Handheld Classics welcomes you to a world of forgotten fiction and marvellous stories.
Sylvia Townsend Warner
‘Handheld Classics’ republication is a triumph, complete with a beautiful Arthur Rackham cover and a blurb from Neil Gaiman: “A book for anyone who has heard the horns of Elfin in the distance at twilight, as much as it is for readers who crave fine literature and are certain that elves and their kingdoms are bosh.”‘ Paperback Preview Book of the Month, The Bookseller, 27 July 2018.
Publication on Hallowe’en, 31 October 2018. ISBN 978-1-9999448-1-0
Save Me The Waltz
Zelda Fitzgerald’s only novel, Save Me The Waltz (1932) was written in six weeks after her admission to a sanatorium, as part of her therapy. It covers the period of her life that her husband F Scott Fitzgerald had been using for years while writing his Tender is the Night (1934). Fitzgerald revised her novel under her husband’s guidance until they were both happy with it. She died in 1940, and Save Me The Waltz is now recognised as a classic novel of woman’s experience and an authentic record of the Jazz Age. Erin Templeton will write the Introduction.
Handheld Classic 6, 14 January 2019. ISBN 978-1-9998280-4-2
What Not is Rose Macaulay’s speculative novel of post-First World War eugenics and newspaper manipulation that anticipated Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World by 14 years. It’s a lost classic of feminist wit and protest at social engineering by politics and the media.
Kitty Grammont and Nicholas Chester are in love, but Kitty is certified as an A for breeding purposes, while Chester has been uncertificated, and may not marry. Although Kitty wields power as a senior civil servant in the Ministry of Brains, which makes these classifications, she does not have the freedom to marry who she wants. They ignore the restrictions, and carry on a discreet affair. But the popular press, determined to smash the brutal regime of the Ministry of Brains, scents an opportunity for a scandalous exposure. The introduction will be written by the journalist Sarah Lonsdale.
Handheld Classic 7, 25 March 2019. ISBN 978-1-912766-03-1
Blitz Writing: Night Shift & It Was Different At The Time
Inez Holden, edited by Kristin Bluemel
Emerging out of the 1940–1941 London Blitz, the drama of these two short works, a novel and a memoir, comes from the courage and endurance of ordinary people met in the factories, streets and lodging houses of a city under bombardment.
Inez Holden’s novella Night Shift follows a largely working-class cast of characters for five night shifts in a factory that produces camera parts for war planes. It Was Different At The Time is Holden’s account of wartime life from April 1938 to August 1941, drawn from her own diary. This was intended to be a joint project written with her friend George Orwell (he was in the end too busy to contribute), and includes disguised appearances of Orwell and other notable literary figures of the period.
Inez Holden (1903-1974) was a British writer and literary figure whose social and professional connections embraced most of London’s literary and artistic life. She modelled for Augustus John, worked alongside Evelyn Waugh, and had close relationships with George Orwell, Stevie Smith, H G Wells, Cyril Connolly, and Anthony Powell.
The introduction and notes are by Kristin Bluemel, exploring how these short prose texts work as multiple stories: of Inez Holden herself, the history of the Blitz, of middlebrow women’s writing, of Second World War fiction, and of the world of work.
Handheld Classic 8, 30 May 2019. ISBN 978-1-912766-06-2
The Endless Earth. Journeys in 1920s China
J J Slauerhoff, translated by David McKay
Handheld Classic 9, summer 2019. ISBN 978-1-9999448-7-2
What Might Have Been
Civil war is brewing in Handheld Classic 1, an Edwardian speculative political thriller, between the Conservative resistance and a Labour government inflicting a socialist nightmare on British society. Ernest Bramah’s What Might Have Been (1907), abridged in 1909 as The Secret of the League, has been republished with 7000 words restored and a critical introduction by Jeremy Hawthorn.
The Runagates Club
Handheld Classic 2 is The Runagates Club, John Buchan’s last collection of short stories, and is a classic of British interwar short fiction. These twelve stories were written from 1913 to 1927, when he was at the peak of his powers, reprinted here with a critical introduction by Kate Macdonald.
Una L Silberrad
Handheld Classic 3 is Desire, the story of an Edwardian New Woman who finds fulfilment in work and love after rejecting high society. First published in 1908, Una L Silberrad’s novel of professional integrity and feminist aspirations for the right to work was praised by contemporary reviewers because ‘it satisfies the intelligence at the same time as it appeals to the emotions’. Introduction by Cornelia Wächter.
Handheld Classic 4 is Gerald O’Donovan’s novel Vocations (1921), set in a small town in late Victorian Ireland, and is a searing indictment of treating young women like commodities, in the marriage market or the market in nuns. Introduction by Chrissie Van Mierlo
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