No Soft Incense:
Barbara Pym and the Church,
edited by Hazel K. Bell.
Barbara Pym Society, 115 pages, GBP 7.50
Although No Soft Incense, the title of this collection of essays put together by the Barbara Pym Society (it is available on the Societys website at www.barbara-pym.org), is not in fact the title of one of Barbara Pyms eleven novels, it mimics her penchant for picking up phrases from obscurish English poems: Some Tame Gazelle (Thomas Haynes Bayly), A Glass of Blessings (The Pulley, Herbert), The Sweet Dove Died (The Dove, Keats). Pyms titles are obscure both in the sense that you might not have heard of them and that you cant quite tell what theyre supposed to mean even once you have.
The phrase no soft incense (modified Keats) pleasantly poses a Pym-like conundrum: no...