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Rogering in Merryland

Thomas Keymer: The Unspeakable Edmund Curll, 13 December 2007

Edmund Curll, Bookseller 
by Paul Baines and Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 388 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 19 927898 5
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... he collaborated with at least forty others before Queen Anne’s death in 1714. Paul Baines and Pat Rogers track the process statistically in their biography, the first since 1927, cutting their way with expert vigilance through the maze of obscure, misleading and often downright fraudulent imprints that have hitherto shrouded their subject. They ...


Linda Colley, 21 September 1995

All the Sweets of Being: The Life of James Boswell 
by Roger Hutchinson.
Mainstream, 238 pp., £17.50, May 1995, 1 85158 702 0
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James Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’ 
edited by Marshall Waingrow.
Edinburgh, 518 pp., £75, March 1995, 0 7486 0471 5
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Johnson and Boswell: The Transit of Caledonia 
by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 245 pp., £30, April 1995, 0 19 818259 7
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... India, one very last chance to escape. In his clever and original study, The Transit of Caledonia, Pat Rogers examines not just these personal compulsions, but also the more intellectual roots of the two men’s shared cult of travel. He gives us a series of essays, written at different times and just occasionally duplicating material, but together ...

Beast and Frog

John Bayley, 4 November 1993

Dr Johnson & Mr Savage 
by Richard Holmes.
Hodder, 260 pp., £19.99, October 1993, 0 340 52974 1
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Samuel Johnson 
by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 116 pp., £4.99, April 1993, 0 19 287593 0
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... defects which were also the glorious stigmata of sturdy independence and defiant pride. As Pat Rogers remarks in his excellent little book on Johnson, by far the best short account of his life and the progress of his work, ‘we know little of his inmost being during these years’ – the years in which he came to know Savage, and hastened after ...

Puppeteer Poet

Colin Burrow: Pope’s Luck, 21 April 2022

Alexander Pope in the Making 
by Joseph Hone.
Oxford, 240 pp., £60, January 2021, 978 0 19 884231 6
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The Poet and the Publisher: The Case of Alexander Pope, Esq., of Twickenham v. Edmund Curll, Bookseller in Grub Street 
by Pat Rogers.
Reaktion, 470 pp., £25, May 2021, 978 1 78914 416 1
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... his revenge by lacing Curll’s glass of sack with an emetic, which the miraculously meticulous Pat Rogers, for whom no detail in the long series of bouts of Curll v. Pope is too small, thinks was probably antimony potassium tartrate. So now you know. Pope then went off and wrote a gleeful pamphlet, composed exactly in the manner of publications ...

Englamouring the humdrum

Rosemary Ashton, 23 November 1989

Arguing with the past: Essays in Narrative from Woolf to Sidney 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 206 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 415 02607 5
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Samuel Richardson: Tercentenary Essays 
edited by Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £35, July 1989, 0 521 35383 1
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... a valuable piece of original research, as is Isobel Grundy’s on Richardson’s female followers. Pat Rogers writes a lively essay about Richardson’s social standing compared to that of his contemporaries Young and Johnson, using a print of the assembled company at fashionable Tunbridge Wells in 1748, with Richardson’s description of his own part in ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton, 20 September 2001

Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... has produced since the days of Shakespeare’. His career, in other words, looks like a success. Pat Rogers argues that the success was constructed out of a deliberate failure. Chatterton’s arch letters to Walpole and Dodsley about his discovery of Rowley’s papers, and his clumsy attempts to antiquate the parchments, were easily penetrated. The ...

In praise of manly piety

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 June 1994

The 18th-Century Hymn in England 
by Donald Davie.
Cambridge, 167 pp., £27.95, October 1993, 0 521 38168 1
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... to an author of a book called Order from Confusion Sprung, and this author he names as ‘Claude Rogers’. Now, the real author’s name is Claude Rawson, and Professor Rawson is a very well-known critic of 18th-century literature. Is this a piece of satire or sly invective on Davie’s part – conflating Rawson’s name with that of another well-known ...

