J. C. Squire: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sir John Squire (John Collings Squire) (2 April 1884 – 20 December 1958) was a British poet, writer, historian, and influential literary editor of the post-World War I period.



Born in Plymouth, he was educated at Blundell's School and St. John's College, Cambridge. He was one of those published in the Georgian poetry collections of Edward Marsh. His own Selections from Modern Poets anthology series, launched in 1921, became definitive of the conservative style of Georgian poetry.

He began reviewing for The New Age[1]; through his wife he had met Alfred Orage[2]. His literary reputation was first made by a flair for parody, in a column Imaginary Speeches in The New Age from 1909.

His poetry from World War I was satirical; at the time he was reviewing for the New Statesman, using the name Solomon Eagle (taken from a Quaker of the seventeenth century) - one of his reviews from 1915 was of The Rainbow by D. H. Lawrence. Squire had been appointed literary editor when the New Statesman was set up in 1912[3]; he was noted as an adept and quick journalist, at ease with contributing to all parts of the journal[4]. He was acting editor of the New Statesman in 1917-18, when Clifford Sharp was in the British Army[5], and more than competently sustained the periodical[6]. When the war ended he found himself with a network of friends and backers, controlling a substantial part of London's literary press.[7]

From 1919 to 1934, Squire was the editor of the monthly periodical, the London Mercury. It showcased the work of the Georgian poets and was an important outlet for new writers. Alec Waugh described the elements of Squire's 'hegemony' as acquired largely by accident, consequent on his rejection for military service for bad sight. Squire's natural persona was of a beer-drinking, cricketing West Countryman; his literary cricket XI, the Invalids, were immortalised in A. G. Macdonell's England, Their England[8], with Squire as Mr. William Hodge, editor of the London Weekly[9]. In July 1927 he became an early radio commentator on Wimbledon[10].

In his book If It Had Happened Otherwise (1931) he collected a series of essays, many of which could be considered alternate histories, from some of the leading historians of the period (like Hilaire Belloc and Winston Churchill[11]); in America it was published that same year in somewhat different form under the title If: or, History Rewritten.

Squire was knighted in 1933, and after leaving the London Mercury in 1934, he became a reader for Macmillans, the publishers; in 1937, he became a reviewer for the Illustrated London News.

Raglan Squire, an architect, known for his work at Rangoon University in the 1950s, as the architect for the conversion of the houses in Eaton Sq, London into flats thus ensuring the preservation of that great London Square, and many buildings including offices and hotels in the Middle East and elsewhere was his eldest son. His second son was Antony Squire, a pilot film director (The Sound Barrier). His third son Maurice was killed in the Second War while his youngest daughter Julia Baker (née Squire) was a costumn designer for theatre and cinema. She married the actor George Baker.Obituary</ref>.


Squire had joined the Marxist Social Democratic Federation, as a young man. During his time at the New Statesman he wrote as a "Fabian liberal"[12]. His views moved steadily rightwards.[13].

Squire met Benito Mussolini in 1933, and was one of the founders of the January Club, set up on 1 January 1934[14]. He held in it the position of Chairman or Secretary, and claimed that it was not a Fascist organisation[15]. It was a dining club with invited speakers, and was closely connected to Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, which nominated members[16]. According to Charles Petrie[17] Squire "found the atmosphere uncongenial before long".


The Bloomsbury group named the coterie of writers that surrounded Squire as the Squirearchy. Alan Pryce-Jones was Squire's assistant on the Mercury and wrote[18]

Among his contemporaries ... his reputation was variable. Many of them, such as Virginia Woolf, found him coarse; they thought, with reason, that he drank too much; they had little confidence in the group, known as the Squirearchy, which surrounded him.

Squire is in any case generally credited with the one-liner ""I am not so think as you drunk I am".

T. S. Eliot accused Squire of using the London Mercury to saturate literary London with journalistic and popular criticism. According to Robert H. Ross[19]

By 1920 Squire was well on his way towards establishing a literary coterie of the Right just as partisan, as militant and as dedicated as the Leftist coteries.

John Middleton Murry took an adversarial line towards Squire, seeing his London Mercury as in direct competition with his own The Athenaeum[20]. Roy Campbell sometimes mocked Squire in verse.

Since his death the reputation of Squire has declined; scholarship has absorbed the strictures of his contemporaries, such as F. S. Flint, openly critical of Squire in 1920[21]. Squire is now considered to be on the "blimpish" wing of the reaction to modernist work[22].

A reappraisal of the periodical network literary London, and problems with the term modernism, have encouraged scholars to cast their nets beyond the traditional venue of modernism - the little magazine - to seek to better understand the role mass-market periodicals such as the London Mercury played in promoting new and progressive writers.

