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The Stream in the Sky

John Barrell: Thomas Telford, 22 March 2018

Man of Iron: Thomas Telford and the Building of Britain 
by Julian Glover.
Bloomsbury, 403 pp., £10.99, January 2018, 978 1 4088 3748 1
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... is also attributed to Telford, though with the active collaboration of the more senior engineer William Jessop and the ironmaster William Hazledine. It consists of an iron trough supported on arched iron ribs and carried more than 120 feet above the Dee Valley on delicately tapered stone piers. It is dramatically ...

Icicles by Cynthia

Michael Wood: Ghosts, 2 January 2020

Romantic Shades and Shadows 
by Susan J. Wolfson.
Johns Hopkins, 272 pp., £50, August 2018, 978 1 4214 2554 2
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... well. The superstition, if it is one, had been around for five thousand years, Johnson said; when Byron quoted Johnson in Don Juan, he upped this to six thousand, concluding that ‘Whatever bar the reason rears/’Gainst such belief, there’s something stronger still/In its behalf, let those deny who will.’ The point perhaps concerns not so much the ...

Progress Past

Paul Langford, 8 November 1990

The Idea of Progress in 18th-Century Britain 
by David Spadafora.
Yale, 464 pp., £22.50, July 1990, 0 300 04671 5
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George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron 
by Vincent Carretta.
Georgia, 389 pp., £38.50, June 1990, 0 8203 1146 4
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... equally famous. Richard Price, Joseph Priestley, and perhaps Edmund Law, need no introduction. But William Worthington and John Gordon have not previously been placed in the august company of the Humes and Priestleys. Worthington figures briefly in the DNB and Williams’s Eminent Welshmen, but is not a household name even among historians of Georgian ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... of the poem changes significantly: it becomes more sceptical and sexually adventurous. Byron’s two most important poems, Childe Harold and Don Juan, are also problematic texts, since they were censored and distorted, to a degree that significantly changed their direction, by the publisher Murray. Coleridge himself went on editorialising and ...

Wielded by a Wizard

Seamus Perry: Shelley’s Kind of Glee, 3 January 2019

Selected Poems and Prose 
by Percy Bysshe Shelley, edited by Jack Donovan and Cian Duffy.
Penguin, 893 pp., £12.99, January 2017, 978 0 241 25306 9
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... as well as admirers, dividing opinion over the next two hundred years with comical extremity. William Hazlitt, although notionally on the same side in the big political questions of the day, was pugnaciously uncharmed by the cast of mind that he discerned in Shelley’s dashing about, and anticipated a whole school of criticism: ‘There is no caput ...

Watermonster Blues

William Wootten: Edwin Morgan, 18 November 2004

Edwin Morgan: Inventions of Modernity 
by Colin Nicholson.
Manchester, 216 pp., £40, October 2002, 0 7190 6360 4
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translated by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 118 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 588 5
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by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 128 pp., £6.95, November 2002, 1 85754 617 2
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... His talent for imitation and pastiche has given rise to passable impersonations of Shelley, Byron, Joyce and MacDiarmid; it has also allowed him to transcribe the sentiments of animals, aliens, waking mummies, monsters and computers. The attempt to make a strange time and tongue communicate is supremely Morganish behaviour. But Beowulf has a rather more ...


Gary Taylor, 7 January 1993

Shakespeare: The Later Years 
by Russell Fraser.
Columbia, 380 pp., $35, April 1992, 0 231 06766 6
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Shakespeare: His Life, Work and Era 
by Dennis Kay.
Sidgwick, 368 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 283 99878 4
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William Shakespeare: The Anatomy of an Enigma 
by Peter Razzell.
Caliban, 188 pp., May 1992, 1 85066 010 7
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Politics, Plague and Shakespeare’s Theatre: The Stuart Years 
by Leeds Barroll.
Cornell, 249 pp., £20.80, January 1992, 0 8014 2479 8
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Shakespeare Verbatim: The Reproduction of Authenticity and the 1790 Apparatus 
by Margreta de Grazia.
Oxford, 244 pp., £30, February 1991, 0 19 811778 7
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... Either as a substitute for or as a supplement to a reading of his work. I may read about Byron or Orton because the life itself is both well-documented and well worth watching; but Shakespeare’s life is neither. How he behaved, what he endured, who he knew, where he went – such information does not expand or deepen my grasp of human ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg, 18 November 2004

The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... insolence to anxious Tories. Wordsworth snubbed him at Mount Rydal. De Quincey, Scott and Byron questioned his breeding. Even his colleagues at Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, when tired of baiting Cockneys, kept their hand in by goading Hogg. Hogg helped found Blackwood’s Magazine (or ‘Maga’); he co-authored the ‘Chaldee Manuscript’, a ...


