Society Librarian's Notes
Edward Micklethwaite Curr (1837-38)
• The Australian Race: Its Origin, Languages,
Customs, Place of Landing in Australia and the Routes by which It
Spread Itself Over The Continent -Vol 2. Published 1886
This is a real pioneer’s piece of work by one who also wrote:
Recollections of Squatting in Victoria and Pure Saddle Horses. It
would appear that our Mr Micklethwaite Curr deployed his Douai (France)
education in surveying the native languages and cultural behaviour of
the Australian race. By use of a standard list of 1000 English words
and phrases given to 95 separate colonialists, he duly surveyed and
recorded in this book the native Aboriginal vocabulary. He also issued
a Survey of 83 “Questions concerning the Aborigines of Australia.”,
with such questions such as: 16. Do they smear their persons with
grease, red ochre, pipe-clay or other substances? Not unsurprisingly
there emerged more than one reference to native words such
“turtoo-woolee: hole in the head” meaning a Doctor.
This is Volume 2 of 4 volumes.
William Canton (1858-64) Born China 1845, died London 1926.
William Canton was born at Chusan in China to a Catholic family of
civil servants. His childhood was spent mostly in Jamaica. He studied
for the priesthood at Douai in France and later in Paris, but
eventually abandoned the priesthood as a vocation to become a teacher
and writer. He later left the Roman Catholic Church to be a Protestant.
He worked as a journalist in London and Glasgow, where he became editor
of the Glasgow Weekly Herald and later a leader-writer for the Glasgow
• A Child’s Book of Saints – Reprinted First Edition 1906
- In the Forest of Stone
- The Song of the Minster – John of Fulda, Prior of Hethhulme – The Black Monks – John the Sub-Prior.
- The Pilgrim of a Night – Isidore alone with an Angel
- The Ancient Gods Pursuing – Hilary
- The Hermit of the Pillar – Basil in Ankara
- Kenach’s Little Woman – The Mother Blackbird – Abbot Kenach
- Golden Apples and Roses Red – Dorothea, a maiden of Caesarea
- The Seven Years of Seeking – Father Serapion and his voyage from Arimathea to Glastonbury
- The Guardians of the Door
- On the Shores of Longing – Western Spain and Monk Bresal of the Songs
- The Children of Spinalunga –Island off he NE coast of Crete
- Francis of Assisi – The Little Bedesman of Christ
- The Burning of Abbott Sprain
- The Countess Itha
- The Story of the Lost Brother
- The King Orgulous
- The Journey of Rheinfrid
• A Child’s Book of Warriors – 1912 is a
companion to The Child’s Book of Saints and is a story of Warriors,
Saints and Kings, bringing legends to life. This book was newly typeset
Alfred McClelland Burrage (1910-14) Born 1889 - Died 1956
Alfred Burrage served in the trenches throughout WW1 and authored a
number of Ghost Stories. (What was it about Douai and Ghosts? See
• War is War by Ex- Private X – Memoir - Personal
recollections as an “Artist’s Rifle” in the trenches of World War One.
He articulates the life of “Tommy Atkins”.
Paul Jennings (33-36) Born 1918 – died 1989
His columns constitute several hundred 700-word essays. In
general his pieces take the form of whimsical ponderings; some are
based in real-life incidents, often involving his friend Harblow.
His pieces are sometimes poems, and sometimes written in novel forms of
language, such as the Romance-eschewing Anglish, or that of a toy
19-letter pipewipen (typewriter).
Other articles were extended flights of fancy, such as “The Unthinkable
Carrier” based on the idea of cutting Britain free of the Earth’s crust
so that it could float around the oceans and guarantee world peace,
with the Isle of Wight kept in place by a tow chain. In a late 1950s
piece, “Sleep for Sale”, he prefigured the concept of the capsule hotel
(“Over to you, capitalists. But remember, I thought of it first.”).
Several of his pieces touched on the invented philosophical movement of
“Resistentialism”, a concept that probably owes some of its force to
the contempt that Jennings, a devout Catholic, felt for the
intellectual fashion he was parodying.
