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What’s Coming

David Edgar: J.M. Synge, 22 March 2001

Fool of the Family: A Life of J.M. Synge 
by W.J. McCormack.
Weidenfeld, 499 pp., £25, March 2000, 0 297 64612 5
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Interpreting Synge: Essays from the Synge Summer School 1991-2000 
edited by Nicholas Grene.
Lilliput, 220 pp., £29.95, July 2000, 1 901866 47 5
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... home and husband is thrust on her. The protagonists of The Tinker’s Wedding are more proactive. Sarah has resolved to raise her social status a notch or two by marrying Michael, properly, in church. The farce of the play consists of the couple’s frustrating attempts to negotiate financial terms with a passing priest and then to keep to them; at the ...

Learned Behaviour

Luke Jennings, 23 September 2021

... which is Royal Ballet-speak for asked to leave. ‘At assessment time everyone’s so stressed,’ Sarah, a former student there told me. ‘Everyone stops eating.’ (This isn’t just nerves. As the school’s guidance on eating disorders puts it, ballet dancers are ‘aesthetic athletes’ whose appearance ‘is a part of their performance’.) In any ...

Dreadful Apprehensions

Clare Bucknell: Collier and Fielding, 25 October 2018

The Cry: A New Dramatic Fable 
by Sarah Fielding and Jane Collier, edited by Carolyn Woodward.
Kentucky, 406 pp., £86.50, November 2017, 978 0 8131 7410 5
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... scratch. The Cry: A New Dramatic Fable (1754) was a collaboration between Collier and her friend Sarah Fielding, author of the sentimental novel The Adventures of David Simple (1744) and contributor to her brother Henry’s Joseph Andrews (1742). They had worked together before – Collier wrote a preface for the 1753 sequel to David Simple, and in 1749 they ...

A Smile at My Own Temerity

John Barrell: William Hogarth, 16 February 2017

William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings 
by Elizabeth Einberg.
Yale, 432 pp., £95, November 2016, 978 0 300 22174 9
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... a value and a dignity to human nature’ – the pursuit, in short, of history painting in the grand style, the highest of the genres of high art, which he himself pursued, but which few other artists in Britain, so he believed, had a taste sufficiently elevated to attempt. By his mid-career, Hogarth had become thoroughly impatient with all the ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... presence.) In many quarters Kelly was taken to task. But when Trump’s (then) press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, was asked about it, she concurred. ‘I don’t know that I’m going to get into debating the Civil War,’ she said. ‘But I do know that many historians, including Shelby Foote, in Ken Burns’s famous Civil War documentary, agree that ...


Susannah Clapp, 23 July 1987

A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... a Condé Nast party. Her first new lover was a ‘little professor’ with curly hair and ‘very grand’ friends. A.J. Ayer began their affair by taking her to lunch and encouraging her ‘to order artichaut vinaigrette because he wanted to see how I dealt with the discarded leaves’. A few months later they were spending most of their evenings at the ...

Getting rid of them

Tom Shippey, 31 August 1989

Betrayal: Child Exploitation in Today’s World 
edited by Caroline Moorehead.
Barrie and Jenkins, 192 pp., £15, March 1989, 0 7126 2170 9
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The Kindness of Strangers: The Abandonment of Children in Western Europe from Late Antiquity to the Renaissance 
by John Boswell.
Allen Lane, 488 pp., £20, April 1989, 0 7139 9019 8
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... sexual exploitation of children in the Philippines, the one on abused children in Great Britain by Sarah Hobson (consisting largely of taped statements). It is hard, though, to take as seriously the exposé, by the editor again, of children working in ‘sweatshops’ in Naples. No doubt the children are underpaid, and no doubt they play truant from ...

