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the experience of reading in Britain, from 1450 to 1945...

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Listings for Reader:  

Mary Pollard


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Sabine Baring-Gould : Broom Squire, The

'H.R. Smith gave a brief outline of S. Baring Gould's Life following which H.M. Wallis read from "John Herring" a Dartmoor tale. He also gave us a short criticism of Baring Gould's work from which we learn that he wrote too fast for revision and his fiction was marred by many improbabilities. In short a maker of books rather than an artist. After supper Mrs Pollard read from The Broom Squire and E.A. Smith gave us an appreciation of our Author more favourable than H.M.W.'s perhaps because it dealt mainly with the archaeological side of his work. F.G. Pollard kindly took C.I. Evans' place (he had lost his voice) by reading from "Strange Survivals & Supersititions" & H.R. Smith read from "The Vicar of Morwenstow".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Hugh Walpole : Secret City, The

'The subject for the evening Hugh Walpole was then taken F.E. Pollard giving us a brief outline of the writer's life. Mrs Robson read from "Fortitude" & Mrs Pollard from "The Secret City". After supper the Secretary attempted some analysis & estimate of Walpoles work which was followed by some discussion. Mr Stansfield read from "Jeremy" & in conclusion Mr Robson read from "The Cathedral". An interesting evening about work which both attracts & repels. The man perhaps just missing greatness but frequently gripping us by powerful intriguing work.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Charles Reade : Christie Johnson

'The subject of Chas Reade & his work was then taken. H. R. Smith gave some description of Reade's life & Mrs Pollard read from Christie Johnson of a thrilling rescue from drowning. F.E. Pollard spoke of the characteristics of Reades work. Following & arising from his remarks a lively discussion arose on Art & Propaganda & the artists right to exaggerate and T.C. Elliott read a vivid & amusing scene from "the Cloister & the Hearth". C.I. Evans also read from "Hard Cash".'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


W. Watson : 'Lakeland'

'The Club then listened to a variety of readings from modern poets as follows: A Rawlings Extracts from "The Art of Poetry" T.C. Eliott from Chesterton's "Lepanto" Mrs Evans some verses by Colin D. B. Ellis R. H. Robson from J. C. Squires "Birds" D. Brain from Noyes' "Torch Bearers" C. I. Evans from Thos Hardy G. Burrow poems by his brother F. E. Pollard from Siegfried Sassoon Mrs Pollard from W. Watson's "Lakeland" C. E. Stansfield from Rupert Brooke A. Rawlings from E. V. Lucas & Lang Jones'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Michael Drayton : 'The Daffodil'

'The subject of the evening "Gardens" was then taken. Geo Burrow reminded us that the world began in the garden of Eden. Miss Bowman-Smith played Debussy's "Garden Under the Rain" Miss D. Brain gave us an essay on Hampton Court gardens & their history. F.E. Pollard a song Summer Afternoon Rosamund Wallis read from Sir Wm Temple on Gardens Mrs F. E. Pollard read Michael Drayton's Daffodil Alfred Rawlings charmed us by showing a series of his Water Colour drawings "Gardens I have Known" Mrs Robson sang two songs June Rapture & Unfolding After supper Mrs Stansfield read a paper by Mr Stansfield who was prevented by a severe cold from being present on Gardening in which he showed how Gardening is one of the fine Arts in fact the noblest of the plastic Arts F. E. Pollard sang Andrew Marvell's "Thoughts in a Garden" Mrs Burrow read Walter de la Mare's Sunken Garden Mrs Stansfield read from The Story of my Ruin and in a concluding reading Geo Burrow brought our minds back to the Garden of Eden'.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


William Shakespeare : The Tempest

'A meeting held at School House 4/12/28 T. C. Elliott in the chair

1 Minutes of the last read and approved


4 The Most Part of the Tempest was then read the Play being cast as follows.
Alonso King of Naples Mrs Stansfield.
Sebastian, his brother Miss Brain.
Prsopero [sic], the right Duke of Milan Mr Stansfield.
Antonio, his brother, usurping Duke of Milan Mr Elliott.
Ferdinand, son to King of Naples Mr Reynolds.
Gonzalo, honest old Counsellor Mr Rawlings.
Adrian, a Lord Mrs Pollard
Caliban, a savage and deformed slave Mr Pollard.
Trinculo, a Jester Mr Smith.
Stephano, a Drunken Butler Mr Robson
Miranda, daughter to Prospero Miss Bowman Smith
Ariel, an airy Spirit Miss Wallis
Mrs Rawlings read the stage directions
Mrs [or Mr.?] Robson sang some of Ariel’s songs.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      