Richard Jenkyns: George Grote’s ‘A History of Greece’, 9 August 2001

A History of Greece: From the Time of Solon to 403 BC 
by George Grote, edited by J.M. Mitchell and M.O.B. Caspari.
Routledge, 978 pp., £60, September 2000, 0 415 22369 5
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... that it exemplified ‘the dangerous Turbulence of Democracy’, and the outspokenly Tory William Mitford. Macaulay noted Mitford’s liking for Sparta and dislike of Athens; Byron declared outright, ‘His great pleasure is in praising tyrants,’ and yet allowed him to be ‘perhaps the best of all modern ...


Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros, 20 December 2018

... founded the shop in 1698 at the southern end of St James’s Street; one of her daughters married William Pickering, and the shop remained with the Pickering family until 1810, when George Berry renamed the shop after himself. It was an ‘Italian warehouse’, as grocers’ shops specialising in imported goods were known. The shield hanging above the front ...

Falklands Title Deeds

Malcolm Deas, 19 August 1982

The Struggle for the Falkland Islands 
by Julius Goebel, introduced by J.C.J. Metford.
Yale, 482 pp., £10, June 1982, 0 300 02943 8
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The Falklands Islands Dispute: International Dimensions 
edited by Joan Pearce.
Chatham House, 47 pp., £2.75, April 1982, 0 905031 25 3
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The Falkland Islands: The Facts 
HMSO, 12 pp., £50, May 1982, 0 11 701029 4Show More
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... The British reappear in the strange voyage of the Batchelors’ Delight, 1683-5, captained by William Ambrosia Cowley and controlled by the more piratical William Dampier. A storm blew them to the Falklands – they had been ‘discoursing of the intrigues of women’, which brings bad weather – and they saw ‘foul ...

At the Fitzwilliam

Ian Patterson: A tidying-up and a sorting-out, 11 August 2016

... who followed M.R. James in the post, had been library cataloguer and acquisitions assistant to William Morris during the 1890s, and his taste was formed by Morris and Ruskin and their circles. He seems to have been relentlessly acquisitive, mostly on behalf of the Fitzwilliam, and the lists of the gifts he elicited constitutes a goodish proportion of the ...

Jack in the Belfry

Terry Eagleton, 8 September 2016

The Trials of the King of Hampshire: Madness, Secrecy and Betrayal in Georgian England 
by Elizabeth Foyster.
Oneworld, 368 pp., £20, September 2016, 978 1 78074 960 0
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... not go on to Eton. He could be a belligerent child, and once pulled the ears of the 11- year-old Byron. Byron retaliated by throwing shells at him and broke a window. Even as a boy, the legendary daredevil was not to be messed about. Years later, however, Byron testified to ...

Theory of Texts

Jerome McGann, 18 February 1988

Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts: The Panizzi Lectures 1985 
by D.F. McKenzie.
British Library, 80 pp., £10, December 1986, 0 7123 0085 6
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... Each appears here in a representative figure: the bibliographer Fredson Bowers and the interpreter William K. Wimsatt. McKenzie singles them out for tactical purposes – that is to say, in order to place each of them at the centre of his double-focused critique of the traditional theory of texts. ‘There is nothing outside of the text.’ That well-known ...

That’s what Wystan says

Seamus Perry, 10 May 2018

Early Auden, Later Auden: A Critical Biography 
by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 912 pp., £27.95, May 2017, 978 0 691 17249 1
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... remained the poems that mattered most, as they were not slow to say. With the exception of Byron, it is difficult to think of any other English poet who became so well known so swiftly; and, like Byron, Auden inhabited the myth of himself uncomfortably. His celebrity among contemporaries was already established while ...

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