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Our Boys

John Bayley, 28 November 1996

Emily Tennyson 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 716 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 571 96554 7
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... is one of the little things those novelists are so good at conveying. The most absorbing aspect of Ann Thwaite’s altogether fascinating study is not so much Emily Tennyson herself, effortlessly adoring and self-sacrificing wife of the great man, but the undercurrents and cross-currents revealed by the author’s use of minute factualities, and by the ...

He don’t mean any harm

John Bayley, 28 June 1990

A.A. Milne: His Life 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 554 pp., £17.50, June 1990, 0 571 13888 8
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... and know all the unpretending common-sense answers. The enlightened upper-middle class, in fact. Ann Thwaite points out that the tyrannically aristocratic Sir Brian Botany, in Now we are six, is humiliated by his social inferiors, and comforted after his discomfiture by finding his right level as ‘plain Mr Botany, B’. The strange thing about the ...

Gosserie

J.I.M. Stewart, 5 April 1984

Edmund Gosse: A Literary Landscape 1849-1928 
by Ann Thwaite.
Secker, 567 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 436 52146 6
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... addressed to his son the letter of ‘crowning importance’ upon which the Epilogue closes. But Ann Thwaite, in her admirable biography, produces something definite: Gosse wrote a long reply to this letter on 19 January 1870, three years after he left home to take up his employment in the Museum. Significantly, perhaps, the reply has a good deal to say ...

Fond Father

Dinah Birch: A Victorian Naturalist, 19 September 2002

Glimpses of the Wonderful: The Life of Philip Henry Gosse 1810-88 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 387 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 571 19328 5
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... as a record of educational and religious conditions which, having passed away, will not return’. Ann Thwaite’s 1984 biography of Edmund Gosse was already sceptical about such claims, but what had been a small skirmish in that book is the central campaign here. Fortunately, the Gosse family were inveterate letter-writers and journal-keepers, and not ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... to jump the editorial immigration queue. At six times fewer pages than the next entry (Anthony Thwaite), the answer may be that his is a tourist visa. As their titles suggest, geography is equally crucial to the trade war pitting Longman against Norton. Given the inevitable overlap between their contents, it may be all that allows some harried buyers to ...

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