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Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl

8 December 1988
Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... in Canterbury’ was mentioned by one of Marlowe’s biographers, A.D. Wraight, as long ago as 1965. Here at last it is, seven years after Urry’s death, edited from drafts by his former colleague AndrewButcher. The text runs to less than a hundred pages, but there are ample appendices and source-notes, and anyway these hundred pages of dense documentary detail are worth a thousand of theorising ...

Deep down

Julian Symons

28 June 1990
The Last World 
by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by John Woods.
Chatto, 202 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 7011 3502 6
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The End of Lieutenant Boruvka 
by Josef Skvorecky, translated by Paul Wilson.
Faber, 188 pp., £12.99, May 1990, 0 571 14973 1
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The Dwarves of Death 
by Jonathan Coe.
Fourth Estate, 198 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 1 872180 51 5
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Last Loves 
by Alan Sillitoe.
Grafton, 190 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 333 51783 0
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... a 25-page ‘Ovidian Repertory’ of comparisons which makes clear Ransmayr’s Teutonic grotesquerie and love of the horrific. Ovid’s Tereus was King of Thrace, Ransmayr’s Tereus is the town’s butcher who smashes the skulls of bulls with his axe and roasts the giant spiders, which emit a ‘dark, viscous secretion’ from their bellies. Echo no longer suffers grief at her rejection by Narcissus ...

That’s America

Stephen Greenblatt

29 September 1988
‘Ronald Reagan’, the Movie, and Other Episodes in Political Demonology 
by Michael Rogin.
California, 366 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 520 05937 9
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... Nicaraguan Contras are ‘the moral equal of our Founding Fathers’. Rogin’s project in these essays, as in his remarkable psycho-historical studies of Jackson and Melville, Fathers and Children: Andrew Jackson and the Subjugation of the American Indian (1975) and Subversive Genealogy: The Politics and Art of Herman Melville (1985), is to bring together the public domain of American politics – the ...

Cricket’s Superpowers

David Runciman: Beyond the Ashes

22 September 2005
... used to have lots, including their previous captain, the magnificently prickly Nasser Hussain (whom the Australians didn’t much like either). Since Hussain’s retirement, and injuries to Mark Butcher, no non-white players have come close to being selected for England’s test team (though Middlesex’s Owais Shah may get the call-up for this winter’s tour to Pakistan). Is there any other sport ...


John Bayley

6 September 1984
The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew​ McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... that one counted in its councils. A leprechaun is an honest being because it lacks the norms and instincts by which honesty is judged and valued, attributed or found wanting. Unlike Dr Johnson’s butcher, Virginia would not have been free of any uneasy sensation if she said or wrote that her heart bled for her country. Uneasy sensations were coincident with dancing on hot bricks and putting the dance ...

‘Where’s yer Wullie Shakespeare noo?’

Michael Dobson: 17th-century literary culture

11 September 2008
Archipelagic English: Literature, History, and Politics 1603-1707 
by John Kerrigan.
Oxford, 599 pp., March 2008, 978 0 19 818384 6
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... comedies being performed in Covent Garden. Instead of staying in London and making the occasional foray out of town – critics have tended to make it only as far as George Herbert’s Bemerton or Andrew Marvell’s Hull in any case – this study largely avoids the English capital, or at least as far as is compatible with still discussing Cymbeline and some minor bits of Milton. For the most part it ...

Sorrows of a Polygamist

Mark Ford: Ted Hughes in His Cage

17 March 2016
Ted Hughes: The Unauthorised Life 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 662 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 00 811822 8
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... the world? All that Hughes enthusiasts can really agree about is the wisdom of drawing a veil over royal poems such as ‘The Song of the Honey Bee’, written for the short-lived marriage of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson, or ‘A Masque for Three Voices’, composed in honour of the Queen Mother’s 90th birthday. Yet even at his worst, as in these lines from the survey of 20th-century history he ...

Subduing the jury

E.P. Thompson

4 December 1986
... differing contexts. Excellent local studies are now being done, in the burgeoning history of crime and legal practice. Perhaps the most ambitious attempt to present jury history as a whole is Thomas Andrew Green’s Verdict according to Conscience. The book is subtitled ‘Perspectives on the English Criminal Trial Jury, 1200-1800’. It sets out briskly and well in difficult Medieval terrain, begins ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew​ O’Hagan: British farming

22 March 2001
... he said. ‘The Danish model is very centralised – they are allowed to produce and market something called Danish Bacon. We are very regional over here, very dominated by the tradition of the local butcher. Supermarkets want the same produce to be available in Scotland as you get in Sussex. Only the Dutch and the Danish can do that, and some of these foreign producers are so powerful – the Danish ...

The Satoshi Affair

Andrew​ O’Hagan

29 June 2016
... people to act by giving them the opportunity to earn something. It’s as Adam Smith says: it’s not through the goodness of the heart, it’s not the baker caring about you, it’s not the butcher caring about you, it’s them caring about their own families. Together, as he put it, the invisible hand controls the way society works.’ I asked him to explain the distributed ledger in layman ...

After Kemal

Perry Anderson

25 September 2008
... two in Izmir, three in occupied Cyprus, primary schools in Izmir, Mugla, Elazig. Cemal Azmi, responsible for the deaths of thousands in Trabzon: a primary school in that city. Resit Bey, the butcher of Diyarbekir: a boulevard in Ankara. Mehmet Kemal, hanged for his atrocities: thoroughfares in Istanbul and Izmir, statues in Adana and Izmir, National Hero Memorial gravestone in Istanbul. As if in ...

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