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... book trade would like to see taking place each year in Britain. A start has perhaps been made. The Bedford Square Book Bang was an early, local precedent; the Barnsley Book Bonanza, a week-long festival which started last year, is closer to the Hungarian model, with market-stalls, lectures, poetry ’n’ pints, signing sessions, lectures and seminars bringing ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... males can rewrite a life. Schreiner gets into the DNB as an appendix to her lawyer brother William. William is not mentioned in the Companion entry, even as an appendix. The Companion is careful to note that Olive’s mother, ‘a brilliant, exacting Englishwoman’, ‘once beat her for using an Afrikaans ...

Items on a New Agenda

Conrad Russell, 23 October 1986

Humanism in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Maria Dowling.
Croom Helm, 283 pp., £25, February 1986, 0 7099 0864 4
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Henry, Prince of Wales and England’s Lost Renaissance 
by Roy Strong.
Thames and Hudson, 264 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 500 01375 6
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Authority and Conflict: England 1603-1658 
by Derek Hirst.
Arnold, 390 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 7131 6155 8
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Rebellion or Revolution? England 1640-1660 
by G.E. Aylmer.
Oxford, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1986, 0 19 219179 9
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Politics and Ideology in England 1603-1640 
by J.P. Sommerville.
Longman, 254 pp., £6.95, April 1986, 9780582494329
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... his occasional grudging acceptance of a community of interest. With Anne came the King’s doctor William Butts, ‘whose unobtrusive services to the evangelical cause played a key part in the course of Henrician reformation’. This Boleyn-Butts axis often appears in this book competing vigorously for limelight with Thomas Cromwell. We should not exaggerate ...

Impervious to Draughts

Rosemary Hill: Das englische Haus, 22 May 2008

The English House 
by Hermann Muthesius, edited by Dennis Sharp, translated by Janet Seligman and Stewart Spencer.
Frances Lincoln, 699 pp., £125, June 2007, 978 0 7112 2688 3
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... and manufacturers who could commission a substantial country house, to the suburban terraces of Bedford Park and the budding garden city at Letchworth. It might even, given enlightened patronage, be modified to accommodate the working class. Muthesius was impressed by the factory hands’ housing at Port Sunlight. There was nothing like this in ...

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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... of alternative accommodation for the company. He paid the owner of the former refectory, Sir William More, £600 for the freehold, and according to later computations spent a further £400 on refurbishing it for use as a theatre. The idea of siting a new public theatre within the city walls was a gamble. None currently existed – the Theatre and the ...

Bertie and Alys and Ottoline

Alan Ryan, 28 May 1992

The Selected Letters of Bertrand Russell. Vol. I: The Private Years, 1884-1914 
edited by Nicholas Griffin.
Allen Lane, 553 pp., £25, March 1992, 0 7139 9023 6
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... Russells. His uncle Rollo began to lose his sight and had to leave the Foreign Office, his uncle William went mad and was consigned to an asylum where he spent the rest of his long life, and his father had an epileptic seizure. In the winter of 1873-4, his parents and his older brother Frank went to Italy. When they came back, Frank had diphtheria; though he ...


Richard Horton, 8 October 1992

Edward Jenner 1749-1823 
by Richard Fisher.
Deutsch, 361 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 233 98681 2
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... from George Pearson, who verified the efficacy of vaccination from his own collaborative work with William Woodville at the Smallpox Hospital in London. Woodville went on to describe over five hundred individuals who had received vaccination, and his work lent credibility to Jenner’s preliminary observations. Although the initial discovery of vaccination was ...

Why the richest woman in Britain changed her will 26 times

Mark Kishlansky: The Duchess of Marlborough, 14 November 2002

The Favourite: Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough 
by Ophelia Field.
Hodder, 575 pp., £20, June 2002, 9780340768075
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... were happy. Her daughters Henrietta and Mary conducted well-publicised affairs, Henrietta’s with William Congreve, who left his estate to their illegitimate daughter and named Henrietta’s husband as executor. (The dilemma of the cuckold is eased when his horns are made of gold, as Dr Johnson might have said.) Sarah was mortified when Henrietta appeared at ...

Gilded Drainpipes

E.S. Turner: London, 10 June 1999

The London Rich: The Creation of a Great City from 1666 to the Present 
by Peter Thorold.
Viking, 374 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 670 87480 9
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The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture 
by Mordaunt Crook.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 7195 6040 3
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... by bedding heiresses. No slavemaster had a higher scorn for aristocrats than the promiscuous Sir William Beckford, the exceedingly rich Lord Mayor of London who complained to Horace Walpole that the air of Richmond was so bad that 12 of his natural children had died there; to which one can only add that they would have died faster in the West Indies. East of ...

Hug me till you drug me

Alex Harvey: Aldous Huxley, 5 May 2016

After Many a Summer 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 314 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 035 5
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Time Must Have a Stop 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 305 pp., £9.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 034 8
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The Genius and the Goddess 
by Aldous Huxley.
Vintage, 127 pp., £8.99, September 2015, 978 1 78487 036 2
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... Throughout his fiction there’s a puritan unease about the emasculating effect of sex. Sybille Bedford, Huxley’s first biographer, notes his distaste for promiscuity, ‘which spends itself purposely, without producing love or even, in the long run, amusement’. After Many a Summer, Time Must Have a Stop and The Genius and the ...

Hallelujah Times

Eric Foner: The Great Migration, 29 June 2017

A Mind to Stay: White Plantation, Black Homeland 
by Sydney Nathans.
Harvard, 313 pp., £23.95, February 2017, 978 0 674 97214 8
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... the aftermath of slavery, freedpeople throughout the South demanded access to land. When General William T. Sherman met with a group of black ministers in Savannah in January 1865, he asked what would enable the emancipated slaves to live as free people. They answered: ‘Give us land.’ Sherman set aside a portion of coastal South Carolina and Georgia for ...

The Doctrine of Unripe Time

Ferdinand Mount: The Fifties, 16 November 2006

Having It So Good: Britain in the Fifties 
by Peter Hennessy.
Allen Lane, 740 pp., £30, October 2006, 0 7139 9571 8
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... Never Had It So Good. This neatly illustrates the drawback of decaditis: Macmillan’s speech at Bedford football ground on 20 July 1957 points forward as well as back. Having It So Good is the second volume in a history of postwar Britain: the first volume, Never Again, a history of 1945-51 or the ‘short postwar’, was published in 1992. Hennessy ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... 3; and the evening ended (again rousingly but not nationalistically) with Rossini’s Overture to William Tell. The result was an eclectic mixture, but it was much more European than British, and the programmes were conspicuously devoid of those military, nautical, jingoistic or imperial overtones so much in evidence in Britain during those years. But while ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... it bad for them and for their art, and he deprecated the propensity when he found it in his son William Butler Yeats: ‘I wish Willie had Jack’s tender gracious manner, and did not sometimes treat me as if I was a black beetle.’ To judge by these entrancing, life-enhancing letters, John Butler Yeats never treated anybody as a black beetle. The contrast ...

The devil has two horns

J.G.A. Pocock, 24 February 1994

The Great Melody: A Thematic Biography and Commented Anthology of Edmund Burke 
by Conor Cruise O’Brien.
Minerva, 692 pp., £8.99, September 1993, 0 7493 9721 7
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... rule them despotically. It is acknowledged, however, that he had sponsored the researches of Sir William Jones,4 which had laid scientific foundations for the truth that Hindus and Muslims had laws and knew what property was. Hastings, of whose guilt Dr O’Brien is in no doubt, is a complex figure, though less so than that strange mixture of villainy and ...

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