Lucky Moments

Robert Bernard Martin, 1 April 1983

Spirit of Wit: Reconsiderations of Rochester 
edited by Jeremy Treglown.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £14, September 1982, 0 631 12897 2
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... the language of abuse – all became identified for the Latitudinarians with enmity to Reason. Pat Rogers compares ‘An Allusion to Horace’ to its Latin source and provides a series of enlightening close readings of the text. Concentration on the satires may prove in the long run to be misleading, but it is useful in establishing Rochester’s ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... Literature as ‘a place of Rest and Refreshment’. In more recent times, humanist critics like Pat Rogers and Claude Rawson have explored the unfrequented alleys of Grub Street and examined the Augustan ideal ‘under stress’. Indeed the word ‘new’ in the title of this book owes more to the Madison Avenue hype of corporate America than to ...


Marilyn Butler, 2 September 1982

The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. I: Medieval Literature Part One: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition, Vol. II: The Age of Shakespeare, Vol. III: From Donne to Marvell, Vol. IV: From Dryden to Johnson 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 647 pp., £2.95, March 1982, 0 14 022264 2
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Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 
by J.A. Burrow.
Oxford, 148 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 19 289122 7
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Contemporary Writers Series: Saul Bellow, Joe Orton, John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Pynchon 
by Malcolm Bradbury, C.W.E. Bigsby, Peter Conradi, Jerome Klinkowitz and Blake Morrison.
Methuen, 110 pp., £1.95, May 1982, 0 416 31650 6
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... Maxwell, L.C. Knights, D.J. Enright, Roy Strong, John Broadbent, Arthur Humphreys, Philip Collins, Pat Rogers, D.W. Jefferson and John Preston. What is disturbing is that everyone made his reputation elsewhere, often in the format which is properly Leavisian, the short, iconoclastic critical article. The Guide is far less than the sum of its parts, an ...

All in pawn

Richard Altick, 19 June 1986

The Common Writer: Life in 19th-century Grub Street 
by Nigel Cross.
Cambridge, 265 pp., £25, September 1985, 0 521 24564 8
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... To Victorian readers, ‘Grub Street’ had a historical rather than a timely reference. As Pat Rogers brilliantly demonstrated in his Grub Street: Studies in a Subculture (1972), it then meant primarily the squalid milieu of the hacks whom Pope had skewered with malicious wit in the Dunciad. Their archetype was Richard Savage, whose profligate ...


Christopher Ricks, 3 May 1984

Swift: The Man, His Works and the Age: Vol III. Dean Swift 
by Irvin Ehrenpreis.
Methuen, 1066 pp., £40, December 1983, 0 416 85400 1
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Swift’s Tory Politics 
by F.P. Lock.
Duckworth, 189 pp., £18, November 1983, 0 7156 1755 9
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Jonathan Swift: Political Writer 
by J.A. Downie.
Routledge, 391 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 7100 9645 3
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The Character of Swift’s Satire 
edited by Claude Rawson.
Associated University Presses, 343 pp., £22.50, April 1984, 0 87413 209 6
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... ten essays on many aspects of Swift’s life and work, with the contributors including Ian Watt, Pat Rogers, and Ehrenpreis (on Swift’s ...
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... with production and more with categories of finished book and the age’s plural reading publics. Pat Rogers discusses the percolation down-market from the civilised circuit to chapbook mass consumption of works like Crusoe and Gulliver. His sharp description of the aesthetics of degentrification fits nicely with Louis James’s parallel survey of ...

Whig Dreams

Margaret Anne Doody, 27 February 1992

A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain 
by Daniel Defoe, edited by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 423 pp., £19.95, July 1991, 0 300 04980 3
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James Thomson: A Life 
by James Sambrook.
Oxford, 332 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 19 811788 4
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... in this version of Defoe’s Tour. (I have just quoted the Penguin version of the Tour edited by Pat Rogers, also an abridgment, which does not cut death out of this description.) The Yale editors let us know about the chalky hill, but they have omitted the gallows. Why? Not, surely, because readers would find the information boring. This edition seems ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... power in 1949, then made a ritual exchange of gifts. China prompted an alleged shriek of glee from Pat Nixon by bestowing two giant pandas on the visitors. America returned the compliment with a pair of musk oxen named Milton and Mathilda and some redwood trees (officials had already left behind a much admired photocopier at the end of a preparatory ...

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