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Those Brogues

Marina Warner, 6 October 2016

... here. More than two hundred years later, this sense had not yet faded; with a cheeky rhyme, Robert Burns attributed such devices to the devil: ‘Then you, ye auld, snic-drawing dog!/Ye came to Paradise incog/An’ play’d on man a cursed brogue.’ By the time Burns was writing, ‘brogue’ also commonly described ‘a ...

The Great Lie

Charles Glass: Israel, 30 November 2000

The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World 
by Avi Shlaim.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780713994100
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Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881-1999 
by Benny Morris.
Murray, 752 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7195 6222 8
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A Blood-Dimmed Tide: Dispatches from the Middle East 
by Amos Elon.
Allen Lane, 354 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 7139 9368 5
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Fabricating Israeli History: The ‘New Historians’ 
by Efraim Karsh.
Frank Cass, 236 pp., £39.50, May 2000, 0 7146 5011 0
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From Herzl to Rabin: The Changing Image of Zionism 
by Amnon Rubinstein.
Holmes & Meier, 283 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 8419 1408 7
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... Territories. This improvisational drama was like a miniature Truth Commission of the kind that Edward Said has urged, although it will be some time before an Israeli or PLO politician is likely to advocate anything of the sort. Both productions took place in an environment of increasing honesty about what Israelis have done to survive in the country that ...

Dr Blair, the Leavis of the North

Terence Hawkes: English in Scotland, 18 February 1999

The Scottish Invention of English Literature 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Cambridge, 271 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 521 59038 8
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... of the subject’s birth, party politics played a substantial role in the appointment of the King Edward VII Professor of English at Cambridge, who from this point presided over its growth and development. The Liberal Prime Minister Asquith had originally intended to offer the job to Sir Herbert Grierson, recent editor of the poems of John Donne. However, he ...

Vindicated!

David Edgar: The Angry Brigade, 16 December 2004

The Angry Brigade: The Cause and the Case 
by Gordon Carr.
ChristieBooks, 168 pp., £34, July 2003, 1 873976 21 6
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Granny Made Me an Anarchist 
by Stuart Christie.
Scribner, 423 pp., £10.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5918 1
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... have received little mainstream historical attention. An instant ‘documentary novel’ by Alan Burns sought to explore the minds of the Brigade in the immediate aftermath of the 1972 trial of eight alleged members. Various documentary compilations were produced by left-wing publishing houses. A play by Dennis Potter, which he intended to call ‘The ...

Part of the Fun of being an English Protestant

Patrick Collinson: Recovering the Reformation, 22 July 2004

Reformation: Europe’s House Divided 1490-1700 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7139 9370 7
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... in the Last Days, expecting the imminent end of the world. Bishop Hugh Latimer, preaching before Edward VI, told him: ‘We know by scripture and all learned men affirm the same, that the world was made to endure six thousand years,’ of which 5552 had already passed. As our guide, MacCulloch is in the optimum position for a historian of religion, both an ...

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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... received opinions, particularly about the Forties and Fifties. We won’t find, for instance, Burns Singer, one of the most original poets of the Fifties, or David Wright and John Heath-Stubbs. All three were friends of Graham, and their inclusion might have helped the Forties and Fifties out of their New Apocalypse v. Movement stand-off. Hamish ...

Which came first, the condition or the drug?

Mikkel Borch-Jacobsen: Bipolar Disorder, 7 October 2010

Mania: A Short History of Bipolar Disorder 
by David Healy.
Johns Hopkins, 296 pp., £16.50, May 2008, 978 0 8018 8822 9
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... is liberally applied to people of all ages. Conventional wisdom once had it that manic depression burns out with age, but geriatric bipolar disorder is now the talk of psychiatric congresses. Elderly people who are depressed or agitated find themselves diagnosed with bipolar disorder for the first time in their lives and are prescribed antipsychotics or ...

Somebody Shoot at Me!

