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22 October 1992
... Or merely left him without an immediate grudge As the hulk rolled and the stars fell and rose. Once in the Antipodes his conduct was not impeccable. I will not record the full roll of his crimes: One was to make ‘five pairs of boots on his own account, Without permission’. Was he not a shoemaker? That, certainly, had been his trade in Bristol, In ...
6 February 1986
Travels with a Superior Person 
by Lord Curzon, edited by Peter King.
Sidgwick, 191 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 283 99294 8
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The Ladies of Castlebrae 
by A. Whigham Price.
Alan Sutton, 242 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 228 1
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Lizzie: A Victorian Lady’s Amazon Adventure 
by Tony Morrison, Anne Brown and Ann Rose.
BBC, 160 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 563 20424 9
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Miss Fane in India 
by [author], edited by John Pemble.
Alan Sutton, 246 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 240 0
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Explorers Extraordinary 
by John Keay.
Murray/BBC Publications, 195 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 7195 4249 9
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A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41 
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Grace Thornton.
Peter Owen, 182 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 7206 0636 5
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The Irish Sketch-Book 1842 
by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Blackstaff, 368 pp., £9.95, December 1985, 0 85640 340 7
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Mr Rowlandson’s England 
by Robert Southey, edited by John Steel.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 202 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 907462 77 4
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... honest witnesses. These include the stiff-backed statesman whom Max Beerbohm called ‘Britannia’s butler’, two twin widows on a Gospel quest, a get-rich-quick bride in Amazonia, a caustic spinster in India, a writer of fairy-tales, a future poet laureate teamed with a leading delineator of bosoms and bums, and a respected novelist earning his ...

No wonder it ached

Dinah Birch: George Eliot

13 May 1999
The Journals of George Eliot 
edited by Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston.
Cambridge, 447 pp., £55, February 1999, 0 521 57412 9
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George Eliot: The Last Victorian 
by Kathryn Hughes.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 85702 420 6
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... her own name? One reason is that it has never been quite clear what it was. She began life as Mary Anne Evans, daughter of Robert Evans, a sturdy and prosperous land agent in Warwickshire. But Mary Anne sounds rather like a servant’s name (the White Rabbit’s housemaid is called Mary ...

Subjective Correlative

Mary-Kay Wilmers

10 August 2016
... all the directors a blurb I’d written, saying: ‘Surely we can’t publish this.’ It was for Ann Jellicoe’s play The Knack and I’d said that the knack in question was the knack of getting girls into bed. Once, early on, I pointed out a discrepancy between two printings of one of his early poems – I can’t remember which. I was quite proud of ...

Cards on the Table

Mary Ann Caws: Robert Desnos and Surrealism for the masses

3 June 2004
Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvellous in Everyday Life 
by Katharine Conley.
Nebraska, 270 pp., £37.95, March 2004, 0 8032 1523 1
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... of both Desnos’s life and the texts she chooses, clearly elucidating them and the stories behind Rose Selavy, the experiments in collective writing at the rue du Château, the split between the rather prudish Breton and the definitely not prudish Georges Bataille (‘Bataillean Surrealism’ insists on the carnal and the low: see Rosalind Krauss’s ...
14 November 1996
Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... successful Labour leader, winning four elections, but the recent spate of admiring biographies cannot rescue him from ignominy. The whole point of Wilsonism, after all, was to box and fox through the burning minute. It is hardly surprising that the long-term verdict on him should be bad: he despised the very notion of the ‘long term’. Nobody tries to ...

Her Body or the Sea

Ian Patterson: Ann Quin

21 June 2018
The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments 
by Ann Quin.
And Other Stories, 192 pp., £10, January 2018, 978 1 911508 14 4
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... There​ is something generational about the recent revival of interest in the novelist Ann Quin. After scarcely even maintaining a cult reputation among writers in the years since her death, she’s reappeared like a revenant who’d been lurking in dark corners, and now everybody’s writing about her. Since the rediscovery of B ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns

31 March 1988
Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... way than either of the Asian stones, this is ambitious, flawed, and packed with ideas of rebirth, annihilation, ecstasy. The mystical experience, in short, but considered with a sceptic’s eye. Stone pursues pleasure, which he thinks of as merely sexual, but what is in store for him owes more to Tantra than to Kinsey. The symbolism is ripe, the p...
21 August 1997
God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... and Janice Galloway’s Foreign Parts. It bridges writing as different as the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Clanchy or David Kinloch, and the fiction of Christopher Whyte or A.L. Kennedy. Some of these poets and novelists are wary of each other. Jamie recently refused to read with Irvine Welsh because of what she saw as the misogyny of one of his short ...
1 April 1983
The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook: The First Guide to What Really Matters in Life 
by Ann Barr and Peter York.
Ebury, 160 pp., £4.95, October 1982, 0 85223 236 5
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... how to identify and dissect the archetypal codes and customs, the revealing turns of speech and manner, and the almost imperceptible nuances of life-style, by which the community defines itself in relation to its environment and its past. Where the anthropologist is working in an exotic and alien culture, the task, however daunting at the outset, is made ...

Cartoon Quality

Zachary Leader

6 December 1979
Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright 
by Steven Millhauser.
Routledge, 305 pp., £4.95
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A Prize Paradise 
by Oliver Pritchett.
Eyre Methuen, 171 pp., £4.95
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A Revenger’s Comedy 
by Derwent May.
Chatto, 191 pp., £5.95
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... the encounter with Edward Penn, aged seven, muralist; Edwin’s doomed love for the sullen Rose Dorn, third-grade femme fatale; Rose’s fiery end; the improbable friendship with Arnold Hasselstrom, inarticulate playground psychopath; the romantically tortured genesis of Cartoons, complete with feverish bouts of ...
20 December 1984
Neville Chamberlain. Vol. I: 1869-1929 
by David Dilks.
Cambridge, 645 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 521 25724 7
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... with his father and stepmother until the age of 42, when he married the beautiful and ambitious Ann de Vere Cole, sister of that friend of Virginia Woolf who reviewed the Channel Fleet in disguise as the Emperor of Abyssinia (Neville was relieved to find that Ann wholly deplored such ...

How to Perfume a Glove

Adam Smyth: Early Modern Cookbooks

5 January 2017
Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen 
by Wendy Wall.
Pennsylvania, 328 pp., £53, November 2015, 978 0 8122 4758 9
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... nor leavened breade, nor Rie bread’. There are nine different recipes for perfuming gloves (rosewater, musk, ambergreece, almond oil, ‘strewed thinly’ on the stretched leather), and a concluding litany of ‘all the Urines that betoken death’. ‘To strengthen the seed’ the reader is advised to ‘Take Succorie, Endiue, Plantin, Violet flowers ...

Hunter-Capitalists

Roger Hodge: The Comanches

15 December 2011
Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanche Tribe 
by S.C. Gwynne.
Constable, 483 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 1 84901 703 9
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... to protect the women and children. Some of those who fled were caught, mutilated and killed. Granny Parker was raped and stabbed but survived. Taken captive along with Rachel and her son James were Elizabeth Kellog and Silas Parker’s children John and Cynthia Ann. John grew up to be a Comanche warrior, perhaps ending ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers

6 March 2008
... over the country in a spree that saw 120 dead. It was two years exactly since George W. Bush had announced that ‘major combat operations’ in Iraq were over, an anniversary marked that week with 17 co-ordinated bombings in Baghdad. May 2nd is the date of Joseph McCarthy’s death and J. Edgar Hoover’s. It is the date ...

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