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Is It Glamorous?

David Simpson: Stefan Collini among the Intellectuals, 6 March 2008

Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 544 pp., £16.99, July 2005, 0 19 929105 5
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... Berlin – I would have put money on his place in this story, along with F.R. Leavis and C.P. Snow, who also feature sparsely. Many of the exemplary careers it does describe are full of surprises. The account of ‘Mr Facing-Both-Ways’ Eliot focuses vividly on his membership of a group called The Moot, where he crossed swords with Karl Mannheim about ...

Dear Lad

Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 March 1981

The Simple Life: C.R. Ashbee in the Cotswolds 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Lund Humphries, 204 pp., £7.95, January 1981, 0 85331 435 7
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Philip Mairet: Autobiographical and Other Papers 
edited by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 266 pp., £7.95, February 1981, 0 85635 326 4
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... he took a poll – one man, one vote. One of the apprentices walked eight miles through the snow to bring Ashbee the result. It is interesting to learn that the cabinet-makers, the most unionised of all the workshops, were decisively in favour of the Move. C.R.A. was born in 1863, the son of Henry Spencer Ashbee, a wealthy businessman and bibliophile ...


Michael Dobson: The Russell-Cotes, 23 February 2012

... the important thing was that you could see what they were about. Nice views, appealing animals, snow scenes, the occasional young woman in varying quantities of folksy clothes: you knew where you were with pictures. ‘Captive Andromeda’ by Arthur Hill (1876). Confusingly, though, the one public building in Bournemouth you might visit in order to ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... another three volumes followed, spanning the decade from the death of Victoria to the demise of Edward VII. Although he remained a regular and prolific contributor, Stephen had long since abandoned his editorial connection with the scheme. For an enterprise initially conceived with almost jaunty vagueness (‘I have been thinking a great deal,’ he ...

In Her Philosopher’s Cloak

Barbara Graziosi: Hypatia, 17 August 2017

Hypatia: The Life and Legend of an Ancient Philosopher 
by Edward J. Watts.
Oxford, 205 pp., £19.99, April 2017, 978 0 19 021003 8
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... her into a pale English rose: before dying, she stood ‘for one moment to her full height, naked, snow-white against the dusky mass around’. The painter Charles William Mitchell was so excited by this vision that he portrayed Hypatia leaning naked against an altar: her left arm stretches upwards – perhaps illustrating pagan astronomy, perhaps ...

Driving through a Postcard

Christian Lorentzen: In New Hampshire, 3 March 2016

... bankers even if they weren’t funding her campaigns. We woke before dawn and drove through the snow to Manchester, where we saw Carly Fiorina complain to supporters in a basement about her exclusion from the next night’s GOP debate due to insufficient poll numbers. She went on for some time about holding national referendums via smartphone, an idea that ...

Dance of the Vampires

Neal Ascherson, 19 January 1984

by Roman Polanski.
Heinemann, 393 pp., £12.95, January 1984, 0 434 59180 7
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... most revealing might have been the project he cooked up years ago in Paris for a sexually-explicit Snow White, with a mongoloid news vendor from St Germain-des-Prés as Prince Charming, a homosexual yodelling choir as musical accompaniment and a troupe of midget wrestlers to play the Seven Dwarves. The treatment was put together by him and his friend Gérard ...

Writing the Night

Hugh Haughton, 25 January 1996

Selected Poems 
by David Gascoyne.
Enitharmon, 253 pp., £8.95, November 1994, 1 870612 34 5
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... those he classifies under the heading ‘Time and Space’. They are completely untypical: ‘Snow in Europe’, dated Christmas 1938, a Hardyesque historical panorama of a Europe about to be convulsed by war (‘When the great thaw comes, /How red shall be the melting snow, how loud the drums’); ‘Spring MCMXL’, a ...

Singing the Blues

Noël Annan, 22 April 1993

A History of Cambridge University. Vol. IV: 1870-1990 
by Christopher Brooke.
Cambridge, 652 pp., £50, December 1992, 9780521343503
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... tour there is always a pest who asks questions. What, he wonders, are the colleges like today? Did Snow give an accurate account of Christ’s? What about the way Nevill Mott was treated as master of Caius that led to his resignation? What of the delectable days of Lord Dacre in the Lodge at Peterhouse? Surely space could have been found to praise the ...


Peter Campbell, 18 March 1982

The Pre-Raphaelites 
by Christopher Wood.
Weidenfeld, 160 pp., £18, October 1981, 0 297 78007 7
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The Diary of Ford Madox Brown 
edited by Virginia Surtees.
Yale, 237 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 300 02743 5
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Eric Gill: Man of Flesh and Spirit 
by Malcolm Yorke.
Constable, 304 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 0 09 463740 7
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... representing an out door scene without sun light I painted at it chiefly out of doors when the snow was lieing on the ground. The madder ribons of the bonnet took me 4 weeks to paint. At length finding that at this rate I could not get it done for the Acady I gave it up in much disgust & began repainting the sketch of Chaucer. On 19 September he ...

Seen through the Loopholes

David Simpson: ‘War at a Distance’, 11 March 2010

War at a Distance: Romanticism and the Making of Modern Wartime 
by Mary Favret.
Princeton, 262 pp., £18.95, January 2010, 978 0 691 14407 8
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... in its everyday susceptibility to invasion by outside forces. Cowper, like Mansfield Park after Edward Said’s reading and Patricia Rozema’s movie, will never be the same again, and we will wonder why we never saw him this way before. Some of the best parts of Favret’s book are about the pervasive metaphorisation of military violence in the vocabulary ...


August Kleinzahler: Remembering Thom Gunn, 4 November 2004

... reader of novels. He disdained short fiction and didn’t read much non-fiction, unless it was Edward Gibbon or Darwin. I am nearly opposite in my tastes, but we did share our enthusiasms. Thom, for instance, thought Philip Roth was the cat’s miaow. I didn’t. ‘Try The Counterlife,’ Thom said. Which I did, and it dazzled me. Another time Thom said ...

A Lone Enraptured Male

Kathleen Jamie: The Cult of the Wild, 6 March 2008

The Wild Places 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Granta, 340 pp., £18.99, September 2007, 978 1 86207 941 0
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... places by swimming, climbing, skulking under hedges, walking by day and night, in sunshine and snow. He sleeps outdoors wherever possible, on hilltops and tors and sand dunes. It’s dashing stuff – he admits to a liking for John Buchan.Energetic and keen, his imaginative attachment is to the benign fugitive, and to the lone male. The book opens with a ...

From Pandemonium

Elizabeth Cook: Poetry wrested from mud, 1 September 2005

The Poems and Plays of Isaac Rosenberg 
edited by Vivien Noakes.
Oxford, 427 pp., £90, August 2004, 0 19 818715 7
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... heard that war had been declared. He responded in ‘On Receiving News of the War: Cape Town’: Snow is a strange white word. No ice or frost Have asked of bud or bird For Winter’s cost. Yet ice and frost and snow From earth to sky This Summer land doth know. No man knows why. In all men’s hearts it is. Some ...


Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993, 16 December 1993

... rather than be thought ‘difficult’. A propos of which is Whitman’s description of himself to Edward Carpenter: ‘An old hen … with something in my nature furtive’. 2 February. Late for a final rehearsal for the tour of Talking Heads I rush out of the house on this bright spring-like morning to be confronted by a large pile of excrement on the ...

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