Neil Rathmell – writer

100+ essays on literary topics

D.H.Lawrence and the urge to write

The urge to write is not unusual. When I was a teacher I saw it in many of the children I taught. But not all. Some had a greater urge … Continue reading

August 27, 2020 · Leave a comment

Three kinds of novel, Thomas Hardy’s ‘The Woodlanders’

The difficulty in reading The Woodlanders is in knowing what kind of novel it is. Sometimes it reads like a psychological case study, sometimes like a fable or even a … Continue reading

August 15, 2020 · Leave a comment

The five acts and four intervals of Henry VIII

Shakespeare’s last play was not The Tempest, but Henry VIII, which was written some two years later. It is easy to read The Tempest as Shakespeare’s farewell to the stage … Continue reading

July 31, 2020 · Leave a comment

Charles Dickens, dramatist

What makes a writer choose to write in one form rather than another? Is it a matter of choice, or do poets, playwright and novelists have poetry, plays and novels … Continue reading

July 18, 2020 · 2 Comments

Shakespeare and the modern novel

Shakespeare must have read anything and everything that came his way, not just the sources for his plays, which are well known, not just the classical authors who, if Ben … Continue reading

March 16, 2020 · Leave a comment

Telling tales

One day, when she was a little girl, my mother lost her temper with her older sister, Dinah, who had been telling lies about her. In her still barely articulate … Continue reading

December 14, 2019 · 1 Comment

Just a novelist

Radclyffe Hall’s 1928 novel about love between women is almost a curiosity today, little read and even less understood. Her sixth novel, following Adam’s Breed, for which she had won … Continue reading

August 5, 2019 · Leave a comment

Going the extra foot

The widely held belief that Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameters is based on a misunderstanding, the result of a misguided attempt on the part of literary scholars to apply the … Continue reading

January 7, 2019 · Leave a comment

It was the best of Dickens, it was the worst of Dickens

As no lady or gentleman, with any claims to polite breeding, can possibly sympathise with the Chuzzlewit Family without being first assured of the extreme antiquity of the race, it … Continue reading

January 4, 2018 · Leave a comment

One man and his music

I had forgotten, until I heard it on the radio yesterday, that 5 December 2017 was the tenth anniversary of the death of the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, which means that it … Continue reading

December 9, 2017 · Leave a comment