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Malice! Malice!

Stephen Sedley: Thomas More’s Trial, 5 April 2012

Thomas More’s Trial by Jury 
edited by Henry Ansgar Kelly, Louis Karlin and Gerard Wegemer.
Boydell, 240 pp., £55, September 2011, 978 1 84383 629 2
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... a wretch, I wene, better worthy.’ And he was not, as it turned out, a man for quite all seasons. Henry VIII, whose faithful servant More professed to be and for the most part was, was a self-willed tyrant whose last resort against the papal refusal to sanction his divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his marriage to Anne Boleyn was to dethrone the pope as ...

Grass Green Stockings

Eleanor Hubbard: A Spinster’s Accounts, 21 March 2013

The Business and Household Accounts of Joyce Jeffreys, Spinster of Hereford, 1638-48 
edited by Judith Spicksley.
Oxford, 413 pp., £90, March 2012, 978 0 19 726432 4
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... didn’t prevent her from being visited by an admirer or two. In 1641, she gave a shilling to Mr Tom Aston and Mr Dick Gravell, who, she wrote, ‘cam to be my valantine’. As a single woman, she couldn’t attend female neighbours who were giving birth, but she would send money to midwives and nurses. When her niece produced twins, Jeffreys stood as ...

House of Miscegenation

Gilberto Perez: Westerns, 18 November 2010

Hollywood Westerns and American Myth 
by Robert Pippin.
Yale, 198 pp., £25, May 2010, 978 0 300 14577 9
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... Hawks’s Red River (1948) is not about equality but authority. It is a tale of two leaders: Tom Dunson (John Wayne) and his adopted son Matt Garth (Montgomery Clift). Dunson is the organiser of a massive cattle drive, starting out in south-west Texas and heading for a railroad in the Midwest. But the kinder and gentler Matt takes over when the cowhands ...

Opportunities

David Gilmour, 1 June 1989

Prepared for the worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Chatto, 357 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 7011 3459 3
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... envenomed pen. As these essays indicate, he is much better at dealing with the monstrous legacy of Henry Kissinger than scoffing at poor Bill Rodgers of the SDP (as he and it then were). And Britain was also constricting, especially if you were a radical left-wing journalist with an upper-class accent and a taste for good port. You could always affect a ...

Scribblers and Assassins

Charles Nicholl: The Crimes of Thomas Drury, 31 October 2002

... for in a letter written c.1599 we find his own nephew describing him as ‘that degenerate rogue Tom Drury’. He was the third son of Robert Drury of Hawstead, Suffolk, and Audrey née Rich, the daughter of Richard, Lord Rich, a former Lord Chancellor. He was born on 8 May 1551. Thirteen years older than Marlowe, he was in his early forties when he became ...
The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe 
edited by George Holmes.
Oxford, 398 pp., £17.50, March 1988, 0 19 820073 0
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A History of 12th-century Western Philosophy 
edited by Peter Dronke.
Cambridge, 495 pp., £37.50, April 1988, 0 521 25896 0
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The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c.350-c.1450 
edited by J.H. Burns.
Cambridge, 808 pp., £60, May 1988, 0 521 24324 6
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Medieval Popular Culture: Problem of Belief and Perception 
by Aron Gurevich, translated by Janos Bak and Paul Hollingsworth.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £27.50, May 1988, 0 521 30369 9
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A History of Private Life: Revelations of the Medieval World 
edited by George Duby, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 650 pp., £24.95, April 1988, 0 674 39976 5
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... Thierry of Chartres, himself recalling Plato. But many years before Alan or Thierry, the Emperor Henry III, dealing with a group of Czech sea-lawyers, had told them brusquely: ‘The law has a nose of wax, as they say in the vulgar, and the king a hand of iron.’ Henry was not recalling Plato, he was remembering a popular ...
Northern Antiquity: The Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga 
edited by Andrew Wawn.
Hisarlik, 342 pp., £35, October 1994, 1 874312 18 4
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Heritage and Prophecy: Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World 
edited by A.M. Allchin.
Canterbury, 330 pp., £25, January 1994, 9781853110856
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... Quatermain sequence – which ran to 18 books – is bound, however, to remember the figure of Sir Henry Curtis, Bt. the English Victorian quasi-Viking whom Haggard carefully manoeuvred into situation after situation where he could fulfil the Dasent fantasy and fight, axe in hand and made-in-Birmingham mail-coat belted on, in blameless battle against ...

