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At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: American Prints, 8 May 2008

... in the park. In London and Paris, the illustrations that painters admired – some reproduced by wood engraving, some by lithography – were done by others. In America the illustrators themselves became painters and printmakers. While many of the prints here are evidence of the desire to make something of the American scene – the skyscrapers, bridges and ...

Diary

Gaby Wood: How to Draw an Albatross, 18 June 2020

... his collection in 1827. Grant arrived in London that year from Edinburgh, where he had taught Charles Darwin and studied marine invertebrates with him in the Firth of Forth. All 12 of Grant’s brothers joined the navy or worked for the East India Company; he stayed closer to home, becoming a founding professor of the University of London, and the first ...

Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... Pushkin’s various notes are not fully reproduced in D.M. Thomas’s new translation, nor in Sir Charles Johnston’s of 1981). But ambiguity has always surrounded the statue, along with its imperial subject. The city which stood for a modernised and liberalised Russia was said to have cost a hundred thousand lives in the building, and the intended ...

At the V&A

Peter Campbell: Among the Artefacts, 13 December 2001

... design-history mode. Above him to the left is a copy of van Dyck’s triple portrait of Charles I. Baker took this copy to Rome for Bernini to model a sculpture on: the picture was supposed to be in hand at the time Mr Baker’s abundant curls were being carved. Surrounded by contemporary ephemera the sculpture’s timelessness is a little ...

I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth: ‘Brief Lives’, 8 October 2015

‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ 
by John Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett.
Oxford, 1968 pp., £250, March 2015, 978 0 19 968953 8
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John Aubrey: My Own Life 
by Ruth Scurr.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 0 7011 7907 6
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... the depleted printers ‘could gett no better’. Fascinated with Roman remains, Aubrey took Charles II to see Avebury in 1663 after discovering the stones while hunting with aristocratic friends; he commissioned drawings of the 12th-century Osney Abbey before it was demolished. Like all busy people, he worked all the time, and felt he wasn’t working ...

Barbarians

Stuart Airlie, 17 November 1983

Medieval Germany and its Neighbours 900-1250 
by K.J. Leyser.
Hambledon, 302 pp., £18, February 1983, 0 907628 08 7
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The Frankish Kingdoms under the Carolingians 751-987 
by Rosamond McKitterick.
Longman, 414 pp., £9.95, June 1983, 0 582 49005 7
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Ideal and Reality in Frankish and Anglo-Saxon Society: Studies presented to J.M. Wallace-Hadrill 
edited by Patrick Wormald, Donald Bullough and Roger Collins.
Blackwell, 345 pp., £27.50, September 1983, 0 631 12661 9
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... Confronted with kings called Charles the Bald, Charles the Simple, Charles the Fat and Louis the Blind, and chroniclers like Notker the Stammerer, Benzo of Alba and Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, we might be tempted to think that the history of France and Germany a millennium ago can offer us nothing more than the dreary spectacle of one barbarian succeeding another on the banks of the Seine or the Rhine ...

‘Faustus’ and the Politics of Magic

Charles Nicholl, 8 March 1990

Dr Faustus 
by Christopher Marlowe, edited by Roma Gill.
Black, 109 pp., £3.95, December 1989, 0 7136 3231 3
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Renaissance Magic and the Return of the Golden Age: The Occult Tradition and Marlowe, Jonson and Shakespeare 
by John Mebane.
Nebraska, 309 pp., £26.95, July 1989, 0 8032 3133 4
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Robert Fludd and the End of the Renaissance 
by William Huffman.
Routledge, 252 pp., £30, November 1989, 0 415 00129 3
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Prophecy and Power: Astrology in Early Modern England 
by Patrick Curry.
Polity, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1989, 0 7456 0604 0
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... should not be taken to suggest any idea of shortness. Fludd’s writings, said Anthony à Wood, sounding rather daunted, ‘were great, many and mystical’. His magnum opus was the Utriusque Cosmi Historia, which offered nothing less than a ‘technical, physical and metaphysical history of the macrocosm and the microcosm’. This appeared in parts ...

Bristling with Diligence

James Wood: A.S. Byatt, 8 October 2009

The Children’s Book 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 617 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 7011 8389 9
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... his brother’s radicalism. Basil and his German wife, Katharina, have two children, Griselda and Charles. Around the Wellwoods circles a busy group of writers, radical academics, freethinkers, theatre directors and potters. Philip Warren joins this fortunate circle by chance: he is discovered in the basement of the South Kensington Museum, where he has been ...

