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Her eyes were wild

John Bayley, 2 May 1985

Letters of Dorothy Wordsworth: A Selection 
edited by Alan Hill.
Oxford, 200 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 19 818539 1
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Dorothy Wordsworth 
by Robert Gittings and Jo Manton.
Oxford, 318 pp., £12.50, March 1985, 0 19 818519 7
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The Pedlar, Tintern Abbey, The Two-Part Prelude 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Cambridge, 76 pp., £7.95, January 1985, 0 521 26526 6
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The Ruined Cottage, The Brothers, Michael 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Jonathan Wordsworth.
Cambridge, 82 pp., £7.95, January 1985, 0 521 26525 8
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... are strangely devoid of any personal note, while Dorothy’s could only have been written by her. Alan Hill, who is editing the new complete edition of William’s and Dorothy’s letters, has made a selection of her letters that reads like a narrative, and follows her from the dependent state as orphan with the Cooksons at Penrith to the premature onset ...
... its green fields and dulled the burnish of its woods! After lunch we turned west, climbed the hill again through the hedges of wild rose, past gardens scented with mock-orange, stocks and lilacs – the scents were heavily intoxicating everywhere – and then dropped down through the woods to another Evenlode reach and an old stone bridge where the cattle ...

Half-Way up the Hill

Frank Kermode, 7 July 1988

Young Betjeman 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 457 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 7195 4531 5
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... about family and school. Born at Gospel Oak, Betjeman moved up with his parents to better-off West Hill; fans will remember his touching invocation of the house there (‘Deeply I loved thee, 31 West Hill!’), as well as some very subtle verses (‘Lissenden Mansions! And my memory sifts/Lilies from lily-like electric ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1983, 16 February 1984

... house. 8 February, Dundee. A day off from filming An Englishman Abroad and I go to Edinburgh with Alan Bates. We climb the tower near the castle to see the Camera Obscura. The texture of the revolving bowl and the softness of the reflection convert the view into an 18th-century aquatint, in which motor-cars seem as delicate and exotic as sedan chairs. The ...

At Sotheby’s

Rosemary Hill: Debo’s Bibelots , 17 March 2016

... the cups and saucers, the well-worn chintz, table lamps and signed copies of the works of Alan Titchmarsh. Anyone hoping for crumbs from the great collections at Chatsworth was disappointed. This was the contents of the duchess’s final home, a former vicarage in the estate village of Edensor, which was built in the 1830s to be solid and ...
Fatalism and Development: Nepal’s Struggle for Modernisation 
by Dor Bahadur Bista.
Longman, Madras
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... projects. But they do help to explain why Nepalese manufacturers have been so unsuccessful, why hill agriculture is withering, why Nepal is a minor dumping-ground for medical drugs, drinks and tourists. It is an incomplete explanation, which does not take the international politico-economic context of Nepal into account. Thirdly, there are the social and ...

English Individualism Revisited

Alan Ryan, 21 January 1988

The Culture of Capitalism 
by Alan Macfarlane.
Blackwell, 254 pp., £19.50, August 1987, 0 631 13626 6
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... Alan Macfarlane’s little book on The Origins of English Individualism came out in 1978. It argued that England had been in crucial respects a ‘modern’ society ever since the 14th century and maybe earlier, and that most accounts of the transition to modernity were therefore misconceived, and in so doing it attacked just about every vested interest in contemporary historiography ...

The Limit

Rosemary Hill, 2 November 1995

Christopher Wood: An English Painter 
by Richard Ingleby.
Allison and Busby, 295 pp., £25, May 1995, 0 85031 849 1
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Barbara Hepworth: A Life of Forms 
by Sally Festing.
Viking, 343 pp., £20, May 1995, 0 670 84203 6
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... they set off in pursuit of the same, ultimately elusive, ideal. It was Hepworth’s son-in-law, Alan Bowness, who wrote (in The Conditions of Success: How the Modern Artist Rises to Fame) that ‘there is a general supposition even among the educated public that there is something arbitrary about artistic success.’ Neither Wood nor Hepworth suffered such ...

Best Things

Alan Hollinghurst, 20 August 1981

Viewpoints: Poets in Conversation with John Haffenden 
Faber, 189 pp., £7.50, June 1981, 0 571 11689 2Show More
A Free Translation 
by Craig Raine.
Salamander, 29 pp., £4.50, June 1981, 0 907540 02 3
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A German Requiem 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 9 pp., £1.50, January 1981, 0 907540 00 7
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Caviare at the Funeral 
by Louis Simpson.
Oxford, 89 pp., £4.50, April 1981, 0 19 211943 5
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... their subjects/performers, but the influences will often be far from straightforward. Geoffrey Hill and Thom Gunn impress by their quiet responsiveness, their unembarrassed exploration of their own complexities – but equally they are given by Haffenden the benefit of long interviews and of questioning which follows up both intellectual contexts and ...

Evening at Dorneywood

Alan Rusbridger, 22 June 1989

The Whitelaw Memoirs 
by William Whitelaw.
Aurum, 280 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 1 85410 028 9
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... to the Scottish major’s lecture on the Spirit of the Bayonet: Afterwards I went up the hill to my favorite sanctuary, a wood of hazels and beeches. The evening air smelt of wet mould and wet leaves; the trees were misty green; the church bell was tolling in the town, and smoke rose from the roofs. Peace was there in the twilight ... But the ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery, 3 November 2016

... whose Book of Snobs appeared in 1848, and George Orwell – he has written biographies of both. Alan Bennett, who has the finest antennae for social nuance, is absent. So is Muriel Spark whose short story, ‘You Should Have Seen the Mess’, is a forensic analysis of the subject. It is narrated by a woman who has based every decision in her life on ...

Lord Eskgrove’s Indecent Nose

Rosalind Mitchison, 24 January 1980

Lord Cockburn: A Bicentenary Commemoration 
edited by Alan Bell.
Scottish Academic Press, 204 pp., £6, December 1980, 0 7073 0245 5
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... world of new styles in politics and architecture: the First he held with, the second deplored. As Alan Bell remarks, Cockburn’s ‘experience was almost exclusively Scottish’, yet one journey abroad, a Classical education and the experience of Scotland in its greatest days of self-esteem, when it could be believed that the answers to the social and moral ...


R.W. Johnson: Alan Taylor, Oxford Don, 8 May 1986

... the most famous historian in the world. I was not long to think of him by his initials, for Alan was the least standoffish of the senior fellows, the least likely to stand on his dignity. He loved talking – and being listened to. One could safely bring any guest to dinner and place them near him. They would be bound to come away delighted with a ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: Aubrey Beardsley, 24 September 2020

... will be his first ever exhibition in France, and for the Tate it’s the first since 1923. As Alan Crawford wrote in his ODNB entry, Beardsley has been ‘fragmented’ since his death, parcelled out between academics, curators, collectors of art and of books, and biographers. In its scale and range the Tate show goes some way towards putting him back ...

Lawful Charm

Donald Davie, 6 July 1995

Selected Poems 
by William Barnes, edited by Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 171 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 0 14 042379 6
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Selected Poems 
by William Barnes, read by Alan Chedzoy.
Canto, £6.99
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... on,      And warn me of the time that’s gone. Or where I found thy yellow bed Below the hill-borne fir-tree’s head, And heard the whistling east wind blow Above, while wood-screen’d down below I rambled in the spring-day’s glow   And watch’d the low-ear’d hares up spring   From cover, and the birds take wing.      Come winter ...

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