I was delighted and astonished to win a subscription to the Slightly Foxed Quarterly in a competition at The Dabbler. My first copy (Number 27, Autumn 2010) arrived a few days after I found out I'd won, and has been an enlightening and entertaining read. This issue has several articles on forgotten writers - H.A. Manhood and Rupert Croft-Cook were new names to me - as well as evaluations of better-known writers including Thoreau, Graham Green and Madame de Sevigné, so a catholic (and slightly Catholic) selection. The essays are short and pithy, designed to entice the reader to explore the subject further, giving little hints of the qualities and characteristics of the subject; many of the essayists foreground the personal pleasure and resonance that their subject has for them, in particular the sensual pleasures of reading the work concerned. The last piece, on the earliest origins of painting and paper, connects to this slight emphasis on the materiality of books, as well as letting us in on some academic gossip - historians of paper are a combative lot, and the leading Chinese paper historian, Pan Jixing, turned to the study of gunpowder for a while as it was much more peaceful.
The magazine is the size of a small book, eminently portable, and with the high production values of the Slightly Foxed Editions. I can see that the Quarterly will be a pleasure for the year to come, and no doubt bookish friends will be getting birthday subscriptions. Many thanks to Slightly Foxed and to the Dabbler for the chance to enjoy it.