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Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 7 January 1999

Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... as well as important work on particular phases or aspects of the Bard’s life by Honigmann, Stanley Wells and others, but Shakespeare: A Life can make some claim to be the first sustained scholarly attempt on its subject since the books written by Edgar Fripp and E.K. Chambers in the Twenties. Its very existence is the symptom of a quiet ...

Wizard Contrivances

Jon Day: Will Self, 27 September 2012

by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 2014 8
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... a suffragette. When the war begins she starts work as a munitions girl at the Woolwich Arsenal. Stanley, one of her brothers, a romantic idealist and reader of pulp science fiction, joins political discussion groups and falls in love above his station. Audrey’s other brother, Albert, is a human computer, a man-machine lacking empathy who is repeatedly ...


Iain Sinclair: My Olympics, 30 August 2012

... proudly flying its Jolly Roger, is a coffin-sized craft belonging to a researcher called Mike Wells. He has made it his business, despite numerous brushes with security guards and large dogs, to record and report every stage of the recent enclosures. He helped to commission two substantial scientific reports on the actual (rather than the ...

Whenever you can, count

Andrew Berry: Galton, 4 December 2003

A Life of Sir Francis Galton: From African Exploration to the Birth of Eugenics 
by Nicholas Wright Gillham.
Oxford, 416 pp., £22.50, September 2002, 0 19 514365 5
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... controversies surrounding the discovery of the source(s) of the Nile by Burton and/ or Speke, and Stanley’s rescue of Livingstone. Galton disapproved of Stanley, the American journalist who had upstaged the RGS’s own rescue mission and who failed to subscribe to Galton’s preferred scientific school of exploration. The ...

Nothing to Fall Back On

Charles Tripp: Invading Iraq in 1914, 5 July 2007

Tigris Gunboats: The Forgotten War in Iraq 1914-17 
by Wilfred Nunn.
Chatham, 288 pp., £19.99, March 2007, 978 1 86176 308 2
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... was the most obvious monument. But the Commonwealth war cemeteries and the cenotaph of General Sir Stanley Maude in Baghdad, the city he took in 1917, were tangible reminders of the violence of those years. Place names, too, such as Kut al-Amara, Qurna (as in the song, ‘If Qurna’s the garden of Eden, where the dickens is ’ell?’), Ctesiphon, Tal ...

The Reality Effect

Jon Day: 'Did I think this, or was it Lucy Ellmann?', 5 December 2019

Ducks, Newburyport 
by Lucy Ellmann.
Galley Beggar, 1030 pp., £13.99, September 2019, 978 1 913111 98 4
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... used forward slashes to mark breaks in the text, as though he had attacked the page with a Stanley knife. Joyce used the word ‘yes’ (which he told Frank Budgen was ‘the female word’) repeatedly in Molly Bloom’s inner monologue. In Ducks, Newburyport the phrase ‘the fact that’ (which occurs 19,329 times) punctuates the narrator’s ...

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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... robbed of its power.’ What was her mind like, though – ‘her splendid disturbed brain’, as Wells called it – and how far did she ever free it, if that was what she wanted to do, from her emotions? It has been called androgynous, but May Sinclair came closer to it when she said: ‘Genius is giving you another sex inside yourself, and a stronger ...


Thomas Powers: Stephen Crane, 17 July 2014

Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire 
by Paul Sorrentino.
Harvard, 476 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 674 04953 6
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... years. In that time he has published three volumes of basic source material, the first two with Stanley Wertheim, another Crane scholar: The Correspondence of Stephen Crane (1988) and The Crane Log (1994), a 450-page chronology which imposes order on the spotty record of Crane’s life. Stephen Crane Remembered (2006), which includes 62 reminiscences of ...

Shaw tests the ice

Ronald Bryden, 18 December 1986

Bernard Shaw: The Diaries 1885-1897 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 1241 pp., £65, September 1986, 0 571 13901 9
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... dishevelled social and sexual lives for good. The year before they married, the diaries peter out. Stanley Weintraub, who has edited all 12 diaries and the fragments from 1880 and 1917 into two stout volumes, gives the game away in his lively account of their provenance. When Shaw married Charlotte, he left his papers at his mother’s house in Fitzroy ...

Wash Your Hands

Hugh Pennington: Bugs, 15 November 2007

Investigation into Outbreaks of ‘Clostridium difficile’ at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells NHS Trust 
Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, October 2007Show More
Investigation into Outbreaks of ‘Clostridium difficile’ at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, Buckinghamshire Hospitals NHS Trust 
Commission for Healthcare Audit and Inspection, June 2006Show More
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... due to improperly inactivated vaccine, with ten deaths) fall short. Even the enormous Stanley Royd Hospital outbreak of salmonella food poisoning in 1984, with 461 cases and 19 deaths, involved fewer cases: more than 500 became ill at Maidstone and 334 at Stoke Mandeville. The Department of Health issued guidance documents on the prevention of ...

Ministry of Apparitions

Malcolm Gaskill: Magical Thinking in 1918, 4 July 2019

A Supernatural War: Magic, Divination and Faith during the First World War 
by Owen Davies.
Oxford, 284 pp., £20, October 2018, 978 0 19 879455 4
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... intricacies and contradictions. Europe, it seemed to many in 1914, was due for a shake-up. H.G. Wells, whose apocalyptic War in the Air was published in 1908, was not alone in dreaming up a major new conflict. Two years earlier, the Daily Mail had serialised a novel about a German invasion by the journalist William Le Queux; his 1894 book, The Great War in ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... unbreathable. But he kept up – by letter – with his old Fabian intimates, the Webbs and Wells, and had a joky intimacy with persons as diverse as Lady Astor, Virginia Woolf and the heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. He was sporadically in touch, affectionate and censorious, with Mrs Patrick Campbell, and kept a kindness for scapegraces such as Lord ...

Crocodile’s Breath

James Meek: The Tale of the Tube, 5 May 2005

The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City For Ever 
by Christian Wolmar.
Atlantic, 351 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 1 84354 022 3
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... been a different attitude towards the world of the Underground. In The Time Machine (1895), H.G. Wells portrayed the beautiful, degenerate, soft-headed heirs of the aristocracy frolicking in the sunlight, prey, on dark nights, to the cannibalistic attentions of an underground-dwelling industrial proletariat. ‘There is a tendency to utilise underground ...

We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... compares their ‘crafty mingling of accurate observation with metaphorical form’ to the work of Stanley Spencer. Motion is usually perceptive in his sometimes quite elaborate commentaries on paintings (looking at the reproduction of A Sergeant of the Light Horse, I wouldn’t agree, though, with either part of his verdict that it is ‘a masterpiece of ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra, 13 December 2007

Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... was the one who gossiped most in his art, devilling away at the details like another Dadd. Where Stanley Spencer laced his Cookham scenes with the Song of Solomon and Havelock Ellis, forever explicating in spidery handwriting, Burra made his Burra-Burra pictures speak for themselves – i.e. for him – without notes. Descriptive accounts of a few of ...

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