John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (Aug. 26, 1875 – Feb. 11, 1940)

From: Paranoia, Power, and Male Identity in John Buchan’s Literary War (2007), by Nathan Joseph Waddell:


This thesis explores some of the intersections between paranoia, power, and male identity in the first three Hannay novels – The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915), Greenmantle (1916), and Mr. Standfast (1919) – of John Buchan (1875-1940), and the close links between these intersections and the rhetoric and discourses surrounding World War One. It opens by arguing that Buchan’s ‘Literary War’ can itself be thought of as a kind of ‘paranoid imaginary’ in which cultural fears (particularly fears relating to decadence and degeneration) are projected outwards to return in the romantic guise of hostile foreigners intent on destroying England, and in which the image of the ‘strong’ masculine self is promoted as a means of protecting the nation. Chapter One argues that The Thirty-Nine Steps functions as an extension of the invasion novel tradition in which a model of masculinity derived from the imperial pioneer is offered as such a gesture of self-defence. Chapter Two looks to Greenmantle’s problematization of the strong masculine self along two axes of interference: homosexuality and homoerotic desire, and empowered femininity. Chapter Three argues that Mr. Standfast brings the Literary War to a close with an image of male power underpinned by the imagery and colours of chivalry. The thesis concludes with a short discussion of some of the innate problems and nuances of Buchan’s recourse to the paranoid imaginary.”

From: Rosebery – Statesman in Turmoil (2005), by Leo McKinstry:

…In 1906 the author John Buchan called Rosebery ‘without doubt, the greatest living orator’, adding that ‘there are few better masters of the English tongue’. Buchan thought the secrets of his oratorical brilliance were his ‘intellectual vitality’ and his wit, ‘bubbling up spontaneously’.”

…As John Buchan wrote (of Rosebery),

‘He could be caustic and destructive, a master in the art of denigration; he could be punctiliously judicial; in certain matters he refused to be other than freakish, making brilliant fun out of bogus solemnities; he had also deep and sober loves.’…

…Although John Buchan once described him as a seventeenth-century Calvinist at heart, Rosebery had not a shred of bigotry…

…Nor was (Rosebery) above the occasional thriller; as he told John Buchan in 1926, ‘I have not long ago read The 39 Steps over again with keen relish. It is one of the most absurd and extravagant of works and therefore very pleasant to an invalid.’…

…Despite being an admirer, John Buchan, that prince of Caledonian diligence, admitted that Rosebery’s output amounted to ‘a slender literary baggage’…”

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