Monday, 3 March 2014

Storm Jameson

I have to thank Michael of the Great War Forum for asking me about Storm Jameson who is on my list of Female Poets of the First World War.

Thanks too to David Walsh and Jennifer Birkett who both replied speedily to my queries.

From David Walsh:

"Storm was primarily a prose writer - her first novel was published in 1919,  After that, she turned out novels on almost an assembly line fashion, and any poetry may have been overlooked.

During WW1 Storm had members of her family serving in the front line. Her father was a Captain in the Mercantile Marine who was torpedoed by a U boat and became a POW in Germany.  Her brother was a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps and died as a result of being shot down by hostile fire.  Both events deeply affected Storm at a time when she was trying to cope with a doomed marriage and bringing up a young child.

This is not to say that she did not take a stance on the war.  She did:  To quote from one web biography talking about a post war work:   

As Martin Ceadel, the author of Pacifism in Britain 1914-1945 (1980) has pointed out: "Her sense of outrage at the Great War in which so many of her contemporaries, including her brother, had been killed suddenly erupted into overt pacifism... Brooding upon the depressing consequences of the war, she felt an acute sense of guilt at having supported it, and turned her book into an outspoken anti-war polemic.... By the end she had gone so far as to declare herself a pacifist."

FWIW I attach a link to an essay I wrote about Storm which mainly concentrates on her 'local' life in the area where she came from and her political trajectory.   

Best to read Jennifer Birkett's biography of Storm Jameson, which gives information on her decision to become a founding member of the PPU and in so doing declare her all-out pacifism in the early 1930's.  However, it needs to be said that she later regretted this stance in the light of WW2.  There's plenty of these to be had in second hand form on the web.

Storm also wrote her autobiography 'Journey from the North' which is in 2 volumes."

From Jennifer Birkett:

"I only know of one poem by Storm Jameson, which was written, I think, in 1943 on the death of her sister, killed by a wartime bomb… it was published in the Times Literary Supplement in that year, and if you are interested you should be able to find a copy fairly easily in the online Times Literary Supplement Centenary archive.

Best wishes for your project,"

Jennifer Birkett at The University of Birmingham