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From Progress to Catastrophe

Perry Anderson: The Historical Novel, 28 July 2011

... form has to begin there, however far it may then wander from him. Built around the work of Walter Scott, Lukács’s theory makes five principal claims. The classical form of the historical novel is an epic depicting a transformation of popular life through a set of representative human types whose lives are reshaped by sweeping social forces. Famous ...

Wigs and Tories

Paul Foot, 18 September 1997

Trial of Strength: The Battle Between Ministers and Judges over Who Makes the Law 
by Joshua Rozenberg.
Richard Cohen, 241 pp., £17.99, April 1997, 1 86066 094 0
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The Politics of the Judiciary 
by J.A.G. Griffith.
Fontana, 376 pp., £8.99, September 1997, 0 00 686381 7
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... If the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it follows that the enemy of Michael Howard is my hero. So awful was Howard’s long reign at the Home Office that many liberals sought democratic relief from the most blatantly undemocratic section of the establishment: the judiciary. It was the strange sound of Law Lords denouncing Howard’s preposterous insistence that ‘prison works’ and the widespread jubilation at his many snubbings in the courts that led to liberal hosannas for the judges ...

Diary

David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 8 September 2016

... of a fence. Once Santana has got a good enough view, he holds the camera steady and we see Walter Scott, a man of about fifty, abruptly running away from a policeman, Michael Slager, who then discharges eight rounds from his revolver, five of which hit Scott in the back. ...

Allegedly

Michael Davie, 1 November 1984

Public Scandal, Odium and Contempt: An Investigation of Recent Libel Cases 
by David Hooper.
Secker, 230 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 436 20093 7
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... Hayward, a successful businessman, of being involved in a criminal conspiracy to murder Norman Scott, the friend of the Rt Hon. Jeremy Thorpe MP. It was a serious matter when a book by David Irving was read as suggesting that Captain Broome RN, the commander in 1942 of the destroyer escort of a wartime convoy taking supplies to Russia, had disobeyed orders ...

Rough Wooing

Michael Brown: Flodden, 23 January 2014

Fatal Rivalry: Flodden 1513 
by George Goodwin.
Weidenfeld, 288 pp., £20, July 2013, 978 0 297 86739 5
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... preparation for conflict as a pleasure. His construction of a small royal navy – with the Great Michael, for a short time the largest warship in Europe, at its heart – was testimony to his financial resources and his interest in military technology. Henry’s response was to build a slightly larger ship, a decision marking the start of his own long-term ...

Neurotic Health

Michael Shepherd, 17 December 1981

Becoming Psychiatrists 
by Donald Light.
Norton, 429 pp., £10.95, June 1981, 0 393 01168 2
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... world inhabited by the Hollywood shrink and in the fictional characters of American writers from Scott Fitzgerald to Erica Jong. It is an image manifestly different from the one with which the millions of British television viewers, glued weekly to the soap-operatic events taking place in Maybury Hospital, were presented in the person of Dr Edward Roebuck: a ...

Ediepus

Michael Neve, 18 November 1982

Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... and dark thoughts about fathers mingle with the feeling that it’s all well-known to be in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books, or in daily stories about high society, drugs, spouse murder, alimony and – so we are now told – sleeping with trumpets. Edie, because Stein and Plimpton know how to interweave as well as interview, doesn’t succumb to ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young, 25 February 1993

The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... years at the offices of Horizon. ‘Understandably, Connolly was never comfortable with Kavan,’ Michael Sheldon wrote in Friends of Promise, his book about Connolly. He was presumably referring to her heroin addiction. Friends and mentors over the years – Rhys Davies. Peter Owen, Brian Aldiss – have made considerable efforts to dispel such feelings of ...

