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Mr Horse and Mrs Eohippus

Elaine Showalter, 30 January 1992

The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman: An Autobiography 
introduced by Ann Lane.
University of Wisconsin Press, 341 pp., £10.45, April 1991, 0 299 12740 0
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman: A Non-Fiction Reader 
edited by Larry Ceplair.
Columbia, 345 pp., £20.50, December 1991, 0 231 07617 7
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... she also reduces her happy second marriage of 32 years to a few sentences. In her introduction, Ann Lane, who has also written a biography of Gilman, gives very little background information or gloss of details, but instead concentrates on feminist theories concerning women’s autobiographies and their bearing on Gilman’s brisk, schematic ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare, 4 October 2007

Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... Shakespeare’s wife and what she was like, and even less about their marriage, other than that Ann Hathaway gave birth to three children: Susanna in 1583 and twins, Judith and Hamnet, two years later. The few surviving scraps of evidence raise as many questions as they answer, especially the will in which Shakespeare bequeathed ...

Long live the codex

John Sutherland: The future of books, 5 July 2001

Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future 
by Jason Epstein.
Norton, 188 pp., £16.95, March 2001, 0 393 04984 1
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... buying Penguin Books’ American branch. The two men crossed the pond for talks with Alan [sic] Lane. Epstein was not impressed. He decided that Lane, ‘like most British publishers’, was in hock to his bankers. The penguin would never fly. Epstein went home to the skyscrapers, where a publisher could spread his ...

Sergeant Farthing

D.A.N. Jones, 17 October 1985

A Maggot 
by John Fowles.
Cape, 460 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 224 02806 5
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The Romances of John Fowles 
by Simon Loveday.
Macmillan, 164 pp., £25, August 1985, 0 333 31518 9
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... believe Jones? He is, after all, a man of the theatre and we may remember that there was a Drury Lane pantomime called Merlin: or, the Devil of Stone-Henge in 1734, just two years before, and the plot is not unlike Jones’s report of Fanny’s story. John Fowles’s way of blending history and mystery has exercised several academic critics. Is his technique ...

No Strings

Bee Wilson: Pinocchio, 1 January 2009

Pinocchio 
by Carlo Collodi, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
NYRB, 189 pp., £8.99, November 2008, 978 1 59017 289 6
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... stories are upturned – The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith (1993) is a good example – than it does with fairy tales themselves. The narrative – which teems with talking animals – constantly plays with fairy-tale convention. Cinderella’s carriage pulled by mice-horses is reconfigured as the Blue ...

Hoist that dollymop’s sail

John Sutherland: New Victorian Novels, 31 October 2002

Fingersmith 
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 549 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 1 86049 882 5
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The Crimson Petal and the White 
by Michel Faber.
Canongate, 838 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 1 84195 323 7
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... his (appropriately massive) novel. Some think it time well spent. Faber’s American publisher, Ann Patty, prefaces her edition of The Crimson Petal and the White with the declaration: ‘Dear Reader, You hold in your hands the first great 19th-century novel of the 21st century. In my 25 years this may be the most magnificent, courageous novel I have ever ...

Sweaney Peregraine

Paul Muldoon, 1 November 1984

Station Island 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 123 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 571 13301 0
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Sweeney Astray: A Version 
by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 85 pp., £6.95, October 1984, 0 571 13360 6
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Rich 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 109 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 571 13215 4
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... same as if he had written them – is marred by an arbitrary/obligatory sex-scene ‘in a deep lane that was sexual/with ferns and butterflies’. Indeed, Heaney’s treatment of sex is by turns coldly clinical (‘She is twig-boned, saddle-sexed’), adolescently furtive (‘my nightly shadow feasts,/Haunting the granaries of words like breasts’, ‘Who ...

At the Hop

Sukhdev Sandhu, 20 February 1997

Black England: Life before Emancipation 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 244 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 7195 5251 6
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Reconstructing the Black Past: Blacks in Britain 1780-1830 
by Norma Myers.
Cass, 162 pp., £27.50, July 1996, 0 7146 4576 1
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... recently enslaved, attended Thomas Southerne’s dramatisation of Aphra Behn’s Oroonoko at Drury Lane: ‘The young men received a standing ovation as they entered, and during Oroonoko’s final speech, all eyes were on them as much as on the actors. The recent captives wept at the play’s conclusion, but the audience wept even more in watching them do ...

Howl, Howl, Howl!

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Fanny Kemble, 22 May 2008

Fanny Kemble: A Performed Life 
by Deirdre David.
Pennsylvania, 347 pp., £26, June 2007, 978 0 8122 4023 8
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... in restoring the prominence of Covent Garden that ‘on the opening of the new season Drury Lane had to resort to the unprecedented novelty of bringing wild beasts upon the stage, to secure some share of the patronage so liberally awarded to its rival.’ Fanny Kemble as Juliet in an 1829 engraving Yet Kemble had scarcely begun to act before she ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... was a plan it was not divulged to any of the organisations about to become responsible for him. Ann Witham, the social worker on the psychiatric ward, wrote to Haringey Social Services saying that Clunis was ‘quite capable of self-care and should be able to cope with independent living’. (She was surprised when told by the Inquiry that he hadn’t known ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... general bafflement but local delight. This is what the Beatles accomplished in their song ‘Penny Lane’, which would never have been allowed on the BBC had the Governors understood the meaning of ‘finger pie’ – Northern sexual slang which was taken in the South as a piece of merry surrealism. Dialect must always be subversive of something, then: but ...

Gentlemen and ladies came to see the poet’s cottage

Tom Paulin: Clare’s anti-pastoral, 19 February 2004

John Clare: A Biography 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 650 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 330 37106 1
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‘I Am’: The Selected Poetry of John Clare 
edited by Jonathan Bate.
Farrar, Straus, 318 pp., $17, November 2003, 0 374 52869 1
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John Clare, Politics and Poetry 
by Alan Vardy.
Palgrave, 221 pp., £45, October 2003, 0 333 96617 1
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John Clare Vol. V: Poems of the Middle Period 1822-37 
edited by Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 822 pp., £105, January 2003, 0 19 812386 8
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... the most literate people in their village: Parker Clare could certainly read, although his wife, Ann Stimson, did not know a single letter of the alphabet and, like many country people, regarded printed texts as a form of witchcraft. At this time, Bate notes, illiteratemeant not ‘unable to read’ but ‘ignorant of polite letters’. Clare and a twin ...

Courage, mon amie

Terry Castle: Disquiet on the Western Front, 4 April 2002

... little brick bungalow, at the foot of Caesar’s Camp, near Folkestone. (Their house and lane have since disappeared – razed to make way for the stark, moonscaped run-up to the Channel Tunnel.) It was in those lonely, quiet days – the clock ticking on the mantel-piece, the adults discoursing in another room – that I first examined my ...

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