Ian Sansom: Woody Guthrie’s Novel, 9 May 2013

House of Earth: A Novel 
by Woody Guthrie.
Fourth Estate, 234 pp., £14.99, February 2013, 978 0 00 750985 0
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... Mumford & Sons, the Americana string band Old Crow Medicine Show and alt-rock hipsters Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros as they travelled together by train from Oakland in California, ending up in New Orleans with an inevitable hootenanny-style rendition of ‘This Train Is Bound for Glory’. The song is actually an old gospel ...

Noisomeness

Keith Thomas: Smells of Hell, 16 July 2020

Smells: A Cultural History of Odours in Early Modern Times 
by Robert Muchembled, translated by Susan Pickford.
Polity, 216 pp., £17.99, May, 978 1 5095 3677 1
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The Clean Body: A Modern History 
by Peter Ward.
McGill-Queen’s, 313 pp., £27.99, December 2019, 978 0 7735 5938 7
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... In a lawsuit brought in 1610 against the nuisance caused by a neighbour’s pigs, the great lawyer Edward Coke, employed in the defence, declared that ‘the building of the house for hogs was necessary for the sustenance of man and one ought not to have so delicate a nose that he cannot bear the smell of hogs.’ Later in the century, a religious writer ...

In Praise of Mess

Richard Poirier: Walt Whitman, 4 June 1998

With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. VIII: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., $99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 8 5
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With Walt Whitman in Camden. Vol. IX: 11 February 1891-30 September 1891 
by Horace Traubel, edited by Jeanne Chapman and Robert MacIsaac.
Bentley, 624 pp., £99.50, November 1996, 0 9653415 9 3
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... discovered an ally in Whitman, just as Whitman’s many early admirers in England had done, like Edward Carpenter and John Addington Symonds, who seemed primarily taken with his poetry because it spoke for and to gay men like themselves. He is at his frequent best, however, when his poetry is least negotiable in the hands of people who read it on the ...

More Pain, Better Sentences

Adam Mars-Jones: Satire and St Aubyn, 8 May 2014

Lost for Words 
by Edward St Aubyn.
Picador, 261 pp., £12.99, May 2014, 978 0 330 45422 3
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Books 
by Charlie Hill.
Tindal Street, 192 pp., £6.99, November 2013, 978 1 78125 163 8
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... likely to be seen as settling a score rather than diagnosing the ills of the literary marketplace. Edward St Aubyn, whose new novel, Lost for Words, is a satirical farce about the machinations behind a famous literary prize, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2006 with Mother’s Milk, but lost out to Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... most playful. But the presence of the Great Modernists feels as remote and irrelevant as that of Edward Marsh’s Georgians.Larkin, the lonely fugitive from poetic Modernism, now looks suspiciously like a one-man tradition. So standard an item in recent collections has the Philip Larkin Memorial Poem become that it now exists as a genre in its own ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... its provenance’, but never quite decides what it does seek to be. Judicious selections from Edward Taylor and Anne Bradstreet extend the anthology’s reach beyond what Ricks terms ‘our precious stones from Land’s End to John o’Groats, leave alone the emerald of Ireland’. On the other hand, the editorial policy excludes ‘the British Empire or ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy, 4 January 2007

Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... literate (Tomalin quotes a halting letter) ended his life corresponding with Edmund Gosse and Edward Elgar, and lived long enough to scent posterity’s massive approval of his work. The boy whose mother in 1833 had watched from the roadside the passage of Princess Victoria hosted the Prince of Wales at his own house in 1923: Tomalin includes the famous ...

In the Hothouse

Peter Howarth: Swinburne, 8 November 2018

21st-Century Oxford Authors: Algernon Charles Swinburne 
edited by Francis O’Gorman.
Oxford, 722 pp., £95, December 2016, 978 0 19 967224 0
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... interests of free speech his critics should stop trying to sniff out moral wrongdoing. But when Edward Moxon pulled the book, Swinburne stood firm. ‘To alter my course or mutilate my published work seems to me somewhat like deserting one’s colours,’ he told Lord Lytton. ‘One may or may not repent having enlisted, but to lay down one’s arms, except ...

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