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Kill your own business

Deborah Friedell: Amazon’s Irresistible Rise, 5 December 2013

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon 
by Brad Stone.
Bantam, 384 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 593 07047 5
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... enough to offer all the three million-plus books in print. Two distributors, Ingram and Baker & Taylor, handled distribution for most American publishers: Bezos wouldn’t have to make separate deals with each publishing house. Books also came assigned with International Standard Book Numbers and were catalogued on CD-ROM: that would save time, and Bezos ...

Ghosts

Hugh Haughton, 5 December 1985

The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate.
Macmillan, 604 pp., £30, April 1985, 0 333 29441 6
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The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy: Vols I and II 
edited by Lennart Björk.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 333 36777 4
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Emma Hardy’s Diaries 
edited by Richard Taylor.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 216 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 904790 21 5
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. V: 1914-1919 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 357 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 19 812622 0
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, Vol. III 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 390 pp., £32.50, June 1985, 0 19 812784 7
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Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England 1660-1900 
by K.D.M. Snell.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 24548 6
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Thomas Hardy 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 547 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 19 254177 3
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... like Macmillans’ Magazine or the Fortnightly Review, titbits from Herbert Spencer, Comte or Matthew Arnold, snatches of Max Muller on solar myths or Mahaffy on Greece, pages of Carlyle’s French Revolution, 75 maxims of Balthasar Gracian: the notebooks are a giant sampler of the thought of his time (often the more po-faced and tedious utterances of the ...

Spaced

Michael Neve, 3 September 1981

The Opium-Eater: A Life of Thomas de Quincey 
by Grevel Lindop.
Dent, 433 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 460 04358 7
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... opium routinely, to sedate themselves and their children. For the more exotic figure of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, addiction started while he was at the great university standing on the edge of the sad East Anglian plain. The Trojan horse in Coleridge’s case was his teeth, which ached relentlessly. A certain sympathy must extend to him, since dentistry was ...

Gesture as Language

David Trotter, 30 January 1992

A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... of little-known elegies and epitaphs. Thomas James remembers companions lost in the Northern seas, Matthew Stevenson an ‘Old Freeman’: Upon the ground he laid, all weathers, Not as most men, gooselike on feathers. Elizabeth Thomas covers just about all the angles in ‘A Midnight Thought (on the death of Mrs E.H. and Her Little Daughter, Cast away under ...

Little Englander Histories

Linda Colley: Little Englandism, 22 July 2010

A Mad, Bad & Dangerous People? England 1783-1846 
by Boyd Hilton.
Oxford, 757 pp., £21, June 2008, 978 0 19 921891 2
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Replenishing the Earth: The Settler Revolution and the Rise of the Angloworld, 1780-1939 
by James Belich.
Oxford, 573 pp., £25, June 2009, 978 0 19 929727 6
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... to wider civil rights, for Catholics, Jews, black slaves and more. In addition, though, and as Matthew Arnold argued in Culture and Anarchy, late Georgian and early Victorian liberalism, far from diluting Protestant complacencies, as some of its leading proponents hoped, actually reinforced them, because Protestantism was so often posited as the natural ...

Adjusting the Mechanism

Colin Burrow: Robert Graves, 11 October 2018

Robert Graves: From a Great War Poet to ‘Goodbye to All That’, 1895-1929 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 461 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 4729 2914 3
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The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose 
by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
Seven Stories, 613 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 60980 733 7
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... by setting up a general store in Boars Hill outside Oxford, the landscape across which Matthew Arnold’s Scholar Gypsy had wandered the previous century, and where by the early 1920s both the poet laureate Robert Bridges and the future poet laureate John Masefield had established themselves in suburban comfort. Graves lived from 1919 to 1921 in ...

The Animalcule

Nicholas Spice: Little Mr De Quincey, 18 May 2017

Guilty Thing: A Life of Thomas De Quincey 
by Frances Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £25, April 2016, 978 1 4088 3977 5
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... the table and the chairs – billows of books, tossing, tumbling, surging open’. His friend Matthew Hill recalled De Quincey turning up for breakfast ‘wet and shivering, having slept under a hayrick in the Hampstead fields’ to avoid arrest. In 1826, he moved to Edinburgh, leaving his wife, Margaret, in Grasmere with the children. Lonely and ...

Regrets, Vexations, Lassitudes

Seamus Perry: Wordsworth’s Trouble, 18 December 2008

William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’: A Casebook 
edited by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 406 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 0 19 518092 5
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... better to do in England, and were happy to be swept along in the charismatic wake of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, with whom they had just shared an enchanted year of poetry and talk in the Quantocks in Somerset, and who was now eager to learn about German science. The principal production of their year together was the collaborative volume, Lyrical ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... together and are buried together.’ Nura had her books with her for her exams. Her chemistry, her Matthew Arnold, all of it going with her, as ‘the moon lies fair/Upon the straits’.Many of the Muslim women I spoke to weren’t keen on retribution. Most of them had no interest in apportioning blame or fighting over compensation. ‘It is all in the hands ...

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