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Frank Kermode, 3 February 1983

Gissing: A Life in Books 
by John Halperin.
Oxford, 426 pp., £18.50, September 1982, 0 19 812677 8
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George Gissing: Critical Essays 
edited by Jean-Pierre Michaux.
Vision/Barnes and Noble, 214 pp., £11.95, March 1981, 0 85478 404 7
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... a commodity, and writers mere ‘hands’. If he is worth reading it is not as an act of what Samuel Hynes calls ‘Victoriolatry’ but because he did make a world, and because, as he sometimes remarked, he could see the future. He wrote thirty-odd books, including a good one about Greece, a good one about Dickens, and the fantasised ...

Dame Cissie

Penelope Fitzgerald, 12 November 1987

Rebecca West: A Life 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 297 79084 6
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Family Memories 
by Rebecca West and Faith Evans.
Virago, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 86068 741 4
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... it defeat her. Her voice, which she found so early, is that of an elder sister, not the youngest. Samuel Hynes has even called it ‘episcopal’ – ‘praising the righteous, condemning heretics, explaining doctrine’. She found it easy to attract, almost as easy to dominate, and ‘if people do not have the face of the age set clear before them, they ...

Sounding Auden

Seamus Heaney, 4 June 1987

... as a ‘strict and adult pen’. Elaborating on this, in his introduction to The Auden Generation, Samuel Hynes characterises the sought-after new art as follows: ‘Auden was urging a kind of writing that would be affective, immediate, concerned with ideas, moral not aesthetic in its central intention, and organised by that intention rather than by its ...

The Past’s Past

Thomas Laqueur, 19 September 1996

Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History 
by Jay Winter.
Cambridge, 310 pp., £12.95, September 1996, 0 521 49682 9
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... be a four-year-long bloodbath: Never such innocence, Never before or since. And, more recently, Samuel Hynes’s magisterial A War Imagined (1990) argues that the generation of poets, painters and novelists who lived through the war ‘rejected the values of the society’ that had sent them to fight and rendered their ‘sense of a gap in ...

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