Sad Nights

Michael Wood, 26 May 1994

The Conquest of Mexico 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hutchinson, 832 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 671 70518 0
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The Conquest of Mexico 
by Serge Gruzinski, translated by Eileen Corrigan.
Polity, 336 pp., £45, July 1993, 0 7456 0873 6
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... it seems, to deliver a working civilisation, a social wonder of the new world, to his sovereign Charles V, and to become himself the effective ruler of the Mexica and indeed all the Indians of Central America. He lost a lot of the treasure he had gathered, and he conquered a ruin; but he ended a world, or consigned that world to the devious and subterranean ...

Maypoles

Conrad Russell, 5 September 1985

The Restoration: A Political and Religious History of England and Wales 1658-1667 
by Ronald Hutton.
Oxford, 379 pp., £17.50, June 1985, 0 19 822698 5
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... Dick’ on whom we were brought up. He fought back vigorously against his opponents, and, like Charles in 1641, was prepared to turn to support from Scotland and Ireland to keep power against his enemies. The fact that, unlike Charles I, he soon realised that the logistical difficulties were too great seems to ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... in the children’s weeklies. The person chiefly responsible for the new note of jollity was Charles Hamilton, better known as Frank Richards, who made a Never Never Land of the English public school, but did it with such dash, amiability and authority that every subsequent generation, right up to the present, has contained its quota of Greyfriars ...

Veni, vidi, video

D.A.N. Jones, 18 August 1983

Dangerous Pursuits 
by Nicholas Salaman.
Secker, 192 pp., £7.50, June 1983, 0 436 44086 5
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Monimbo 
by Robert Moss.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £7.95, August 1983, 0 297 78166 9
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The Last Supper 
by Charles McCarry.
Hutchinson, 427 pp., £8.96, May 1983, 0 09 151420 7
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Heartburn 
by Nora Ephron.
Heinemann, 179 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 434 23700 0
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August 1988 
by David Fraser.
Collins, 235 pp., £8.50, July 1983, 0 00 222725 8
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The Cure 
by Peter Kocan.
Angus and Robertson, 137 pp., £5.95, July 1983, 9780207145896
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... humourless para-political thrillers of espionage as Monimbo (copyright Mossgrave Partnership) or Charles McCarry’s The Last Supper – so ambitiously titled but with all the human interest of a computer or a ventriloquist’s dummy. Charles McCarry must not be confused with Edgar Bergen’s famous doll, Charlie ...

Four Thousand, Tops

Michael Wood: Headlong by Michael Frayn, 14 October 1999

Headlong 
by Michael Frayn.
Faber, 395 pp., £16.99, August 1999, 0 571 20051 6
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... and lucid, but handicapped by a resolutely 20th-century sense of politics and meaning. The Emperor Charles V is ‘like a provincial English scholarship boy who’s absorbed into the London establishment’, and ‘the history of the Netherlands in the 16th century has a remarkably familiar ring to anyone reading about it today … However much allowance you ...

Real isn’t real

Michael Wood: Octavio Paz, 4 July 2013

The Poems of Octavio Paz 
edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger.
New Directions, 606 pp., £30, October 2012, 978 0 8112 2043 9
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... of individual poems by Elizabeth Bishop, Paul Blackburn, Denise Levertov, Muriel Rukeyser and Charles Tomlinson. In the notes Weinberger has glossed allusions, and brought together, as my quotations have suggested, an illuminating set of comments by Paz himself. Paz’s recurring references are to Baudelaire and Nerval, but his work is often close to that ...

Floating Islands

J.I.M. Stewart, 21 October 1982

Of This and Other Worlds 
by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter Hooper.
Collins, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 00 215608 3
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George Orwell: A Personal Memoir 
by T.R. Fyvel.
Weidenfeld, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 297 78012 3
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... Eight-Four and The Lord of the Rings. Two pieces, an admirable discussion of the novels of Charles Williams and a slightly odd ‘Panegyric for Dorothy L. Sayers’, are printed for the first time. Near the conclusion of the essay on Williams, he expresses himself as ‘horribly afraid’ that he may have given the impression that Wiliams was a ...

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