Jennings was an admirer of James Thurber, who attended a dinner party
at Jennings’ house and subsequently wrote of the conversation in a 1955
New Yorker piece.
• The Jenguin Pennings - is a 1963 distillation of eight of the author’s books.
• The Living Village - a picture of rural life drawn from village scrapbooks.
• Paul Jennings Bilbiography:
Oddly Enough collections
• Oddly Enough (Reinhardt and Evans, 1950)
• Even Oddlier (Reinhardt, 1952)
• Oddly Bodlikins (Reinhardt, 1953)
• Next to Oddliness (Reinhardt, 1955)
• Model Oddlies (Reinhardt, 1956)
• Gladly Oddly (Reinhardt, 1958)
• Idly Oddly (Reinhardt, 1959)
• I said Oddly, Diddle I? (Reinhardt, 1961)
• Oodles of Oddlies (Reinhardt, 1963)
• Oddly Ad Lib (Reinhardt, 1965)
• I Was Joking, Of Course (Reinhardt, 1968)
• It's an Odd Thing, But... ( Reinhardt, 1971)
• The Jenguin Pennings (Penguin, 1963)
• A Prescription for Foreing Travel (sic) (Guinness, 1966)
• Just a Few Lines (Guinness, 1969)
• I Must Have Imagined It (M Joseph, 1977)
• Pun Fun (Hamlyn, 1980)
• Golden Oddlies (Methuen, 1983)
• The Paul Jennings Reader (Bloomsbury, 1990) (posthumous)
Books on British life
• The Living Village (Hodder and Stoughton, 1968)
• Britain as she is Visit (M. Joseph, 1976)
• Companion to Britain (Cassell, 1981)
• East Anglia (Gordon Fraser, 1986)
• The Hopping Basket (MacDonald & Co, 1965)
• The Great Jelly of London (Faber and Faber, 1967)
• The Train to Yesterday (Chambers, 1974)
• Dunlopera: The Works and Workings of the Dunlop
Rubber Company. Dunlop Rubber Co, 1961. About Dunlop; illustrated by
Edward Bawden; not commercially issued. OCLC 59014464.
• And Now for Something Exactly the Same (Gollancz, 1977). A novel.
• The English Difference (Aurelia Enterprises, 1974) (co-edited with John Gorham)
• The Book of Nonsense (Macdonald, 1977)
• A Feast of Days (Macdonald, 1982)
• My Favourite Railway Stories (Lutterworth Press, 1982)
Prof. Adrian Hastings (43-46) Born 1929 – died 2001
Emeritus Professor of Theology at the University of Leeds.
• A History of English Christianity 1920-2000 – One
of the great classics of modern church history. Includes a pen picture
of Dom Sylvester Mooney, Abbot of Douai. (p.661)
• The Construction of Nationhood – Ethnicity,
Religion and Nationalism – His 1996 Wiles Lecture given at the
University of Belfast. (A Wiles lecture is given in memory of Thomas
Shires Wiles, the inventor of the washing machine.)
Leopold Antelme (40-46) b. 1928 died 2017
Leopold led the Appeal for the extension of the Abbey Church in ........... (tbc)
• In Retrospect – The Story of a family
JA Cuddon (39-47) Born 1928 – died 1996.
After Douai John Cuddon went up to Braesnose College Oxford, and did
post-graduate work on the concept of evil and the devil in mediaeval
and Renaissance literature.
• The Penguin Book of Ghost Stories – 1984
• The Owl’s Watchsong – 1960. A study of
Istanbul and the ancient capital of Byzantine Emperors and Turkish
P J Kavanagh (Douai - 1943-48) Born 1931 Died 2015
PJK was born in England in 1931, was wounded in the Korean War and
afterwards went to Merton College Oxford. He worked as a lecturer in
Jakarta and as an actor, broadcaster and columnist. He died in 2015,
• The Perfect Stranger A
prize-winning memoir after the early death of his wife. Chapter 2 is
devoted to his time at Douai.
