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Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors, 11 March 2010

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978 0 571 23576 6
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... to find evidence for the sort of Shakespeare people wanted produced the forgeries of William-Henry Ireland in the 1790s (which included a letter from Elizabeth I thanking him for his ‘prettye Verses’) and John Payne Collier in the 1830s and 1840s (which showed Shakespeare to have been a well-connected member of metropolitan literary circles from an ...

Charm with Menaces

Colin Burrow: ‘The Mirror and the Light’, 19 March 2020

The Mirror and the Light 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 883 pp., £25, March 2020, 978 0 00 748099 9
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... the Pilgrimage of Grace rises in the North, unhappy with reforms in the Church, and is put down. Henry VIII gets a bad leg, courts multiple possible brides, decides there are heretics both to the left and right of him, then marries Anne of Cleves in order to secure an alliance with German princes, and incidentally to protect the supply of alum vital to the ...


Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... it, is not ‘a haunted Nick Adams, or a crippled Jake Barnes, or a hollowed-out Frederic Henry, but an overbearing know-it-all named Ernest Hemingway’. Max Eastman said Hemingway had false hair on his chest. Gertrude Stein, in The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, called his courage into question. Of course, there was a lot to debunk – and ...


J.I.M. Stewart, 5 April 1984

Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape 1849-1928 
by Ann Thwaite.
Secker, 567 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 436 52146 6
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... sixty years. Swinburne is devoted to him at the start, as is Siegfried Sassoon at the close, and Henry James is going to address over four hundred letters to him. He weathers two major storms, one emotional and the other resulting from a rash claim that if not a poet he is at least a scholar. Becoming Librarian of the House of Lords, he luxuriates acceptably ...

When the barracks were bursting with poets

David A. Bell: Napoleon, 6 September 2001

Napoleon the Novelist 
by Andy Martin.
Polity, 191 pp., £45, December 2000, 0 7456 2536 3
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... offered a means for them to put their best efforts into print. In this way, a New York judge named Henry Livingston published his children’s verses beginning ‘’Twas the Night before Christmas’ in a local paper in the 1820s, only to have a more established poet steal the credit after his death and become world famous as a result (according to Don ...


John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... Milly disappears behind them.’ Yet she had no self-confidence, none of the lordly conviction of Henry James or James Joyce; she awaited both reviews and the comments of her friends in a perfect pathos of fear and trembling, and each new attempt at a book was wholly tentative and unsure. Her ideas were all in the form of an attack on existing fictional ...

Besieged by Female Writers

John Pemble: Trollope’s Late Style, 3 November 2016

Anthony Trollope’s Late Style: Victorian Liberalism and Literary Form 
by Frederik Van Dam.
Edinburgh, 180 pp., £70, January 2016, 978 0 7486 9955 1
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... even – following the example of George Sand in France – to adopt male names, like ‘Currer Bell’ and ‘George Eliot’. No wonder their achievement had been meagre: a handful of classics and ‘innumerable bad novels which have ceased to be recorded even in textbooks … novels that lie scattered like small pock-marked apples in an orchard, about ...

At the British Museum

James Davidson: Persia’s ‘Forgotten Empire’, 22 September 2005

... architecture, and characteristic of such halls are forests of sixty-foot columns sprouting out of bell-shaped bases petalled like inverted lotus blooms and topped by push-me-pull-you pairs of lions, griffins and human-headed beasts. The exhibition has several examples, flanked by more casts from the 1892 expedition, showing endless processions of subjects ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: How We Are, 5 July 2007

... images of great men. But many early art photographs do recall paintings. Country people in Peter Henry Emerson’s pictures from the 1880s and 1890s of rural life in East Anglia have a Millet-like quietness. Alvin Langdon Coburn’s photogravures of London at night taken in the early 1900s emulate the inky fogs and soft highlights of contemporary etched ...

At Tate Britain (2)

Rosemary Hill: Kenneth Clark, 3 July 2014

... outbreak of war. ‘Coventry Cathedral’ by John Piper (1940). ‘Pink and Green Sleepers’ by Henry Moore (1941). ‘Battle of Britain’ by Paul Nash (1941). ‘Saltwood Castle’ by Robin Ironside (c.1955). Sarah Churchill plate design by Duncan Grant (c.1932) from the ‘Famous Ladies’ dinner service. ‘Marie Countess of Schaumburg-Lippe’ by ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Eleanor Birne: ‘A Crisis of Brilliance’, 12 September 2013

... as the daughter of a railway engineer in Bedford. Under the Slade’s fearsome drawing tutor, Henry Tonks, she worked hard enough to make sure she won a scholarship to extend her studies, chiefly – it seems – so that she wouldn’t be forced to go back home. In 1926 she wrote to a friend from her parents’ house: ‘Here I am plunged in the middle of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Hemingway the Spy, 16 February 2017

... it also reconciled him to a few anti-fascist power brokers at home, such as the treasury secretary Henry Morgenthau Jr, for whom Hemingway agreed to ‘look into’ the Chinese during a trip to China with Gellhorn, who was writing a piece for Collier’s in 1941. ‘Hemingway was flattered to be asked,’ Reynolds writes: ‘This was the kind of recognition he ...

In the Workshop

Tom Paulin: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 22 January 1998

The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 672 pp., £23.50, December 1997, 0 674 63712 7
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Shakespeare's Sonnets 
edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Arden, 503 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 1 903436 57 5
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... with Shakespeare’s plays, but I believe it is necessary to set two passages from Richard II and Henry IV Part I next to this sonnet – which, as Vendler says, is the first to remark on ‘a true flaw’ in the friend. In Act III of Richard II, Bolingbroke and his party confront Richard at Flint Castle in Wales: See, see, King Richard doth himself ...

Kitchen Devil

John Bayley, 20 December 1990

Emily Brontë: A Chainless Soul 
by Katherine Frank.
Hamish Hamilton, 303 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 9780241121993
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... unconsciously needing a man’s hand, that of the phantom Mr Rochester or the real curate, Arthur Bell Nichols, who was still to come. And Emily seems in her own unwilling way to have also been the imaginative catalyst in their world. Katherine Frank makes the interesting point that both Charlotte and Anne, in their second published novels, drew heavily for ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... Cadell (father and son) and George Robinson in London, and Alexander Kincaid, John Balfour, John Bell and William Creech in Edinburgh, were not ‘mechanicks’ as Strahan once complained, but collaborators in a London-Edinburgh publishing enterprise that put Scotland on the literary map. For John Pinkerton, an Edinburgh attorney and antiquary, the London ...

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