An as yet unpublished 1933 letter from Squire to Canadian poet Duncan Campbell Scott betray's Squire's brief flirtation - or at the very least infatuation - with fascism.

Writers published in The London Mercury

Poets in Selections from Modern Poets 1921 and 1924

Lascelles Abercrombie - J. R. Ackerley - E. N. Da C. Andrade - Martin Armstrong - Kenneth H. Ashley - Maurice Baring - Hilaire Belloc - Paul Bewsher - Edmund Blunden - Gordon Bottomley - Frederick V. Branford - Rupert Brooke - Francis Burrows - A. Y. Campbell - Dudley Carew - G. K. Chesterton - Gwen Clear - Padraic Colum - Frances Cornford - W. H. Davies - Edward L. Davison - Jeffrey Day - Geoffrey Dearmer - Walter De la Mare - John Drinkwater - R. C. K. Ensor - James Elroy Flecker - Robin Flower - John Freeman - Wilfrid Wilson Gibson - Louis Golding - Gerald Gould - Robert Graves - Julian Grenfell - Ivor Gurney - George Rostrevor Hamilton - Ralph Hodgson - James Joyce - Frank Kendon - William Kerr - D. H. Lawrence - Francis Ledwidge - E. R. R. Linklater - Sylvia Lynd - P. H. B. Lyon - Rose Macaulay - Thomas MacDonagh - John Masefield - Harold Monro - T. Sturge Moore - John Middleton Murry - Robert Nichols - Alfred Noyes - Seamus O'Sullivan - Wilfred Owen - J. D. C. Pellow - Joseph Plunkett - Frank Prewett - J. B. Priestley - Vita Sackville-West - Siegfried Sassoon - Edward Shanks - C. H. Sorley - James Stephens - Edward Wyndham Tennant - Edward Thomas - W. J. Turner - Dorothy Wellesley - Iolo Aneurin Williams - Francis Brett Young


  • Socialism and Art, XXth Century Press London 1907
  • Poems and Baudelaire Flowers, The New Age Press London 1909
  • Imaginary Speeches - Stephen Swift London 1912
  • William The Silent - Methuen & Co London 1912
  • Steps to Parnassus - Howard Latimer London 1913
  • Three Hills and other poems - Howard Latimer London 1913
  • Christmas Hymn - Privately Reprinted from the New Statesman
  • 1914
  • The Survival of the Fittest - George Allen & Unwin London 1916
  • Twelve Poems - Published for FORM by the Moreland Press London 1st Edition 1916
  • The Gold Tree - Martin Sacker London 1917
  • The Lily of Malud and other poems - Martin Sacker London 1917
  • Tricks of the Trade - Martin Sacker London 1917
  • Books in General, using pseudonym Solomon Eagle, Martin Sacker London 1918
  • Books in General - Second Series, using pseudonym Solomon Eagle, Martin Sacker London 1920
  • Books in General - Third Series, using pseudonym Solomon Eagle Hodder & Stoughton London 1921
  • Poems - First Series Hodder & Stoughton London 1918
  • The Birds and other poems - Martin Sacker London 1919
  • Life and Letters - William Heinemann London 1920
  • The Moon - Hodder & Stoughton London 1920
  • Collected Parodies - Hodder & Stoughton London 1921
  • Books Reviewed - Hodder & Stoughton London 1922?
  • Essays at Large - J C Squire using pseudonym Solomon Eagle Hodder & Stoughton London 1922
  • Poems Second Series - William Heinemann London 1922
  • The Rugby Match - Privately Published London 1922
  • American Poems and Others - Hodder & Stoughton London 1923
  • Essays on Poetry - Hodder & Stoughton London 1923
  • The Invalids - A Chronicle - Privately Printed London 1923
  • A New Song of the Bishop of London and the City Churches - Printed by Manning Pike London 1924
  • The Grub Street Nights Entertainments - Hodder & Stoughton London 1924
  • J C Squire - The Augustan Book of Modern Poetry - Ernest Benn London 1925
  • Poems in One Volume - William Heinemann London 1926
  • The Clown of Stratford - Privately Published. Printed At The Burleigh Press, Bristol 1926
  • Life at the Mermaid - Collins London 1927
  • Robin Hood - A play - William Heinemann London 1928
  • A London Reverie - Drawings by Joseph Pennell with an introductory Essay and notes
  • by J. C. Squire Macmillan London 1928
  • The Muse Absent - The Wine Press USA New York Limited Edition 1929
  • Sunday Mornings - William Heinemann London 1930
  • A Face in Candlelight & other poems - William Heinemann London 1932
  • Speech by J C Squire at the Opening Ceremony of the Lewis Carroll Centenary Exhibition 28 June 1932 - John & Edward Bumpus London 1932
  • Outside Eden - William Heinemann London 1933
  • Flowers of Speech - George Allen & Unwin London 1935
  • Reflections and Memories - William Heinemann London 1935
  • Shakespeare as a Dramatist - Cassell and Co London 1935
  • Weepings and Wailings - Cobden Sanderson London 1935
  • The Hall of the Institute of Chartered Accounts London 1937
  • The Honeysuckle and the Bee - William Heinemann London 1937
  • Water Music - William Heinemann London 1939
  • Poems of Two Wars - Hutchinson London 1940
  • The Symbol - Private Edition London 1940
  • Selected Poems - Oliver Moxon London 1948
  • Solo and Duet including The Honey suckle and the Bee and Water Music - The Reprint Society UK London 1949
  • Collected Poems - Macmillan London 1959
  • Pride and Prejudice - A Play - Eileen H A Squire and J C Squire Joint Authors - William Heinemann UK London 1929
  • Berkeley Square - A Play - John L Balderston in collaboration with J C Squire - Longmans, Green and Co London
  • La Plaza de Berkeley - A Play - John L Balderston in collaboration with J C Squire translated into Spanish - Alfil Spain 1952


