cautionary tale of a financial scandal, effectively a Ponzi Scheme, that is still relevant 150 years after it was first published

Buy The Way We Live Now

Try this first: Barchester Towers – a send up of office politics and social climbers set in a Victorian cathedral city Buy Barchester Towers

Best Biography/Critical Analysis: Although his Autobiography is a great read, it is not always wholly reliable, so try Trollope by Victoria Glendinning Buy the Biography

To find out more about Anthony Trollope and join the Trollope Society go to: Home – Trollope Society

The ALS supports local, independent bookshops and encourages you to buy from them. For those who prefer to shop online we include the links above.

Margery Allingham Society

One of the four so-called Queens of Crime in the inter-war period, her novels featuring her series detective, Albert Campion, were turned into a popular BBC TV series. Allingham’s novels were noted for their atmospheric settings in London and Essex.
Classic: Tiger in The Smoke – tracking down a psychotic killer in smoggy post-war London.
Buy Tiger in the Smoke

Try this first: Police at the Funeral – Campion’s first detective outing.
Buy Police at the Funeral

Best biography/critical analysis: The Adventures of Margery Allingham – detailed biography by Julia Jones
Buy The Adventures of Margery Allingham

To find out more and to join the Margery Allingham Society go to https://margeryallingham.org.uk

The ALS supports local, independent bookshops and encourages you to buy from them. For those who prefer to shop online we include the links above.