Homage to the Provinces

Peter Campbell, 22 March 1990

Wright of Derby 
by Judy Egerton.
Tate Gallery, 294 pp., £25, February 1990, 1 85437 038 3
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... black and white dress is belied by its gloss. Her late husband had been in the slave trade. Mrs Sarah Clayton (a courtesy ‘Mrs’, she was unmarried) held a leading position in the coal trade in Liverpool; she points to a plan of Clayton Square, a development she oversaw personally. In this portrait, although the setting is not outdoors, the ...
The Alternative: Politics for a Change 
edited by Ben Pimlott, Anthony Wright and Tony Flower.
W.H. Allen, 260 pp., £14.95, July 1990, 9781852271688
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... brute Beveridge state and in adopting a vocabulary and technology always alien to it. Julian le Grand argues the case for ‘quasi-markets’ in education and health and believes that something can be saved from the wreckage of Thatcher ‘reforms’, which have attempted to impose spurious quasi-markets on the NHS and the state schools. Similarly, Raymond ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin, 25 August 2011

... of anguished loss at the end of the friendship. The larks she had with another bad-girl artist, Sarah Lucas, still radiate girl power, and the grandmother whom she called ‘Plum’ and who called her ‘Pudding’, fills her memories of growing up with genuine lovingness. She sought out Louise Bourgeois towards the very end of Bourgeois’s long life, and ...

Very Inbred

Helen McCarthy: Coeducation Revolutions, 10 May 2018

‘Keep the Damned Women Out’: The Struggle for Coeducation 
by Nancy Weiss Malkiel.
Princeton, 646 pp., £22.95, May 2018, 978 0 691 18111 0
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... follow suit over the next few years. Leading women’s schools in the US, including Vassar and Sarah Lawrence, meanwhile, began to admit men, as did Lady Margaret Hall and St Anne’s in Oxford, and Girton in Cambridge. In an extraordinarily short space of time, coeducation had ceased to be a distant possibility and was in widespread operation. One obvious ...

Antique Tears

Kate Retford: Consumptive Chic, 3 December 2020

The Age of Undress: Art, fashion and the classical ideal in the 1790s 
by Amelia Rauser.
Yale, 215 pp., £35, March, 978 0 300 24120 4
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... Cupid. John Philip Kemble revived Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale in 1802 with his sister, Sarah Siddons, in the role of Hermione. At the end of the play, when Leontes is introduced to a statue of the wife whom he believes to be long dead, Siddons, draped in neoclassical muslin and dramatically backlit, would suddenly turn her head and the ...


Craig Raine, 6 October 1983

Peter Porter: Collected Poems 
Oxford, 335 pp., £12.50, March 1983, 0 19 211948 6Show More
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... is richer in eccentricity and event than that of Harrison? Where Lowell can boast a Great Aunt Sarah thundering ‘on the keyboard of her dummy piano’ and ‘risen like the phoenix / from her bed of trouble-some snacks and Tauchnitz classics’, Harrison’s relations are more familiar figures, bickering on Blackpool’s Golden Mile or locked into their ...

Into Apathy

Neil McKendrick, 21 August 1980

The Wedgwood Circle, 1730-1897 
by Barbara Wedgwood and Hensleigh Wedgwood.
Studio Vista, 386 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 289 70892 3
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... strange for so rarely seeing the light of day. In such little explored shadowy corners we find Sarah Wedgwood, the last surviving daughter of Josiah and Sally, living alone. Sarah was tall, thin, solemn and sad, but above all remarkably fastidious. She was so fastidious that she kept special pairs of gloves for ...


Paul Addison, 7 July 1988

Never despair: Winston Churchill 1945-1965 
by Martin Gilbert.
Heinemann, 1438 pp., £25, May 1988, 9780434291823
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... man, or snatches from his conversation, Churchill’s perceptions dominate the narrative. If the Grand Old Man asserts that the Attlee Government has brought the country to the brink of economic ruin, or destroyed Britain’s position as a great power, there is no one to confirm or contradict him, or put his remarks in context. What Churchill ...

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