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Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... has still not been taken on board in Britain: they engage with a post-Poundian poetic tradition (Charles Olson, Edward Dorn, Robert Duncan, George Oppen) of a kind that gives modern American poetry its variety and experimentalism. Gunn and Davie are included in both anthologies, but to read their collected poems (the next step after reading Davie’s superb ...

The road is still open

David Wootton: Turpin Hero?, 3 February 2005

Dick Turpin: The Myth of the English Highwayman 
by James Sharpe.
Profile, 258 pp., £8.99, January 2005, 1 86197 418 3
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... he replied that if the man would only stay while he charged his piece, he would shoot him too. Charles Harper, in his Half-Hours with the Highwaymen (1908), wrote, as Sharpe wryly records: ‘It would be a thankless task to present the highwayman as he really was: a fellow rarely heroic, generally foul-mouthed and cruel, and often cowardly … I do not ...

Before Wapping

Asa Briggs, 22 May 1986

Victorian News and Newspapers 
by Lucy Brown.
Oxford, 305 pp., £32.50, November 1985, 0 19 822624 1
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... archive, however, and historians will be glad that her book appears more or less in parallel to Charles Wilson’s valuable history of Smith’s, First with the News.* Between the Exhibition and the advent of the ‘new journalism’, during the 1880s and 1890s, there had already been highly significant changes in the scope and scale of press ...

Victorian Consumers

Michael Mason, 16 February 1989

The Rise of Respectable Society: A Social History of Victorian Britain, 1830-1900 
by F.M.L. Thompson.
Fontana, 382 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 0 00 686157 1
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Victorian Things 
by Asa Briggs.
Batsford, 440 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 9780713445190
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... suffrage, if not in votes for women as well. These dissenters from orthodoxy were not followers of Charles Bradlaugh or even Chartists, but simply the Victorian working class. All the evidence suggests that the average secular and democratic British citizen of the late 20th century, visiting the 19th century in a time machine, would find a congenial atmosphere ...

Mighty Merry

E.S. Turner, 25 May 1995

The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Eleven Volumes, including Companion and Index 
edited by R.C. Latham and W. Matthews.
HarperCollins, 267 pp., £8.99, February 1995, 0 00 499021 8
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... his lord is not yet up. So what’s to do? ‘I went out to Charing cross, to sec Major-Generall Harrison hanged, drawn and quartered – which was done there – he looking as cheerfully as any man could do in that condition’ It was powerful street theatre: the regicide’s head and heart were held up to ‘shouts of joy’. Having witnessed this ...

The Power of Sunshine

Alexander Cockburn, 10 January 1991

City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 462 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 86091 303 1
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... the Hollywood Hills under eyelids heavy with disillusion there’s been a booster, starting with Charles Fletcher Lummis, who in 1884 took 143 days to walk from Ohio to Los Angeles and was hired on arrival by the patron of the Los Angeles Times, Colonel (later General) Harrison Gray Otis. Lummis helped to forge the booster ...

Warhol’s Respectability

Nicholas Penny, 19 March 1987

The Revenge of the Philistines 
by Hilton Kramer.
Secker, 445 pp., £12.50, July 1986, 0 436 23687 7
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Gilbert and George 
by Carter Ratcliff.
Thames and Hudson, 271 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 500 27443 6
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British Art in the 20th Century 
edited by Susan Compton.
Prestel-Verlag (Munich), 460 pp., £16.90, January 1987, 3 7913 0798 3
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... a piece first published in the third volume of Art of Our Time (as the catalogue of the Doris and Charles Saatchi collection is so portentously entitled) he welcomes the way that, with Schnabel, painting has become ‘grave, mysterious and messy again’. As former critic of the New York Times, now editor of the New Criterion, Kramer is a powerful figure in ...


Keith Thomas: Working Methods, 10 June 2010

... around thereafter. Noel Malcolm has described the system invented by the country clergyman Thomas Harrison, who explained it to Charles I during a two-hour conversation in 1638. It involved writing excerpts on small pieces of paper, which were then stuck onto hooks attached to metal plates bearing alphabeticised subject ...

