John Buchan

I was rereading John Buchan’s GREENMANTLE* (published 1916) for the first time since I was a teen and discovered this passage, which I completely missed before.

This is the part where the bold and crafty British spy discovers that it’s worse than he suspected. His nemesis is a cruel German military man, that he knew. But now he quails: this man has a pretty drawing room.

Anything could happen.

*no, there are no Raven Cycle clues to be had here


This week, we are sad to say goodbye to Judith Luna, the Senior Commissioning Editor of the Oxford World’s Classics series. To make the pain more bearable, we designed two cakes in the shape of Oxford World’s Classics jacket covers.

The messages on both cakes are not very subtle and demonstrate how sad we are that she is leaving after thirty-nine years working at OUP.

Images by Kirsty Doole for Oxford University Press.

John Buchan: In every relationship, I think, one person loves the other person more. But hopefully it’s close and hopefully it goes up and down a little bit, you know? But it seems to me you never can both equally love each other the same amount. It’s unfortunate, but it’s just sort of a fact of life.

Movie Quote of the Day – Stories We Tell, 2012 (dir. Sarah Polley)


A Photoalbum of a 1926 copy of Seven Pillars of Wisdom submitted by imgur user DanDowling

According to Dan, the above book is one of only 167 published during Lawrence’s lifetime and belonged to John Buchan, famous Scottish author, politician and close friend of Lawrence.

Dan also says that the book is worth $150,000 today.

The final picture is of a letter from Prime Minister Baldwin to John Bucan, 1926.  Dan transcribed it as:

“My dear Buchan,
I should like to write to Lawrence: let me have his address.
In the meantime accept my gratitude.  I am half way through the book.  With certain excisions I should like to see it in a cheap edition and an enormous circulation.  It is an amazing piece of work.
(Intelligible) with to you.
(Intelligible) yours,
Stanley Baldwin”

From Dan’s research this is a response to a package/letter sent from Lawrence to Buchan in early December 1926, where Lawrence asks Buchan to gift Baldwin a copy of The Seven Pillars as a gesture of thanks for the Prime Minister’s help in getting Lawrence accepted into he Royal Air Force.

Happy Birthday, John Buchan, born 26 August 1875, died 11 February 1940


  1. This preoccupation with the classics was the happiest thing that could have befallen me. It gave me a standard of values. To live for a time close to great minds is the best kind of education. … Faulty though my own practice has always been, I learned sound doctrine - the virtue of a clean, bare style, of simplicity, of a hard substance and an austere pattern.
  2. An atheist is a man who has no invisible means of support.
  3. I believe everything out of the common. The only thing to distrust is the normal.
  4. The book trade is spiritual barometer of a nation’s well-being.
  5. The task of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.
  6. Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective.
  7. The best prayers have often more groans than words.
  8. But the big courage is the cold-blooded kind, the kind that never lets go even when you’re feeling empty inside, and your blood’s thin, and there’s no kind of fun or profit to be had, and the trouble’s not over in an hour or two but lasts for months and years.
  9. He disliked emotion, not because he felt lightly, but because he felt deeply.
  10. Wood, sea and hill were the intimacies of my childhood, and they have never lost their spell for me.

Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, was a Scottish novelist, historian and politician. He is best known for writing The Thirty-Nine Steps and other adventure fiction. 

Source for Image

by Amanda Patterson for Writers Write