John Galsworthy : The Roof

Meeting held at Broomfield June 3rd 1930
G. Burrow in the chair
1. Minutes of last read and approved
7. John Galsworthys “The Roof” was then read in parts
Gustave C.E. Stanfield
Hon R Fanning R. H. Robson
Major Moultenay H. M. Wallis
Baker H. R. Smith
Brice T. C. Elliott
Mr Beeton S. A. Reynolds
Mrs Beeton E. B. Smith
H. Lennox Geo Burrow
Evelyn Lennox Celia Burrow
Diana D. Brain
Brye J. Rawlings
A Nurse R. Wallis
A Young Man F. E. Pollard
A Young Woman Mrs Pollard
Froba Mrs Robson
Two Pompiers Thomas C. Elliott
Miss Stevens read the stage directions

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


John Masefield : Philip the King

Meeting held at Ashton Lodge July 10th 1930
H. M. Wallis in the chair
Min 1. Minutes of last meeting approved
5 The subject of John Masefield was then taken
Geo Burrow gave some account of his life
Mrs Burrow read 2 poems "Beauty" & "Posted Missing"
H. M. Wallis read from the novel Sard Harker a thrilling account of an escape from a bog.
Violet Clough read from "Midsummer Night".
After refreshments "Phillip the King" was read in parts & much enjoyed the parts being taken as opposite.
King Phillip C. B. Castle
His Daughter the Infanta Mrs Castle
Various Ghosts Mrs Pollard
The Captain H.R. Smith
De Leyva S.A. Reynolds

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      


Osbert or Sacheverell Sitwell : 

'Meeting held at 70, Northcourt Avenue: 2. VI. 31 Charles E. Stansfield in the chair 1. Minutes of last approved [...] 7. The subject of the Sitwells was introduced by George Burrow who read spicy biographical extracts from Who's Who about the father Sir George Reresby, the sister Edith, and the brothers Osbert and Sacheverell. [...] Relieved by this happy if unexpected dénouement we settled ourselves in renewed confidence to listen to readings from the poetry of Edith. Alfred Rawlings read us parts of Sleeping Beauty & Celia Burrow the story of Perrine. Then for the work of Osbert and Sacheverell. H. M. Wallis gave us an amusing & tantalising paper entitled "Southern Baroque Art". This was followed by further reading from Mary Pollard, Alfred Rawlings, Charles Stansfield, & George Burrow.'

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      


Molière [pseud.] : The Misanthrope

Meeting held at Eynsham, Shinfield Rd, 31.5.32.

George Burrow in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last approved


6. Victor Alexander then gave an outline of the career of Molière, & a sketch of the life of the XVIIth Century in France.


7. There followed a reading of the Misanthrope - abridged - in translation. The parts were taken as follows:

Philinte      Charles Stansfield
Alceste      Frank Pollard
Oronte      George Burrow
Célimène      Rosamund Wallis
Basque      Sylvanus Reynolds
Eliante      Mary S. W. Pollard
Clitandre      Edgar Castle
Acaste      Henry M. Wallis
A Guard      Victor Alexander
Arsinoë [Arsinoé]      Mary E. Robson

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Johann Wolfgang von Goethe : 

Meeting held at Reckitt House, Leighton Park: 22.6.32

Reginald H. Robson in the Chair.

1. Minutes of the last read. It was felt that Minute 6 needed some amplification, & Charles Stansfield was asked to do this. His more than kind amplification is appended.


8. After adjournment for supper, the Goethe evening was begun by Mary E Robson. She sang the song "Knowst thou the land". The music is by Beethoven. In this and her other songs Mary Robson was kindly accompanied by Caroline Pollard.

9. A Reading from Goethe was next given by Mary S. W. Pollard.

10. Reginald H. Robson read a paper on the life of Goethe. If there were any who had thought of Goethe exclusively as a poet, they must have been amazed at his vesitality. Philosopher, poet, statesman, scientist, he seems to have been "everything by turns and nothing long", except indeed a lover [...].

11. We had been much intrigued with Mrs Robson's description of the Sorrows of Werther, especially when our friend warned us that those who came under the spell of this book usually commited suicide after reading it. We felt accordingly grateful to Mrs. Robson who had read it on our behalf, and flirted with death for our sakes, and not a little apprehensive when Janet Rawlings read us an extract from it. All passed off well, however. [...]