Train Loads of Ammunition

Philip Horne, 1 August 1985

Immoral Memories 
by Sergei Eisenstein, translated by Herbert Marshall.
Peter Owen, 292 pp., £20, June 1985, 0 7206 0650 0
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A Certain Tendency of the Hollywood Cinema: 1930-1980 
by Robert Ray.
Princeton, 409 pp., £48.50, June 1985, 0 691 04727 8
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by David Thomson.
Secker, 274 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 52014 1
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Cahiers du Cinéma. Vol. I: The 1950s. Neo-Realism, Hollywood, New Wave 
edited by Jim Hillier.
Routledge with the British Film Institute, 312 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 0 7100 9620 8
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... of this ‘un-American’, camera-shy people – less by centrally casting the Hollywood star Harrison Ford (who acts excellently) as the marooned Philadelphia detective than by making the Amish heroine’s responses subtly not quite derive from the values of her own alien community, and by giving Thomson’s ‘sly turn’ towards the audience to the ...

A Great Wall to Batter Down

Adom Getachew, 21 May 2020

Insurgent Empire: Anticolonial Resistance and British Dissent 
by Priyamvada Gopal.
Verso, 607 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 78478 412 6
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... enemy united the English people and ‘their Hindu brethren’.The jurist and Positivist Frederic Harrison drew a very different lesson from conflict in the colonies. ‘What is done in a colony today,’ he wrote when Governor Eyre declared martial law during the Morant Bay rebellion, ‘may be done in Ireland tomorrow and England hereafter.’ Edward ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder, 24 May 2012

... in The Practice of the Wild, a documentary film featuring her human companion and the writer Jim Harrison, recently shot at San Simeon, on Hearst property; a leisurely senior citizen conversation on wilderness, Native American myths, the Beat Generation, mortality and memory. ‘Nature is not a place to visit,’ the man says, ‘it is home.’ He is Gary ...

Four Moptop Yobbos

Ian Penman, 17 June 2021

One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 642 pp., £9.99, March, 978 0 00 834003 2
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The Beatles and Sixties Britain 
by Marcus Collins.
Cambridge, 382 pp., £90, March 2020, 978 1 108 47724 6
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The Beatles in Context 
edited by Kenneth Womack.
Cambridge, 372 pp., £74.99, January 2020, 978 1 108 41911 6
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... in one of Netflix’s numberless true crime productions (viz, a reconstructed FBI interview with Charles Manson, peddling his ‘blame it on the Beatles’ spiel); a ‘previously unseen’ Beatles-at-home photo from 1963; a ‘previously unseen’ Beatles photo at Shea Stadium from 1965; a hip young mixadelic band citing ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ as ...

Woman in Love

Brigid Brophy, 7 February 1985

The Life of Jane Austen 
by John Halperin.
Harvester, 400 pp., December 1984, 0 7108 0518 7
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... suggests that the lady’s knowledge of unpleasantness was’ something or other. Frederic Harrison found ‘the lady in question’ something else. ‘Perhaps the lady was one person with intimates and another person at other times.’ By the time he has got Jane Austen buried, with a memorial tablet that fails to mention the fact that ‘the lady ...

Leaving it

Rosemary Ashton, 16 February 1989

John Henry Newman: A Biography 
by Ian Ker.
Oxford, 762 pp., £48, January 1989, 0 19 826451 8
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James Fitzjames Stephen: Portrait of a Victorian Rationalist 
by K.J.M. Smith.
Cambridge, 338 pp., £30, November 1988, 0 521 34029 2
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... Newman’s on the extreme right, makes only fleeting appearances, and his sisters and brother Charles appear even less. As for Newman’s parents, it would be interesting to know if there is any clue, in what is known of their lives and opinions, to the extraordinary nature of their son. Yet Newman is such an intellectual giant, so fascinating, that it is ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... predictable. In the first paragraph of the General Introduction Deane compares this anthology with Charles Read’s Cabinet of Irish Literature (1879): it would be interesting to learn why Field Day rejected writers such as Monk, Ryves, Tighe, Leadbetter, Hall, Mulholland, and over a dozen other women who appear in Read. I particularly missed some of the ...

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