“Patrick Kavanagh’s memoir is a small masterpiece of its kind,
reflecting all the wit, unabashed frankness and literary elegance of
its author” - Max Hastings
“A fine memorial to love and youth” – Michael Frayn
“One of the best memoirs I have read- humorous and poetic” - Richard Ingrams
• Finding Connections - by tracing his
Irish roots from famine in mid-1840s Ireland to Australia, he attempts
to make sense of the loss of his wife.
• Collected Poems - 1992
• The Essential GK Chesterton – is an exploration of
GKC’s writings. In “The Perfect Stranger” PJK describes GK Chesterton
as a hero of the Headmaster (Fr. Ignatius Rice) who did framed doodles
of his hero, and whom he later received into the church in 1922.
Kavanagh regarded Chesterton as extraordinarily “Christian” in the
everyday sense of the word.
Professor Henry Mayr-Harting (49-54) Born 1936
British medieval ecclesiastical scholar. He was Regius Professor of
Ecclesiastical History in the University of Oxford and Lay Canon of
Christ Church, Oxford from 1997 until 2003. He has some 20 publications
to his name.
• Religion, Politics and Society in Britain 1066-1272
The period from 1066 to 1272, from the Norman Conquest to the death of
Henry III, was one of enormous political change in England and of
innovation in the Church as a whole. Religion, Politics and Society
1066-1272 charts the many ways in which a constantly changing religious
culture impacted on a social and political system which was itself
dominated by clerics, from the parish to the kingdom.
Examining the various ways in which churchmen saw their relation to
secular power, Henry Mayr-Harting introduces many of the great
personalities of the time, such as Thomas Becket and Robert
Grosseteste. At the same time he shows how religion itself changed over
the course of two centuries, in response to changing social conditions
â€“ how rising population fuelled the economic activities of the
monasteries, and how parish reform demanded a more educated clergy and
by this increased the social prestige of the Church.
Written by an acknowledged master in the field, this magisterial
account will be an unmissable read for all students of Norman and
Plantagenet England and of the history of the medieval Church as a
political, social and spiritual force.
Frank Keating (52-55) Born 1937 - Died 2013
Frank Keating's work adorned the Guardian for four decades from 1973
until shortly before his death in early 2013. In his heyday Keating's
fizzing wordplay and sheer joie de vivre thrilled readers. They saw him
not just as a journalist but as a fan who shared their own delight in
sport for its own sake and in the stars who made it watchable. He also
had a special rapport with many of the greats such as Barry John and
• The Highlights The Highlights includes
much of his best writing in the Guardian on a huge range of sport plus
extracts from his work elsewhere, including The Observer, The Oldie and
The Spectator - and from his books, including the autobiography
Half-Time Whistle and his, Another Bloody Day in Paradise.
• Bowled Over – A year of sport.
• Half-Time Whistle - Autobiography.
• Up and Under – A Rugby diary.
• Another Bloody Day in Paradise – Classic account of the 1980-81 England Cricket tour of the Caribbean.
Bruce Duncan (53-58) Born 1940
Colonel Bruce Duncan joined the British Army and was commissioned into the 3rd Royal Tank Regiment.
• The Loan Soldier – Adventures of a Military Man Abroad
(Book to be donated on 10 Nov 18 – Gwydir Lecture)
The publication of this title coincided with the 25th anniversary of
Iraq's invasion and occupation of Kuwait in August 1990. Arriving in
Kuwait just after the end of the Iran/Iraq war, tensions were high and
storm clouds were building on the political horizon. After
international negotiations with Saddam Hussein broke down, Duncan's
dramatic and harrowing account of the events that followed bring
sharply into focus the full horrors of the unanticipated and brutal
Iraqi invasion of Kuwait on 2 August 1990. Against a background of gun
fire and armed conflict and with often only sporadic contact with the
British Embassy, Duncan and his family were increasingly isolated.
Hiding in their house, they avoided detection by Iraqi patrols by
living in the dark, making as little noise as possible, communicating
only in whispers - and supported by two brave Kuwaiti civilians.
Duncan's wife and daughters were eventually allowed to leave Kuwait,
while he and his sons remained in hiding. Later, former UK Prime
Minister Edward Heath secured the release of Duncan's two sons.