12. George Burrow read a song from Goethe's Gefunden.

13. Mary Robson sang "My peace is o'er" from Faust.

14. A Reading from the same play was given by Elisabeth & Victor Alexander

15. Another song "Little wild rose, wild rose red." was sung by Mary Robson.

16. Finally Charles E. Stansfield gave us his paper on Goethe. He referred to the lack of the political sense in the German people of those days, & showed Goethe as quite content to acquiesce in the paternal government of his small state. He described the influence of Herde[,] Klopstock, Lessing, Shakespeare, &, quaintly enough, of Goldsmith on Goethe. In speaking of the poet's scientific interests he told us of his discovery of the intermaxillary bone & of Goethe's ceaseless efforts to acquire truth.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      


Charles E. Stansfield : [Safety First]

Meeting held at Fairlight, Denmark Rd.: 21.iii.33

Francis E. Pollard in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved.

5. Eight anonymous essays were then read. In some of these the subject treated or the style of the author made recognition comparatively easy, but others were provocative of much ingenious speculation. A paper on English Justice proved to be the most discussed during the interval. Rival tipsters gave in confidence the names of Mrs. Stansfield & Robert Pollard as the author, one of them purporting to recognize - or coming perilously close to so doing - Mrs. Stansfield’s opinion of her fellow magistrates, while the other detected just that ingenious combination of Fascism and Bolshevism that Robert Pollard would enjoy putting up for the Club’s mystification. Further conflicting theories attributed the authorship to Henry Marriage Wallis or Howard Smith, & this last proved correct[....]

Another essay which stirred debate told of a medium, a photograph, a Twentieth Century Officer & a suit of medieval armour. It was told with that precision of detail that marks either the experienced writer of fiction or the worshipper of truth. And as if to darken counsel there was an open allusion to Bordighera. Suspicious though we were, & in spite of every appearance of our being right, we adhered to the view that the author must be H. M. Wallis.

Time & space do not allow adequate record of all the papers, but it must be mentioned that three of the eight came from the Rawlings family: a thoughtful essay by Alfred Rawlings needed a second reading if it were to be seriously discussed, some interesting reminiscences by Helen Rawlings made very good hearing, & Moroccan memories by Janet helped to make a most varied programme.

Other essays were "Safety First" by Charles E. Stansfield, and "The English - are they modest? " by Edgar Castle, both of which added some humorous touches to the evening.

A list of essayists, & their readers, follows.

Mrs Castle read a paper by Alfred Rawlings
Janet Rawlings read a paper by Helen Rawlings
Charles Stansfield read a paper by Henry M. Wallis
Reginald Robson read a paper by Howard Smith
George Burrow read a paper by Reginald Robson
Alfred Rawlings read a paper by Edgar Castle
Howard Smith read a paper by Janet Rawlings
Mrs Pollard read a paper by Charles E. Stansfield.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Manuscript: Unknown


Mary Russell Mitford : 'The Gypsy', from Our Village

Meeting held at 70 Northcourt Avenue 28/4/1933

C. E. Stansfield in the chair

1 Minutes of last read and approved

2 For the Next Meeting's subject "The Jew in Literature" was chosen with Geo Burrow H. R. & E. B. Smith as committee


4 The evening's subject of Berkshire in Literature was then opened up by Charles E. Stansfield reading from Tom Browns School days a description of the Vale of the White Horse[.] He carried us into a quietude of time & space where a great lover of the Vale tells of the great open downs & the vale to the north of them.

Dorothy Brain told us something of Old Berkshire Ballads surprising us with their number & variety & read an amusing Ballad about a lad who died of eating custard, & the Lay of the Hunted Pig.

C. E. Stansfield read an introduction to "Summer is a Cumen In"which was then played and sung on the Gramophone.

H. R. Smith read a description of "Reading a Hundred Years Ago" from "Some Worthies of Reading"

F. E. Pollard introduced Mary Russell Mitford to the Club giving a short account of her life and Work quoting with approval a description of her as "A prose Crabbe in the Sun"

M. S. W. Pollard read "The Gypsy" from "Our Village"

Geo Burrows gave us a short Reading from Mathew Arnolds "Scholar Gypsy" and a longer one from "Thyrsis"[.] During this the Stansfield "Mackie" put in a striking piece of synchronization.

