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11 June 1992
Strong Representations: Narrative and Circumstantial Evidence in England 
by Alexander Welsh.
Johns Hopkins, 262 pp., £21.50, April 1992, 0 8018 4271 9
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... On a fine summer’s day in 1892 in Massachusetts Lizzie Borden’s mother and father were killed by blows from an axe. Lizzie was tried for the crime on purely circumstantial evidence and Professor Welsh quotes from the summing-up of the prosecuting attorney: Robinson Crusoe walked out one day on the beach, and there he saw the fresh print of a naked foot on the sand. He had no law to tell him that ...

Homage to Mrs Brater

Rosemary Ashton

7 August 1986
George Eliot 
by Gillian Beer.
Harvester, 272 pp., £16.95, May 1986, 0 7108 0506 3
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German Women in the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Social and Literary History 
edited by Ruth-Ellen Joeres and Mary Jo Maynes.
Indiana, 356 pp., $29.95, January 1986, 0 253 32578 1
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Red Jenny: A Life with Karl Marx 
by H.F. Peters.
Allen and Unwin, 182 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 04 928053 8
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Wives of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin 
by Edna Healey.
Sidgwick, 210 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 283 98552 6
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A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon 
by Sheila Herstein.
Yale, 224 pp., £16.95, January 1986, 0 300 03317 6
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George Eliot and Blackmail 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 400 pp., £20.50, November 1985, 0 674 34872 9
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... and a life of child-rearing for Dorothea as a prize of great worth. George Eliot’s ambivalence on the woman question is discussed, among other things, in two recent books, by Gillian Beer and AlexanderWelsh. Gillian Beer, with a nice sense of the difficulty of taking up a single-minded position on the question of whether George Eliot was more liberated or more constrained about women’s lives in ...

Reading Cure

John Sutherland

10 November 1988
The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals. Vol. IV: 1824-1900 
edited by Walter Houghton, Esther Rhoads Houghton and Jean Harris Slingerland.
Toronto/Routledge, 826 pp., £95, January 1988, 0 7102 1442 1
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Circulation: Defoe, Dickens and the Economies of the Novel 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 148 pp., £27.50, October 1988, 0 333 40542 0
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From Copyright to Copperfield 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 200 pp., £19.95, December 1987, 0 674 32342 4
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... blunt, Houghton probably overrated the Victorian intellectual élite as makers of Victorian civilisation. This is evident when one looks at the important journals left out of the Index’s account. Alexander Strahan’s Contemporary Review and Nineteenth Century naturally find central places as founts of Victorian Liberalism. But Strahan’s Good Words and its stable of offshoot publications are missing ...

Domestic Disaffection

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

10 June 1993
Dearest Beloved: The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-Class Family 
by Walter Herbert.
California, 351 pp., $28, April 1993, 0 520 07587 0
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... him, his initiation into manhood is ‘a study in obligatory guilt’. Herbert emphasises the particular intensity such conflicts assumed amid the democratic ethos of Jacksonian America, but AlexanderWelsh has advanced a related argument about Dickens, another 19th-century male writer deeply implicated in a narrative of the artist’s self-making. What might once have looked like both novelists ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren

5 November 1981
Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander​ Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... the great man still walked this earth, in company with his bodyguards and lawyers. Poor Mr Ferris actually gives us a list of people who wouldn’t talk about his hero: these include Claire Bloom, Alexander Cohen, Princess Elizabeth of Yugoslavia, Sir John Gielgud, Hugh Griffiths, Joseph Losey, James Mason, Vincente Minnelli, Mike Nichols, Rachel Roberts, Daphne Rye, Jean Simmons, and three of his wives ...
5 June 1997
The Political World of Thomas Wentworth, Earl of Strafford, 1621-41 
edited by J.F. Merritt.
Cambridge, 293 pp., £35, March 1996, 0 521 56041 1
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The British Problem, c. 1534-1707: State Formation in the Atlantic Archipelago 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and John Morrill.
Macmillan, 334 pp., £13.50, June 1996, 0 333 59246 8
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The Stuart Court and Europe: Essays in Politics and Political Culture 
edited by Malcolm Smuts.
Cambridge, 289 pp., £35, September 1996, 9780521554398
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Mere Irish and Fíor-Ghael: Studies in the Idea of Irish Nationality, its Development and Literary Expression Prior to the 19th Century 
by Joep Leerssen.
Cork, 454 pp., £17.95, November 1996, 1 85918 112 0
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... union and settlement operated differently in each kingdom. Henry VIII’s successful incorporation of Wales in 1536-43 set a misleading precedent for Elizabethan policy in Ireland, partly because the Welsh gentry found the extension of Parliamentary representation and common law advantageous while the Old English community in Ireland felt that their interests and their Catholic religion were threatened ...

Standing at ease

Robert Taubman

1 May 1980
Faces in My Time 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 230 pp., £8.50, March 1980, 0 434 59924 7
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... A Dance to the Music of Time. By the end, he has written the first of those novels, A Question of Upbringing. Intervening, the war years provide his main subject, and one sees how closely – the Welsh regiment in Northern Ireland, command of the Defence Platoon at Div HQ, transfer to Military Intelligence and liaison with Allied and Neutral military attachés at the War Office – Mr Powell’s ...

