With Hitler’s accession to power in 1933 and the growing existential threat to Europe, many leading British intellectuals recognised that war would be a disaster. With characteristic zeal, Storm Jameson took on the controversial peace initiative instigated by Robert Cecil to publish Challenge to death, a collection of essays by prominent writers, featuring in the exhibition.
Storm wrote the introductory article “The Twilight of reason” in a grave tone, attacking the dangers of nationalism, which she saw as the essence of fascism. In her epilogue “In the End” she outlined her vision for “a settled Europe, with England at its heart”. She wrote eloquently:
“For ill or good England is a close part of Europe and will remain so until aeroplanes are forbidden to be built. In Europe the majority of the nations have the misfortune to be foreigners, and close enough to us to make living with them uncomfortable and dangerous if it is not regulated. In such circumstances we ought to sit in conference with them the whole time, for our safety’s sake”.
Storm wrote continuously throughout her life. She produced over 45 novels and numerous non-fiction books, reviews, plays, critical essays and biographies. At the age of 78 she wrote a comprehensive two-volume memoir Journey from the North (1969-70) of her life and work.
The Library has been fortunate to receive a donation from Elisabeth Maslen including 73 titles by Storm Jameson. Elisabeth Maslen’s biography Life in the Writings of Storm Jameson reveals a figure who held her own beside fellow British women writers, including Virginia Woolf.