E. B. Castle read an interesting account of the Bucklebury Bowl Turner from H. V. Mortons "In Search of England".

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Percy Corder : The Life of Robert Spence Watson

Meeting held at 9 Denmark Road, 20 IV. 1934

F. E. Pollard in the chair

1. Minutes of last read & approved with one correction, in the absence of the secretary.


4. Howard R. Smith told us of Morris’s life. The meeting gasped with unanimity and amazement to learn that he (Morris i.e.) had read all the Waverley novels by the age of seven; we gathered that the background of his life had been a blend of Epping Forest & shares in a coppermine, and that his appearance accounted for his lifelong nickname of Topsy. Of his friendships, his labours to restore beauty to Victorian homes, to prevent vandals from restoring cathedrals & other ancient monuments, his Kelmscott Press, his poems & prose romances, his turning to Socialism as the only way to a society in which men would find happiness in sound and beautiful work – of all these things and many more which made up his extraordinarily full and fruitful life, it is impossible to make a summary.

5. Mary S. W. Pollard read a short extract from Percy Corder’s life of Robert Spence Watson telling of a visit of Wm Morris to Bensham Grove. Members afterwards inspected his signature in the Visitors’ book.

6. Ethel C. Stevens read an interesting account of Kelmscott Manor, revealing other sides of this vigorous and many sided personality.

7. R. H. Robson gathered together the artistic & socialist aspects of Morris’s work, emphasised the greatness of the man, & read extracts from MacKail’s Biography. It was clear that Morris would wish to cancel out the last four hundred years & start again on different lines. Time was wanting to reveal all the varieties of opinion that this might have elicited, & we parted in united awe at the mans capacity for work, & his important contributions to our life & ideals.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Jane Austen : Sense and Sensibility

Meeting held at 30 Northcourt Avenue: 21.4.37.

  Ethel C. Stevens in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved

6. V. W. Alexander read a paper on Jane Austen, half biographical sketch & half an appreciation of her style.

7. F. E. Pollard quoted from Lucy Harrison’s Literary Papers some telling and illuminating remarks, particularly about Fanny Price in Mansfield Park

8. Readings were then given
from Northanger Abbey by Celia Burrows
from Persuasion by Rosamund Wallis
from Sense and Sensibility by Francis & Mary Pollard
from Love and Friendship by Elizabeth Alexander
from Pride and Prejudice by Victor Alexander

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


Percy Bysshe Shelley : Hymn to Intellectual Beauty

Meeting held at School House, L.P. :- 28. v. 37.

C. E. Stanfield in the Chair.

1. Minutes of last read & approved


4. Charles Stansfield then read a biographical sketch of Shelley, followed by an estimate of Shelley’s views and character.

5. Readings were then given by the following
Hymn to Intellectual Beauty by Mary Pollard
Prometheus Unbound by Reginald Robson
Ode to the West Wind by Elizabeth Alexander
Adonaïs by Victor Alexander.

These were all discussed; and a further short reading, from William Watson’s poetry, was given by Alfred Rawlings.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      


Ivan Bunin : The Village

Meeting held at 70 Northcourt Avenue: 14. 12. 37
6. The evening was completed by the reading of extracts from the works of various authors who had recently been awarded the Nobel prize for Literature. In the interests of truth it should perhaps be mentioned that the reading from French and Russian authors were given from English translations.
R. H. Robson read from Dodsworth by Sinclair S. Lewis
Mary S. W. Pollard [read from] The Village [by] Ivan Bunin
L. Dorothea Taylor [read from] All God’s Chillun Got Wings [by] Eugene E. O'Neill
H. R. Smith [read from] Les Thibault by Roger M. du Gard
S. A Reynolds [read from] White Monkey [by] J. Galsworthy

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


George William Russell : Gandhi

Meeting held at St. Margaret’s, Shinfield Road: 20. 1. 38.

F. E. Pollard in the chair

1. Minutes of last read and approved


6. C. E. Stansfield opened the proceedings on Æ [A-E ligature, the name adopted by George William Russell] by a detailed biographical sketch of some length, in the course of which we gained some idea of the contradictions and complexities of A. E.’s character. [...] An interesting personal touch was added to the sketch by F. E. Pollard who had been present at one of Æ’s “salon” receptions.

7. Extracts from A. E’s prose were then read by Mary S. W. Pollard on “Gandhi,” and by F. E. Pollard on “The one dimensional mind”.

8. Finally F. E. Pollard and V. W. Alexander read three of A.E.’s poems.

9. By this time most of us were more than ready for a little lighter matter, and we thoroughly appreciated some delightful touches from The Tinker’s Wedding by Synge which Rosamund Wallis gave with evident relish.

Century: 1900-1945     Reader/Listener/Group: Mary Pollard      Print: Book


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