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Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... aesthetic and intellectual appreciation to what they acquired. Country Life’s proprietor, Edward Hudson, himself pioneered one approach to the reinvention of the country house when he commissioned Lutyens, who had designed the magazine’s offices and furnishings, to remodel Lindisfarne Castle, a ruined Tudor fortress on Holy Island. The work was finished in ...

Porringers and Pitkins

Keith Thomas: The Early Modern Household, 5 July 2018

A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 
by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.
Yale, 311 pp., £40, October 2017, 978 0 300 19501 9
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... on the building and layout of the houses in which people lived. This gap was filled by Thomas Hudson Turner, who worked on household accounts and planned a three-volume work on medieval domestic architecture. It was completed after his death (in 1852) by another architectural historian, John Henry Parker, who also drew on it for Our English Home: Its ...

Bought a gun, found the man

Anne Hollander: Eadweard Muybridge, 24 July 2003

Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge 
by Rebecca Solnit.
Bloomsbury, 305 pp., £16.99, February 2003, 0 7475 6220 2
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... a degree unmatched even by the industrial East. Stanford’s fellow tycoons in these projects were Mark Hopkins, Charles Crocker and Collis P. Huntington – ‘and their corruption was as big as their profit,’ Solnit says. These ‘Big Four’, all former Sacramento storekeepers who had sold goods to Gold Rush miners, had come to monopolise political and ...

Deadly Eliza

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: ‘The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors’, 1 November 2001

The Whole Family: A Novel by Twelve Authors 
by William Dean Howells et al.
Duke, 416 pp., £13.50, November 2001, 0 8223 2838 0
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Publishing the Family 
by June Howard.
Duke, 304 pp., £13.50, November 2001, 0 8223 2771 6
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... through the generations. But what with the refusal of some writers to join the enterprise – Mark Twain was an early dropout – and the work schedule of others, the engenderer was compelled to get the family under way. No sooner had he done so, however, than he was upstaged by an ‘old-maid aunt’: a character whom Howells had originally relegated to ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives, 5 May 2016

... and thereby denied them legal recognition of their gender. In 1986, female-to-male transsexual Mark Rees, in the first challenge to the ruling, lost his case at the European Court of Human Rights against the UK government for its non-recognition of his status as male, loss of privacy and barring his marriage to a woman. Only with the Gender Recognition Act ...

My Girls: A Memoir

August Kleinzahler: Parents, lovers and a poetic punch-up, 19 August 2004

... of it, the whole thing throbbing with light. New Jersey people who live along this stretch of the Hudson, directly across from the towers of Manhattan – I’m speaking here of the Volk, not the riff-raff and carpet-baggers from somewhere else – believe they are getting the best of both worlds: the thrill and spectacle without the ...


Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... work is his life, is happy to go either way: rhyme them or float them, with a winning question mark, at the conclusion of an in-your-face Greenwich Village monologue. The novelist is the Miami-based eco dude, Carl Hiaasen, author of a number of slick, fast-moving, if increasingly formulaic, crime romps. Barbecued poodles, steroidal maniacs in sub-Disney ...


Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... said to be overgrown and eroded now, but somehow to see the place that supplied the stone and the mark the men made who quarried it seems much more evocative than the actual wall itself. Instead we buy a couple of George III country chairs very reasonably in an antique shop before going round the much larger antique centre in Philip Webb’s parish hall. 6 ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... of gay activists was beginning to argue, Silence = Death. ‘We wished​ the worst for poor Rock Hudson,’ David France admits. ‘We had also wished catastrophe for Pope John Paul II and Ronald Reagan, both of whom had received blood transfusions after foiled assassination attempts recently. We prayed for a day when the disease struck someone who ...

Relations will stop at nothing

Philip Horne, 5 March 1987

The Whole Family: A Novel by 12 Authors 
by Henry James and William Dean Howells, edited by Elizabeth Jordan, introduced by Alfred Bendixen.
Ungar (USA), 392 pp., $9.95, June 1986, 0 8044 6036 1
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‘Friction with the Market’: Henry James and the Profession of Authorship 
by Michael Anesko.
Oxford, 272 pp., £21.50, January 1987, 0 19 504034 1
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... or comically fantasising old maid pretending to herself she leads a double life) seems to mark her as going in for what we can recognise as a modern form, the madman’s tale, without being in control of what she means by it. Perhaps the lack of control is itself characteristically modern: at any rate, The Whole Family is shell-shocked after ...

Heat in a Mild Climate

James Wood: Baron Britain of Aldeburgh, 19 December 2013

Benjamin Britten: A Life in the 20th Century 
by Paul Kildea.
Allen Lane, 635 pp., £30, January 2013, 978 1 84614 232 1
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Benjamin Britten: A Life for Music 
by Neil Powell.
Hutchinson, 512 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 09 193123 0
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... in Tony Palmer’s film about Britten, A Time There Was, when the composer’s housekeeper, Miss Hudson, explains in her beautiful East Anglian accent, what kind of food he and Pears liked:They were home-cookin’ lovers, but Mr Pears come home from abroad and he’d bring a Continental recipe for me to do; he was more for food than Mr Britten … Mr Pears ...

Sex on the Roof

Patricia Lockwood, 6 December 2018

Evening in Paradise: More Stories 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8229 8
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Welcome Home: A Memoir with Selected Photographs 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 160 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8234 2
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... I want to slowly sink my teeth into his haunch until his symmetry suffers.’ She had one child, Mark, and soon became pregnant with another. When Suttman left, she put up an Elvis poster and presumably began sleeping with her nose out again. It never did seem to lose its initial uplift. The night before her second son, Jeff, was born, Berlin went to hear ...

But she read Freud

Alice Spawls: Flora Thompson, 19 February 2015

Dreams of the Good Life: The Life of Flora Thompson and the Creation of ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ 
by Richard Mabey.
Allen Lane, 208 pp., £9.99, March 2015, 978 0 14 104481 1
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... of the Selborne Circle of Rural Writers reading group alongside White, William Cobbett, W.H. Hudson and George Sturt. Unfortunately for Mabey, who hoped to find in Thompson an undiscovered nature writer, she was no White (some of the best bits of Mabey’s book are about him) and the Grayshott literary scene made her even less sure of own ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... million,’ said Trump. ‘Who the hell knows what it is worth?’) His casino empire across the Hudson River in Atlantic City, his Taj Mahal, went belly up. (‘The most spectacular hotel-casino anywhere in the world’.) He declared bankruptcy four times in order to stiff his contractors and workers. Every financial house in the city spurned his plea to ...

Enemies For Ever

James Wolcott: ‘Making It’, 18 May 2017

Making It 
by Norman Podhoretz.
NYRB, 368 pp., £13.98, May 2017, 978 1 68137 080 4
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... It would go down in legend and out of print, a sunken landmark of sorts. To mark​ the fiftieth anniversary of Making It, NYRB Classics has revived Podhoretz’s battle-scarred memoir with an innocuous new introduction by Terry Teachout, Commentary’s critic at large, who isn’t about to jeopardise his post by saying anything ...

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