Tim Albert (60-65) Born 1947
Tim Albert was a visiting fellow at the University of Southampton,
editorial training adviser to the British Medical Journal, and author
of four books on medical writing. More recently he has published a
memoir, relating his journey in what he calls the ‘lucky bubble’ of the
second half of the 20th century.
• Mostly We Had It Good - Autobiography
Abbot Geoffrey Scott OSB (1962-66) – b. 1947
Abbot and former Headmaster of Douai and the leading authority on the Benedictines in England in the 18th Century.
• Gothic Rage Undone – English Monks in the Age of Enlightenment
Simon Murray (1994-97) b.1980
Simon lives in Berkshire and conducts lively and engaging illustration workshops in primary schools across the UK.
• Icky Doo Dah – 2010 – Author’s signed copy.
Alban Hood OSB
Alistair Alban Hood is a member of the Community at Douai, where he currently serves as Prior, Novice master and Choirmaster.
• From Repatriation to Revival: Continuity and Change in the English Benedictine Congregation, 1795-1850.
• Forgotten Voices of the Falklands : The Real Story of the Falklands War.
Who is High McManners?
Author to be identified
• Tercentenary of St. Edmunds Monastery
Joseph Conlon (93-98) Born 1981
A Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford.
• Why String Theory?
A popular book explaining the who, what and why of string theory to a
general audience. This was Physics World's 2016 Book of the Year.
Giles Foden Born 1967
The Author is not an alumnus of Douai, but the main character in this novel is based on the Old Dowegian ................. ?
The D-day landings - the fate of 2.5 million men, 3000 landing craft
and the entire future of Europe depends on the right weather conditions
on the English Channel on a single day. A team of Allied scientists is
charged with agreeing on an accurate forecast five days in advance.
Geoff Somers MBE (63-68) known in the school as Geoff Usher Somers
first and only traverse of the greatest axis of the Antarctic
continent, led by the author in 1990. Sketches by Peter Usher Somers
Geoff subsequently had audiences with prominent Heads of State to promote the need to protect the environment.
James Hall (1913-15)
• GF Handel – The Story of his Life and Work. Published by Boosey &
Hawkes in 1961, James summarizes some 21 articles and essays on George Frideric
Handel, and includes three of which he had himself written
• Sea Surgeon - Fascinating
account by 'S.O.S. Sea Surgeon' Hall, who worked for over twenty years
as a wartime doctor with the Walmer Lifeboat, assisting sick and
Rillington Place – Report of Inquiry in 1966 by His Hon Mr
Justice Sir Daniel Brabin (1925-32). This book is an “Uncovered Edition”
that used historic HM Stationary Office papers not
previously available in the popular form. Timothy Evans had been found Guilty of
the murder of his daughter, Geraldine and hung in 1950. As a result of the
Brabin Inquiry, Timothy Evans was granted a free pardon in 1966.
(Danny Brabin was Hockey Captain in 1931 and 1932, notching up the most
successful season 1931 with 80% victories P 5 W 4 D 1 L 0.)
Escape from Skepticism – by Christopher Derrick ( 1934-39)-
1977. Derrick was tutored at Oxford by CS Lewis.
Here he looks at liberal education and concludes it must be religious and at
A Dunkirk Story by Bali Rai tells the little-known story of the role that non-white soldiers played at Dunkirk.
Although a fictionalised account, the book contains a tribute to a
Royal Indian Army Service Corps officer Capt. (later Col.) J.W.D.
Ashdown (20/23) who was brought before a court martial for refusing to
obey an order to abandon the Indian mule-handlers under his command.
His son Paddy (later Lord) Ashdown went on to become the leader of the
Liberal Democratic Party.
Reluctant European: Britain and
the EU from 1945 to Brexit deals with Britain's volatile relationship
with the rest of Europe. The author Sir Stephen Wall, GCMG, LVO (60/65)
has enjoyed an illustrious diplomatic career. He was Private Secretary
to the Prime Minister John Major (1990-93), then British Ambassador to
Portugal (1993-95) and then the UK's Permanent Representative to the EU