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Steve Bucknell 08-23-2010 05:43 AM

Mystery. R.P.Lister.
The Mystery of R.P.Lister.

I found “The Revolutionaries” by accident, picking up a second-hand copy of the 1978 New Oxford Book of Light Verse chosen and edited by Kingsley Amis. I had never heard of R.P.Lister, but it struck me how snugly he would fit in to this "Robespierre" thread and this Sphere.

I went in search but could Google little biographical information.Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. Born in he must be in his late nineties if still alive. Perhaps living in Australia now. I have found no trace of an obituary. He is described as “travel writer, poet, novelist.” He appears to have been widely published in the fifties, sixties and seventies. I have the New Yorker link, Janice, and it is tantalising. Does anyone have their subscription to this archive and can access these poems?

I have ordered a copy of his book “The Questing Beast”. It’s only a few pounds, but I have no idea what it is: poetry, travel or fiction.

His books of poems include “Allotments”, “The Rhyme and the Reason”; his novels “One Short Summer”, “Rebecca Redfern”, and books on Herodotus, Ghengis Khan and travels in Turkey.

Does anyone know any more?


Steve Bucknell 08-23-2010 07:13 AM

Silent Books.
Just found this at the British Library.Rushing off to work now.

Record number : 1
Lister, R. P. The Albatross and other poems / (London : Dorricott, 1986.)

Record number : 2
Lister, R. P. Allotments / (Andoversford : Whittington, 1985.)

Record number : 3
Lister, R. P. Glimpses of a planet / (London : Pauline Dorricott Books, 1997.)

Record number : 4
Lister, R. P. The idle demon : a collection of verses. (Deutsch, 1958.)

Record number : 5
LISTER, Richard Percival. The Idle Demon. A collection of verses. (pp. 112. Andre Deutsch: London, 1958.)

Record number : 6
LISTER, Richard Percival. A Journey in Lapland. The hard way to Haparanda. [With illustrations by the author.] (pp. 256. Chapman & Hall: London, 1965.)

Record number : 7
Bagnold, Enid. Letters to Frank Harris, & other friends/ (Andoversford: Whittington Press & Heinemann, c1980.)
Eccles 916.

Record number : 8
Lister, R. P. Marco Polo's travels in Xanadu with Kublai Khan / (London : Gordon and Cremonesi, 1976.)

Record number : 9
Lister, R. P. Me and the Holy Spirit / (London : Pauline Dorricott Books, 1999.)

Record number : 10
Lister, R. P. Nine legends. (Pauline Dorricott, 1991.)

Record number : 11
LISTER, Richard Percival. One short summer. (Aylesbury: Milton House Books, 1974.)

Record number : 12
LISTER, Richard Percival. The Oyster and the Torpedo. (pp. 254. Jonathan Cape: London, 1951.)

Record number : 13
LISTER, Richard Percival. The Questing Beast. (pp. 229. Chapman & Hall: London, 1965.)

Record number : 14
LISTER, Richard Percival. Rebecca Redfern. (pp. 220. Andre Deutsch: London, 1953.)

Record number : 15
LISTER, Richard Percival. The Rhyme and the Reason. (pp. 246. Victor Gollancz: London, 1963.)

Record number : 16
LISTER, Richard Percival. The secret history of Genghis Khan. (London: Peter Davies, 1969.)
T 24554
W34/1999 (0432086803)

Record number : 17
Lister, R. P. The travels of Herodotus / (London : Gordon and Cremonesi, 1979.)
X.802/11107 (0860330818 :)

Record number : 18
Lister, R. P. Turkey observed / (Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1967.)

Record number : 19
LISTER, Richard Percival. Turkey observed. With illustrations by the author. (pp. 271. Eyre & Spottiswoode: London, 1967.)

Record number : 20
Lister, R. P. Two northern stories / (London : Pauline Dorricott, 1996.)

Record number : 21
LISTER, Richard Percival. The Way backwards. [A novel.] (pp. 252. Collins: London, 1950.)

Janice D. Soderling 08-23-2010 07:34 AM

Good detective work, Steve.

Alas, my subscription to the New Yorker just ran out and I decided to use my limited funds to support or subscribe to a few literary journals instead.

I hope we have some more detectives on the trail of R.P. Lister.

David Mason 08-23-2010 09:11 AM

You'll have to enlarge these if you can access them:

David Mason 08-23-2010 09:15 AM

David Mason 08-23-2010 09:16 AM

David Mason 08-23-2010 09:18 AM

W.F. Lantry 08-23-2010 09:26 AM


Originally Posted by Steve Bucknell (Post 162331)

Does anyone know any more?

Nope. Except The Questing Beast must be a joke at Malory's expense... :)

And there's this:

R.P. Lister (1914- )
It's quiet in Hell just now, it's very tame.
The devils and the damned alike like snoring.
Just a faint smell of sulphur, not much flame;
The human souls come here and find it boring.

Satan, the poor old Puritan, sits there
Emitting mocking laughter once a minute.
Idly he scans a page of Baudelaire
And wonders how he once saw evil in it.

He sips his brimstone at the Demons' Club
(His one amusement now he's superseded)
And keeps complaining to Beelzebub
That men make hotter hells than ever he did.



W.F. Lantry 08-23-2010 09:28 AM

I Thought I Saw Stars
By: R.P. Lister

I thought I saw stars, when first I saw your eyes,
So luminous they were , and such an enormous size;
I fell on the floor and foamed at the mouth, with inconsequential cries
Now, when I look in your eyes, I do not flinch;
Heaven forgive me, I am not even tempted to lynch
The men who, standing beside you, display an inclination to pinch
For this insensitivity may I be pardoned,
I looked in your eyes too often, and in the end became hardened,
There came a day when Adam turned his back upon Eve, and gardened.

Jerome Betts 08-23-2010 04:21 PM

The tally of Lister pieces is mounting it seems. 'Defenestration' was included in J.M.Cohen's Yet More Comic And Curious Verse Penguin 1959, reprinted 1964, but there is no acknowledgement to the New Yorker, where it appeared in the issue for Sept 16th 1956.

'Taxidermy' was in Punch in April 1965, but I don't know the exact issue date.

His New Yorker heyday seems to have been the 1950s, with 58 poems in the decade. There were 12 in the 1960s up to 1966, and then a solitary straggler in 1973.

Those collections might be worth looking for.

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