Burbocentrism

Tom Shippey, 23 May 1996

Beyond Uhura: ‘Star Trek’ and Other Memories 
by Nichelle Nichols.
Boxtree, 320 pp., £9.99, December 1995, 0 7522 0787 3
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I Am Spock 
by Leonard Nimoy.
Century, 342 pp., £16.99, November 1995, 0 7126 7691 0
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Science Fiction Audiences: Watching ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Trek’ 
by Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch.
Routledge, 294 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 415 06140 7
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‘Star Trek’: Deep Space Nine 
by Mark Altman, Rob Davis and Tony Pallot.
Boxtree, 64 pp., £8.99, May 1995, 0 7522 0898 5
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... in the Sixties was only about 10 per cent; and in their study of science fiction audiences, Henry Jenkins and John Tulloch note the continuing rejection of Star Trek by ‘the male establishment of literary science fiction fandom’. Actually, no group of fans can be called an establishment: none of them has any power at all, not even, for all the ...

Nayled to the wow

Tom Shippey, 7 January 1993

The Life of Geoffrey Chaucer 
by Derek Pearsall.
Blackwell, 365 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 1 55786 205 2
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A Wyf ther was: Essays in Honour of Paule Mertens-Fonck 
edited by Juliette Dor.
University of Liège, 300 pp., June 1992, 2 87233 004 6
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Hochon’s Arrow: The Social Imagination of 14th-Century Texts 
by Paul Strohm.
Princeton, 205 pp., £27.50, November 1992, 0 691 06880 1
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... that Chaucer’s support was by this time worth soliciting, and points to failed attempts by Henry IV to recruit Christine de Pisan; Pearsall thinks Henry may not even have noticed. In the same way Strohm would like to see ‘Lak of Stedfastnesse’ not just as the tissue of literary commonplaces it is, but also as ...
Nothing to Forgive: A Daughter’s Life of Antonia White 
by Lyndall Hopkinson.
Chatto, 376 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 0 7011 2969 7
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... Hopkinson’s appeared this summer, it was reviewed in the Sunday Telegraph by her father, Sir Tom Hopkinson, Antonia White’s third husband and formerly editor of Picture Post. He announced that it had been ‘produced in secrecy and haste for fear of copyright proceedings by Susan’, and went on about ‘a long-running dispute between the two daughters ...
Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald 1763-98 
by Stella Tillyard.
Chatto, 336 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6538 3
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... compared to them; while his devoted mother and aunt gave a picture of him to his first biographer, Tom Moore, which insisted that ‘the friends he was entangled with pushed his destruction forward, screening themselves behind his valuable character.’ Stella Tillyard is the author of the excellent study Aristocrats, the first of a historical trilogy in which ...

I scribble, you write

Tessa Hadley: Women Reading, 26 September 2013

The Woman Reader 
by Belinda Jack.
Yale, 330 pp., £9.99, August 2013, 978 0 300 19720 4
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Curious Subjects 
by Hilary Schor.
Oxford, 271 pp., £41.99, January 2013, 978 0 19 992809 5
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... an archetypal irony in The Mill on the Floss, set in the early decades of the 19th century. Tom Tulliver hates school so much that he counts the days until he can come home, cutting them into a stick; his sister, Maggie, who isn’t sent to school, longs to know what the Latin in his textbook means. Although these words are the very instruments of ...

Rough Wooing

Tom Shippey: Queen Matilda, 17 November 2011

Matilda: Queen of the Conqueror 
by Tracy Borman.
Cape, 297 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 0 224 09055 1
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... from his mother. Matilda took Robert’s side against her husband and her younger sons, Rufus and Henry, and Orderic is good evidence for the Conqueror’s anger: one of her go-betweens sought sanctuary from a sentence of blinding in St Evroul, where Orderic met him. There were successive rapprochements, even after Robert had bested his father in hand-to-hand ...

At Tate Britain

Tom Crewe: Burne-Jones, 24 January 2019

... besides, or in spite of, the ones they depict. This isn’t a new charge – even an admirer like Henry James thought Burne-Jones’s ‘languishing type … savours of monotony’ – but that hasn’t stopped reviewers of the Tate show serving up stale critique. Jonathan Jones of the Guardian called Burne-Jones ‘stupid’, while to Waldemar Januszczak of ...

Aubade before Breakfast

Tom Crewe: Balfour and the Souls, 31 March 2016

Balfour’s World: Aristocracy and Political Culture at the Fin de Siècle 
by Nancy Ellenberger.
Boydell, 414 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 1 78327 037 8
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... games and nibbling at the edges of philosophical debate, sometimes in the company of Oscar Wilde, Henry James, H.G. Wells and the Webbs. Today they are easily characterised as an unripened Bloomsbury Group: a celebrity clique composed of men and women unconventional in dress and conversation, literary and artistic, overlapping in their sexual commitments, but ...

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