Here are more than 200 posts on Jan and Cora Gordon; famous travellers, writers, artists and musicians in the first half of the 20th century. They were articulate witnesses to the cultures and events of Europe and the USA from before WW1 to just after WW2. The abundance of primary materials presented here should make this a valuable resource for researchers. For a structured overview of the lives and works of the Gordons, please visit: http://www.pbase.com/hajar/art_of_jan_and_cora_gordon
"Phrynette's Letters to Lonely Soldiers" 1916 recommends "The Luck of Thirteen"
A chatty review of "The Luck of Thirteen" by Marthe Troly-Curtin, appears in her "Phrynette's letters to lonely soldiers" segment in "The Sketch" of April 19th 1916.
She enjoyed "the funny little thumbnail sketches (minute masterpieces by Jo)." and the "rich mine of humour" that they worked with "pen and ink and paint-brush."
She quotes the observation in the book on the handsome Montenegrin peasanty: "We passed many peasants and had evidently enetered the land of Venus, for each one was more beautiful than the neighbour. Since Jabliak we had not seen an ugly man or woman, and the dignity of their carriage was exceeded only by the nobleness of their features. Ugly women must be valuable in those parts, and probably marry early - humans ever prize the rare above the beautiful."
Troly-Curtin also quoted the descriptions of Jan's elaborate protection against the rain and Jo's knitted concertina stockings as well as the scene of dancing on a feast day. She concludes with, "But, there, I cannot quote the whole book : read it for yourself."
For more on books by the Gordons set during WW1, see here.
For more on "Father Berry" in WW1 Serbia, see here.
For more on the "living snake" of the Serbian retreat, see here.
The story of how the book came to be published is told here.
In " The London Roundabout " (1933), Jan Gordon describes how they came to publish their first book, " The Luck of Thirteen " (for an overview of this and their subsequent books visit Jan and Cora Gordon Books ). Following the "famous retreat" from Serbia, they wrote, "Having reached London in rags, and lacking visible means of support, we were trying to capitalize our experiences. The sale of some photographs temporarily banished the wolf, at least round the corner, but to continue the good work Jo had written an article called A Woman's Day at the Montenegrin Front ." "JO AT THE MACHINE GUN" A friend sent them to see Dan Rider, who recommended they send it to the Westminster Gazette - "They'll eat it." "Eat it they did, and spewed it out again as print. From this manuscript and a few others grew our first travel-book." On showing sketches of Serbia to Cecil Chesterton, editor of the New
Dazzle painting of ships has fascinated many since its first deployment during WW1, spawning numerous articles, books and imitations. The artist and writer Jan Gordon was one of the original protagonists; he designed dazzle patterns, wrote about the principles and practice of the art, and remembered those days fondly when later dedicating one of his books to a dazzle painting colleague, Steven Spurrier. One of the dazzle designs produced by Jan Gordon was that for HMS Southampton and I discuss below the available information on this design. I also recently bought the book " A Naval Lieutenant 1914-1918," which gives an account of the wartime experiences of the Southampton, with several contemporary comments on camouflage and dazzle. Camouflage of ships in WW1 At the beginning of WW1 in 1914 , Stephen King-Hall (as "Etienne"), serving on HMS Southampton , recalled, " After the big sweep we all went to Loch Ewe to coal, and here I remember noticing the ba
Jan and Cora Gordon visited Albania in the summer of 1925 and in 1927 published the book " Two Vagabonds in Albania ." Two phrases from this book resonated when I first read it: " Now and again a wolf howled from far away, and somewhere a kid, lost or smelling some wolf-taint in the air, bleated with persistent terror " pg. 138. and " As we came down into the cultivated fields of the valley we found ourselves walking through clouds of red-winged grasshoppers, which sprang up on all sides with a clattering flight ." pg. 139 The book begins with "Don't stay in Durazzo." From Durazzo they made a clockwise loop to the south, passing through Tirana, Elbasan, Berat, Kelcyre, Permeti and Gjinokastro before returning north to Tirana. The second leg of the journey was an excursion to the north, from Scutari up into the mountains. Map of prominent places visited on the southern loop described in "Two Vagabonds in Albania"