Shatost

John Bayley, 16 June 1983

Dostoevsky and ‘The Idiot’: Author, Narrator and Reader 
by Robin Feuer Miller.
Harvard, 296 pp., £16, October 1981, 0 674 21490 0
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Dostoevsky 
by John Jones.
Oxford, 365 pp., £15, May 1983, 9780198126454
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New Essays on Dostoyevsky 
edited by Malcolm Jones and Garth Terry.
Cambridge, 252 pp., £25, March 1983, 0 521 24890 6
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The Art of Dostoevsky: Deliriums and Nocturnes 
by Robert Louis Jackson.
Princeton, 380 pp., £17.60, January 1982, 0 691 06484 9
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... The novel did not invent such reality, but has developed its conjuration into a fine art. Think of Scott, virtually the founder of the great classic novel, and his unemphatic and impenetrable ability to seem to order and control experience, to give a self to history and to men and women in history. From this point of view, ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan, 21 June 1984

Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... history of Shakespearean fiction is long and motley, like Feste’s coat. Arguably, it starts with Scott. Earlier tales about the Bard – his deer-poaching at Charlecote, the drinking bout at Bidford, holding horses at the theatre door – were fallacious rather than fictional. Starved of facts about the national poet, and eager to endorse the little that was ...

Carrying on with a foreign woman

John Sutherland, 7 November 1985

Galapagos 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 269 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 224 02847 2
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A Family Madness 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 315 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 340 38449 2
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A Storm from Paradise 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 188 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 85635 582 8
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Samarkand 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 85628 151 4
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The Sicilian 
by Mario Puzo.
Bantam, 410 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 593 01001 9
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Putting the boot in 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 192 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 224 02332 2
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... we call progress.’ Social and personal progress, the novel implies, is a hard-won thing. John Scott comes as new headmaster to Slateford, a village in Kincardineshire. There he is involved with two women. One is a local girl, May, the mill-owner’s daughter. She is trained in the domestic virtues and will, as she promises, make John a ‘good ...

The event that doesn’t occur

Michael Wood, 4 April 1985

The Man from the USSR, and Other Plays 
by Vladimir Nabokov, translated by Dmitri Nabokov.
Weidenfeld, 342 pp., £20, February 1985, 0 297 78596 6
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... to preserve the pentameter in his translation. He has done this very discreetly. The Pole is about Scott dying in the Antarctic, with fictional companions (Fleming, Kingsley, Johnson) taking the place of Oates and the others. The play is very short and simply underlines the isolation of such an end, and a gentle irony in ...

Getting it right

Tam Dalyell, 18 July 1985

The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... journalist, he could pursue the maxim laid down by those legendary figures of his paper, C.P. Scott and A.P. Wadsworth, who told their young men to stick to their stories. At a time when grasshoppering has become the journalistic norm, people on both sides of the Belgrano argument will talk to any journalist who has a corpus of knowledge. It’s all very ...

Initiatives

Geoffrey Hawthorn, 15 November 1984

Social Scientist as Innovator 
by Michael Young.
Abt Books, 265 pp., $28, April 1984, 0 89011 593 1
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Revolution from Within: Co-operatives and Co-operation in British Industry 
by Michael Young and Marianne Rigge.
Weidenfeld, 188 pp., £12.95, July 1983, 0 297 78234 7
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Dilemmas of Liberal Democracies: Studies in Fred Hirsch’s ‘Social Limits to Growth’ 
edited by Adrian Ellis and Krishan Kumar.
Tavistock, 212 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 422 78460 5
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... to be able to hear any voices but their own. One of those they should have been hearing was Michael Young’s. Young is the country’s most compelling sociologist. Not lower-middle-class in origin, not indeed English at all, but half-Irish and half-Australian, educated outside the normal rut at Dartington, and then, after a spell at Gray’s Inn, by ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... dead, Your wife, your child? Ros Schwartz is quoting here from a selection of Sachs in English by Michael Hamburger and others, whereas when it comes to rendering from Vietnamese, she offers the original transliterated, and then, working closely with Gansel, translates from her French versions, thereby forging a powerful echo chamber (even two steps removed ...

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