IN 1939, THIRTY years before Resurgence’s first issue and less than a mile from Hartland in North Devon, an old Gestetner machine hidden in a barn printed out a new and no less radical publication. Its name was Townsman; its editor, Ronald Duncan. Townsman survived until 1945, and its contributors included e. e. cummings and Ezra Pound, the Japanese Vou poets, and a motley collection of educationalists and idealists.

Duncan had begun writing for the peace movement in 1935 and in 1937 met Gandhi in India. By 1939 the pacifist community farm he’d set up at Gooseham, on the north coast of Devon, ...


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