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Elsinore’s Star Bullshitter

Michael Dobson, 13 September 2018

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness 
by Rhodri Lewis.
Princeton, 365 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 0 691 16684 1
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... John Marston, Thomas Middleton (most spectacularly in The Revenger’s Tragedy, 1606) and John Fletcher. In his Jew’s Tragedy, written in the 1620s, William Heminges even includes the line ‘To be, or not to be, I, there’s the doubt.’ Perhaps he thought that as the son of one of the compilers of the 1623 Shakespeare folio, which prints a more ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... was thus immense. Hurd found only one setting by Gurney of his own words, where the musician Richard Carder, searching the archive in 1993, found 16. And as recently as 1996 a letter was unearthed, there since the beginning, enclosing 13 hitherto unknown poems of 1919. The pattern Kavanagh contrived from ‘upwards of 1700 items of verse of all ...

Oxford University’s Long Haul

Sheldon Rothblatt, 21 January 1988

The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. I: The Early Oxford Schools 
edited by J.I. Catto.
Oxford, 684 pp., £55, June 1984, 0 19 951011 3
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. III: The Collegiate University 
edited by James McConia.
Oxford, 775 pp., £60, July 1986, 9780199510139
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The History of the University of Oxford. Vol. V: The 18th Century 
edited by L.S. Sutherland and L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 949 pp., £75, July 1986, 0 19 951011 3
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Learning and a Liberal Education: The Study of History in the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester, 1880-1914 
by Peter Slee.
Manchester, 181 pp., £25, November 1986, 9780719018961
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... subject to delays. The obscure origins of the University are carefully reconstructed. In Sir Richard Southern’s distinction, Oxford was not ‘created’ – it ‘emerged’. The contributors explain the significance of its geographical location and its importance as a centre of legal activity. They discuss how it separated from the town and the ...

I want to love it

Susan Pedersen: What on earth was he doing?, 18 April 2019

Eric Hobsbawm: A Life in History 
by Richard J. Evans.
Little, Brown, 800 pp., £35, February 2019, 978 1 4087 0741 8
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... historical and autobiographical questions and then hares off to tackle the former. This means that Richard Evans had an untilled field before him. Based on unrestricted access to Hobsbawm’s personal archive, this is one of those doorstopper biographies that can get published in Britain even when the subject is a historian. It clocks in at 662 pages of text ...

Writing about Shakespeare

Frank Kermode, 9 December 1999

... found in the pages of a book. Listen to this, for instance, from III Henry VI, a very early play. Richard, Duke of York has fatally lost a battle: … all my followers to the eager foe Turn back and fly, like ships before the wind, Or lambs pursu’d by hunger-starved wolves. His sons rally to him, and they counter-attack: With this we charg’d again; as ...

Rescuing the bishops

Blair Worden, 21 April 1983

The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society 1559-1625 
by Patrick Collinson.
Oxford, 297 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 19 822685 3
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Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649 
by John Morrill.
Macmillan, 257 pp., £14, November 1982, 0 333 27565 9
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The World of the Muggletonians 
by Christopher Hill, Barry Reay and William Lamont.
Temple Smith, 195 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 0 85117 226 1
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The Life of John Milton 
by A.N. Wilson.
Oxford, 278 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 211776 9
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Complete Prose Works of John Milton. Vol. 8: 1666-1682 
edited by Maurice Kelley.
Yale, 625 pp., £55, January 1983, 0 300 02561 0
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The Poet’s Time: Politics and Religion in the Works of Andrew Marvell 
by Warren Chernaik.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 9780521247733
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... long insisted on the regional variations in the patterns of the conflict, but by the time Anthony Fletcher has guided us round the counties of England, and Roger Howell round the towns, we must wonder whether any generalisations about local allegiances can ever be made again. Donald Pennington describes the burdens and the dislocation brought by the ...

Do I like it?

Terry Castle: Outsider Art, 28 July 2011

... Twomblys, accidental Jackson Pollocks, accidental works by Eva Hesse or Louise Bourgeois or Richard Tuttle or Jean-Michel Basquiat. (See recent coup to the right: an accidental Philip Guston. Guston’s 1968 painting Boot is above, and below a CE artist’s picture, now in my collection, of an eight-fingered glove.) At such moments, you not only feel ...

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