  • Patrick Howarth, Squire: Most Generous of Men, Hutchinson (London 1963)


  1. ^ Eric Homberger, Ezra Pound (1997), p. 83.
  2. ^ Adrian Smith, The New Statesman: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-1931 (1996), p. 23.
  3. ^ Edward Hyams, The New Stateman: The History of the First Fifty Years 1913-1953 (1963), p. 17.
  4. ^ Hyams, p. 158.
  5. ^ Leeds Library PDF
  6. ^ Hyams, p. 61.
  7. ^ Alec Waugh, My Brother Evelyn and Other Profiles (1967), pp. 143-147.
  8. ^ Alec Waugh, The Early Years (1962), p. 172.
  9. ^ A G Macdonell's England Their England The Characters
  10. ^ Asa Briggs, History of Broadcasting in the United Kingdom (1995), p. 76.
  11. ^ If Lee Had Not Won the Battle of Gettysburg - The Churchill Centre
  12. ^ Hyams, p. 159.
  13. ^ Charles Hobday, Edgell Rickword: A Poet at War (1989), p. 156.
  14. ^ Claudia Baldoli, Exporting Fascism: Italian Fascists and Britain's Italians in the 1930s (2003), p. 103.
  15. ^ Martin Pugh, 'Hurrah for the Blackshirts!' (2005), p. 146.
  16. ^ Alfred William Brian Simpson, In the Highest Degree Odious: Detention Without Trial in Wartime Britain (1992), p. 57.
  17. ^ A Historian Looks at His World (1972), p. 115.
  18. ^ The Bonus of Laughter (1987) 55.
  19. ^ The Georgian Revolt (1967), p. 206.
  20. ^ Michael H. Whitworth, Modernism (2007), p. 22.
  21. ^ Presentation: Notes on the Art of Writing; on the Artfulness of Some Writers and the Artlessness of Others, The Chapbook 2 (9), March 1920, in Tim Middleton, Modernism: Critical Concepts in Literary and Cultural Studies (2003) from p. 116.
  22. ^ poetrymagazines.org.uk - Positive Refusal


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

J. C. Squire (John Collings Squire) (2 April 188420 December 1958) was a British poet, writer, historian, and influential literary editor of the post-World War I period.


  • God heard the embattled nations sing and shout
    "Gott strafe England" and "God save the King!"
    God this, God that, and God the other thing –
    "Good God!" said God, "I've got my work cut out!"
  • From Epigrams (1916)
  • It did not last: the devil, shouting "Ho.
    Let Einstein be," restored the status quo.
    • "In Continuation of Pope on Newton", from Poems (1926)
    • Written in response to Alexander Pope's "Nature and nature's laws lay hid in night; God said 'Let Newton be' and all was light."
  • The better production of our generation has been mainly lyrical and it has been widely diffused.
    • Selections from Modern Poets, Complete Edition (1927), p.vi
  • And I've swallowed, I grant, a beer of lot -
    But I'm not so think as you drunk I am.
    • Ballade of Soporific Absorption (1931).
  • Now there once was a lass, and a very pretty lass,
    And she was an isotope's daughter
    • Poem The Lass o' the Lab - A Modern Folksong
  • At last incapable of further harm,
    The lewd forefathers of the village sleep.
    • Poem If Gray had had to write his Elegy in the Cemetery of Spoon River instead of in that of Stoke Poges

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