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Metropolitan Miscreants

Matthew Bevis: Victorian Bloomsbury, 4 July 2013

Victorian Bloomsbury 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, July 2012, 978 0 300 15447 4
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Metropolitan Art and Literature, 1810-40: Cockney Adventures 
by Gregory Dart.
Cambridge, 297 pp., £55, July 2012, 978 1 107 02492 2
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... of the March of Mind come to lecture others on how to get on in life, where Mrs Filmer’s doctor, Holmes, briskly informs her neighbour Septimus that he has ‘nothing whatever seriously the matter with him’. ‘There remained only the window, the large Bloomsbury lodging-house window, the tiresome, the troublesome, and rather melodramatic business of ...

Time Lords

Anthony Grafton: In the Catacombs, 31 July 2014

Heavenly Bodies: Cult Treasures and Spectacular Saints from the Catacombs 
by Paul Koudounaris.
Thames and Hudson, 189 pp., £18.95, September 2013, 978 0 500 25195 9
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... in the Cloaca Maxima and other sewers. But the Via Salaria discovery was made in a new era. Martin Luther and other Protestants had mounted a challenge to the traditions of the church. Efforts to rebut their ideas had failed, and the support of rulers who converted had enabled some of the Reformers to build new churches of their own. At the Council of ...

A Common Playhouse

Charles Nicholl: The Globe Theatre, 8 January 2015

Shakespeare and the Countess: The Battle That Gave Birth to the Globe 
by Chris Laoutaris.
Fig Tree, 528 pp., £20, April 2015, 978 1 905490 96 7
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... like other areas with old religious or monastic connections (the Whitefriars, the Minories, St Martin le Grand, St Katherine by the Tower), was one of London’s quasi-autonomous ‘liberties’, and so not governed by the lord mayor. The second was that there had already been a theatre in the area, immediately adjacent to the building on which Burbage’s ...

There are some limits Marlowes just won’t cross

Christopher Tayler: Banville’s Marlowe, 3 April 2014

The Black-Eyed Blonde 
by Benjamin Black.
Mantle, 320 pp., £16.99, February 2014, 978 1 4472 3668 9
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... in detective fiction’, and on some level that’s probably the point. (‘I’m not Sherlock Holmes or Philo Vance,’ Marlowe says later on.) Even so, it’s surprising that Marlowe doesn’t know who Proust is: he’s usually more knowingly dismissive when it comes to cultural matters, especially when they touch, as they often seem to do, on his ...

Freedom of the Press

Anthony Lewis, 26 November 1987

... Martin Chuzzlewit, in the Dickens novel, crosses the Atlantic in a packet boat. When it reaches New York, newsboys come aboard shouting out the latest in their papers: the New York Sewer, the Stabber, the Plunderer and so on. ‘Here’s the Sewer’s exposure of the Washington gang,’ one cries, ‘and the Sewer’s exclusive account of a flagrant act of dishonesty committed by the Secretary of State when he was eight years old, now communicated, at a great expense, by his own nurse ...

A Hard Dog to Keep on the Porch

Christopher Hitchens, 6 June 1996

... turn up a letter that William Jefferson Clinton wrote, on 3 December 1969, to a certain Colonel Holmes of the University of Arkansas Reserve Officers Training Corps. Clinton wanted to clarify his attitude to the military draft:Let me try to explain. As you know, I worked for two years in a very minor position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I did ...

Bantu in the Bathroom

Jacqueline Rose, 19 November 2015

... spent in a wheelchair. This wasn’t her first brush with brokenness. According to her cousin Kim Martin, who spoke at Pistorius’s sentencing (the only time during the whole trial that the Steenkamp family got a hearing), when Reeva was a young girl the family’s pet poodle became paralysed and was going to have to be put down. Reeva saved the ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... can be baroque epics that slip you in at the back door, such as Nick Tosches’s pathology of Dean Martin, or they can be necrophiliac insults inflicted on the undead corpses of Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield or James Dean. They can be gangland revisionism, pedantic squabbles over otherwise forgotten crimes, mouthy justifications scooped onto wood pulp. They ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... It’s an old tactic and it is still in play around the Grenfell disaster. As soon as Martin Moore-Bick, the chair of the public inquiry, announced that he would be seeking answers rather than taking dictation from those with passionate feelings, he was dismissed as a ‘posh white man’. It was reported that the community felt he had ‘the ...

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