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Point of Wonder

A.D. Nuttall, 5 December 1991

Marvellous Possessions: The Wonder of the New World 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Oxford, 202 pp., £22.50, September 1991, 0 19 812382 5
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... rhetoricians, of Sidney or Puttenham, but rather the anti-rhetorical realpolitik of Machiavelli. Francis Bacon almost out-Marxed Marx when he cited Machiavelli in his speech to the House of Commons on 17 February 1607. Bacon explained how the learned Italian scorned the idea that ‘moneys are the sinews of war.’ Iron, says Bacon, is more fundamental than ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... of Dale’s hundred best tunes) deserve a place in the record, it is not obvious why such names as Francis Coventry, Thomas Holcroft or Robert Paltock should be left out. (Not to mention James Boswell, author of Dorando.) The omission of John Cleland may be deliberate and provocative – it provokes me to cheerful assent – but Spender’s researches have ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... of Borges and rat poison, half-drunk Coca-Cola bottles on the table at the Astor, hairy shoulders, Francis Bacon, ‘The sun ain’t gonna shine any more’ stuck in the groove on the Blind Beggar’s jukebox. But if they were looking for a hagio-graphic fix, a corn-plaster to staunch a terminal haemorrhage, they miscalculated badly. Pearson was not a tame ...

Seeing Stars

Alan Bennett: Film actors, 3 January 2002

... we would have seen him as Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist and Jaggers in Great Expectations. It was Francis L. Sullivan, whose huge bulk must have been gracing the stage of the Grand that week, though we did not know it, thinking only that a creature from the celestial realms of film had materialised in, of all places, Leeds. We rushed home to tell ...

Holy Boldness

Tom Paulin: John Bunyan, 16 December 2004

Glimpses of Glory: John Bunyan and English Dissent 
by Richard Greaves.
Stanford, 693 pp., £57.50, August 2002, 0 8047 4530 7
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Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan 
by Michael Davies.
Oxford, 393 pp., £65, July 2002, 0 19 924240 2
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The Portable Bunyan: A Transnational History of ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ 
by Isabel Hofmeyr.
Princeton, 320 pp., £41.95, January 2004, 0 691 11655 5
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... have in store for him. In ‘The Greatness of the Soul’, a sermon of 1682, he anticipates Robinson Crusoe’s fate when he imagines a man being ‘taken by them of Algiers, and there made a slave of, and there be hunger-bit, and beaten till his bones are broken’. The repeated b sounds and the mainly monosyllabic words give a physical texture to ...

The Castaway

Jeremy Harding: Algeria’s Camus, 4 December 2014

Algerian Chronicles 
by Albert Camus, edited by Alice Kaplan, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 224 pp., £11.95, November 2014, 978 0 674 41675 8
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Camus brûlant 
by Benjamin Stora and Jean-Baptiste Péretié.
Stock, 109 pp., €12.50, September 2013, 978 2 234 07482 8
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Meursault, contre-enquête 
by Kamel Daoud.
Actes Sud, 155 pp., €19, May 2014, 978 2 330 03372 9
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... didn’t buy it, but he was duty-bound to review the book. After much hesitation he assigned it to Francis Jeanson, ex-Alger républicain (and later a clandestine courier in France for the FLN). Jeanson took Camus apart. He saw his ‘thirst for moderation’ as a narcissistic abdication of reason. Why prefer rebellion to real collective action? And why on ...

May I come to your house to philosophise?

John Barrell: Godwin’s Letters, 8 September 2011

The Letters of William Godwin Vol. I: 1778-97 
by Pamela Clemit.
Oxford, 306 pp., £100, February 2011, 978 0 19 956261 9
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... Holcroft, Amelia Alderson, Mary Hays and Charlotte Smith, as well as Godwin’s publisher George Robinson and a number of dissenting ministers who, largely forgotten now, were important public intellectuals in the 1790s. The last third is largely taken up by letters to Wollstonecraft, and the volume at that point seems to make a new beginning. So ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... Red Butler, who reported it as having been said by Randolph Turpin after his defeat by Sugar Ray Robinson. How my old lady came to know this is a mystery, and how Tom comes to know it, too, as I’m sure boxing isn’t his thing. 22 January. I’m reading George Steiner’s My Unwritten Books, a series of chapters, some more autobiographical than others, on ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... to have any images in these places,’ he said. ‘Just the landlord.’ He looked at the bust of Francis Lord Napier of Ettrick before he examined the pulpit.HEANEY: It’s high up. The first church I went to in Bellaghy was just a pulpit sticking out of a wall.MILLER: It is high up. Halfway up to heaven.Seamus climbed up to the pulpit. ‘My God,’ he ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... probably started the rot and then there was Glyn Daniel and his bow ties and today it’s Tony Robinson capering about professing huge excitement because of the uncovering of the (entirely predictable) foundations of a Benedictine priory at Coventry. His enthusiasm is anything but infectious and almost reconciles one to the bulldozer. And there’s always ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... and associate W.B. Yeats, who pledged his support for Eoin O’Duffy’s militaristic Blueshirts. Francis Stuart, a self-condemned Irish Dostoevsky, who was also published in yellow-jacket Gollancz editions in the 1930s, had a special gift for putting himself on the wrong side of every political argument. He took himself off to wartime Berlin, where he made ...
... London in the 1880s, depends on energy coming from opposites. The novel’s protagonist, Hyacinth Robinson, appreciates beauty and feels excluded from the world of privilege around him. He lives an interior life. ‘He would,’ as James wrote in his preface, ‘become most acquainted with destiny in the form of a lively inward revolution.’ For any action ...

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