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Pamphleteer’s Progress

Patrick Parrinder, 7 February 1985

The Function of Criticism: From the ‘Spectator’ to Post-Structuralism 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 133 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86091 091 1
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... were assured to good literature by the ‘instinct of self-preservation in humanity’; I.A. Richards had echoed him in describing poetry as being ‘capable of saving us’. Eagleton’s new book ends on the same note of orthodox Eng Lit revivalism. Criticism, he says once more, ‘might contribute in a modest way to our very survival’. A fairly ...

What’s the big idea?

Jonathan Parry: The Origins of Our Decline, 30 November 2017

The Age of Decadence: Britain 1880 to 1914 
by Simon Heffer.
Random House, 912 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 84794 742 0
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... values, typified by Mr Pooter, and schoolboys lapped up the snobbish school stories of Frank Richards. They also demanded new sporting heroes: many cricketers became celebrities, particularly if they cultivated swagger. W.G. Grace maintained his stardom because few knew he had a squeaky voice, but several other on-field heroes – A.E. Stoddart, William ...

Something Rather Scandalous

Jean McNicol: The Loves of Rupert Brooke, 20 October 2016

Rupert Brooke: Life, Death and Myth 
by Nigel Jones.
Head of Zeus, 588 pp., £12, April 2015, 978 1 78185 703 8
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Fatal Glamour: The Life of Rupert Brooke 
by Paul Delany.
McGill-Queen’s, 380 pp., £28.99, March 2015, 978 0 7735 4557 1
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The Second I Saw You: The True Love Story of Rupert Brooke and Phyllis Gardner 
by Lorna C. Beckett.
British Library, 216 pp., £16.99, April 2015, 978 0 7123 5792 0
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... include any of it and cut passages elsewhere that seemed damaging to Brooke’s reputation. (Keith Hale, who edited the Strachey-Brooke correspondence, which was finally published in 1998, says that Keynes’s editor at Faber wrote again and again in the margins of the copy: ‘Why delete?’, ‘Why bowdlerise this?’) The collection had been slated ...

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