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Paul Driver, 23 January 1986

Dearest Bubushkin: Selected Letters and Diaries of Vera and Igor Stravinsky 
edited by Robert Craft.
Thames and Hudson, 239 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 500 01368 3
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Stravinsky: Selected Correspondence Vol. III 
edited by Robert Craft.
Faber, 543 pp., £35, October 1985, 0 571 13373 8
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... Stravinsky debonair in double-breasted suit photographed in Los Angeles by his friend Edward G. Robinson; a merry Stravinsky at a recording session (of The Rake’s Progress), one hand holding a cigarette, the other in conjunction with a whisky bottle. The implacability of the man stays stamped on his photographed features till the end – strongly marked ...

Wordsworth’s Crisis

E.P. Thompson, 8 December 1988

Wordsworth and Coleridge: The Radical Years 
by Nicholas Roe.
Oxford, 306 pp., £27.50, March 1988, 0 19 812868 1
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... LCS – he did perform a leading role. With a scrupulous sense of this borderline distinction, Francis Place noted down Frend as ‘Mr’ but the other speakers as ‘Citizens’. The SCI was intimidated by the treason trials and it scarcely resumed activity thereafter. When Wordsworth came to London early in 1795 there was no obvious reforming club or ...

Upright Ends

Vincent Newey, 1 October 1987

The Origins of the English Novel, 1660-1740 
by Michael McKeon.
Johns Hopkins, 530 pp., £21.25, April 1987, 0 8018 3291 8
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... progressive urges to the realms of bizarre utopian phantasy. In two of Neville’s contemporaries, Francis Kirkman and Mary Carleton, who write about themselves, we witness the actual difficulties and unforeseen consequences of rising in society, with a corresponding increase in narrative complexity and interest. It is in the autobiographical mode that the ...

Behind the Waterfall

Lorna Scott Fox, 16 November 1995

The Creature in the Map: A Journey to El Dorado 
by Charles Nicholl.
Cape, 396 pp., £18.99, May 1995, 0 224 03333 6
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... however, silent on an ominous prelude to all this, which Nicholl has uncovered in the writings of Francis Sparry, the draughtsman who was left behind and captured by the Spanish. Relating the incident from prison, he says, in Nicholl’s translation: ‘There gathered a large number of Indians in canoes to prevent any further ascent of the river. The ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... dominated by issues of national government and sectarian difference. With the exception of Francis Sheehy-Skeffington’s essay ‘War and Feminism’ there is no acknowledgment of the debates over women’s rights, sexuality and reproduction in which Mary Robinson, for example, established her ...

Seventy Years in a Filthy Trade

Andrew O’Hagan: E.S. Turner, 15 October 1998

... earn in a lifetime.’ E.S. Turner’s most famous ancestor is remembered in a well-known print by Francis Wheatley which marks the martial efforts of Sir Barnard Turner. In 1780 Barnard – as the Richmond and Twickenham Times might say – was in command of troops of the London Foot Association, who opened fire on looters taking part in the Gordon Riots. The ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... commercial success’. Castle calls these generative works ‘charismatic texts’, and gives Robinson Crusoe and the first Pamela as examples. ‘The readers of sequels,’ she says, ‘are motivated by a deep unconscious nostalgia for a past reading pleasure,’ and ‘the producers of sequels have always recognised and tried to exploit this subliminal ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... incompetence. Collins ‘said they’d have to have a typescript by mid-January’, she told Francis King, ‘so I had to sit down and write a novel and, worse still, type it’. On the reverse side of this fabric, woven from an often difficult life, is to be found the material of her work as she herself described it: ‘the courage of those who are born ...

Mr Who He?

Stephen Orgel: Shakespeare’s Poems, 8 August 2002

The Complete Sonnets and Poems 
by William Shakespeare, edited by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 750 pp., £65, February 2002, 9780198184317
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... the young, or the literate classes, or – extraordinarily – the Roman Catholic Church. Thomas Robinson, a lapsed friar, in a pamphlet published in 1622 called The Anatomy of the English Nunnery at Lisbon, described the comfortable life of a father confessor to the nuns there: ‘Then after supper it is usual for him to read a little of Venus and ...

Making a Break

Terry Eagleton: Fredric Jameson’s Futures, 9 March 2006

Archaeologies of the Future: The Desire Called Utopia and Other Science Fictions 
by Fredric Jameson.
Verso, 431 pp., £20, September 2005, 1 84467 033 3
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... Aldiss, Philip K. Dick (‘the Shakespeare of science fiction’), A.E. Van Vogt, Kim Stanley Robinson and a range of others. Jameson has always been an energetic retriever of the neglected and maligned, and a brilliant salvage job here on Charles Fourier reflects this tendency. So, less happily, does a lengthy dissection of George Bernard Shaw’s Back ...

Manufactured Humbug

Frank Kermode: A great forger of the nineteenth century, 16 December 2004

John Payne Collier: Scholarship and Forgery in the 19th Century 
by Arthur Freeman and Janet Ing Freeman.
Yale, 1483 pp., £100, August 2004, 0 300 09661 5
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... such dangerous radicals as Thomas Holcroft and John Thelwall, William Godwin and Hazlitt. Crabb Robinson was a friend, and Wordsworth, Coleridge and Lamb acquaintances. His work as a reporter was fairly arduous, and his social activities, along with his scholarly avocation and his own poetry, for which he was very ambitious, meant that he was always ...

Home’s for suicides

Lucie Elven: Alfred Hayes’s Hollywood, 18 July 2019

The Girl on the Via Flaminia 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 151 pp., £7.99, August 2018, 978 0 241 34232 9
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My Face for the World to See 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 119 pp., £7.99, May 2018, 978 0 241 34230 5
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In Love 
by Alfred Hayes.
Penguin, 120 pp., £7.99, January 2018, 978 0 241 30713 7
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... factor in the growth of revolutionary consciousness’. A chance encounter with the composer Earl Robinson at Camp Unity in the summer of 1936 led to his poem about the execution of the activist Joe Hill becoming an anthem of the labour movement (‘I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night/Alive as you or me/Says I, But Joe, you’re ten years dead/I never ...

Sweet Sin

J.P. Stern, 5 August 1982

by Wolfgang Hildesheimer.
Suhrkamp, 326 pp., May 1981, 3 518 03205 4
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... a few miles south of the Scottish border, between Otter-burn and Falstone, as the elder son of Sir Francis Marbot Bt, the only Roman Catholic among the titled gentry of Northumberland. Andrew’s mother, Lady Catherine, born in 1781 in Dresden, was the daughter of Lord Claverton, who had retired to Redmond Manor (now the property of an Arab magnate), some ...


Ian Penman, 2 July 2015

Sinatra: London 
Universal, 3 CDs and 1 DVD, £40, November 2014Show More
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... in an almost desultory way, by Benny Goodman. ‘And now, Frank Sinatra …’ The 27-year-old Francis Albert Sinatra stepped up, and history turned a small corner. He was met by a tsunami of hysterical screams from a passel of young female fans. Goodman was initially thrown, completely struck dumb in fact, then looked over his shoulder and blurted ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... of Dale’s hundred best tunes) deserve a place in the record, it is not obvious why such names as Francis Coventry, Thomas Holcroft or Robert Paltock should be left out. (Not to mention James Boswell, author of Dorando.) The omission of John Cleland may be deliberate and provocative – it provokes me to cheerful assent – but Spender’s researches have ...

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