Home » Writings » The Still Brimming Twilit River

The Still Brimming Twilit River


Collected Stories Volume 7

To be published by Liberalis Books 2025

ISBN: 978-1-78535-851-7 (paperback)

ISBN: 978-1-78535-852-4 (e-book)

The back cover says

The Still Brimming Twilit River is volume 7 of Nicholas Hagger’s Collected Stories and follows The First Dazzling Chill of Winter (2016), which dealt with impending old age. The 1,202 short stories in the previous six volumes cover six decades (from the 1960s to the 2010s) in the life of Philip Rawley. This seventh volume covers a seventh decade and contains 220 more stories and deals with his defiance of growing old.

Philip Rawley’s attitude is akin to Tennyson’s Ulysses who, despite the infirmities of old age, is ready to “sail beyond the sunset and the baths/Of all the western stars” in search of new experience and new adventures. These mini-stories present a range of characters from a stable society. A number of these characters reappear in other stories, and are presented with their strengths, follies and flaws in different situations. The stories offer a complete literary experience in a page or two, and their brevity is innovatory. The combination of opposites in their vivid titles derives inspiration from the 17th century: Dr Johnson’s definition of the wit of the Metaphysical poets as “a combination of dissimilar images” in which “the most heterogeneous ideas are yoked by violence together” (‘Life of Cowley’). These stories are verbal paintings and present an image in action with a poet’s eye for significant detail. Hagger’s stories are imagistic, economical and vivid in clean prose and reflect the Age. They contain memorable images and studies of character. They are ideal for short concentration spans, reading on journeys or in bed. They drop into the consciousness like stones and leave the mind to reflect on the spreading ripples.

Nicholas Hagger is a poet, man of letters, cultural historian and philosopher. He has lectured at universities in Iraq, Libya and Japan, where he was a Professor of English Literature. He has now written 64 books. These include a substantial literary output of 2,551 poems, including 421 classical odes and 567 sonnets, two poetic epics, two mock-heroic poems and (including the three ‘parables’ in The Building of the Great Pyramid) 1,425 stories; travelogues; and innovatory works in literature, history and philosophy. His archive of papers and manuscripts is held as a Special Collection in the Albert Sloman Library at the University of Essex. In 2016 he was awarded a Gusi Peace Prize for Literature, and in 2019 the BRICS silver medal for ‘Vision for Future’.

Nicholas Hagger