Doing the bores

Rosemary Ashton

21 March 1991
The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh​ Carlyle, Duke–Edinburgh Edition. Vols XVI-XVIII: 1843-4 
edited by Clyde Ryals and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 331 pp., £35.65, July 1990, 9780822309192
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... crisis over the Corn Laws, Carlyle experienced that in his own family. Many letters in these volumes were written to console his mother for the loss through reluctant emigration of his fanner brother Alexander, a victim partly of poor judgment but more of the difficulties experienced by hundreds of small farmers. Carlyle calls up all his powers of persuasion to convince mother, brother and himself that ...

Smiles Better

Andrew O’Hagan: Glasgow v. Edinburgh

23 May 2013
On Glasgow and Edinburgh 
by Robert Crawford.
Harvard, 345 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 0 674 04888 1
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... that you cannot – despite my evil attempts – use the book as a primer on how to stoke up the ancient and holy rivalries. For that, we will have to content ourselves with Alex Salmond and Irvine Welsh, my two prime provocateurs and opponents when it comes to establishing Glasgow’s obvious claim to being Scotland’s only true city. Here are my compelling arguments: 1. In Edinburgh they’re not ...

We are all Scots here

Linda Colley: Scotland and Empire

12 December 2002
The Scottish Empire 
by Michael Fry.
Tuckwell/Birlinn, 580 pp., £16.99, November 2002, 9781841582597
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... proved a more intractable subject for those Western Europeans who once swarmed greedily over large stretches of the globe, but whose dominion has become one with Nineveh and Tyre. For the English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish, as for the French, Spanish, Danish, Belgians and Dutch, empire now generally evokes guilt, or mild nostalgia, or most commonly a determined forgetfulness. Thus virtually every ...

All Together Now

Richard Jenkyns

11 December 1997
Abide with Me: The World of Victorian Hymns 
by Ian Bradley.
SCM, 299 pp., £30, June 1997, 9780334026921
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The English Hymn: A Critical and Historical Study 
by J.R. Watson.
Oxford, 552 pp., £65, July 1997, 0 19 826762 2
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... poet do the largest number of people today know by heart? The best known Victorian poem is probably ‘Good King Wenceslas’ (by J.M. Neale), followed by ‘Once in royal David’s city’ (Mrs Alexander); ‘All things bright and beautiful’ (also Mrs Alexander) is less familiar than it used to be, but was once possibly the best known of all. The most famous American poem of the Victorian age is ...

Faking It

Sam Gilpin: Paul Watkins

10 August 2000
The Forger 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 343 pp., £9.99, July 2000, 0 571 20194 6
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... 21, after he has been awarded a scholarship by a mysterious body, known only as the Levasseur Committee. The Committee handles his boarding fees and pays for tutorials with a famous Russian painter, Alexander Pankratov. David is befriended by an art dealer, Guillaume Fleury, who sells on some of David’s ‘Gauguin’ sketches as originals – without his knowledge. The French police discover the fraud ...

Garbo & Co

Paul Addison

28 June 1990
1940: Myth and Reality 
by Clive Ponting.
Hamish Hamilton, 263 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 241 12668 1
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British Intelligence in the Second World War. Vol. IV: Security and Counter-Intelligence 
by F.H. Hinsley and C.A.G. Simkins.
HMSO, 408 pp., £15.95, April 1990, 0 11 630952 0
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Unauthorised Action: Mountbatten and the Dieppe Raid 1942 
by Brian Loring Villa.
Oxford, 314 pp., £15, March 1990, 0 19 540679 6
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... a penny from Berlin, nor was it exploited for purposes of intelligence or subversion. At the outbreak of war there were only six German agents working in Britain. Five were rounded up, leaving only a Welsh engineer equipped with a wireless-set which the Germans had sent via the left-luggage office at Victoria. But there was one fact of which his German controllers were unaware. In August 1939 the ...

Fear of Rabid Dogs

Margaret Anne Doody

18 August 1994
Managing Monsters: Six Myths of Our Time 
by Marina Warner.
Vintage, 104 pp., £4.99, April 1994, 0 09 943361 3
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... media’ – in recitations, dramas, pictures, mosaics, graphics on pottery. And they did not serve only as ‘tragic warnings’. For the use of a character as a model, it would be hard to beat Alexander’s deliberate and well-documented modelling of himself on Achilles. For Alexander, the epic was sufficient to ‘trigger desire and excite identification’ in the manner Warner attributes only to ...

What did she do with those beds?

Thomas Keymer: Eliza Haywood

3 January 2013
A Political Biography of Eliza Haywood 
by Kathryn King.
Pickering and Chatto, 288 pp., £60, June 2012, 978 1 85196 917 3
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... Alexander Pope’s slur has loomed for centuries over the reputation of Eliza Haywood, the most prominent female author of her day. In The Dunciad, she is the prize of a pissing competition held between ...

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