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Uppish

W.B. Carnochan, 23 February 1995

Satire and Sentiment, 1660-1830 
by Claude Rawson.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £40, March 1994, 0 521 38395 1
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... little and too lately known’. Dryden’s poem has been much admired and praised – but not by Claude Rawson, who calls it variously ‘pompous’, ‘self-serving’, ‘overrated’, ‘unctuously self-exalting’, ‘self-promoting’, ‘pontifical’ and ‘patronising’ Item: in a chapter on Richardson (wittily called ...

A Spot of Firm Government

Terry Eagleton: Claude Rawson, 23 August 2001

God, Gulliver and Genocide: Barbarism and the European Imagination 1492-1945 
by Claude Rawson.
Oxford, 401 pp., £25, June 2001, 0 19 818425 5
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... only to upbraid such notions as imperialist. ‘We are obsessed with “barbarians”,’ Claude Rawson remarks in this erudite, passionate book; but by ‘we’ he seems to be thinking of literary critics, not grapepickers or hairdressers. The good news is that the Home Counties view of literature has now been decisively despatched. The native ...

Cambridge Theatre

Donald Davie, 19 August 1982

Swansongs 
by Sue Lenier.
Oleander Press, 80 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 9780906672044
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Collected Poems 
by Sylvia Plath, edited by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 351 pp., £10, September 1981, 0 571 10573 4
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Devotions 
by Clive Wilmer.
Carcanet, 63 pp., £3.25, June 1982, 0 85635 359 0
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... Not Malcolm Bowie of Queen Mary College, London (‘all in a splendid surge of creativity’); not Claude Rawson of the University of Warwick (‘no doubt of the power ... at the acute cutting edge of feeling’); not Elaine Feinstein, from Cambridge (‘the talent is unmistakable’). The truth is that Swansongs should never have been published. As much ...
Literature and Popular Culture in 18th-Century England 
by Pat Rogers.
Harvester, 215 pp., £22.50, April 1985, 0 7108 0981 6
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Eighteenth-Century Encounters: Studies in Literature and Society in the Age of Walpole 
by Pat Rogers.
Harvester, 173 pp., £22.50, April 1985, 0 7108 0986 7
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Order from Confusion Sprung: Studies in 18th-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper 
by Claude Rawson.
Allen and Unwin, 431 pp., £30, August 1985, 0 04 800019 1
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Jonathan Swift 
edited by Angus Ross and David Woolley.
Oxford, 722 pp., £6.95, June 1984, 0 19 281337 4
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... Rogers’s scholarship would have it survive in both respects, topical and formal. Pat Rogers and Claude Rawson write about many of the same 18th-century books, but they deal with them in quite different ways. Unlike Rogers, Rawson doesn’t spend much scholarly time in ‘that lowest of all high places, the Grub ...

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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... eager for their applause. In this collection of essays he has a chameleon presence. He is seen by Claude Rawson as a fluent parodist in the Augustan mode, and by Carolyn Williams as a pioneer of post-colonial resistance to the hegemony of Received Standard English. As several essays here make clear, he is the poet who, above all others, forced the early ...

Masters

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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... Swift as a political thinker, without discounting the pressures of sheer contingency all his life. Claude Rawson has revised his ‘Focus’ collection of pieces on Swift (1971) as The Character of Swift’s Satire: ten essays on many aspects of Swift’s life and work, with the contributors including Ian Watt, Pat Rogers, and Ehrenpreis (on Swift’s ...

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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... twice 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 ...

Who will punish the lord?

Robert Alter: Saramago’s Cain, 6 October 2011

Cain 
by José Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa.
Harvill Secker, 150 pp., £12.99, July 2011, 978 1 84655 446 9
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... the unhistorical character of the biblical report does not entirely relieve it of culpability. As Claude Rawson persuasively argues in God, Gulliver and Genocide, once a writer puts forward a vision of total destruction, however fantastic the context, a toxic element has been released into the intellectual atmosphere that, though not a direct cause of ...

Down with DWEMs

John Sutherland, 15 August 1991

ProfScam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education 
by Charles Sykes.
St Martin’s, 304 pp., $9.95, December 1989, 0 312 03916 6
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Tenured Redicals: How politics has corrupted our Higher Education 
by Roger Kimball.
HarperCollins, 222 pp., $9.95, April 1991, 0 06 092049 1
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... of Watergate dimensions. David Lehman’s Signs of the Times – reviewed here not long ago by Claude Rawson – is a narrative and meditation on the same subject. The tone is less enjoyably sarcastic than Kimball’s, but Lehman too is convinced that the de Man case is symptomatic of a higher education which has gone to hell. The familiar quotations ...

Carry up your Coffee boldly

Thomas Keymer: Jonathan Swift, 17 April 2014

Jonathan Swift: His Life and His World 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 573 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 16499 2
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Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: ‘Polite Conversation’, ‘Directions to Servants’ and Other Works 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Valerie Rumbold.
Cambridge, 821 pp., £85, July 2013, 978 0 521 84326 3
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Journal to Stella: Letters to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, 1710-13 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Abigail Williams.
Cambridge, 800 pp., £85, December 2013, 978 0 521 84166 5
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... defender of good causes, nor the demonic xenophobe or misogynist of some postcolonial opinion,’ Claude Rawson wrote in God, Gulliver and Genocide (2001): ‘Still less is he a holder, in Empson’s phrase, of “some wise balanced position between them”.’ It’s remarkable, in the light of all this, that Swift’s 20th-century biographers ...

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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... 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 serious literary ...

Pound’s Friends

Donald Davie, 23 May 1985

Pound’s Cantos 
by Peter Makin.
Allen and Unwin, 349 pp., £20, March 1985, 0 04 811001 9
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To Write Paradise: Style and Error in Pound’s Cantos 
by Christine Froula.
Yale, 208 pp., £18.50, February 1985, 0 300 02512 2
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Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing 
by Peter Nicholls.
Macmillan, 263 pp., £25, September 1984, 0 333 36159 8
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... this after six chapters of preliminary and necessary throat-clearing. True to his briefing from Claude Rawson as general editor, Makin doesn’t restrict himself to summarising what previous commentators have uncovered (though he’s good at that, scrupulous and thorough – for instance, noting German and Italian writing as well as English), but he ...

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