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13 February 1992
The Man with Night Sweats 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 88 pp., £5.99, February 1992, 0 571 16257 6
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... It was their pulsing presence made me clear, I borrowed from it, I was unconfined, Who tonight balance unsupported here, Eyes glaring from raw marble. Now, he is ‘trapped in unwholeness’. The loss of friends does not show that the project of an unlimited embrace was wrong, but just how right it was and how much it is needed now. ‘Memory ...

It’s Only Fashion

James Davidson

24 November 1994
The Wilde Century: Effeminacy, Oscar Wilde and the Queer Moment 
by Alan Sinfield.
Cassell, 216 pp., £10.99, July 1994, 0 304 32905 3
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Cultural Politics: Queer Reading 
by Alan Sinfield.
Routledge, 105 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 415 10948 5
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Hellenism and Homosexuality in Victorian Oxford 
by Linda Dowling.
Cornell, 173 pp., £21.50, June 1994, 0 8014 2960 9
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... Dissidence and Cultural Change’ is what they call their MA course at Sussex (where Alan Sinfield teaches), which is not far, I guess, from what used to be called ‘Homosexuality in History’ with some adultery and masturbation thrown in, perhaps, for good measure. Same-sex passion is Sinfield’s ...

Re-Readings

Chris Baldick

10 November 1988
Poetry, Language and Politics 
by John Barrell.
Manchester, 174 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2441 2
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Garden – Nature – Language 
by Simon Pugh.
Manchester, 148 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 2824 8
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Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture 
by David Cairns and Shaun Richards.
Manchester, 178 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2371 8
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The Shakespeare Myth 
edited by Graham Holderness.
Manchester, 215 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 1488 3
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... of theoretical routines cried up as novelties. The series edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield under the title ‘Cultural Polities’ has some twenty volumes in store already, covering popular fiction and music as well as canonical literature. Of these, the first four published titles present a mixed impression in which the more ...

Differences

Frank Kermode

22 October 1992
The Jew’s Body 
by Sander Gilman.
Routledge, 303 pp., £10.99, September 1992, 0 415 90459 5
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Shylock: Four Hundred Years in the Life of a Legend 
by John Gross.
Chatto, 355 pp., £18, September 1992, 0 7011 3523 9
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Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading 
by Alan Sinfield.
Oxford, 365 pp., £27.50, September 1992, 0 19 811983 6
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... materialism as its philosophical matrix offers its own explanations of shifting interpretation. Alan Sinfield has a few typically breezy paragraphs on The Merchant. He agrees with Arnold Wesker that in the theatre ‘the image comes through inescapably’: Shylock is ‘mercenary, and revengeful, sadistic, without pity’. Olivier’s ‘defence of ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde

5 February 1998
The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... of aesthetic theory – a missing link between Kierkegaard and Adorno. For Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, he’s the original Queer wit, who would today have been the toast of Sussex University and Old Compton Street. Oscar Wilde, posing as a Post-Modernist. Like the most obliging of renters, Wilde will be anything you want him to ...

Shakespeares

David Norbrook

18 July 1985
Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... Shakespeare’s plays are seen as embodying a characteristically English balance of opposites, neither too radical nor too conservative, neither too popular nor too élitist. Shakespeare, like the Queen, is held to be above politics; his regal status has been confirmed by the formation of the Royal Shakespeare Company – a title of ...

Diary

John Barrell: On Allon White

29 August 1991
... at Sussex, I found myself sitting next to him in a Brighton restaurant; on his other side was Alan Sinfield, and they were discussing the latest betrayal of socialism (I can’t now remember what form it had taken) by the Labour Party. Regular readers of the Letters page in this journal will know how genial, and also how unflagging, ...

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