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Tom Shippey, 2 February 1989

A Turbulent, Seditious and Factious People: John Bunyan and his Church 
by Christopher Hill.
Oxford, 394 pp., £19.50, October 1988, 0 19 812818 5
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The Premature Reformation: Wycliffite Texts and Lollard History 
by Anne Hudson.
Oxford, 556 pp., £48, July 1988, 0 19 822762 0
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... like to forge connections. It is striking to note, for instance – to take an example from Anne Hudson’s book – that Margery Kempe, about whose orthodoxy there was at least considerable doubt, had as her parish priest William Sawtry, the first man to be burnt to death for Lollardy. If the authorities who interrogated her had known that, they ...

Grisly Creed

Patrick Collinson: John Wyclif, 22 February 2007

John Wyclif: Myth and Reality 
by G.R. Evans.
Lion, 320 pp., £20, October 2005, 0 7459 5154 6
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... to Wyclif’s mind, and to Wyclif’s Oxford, has grown exponentially. As for the long view, Anne Hudson’s magisterial The Premature Reformation (1988) set new standards for the study of Wycliffite texts and their users. Wyclif divides into five parts: his origins and early life in north Yorkshire, of which precious little is known; the University ...

A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley, 24 June 2004

Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... Judith Richardson begins Possessions by quoting a 1933 guidebook to the Hudson Valley: ‘How comes the Hudson to this unique heritage of myth, ghosts, goblins and other lore?’ By the end of her exhaustive chronicle of local history and legend the answer is self-evident: ‘Why is the Hudson Valley haunted? Perhaps a better question after all is: how on earth could it not be?’ Until I read this book, the Hudson Valley seemed remote from anguished, obviously possessed sites like ravaged towns in Mississippi and throughout the Deep South, the battlefield at Gettysburg, Hollywood or even the foggy menace of Seattle ...

Tesco and a Motorway

Florence Sutcliffe-Braithwaite: In the Coalfields, 9 September 2021

Anne & Betty: United by the Struggle 
by Anne Scargill and Betty Cook.
Route, 256 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 1 901927 81 8
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Women of the Durham Coalfield in the 20th Century: Hannah’s Daughter 
by Margaret Hedley.
History Press, 159 pp., £14.99, March, 978 0 7509 9504 7
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Coal Country: The Meaning and Memory of Deindustrialisation in Postwar Scotland 
by Ewan Gibbs.
University of London, 306 pp., £25, February, 978 1 912702 55 8
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Scottish Coal Miners in the 20th Century 
by Jim Phillips.
Edinburgh, 336 pp., £24.99, February, 978 1 4744 5232 8
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The Shadow of the Mine: Coal and the End of Industrial Britain 
by Huw Beynon and Ray Hudson.
Verso, 402 pp., £20, June, 978 1 83976 155 3
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... has less orthodox uses, too. In a memoir written with her friend and fellow activist Betty Cook, Anne Scargill recalls attending a debate over the relative merits of nuclear power and coal with her husband, Arthur, president of the National Union of Mineworkers from 1981 to 2002. The scientist who was arguing for nuclear power had brought a rod of uranium in ...

Memories We Get to Keep

James Meek: James Salter’s Apotheosis, 20 June 2013

All That Is 
by James Salter.
Picador, 290 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4472 3824 9
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Collected Stories 
by James Salter.
Picador, 303 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 1 4472 3938 3
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... everything. Last autumn, just before the leaves turned, I took the train from Manhattan up the Hudson Valley to visit the Dia gallery in Beacon. The line takes you north along the east bank of the river – ‘vast here, vast and unmoving. A dark country, a country of sturgeon and carp’, as Light Years, written and set in the area, describes it. About ...
John Cheever: The Journals 
Cape, 399 pp., £16.99, November 1991, 0 224 03244 5Show More
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... fiction remained the drawing-rooms, swimming-pools, churches, clubhouses and beaches of the Hudson Valley he had moved into with his wife and young family in the early Fifties. He insinuated himself into the middle class, he notes in an early journal entry, ‘like a spy, so that I would have an advantageous position of ...

In what sense did she love him?

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Constance Fenimore Woolson, 8 May 2014

The Complete Letters of Constance Fenimore Woolson 
edited by Sharon Dean.
Florida, 609 pp., £71.95, July 2012, 978 0 8130 3989 3
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... on the fiction itself is no more promising. ‘I was very much disappointed with … Roderick Hudson,’ she wrote to a friend in the summer of 1876. A few months later she exclaims: ‘The idea of throwing the hero down a cliff just to get rid of him.’ An early letter reports that she always had ‘a stronger taste’ for ‘critical writings than for ...

His Own Private Armenia

Anne Hollander: Arshile Gorky, 1 April 2004

Arshile Gorky: His Life and Work 
by Hayden Herrera.
Bloomsbury, 767 pp., £35, October 2003, 9780747566472
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Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective of Drawings 
edited by Janie Lee and Melvin Lader.
Abrams, 272 pp., £30, December 2003, 0 87427 135 5
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... producing Americana, adding a 20th-century image of the United States to the work of the great Hudson River School painters of the early 19th, or of Thomas Eakins and Winslow Homer in the late 19th, or of the Ash Can School in turn of the century New York. Like those earlier Americans, they wanted to make the point that their themes were indigenous, not ...

Homage to the Provinces

Peter Campbell, 22 March 1990

Wright of Derby 
by Judy Egerton.
Tate Gallery, 294 pp., £25, February 1990, 1 85437 038 3
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... about the age of twenty shows him in a Cavalier lace collar and a cloak lined with red. Anne Bateman, painted a year or so later, is also board- (and perhaps bored-) stiff. Five years on, in 1760, he painted William Brooke, four times Mayor of Doncaster: a mercer dressed in good brown velvet with a great belly swelling above spread knees, and arms ...

Bought a gun, found the man

Anne Hollander: Eadweard Muybridge, 24 July 2003

Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge 
by Rebecca Solnit.
Bloomsbury, 305 pp., £16.99, February 2003, 0 7475 6220 2
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... artist? Did he look at masterpieces of English landscape painting? Of American paintings of the Hudson River Valley? Of German Romantic landscape painting? Maybe at some of each, somewhere during those six years. Solnit points out that his bookshop had contained illustrated works, many doubtless with conventional landscapes. They lurk, too, in his ...


Mark Ford: Donald Justice, 16 November 2006

Collected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 289 pp., £15, June 2006, 0 85646 386 8
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... delicately induce the hypnotic state that Bishop described as her artistic ideal in a letter to Anne Stevenson: ‘What one seems to want in art, in experiencing it, is the same thing that is necessary for its creation, a self-forgetful, perfectly useless concentration.’ A tiny poem, ‘The Thin Man’, in Justice’s second collection, Night Light ...

What makes a waif?

Joanne O’Leary, 13 September 2018

The Long-Winded Lady: Tales from the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 215 pp., £10.99, January 2017, 978 1 906539 59 7
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Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the ‘New Yorker’ 
by Angela Bourke.
Counterpoint, 360 pp., $16.95, February 2016, 978 1 61902 715 2
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The Springs of Affection: Stories 
by Maeve Brennan.
Stinging Fly, 368 pp., £8.99, May 2016, 978 1 906539 54 2
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... reinforces this quality, seeming to echo the ‘lovely’ but ‘unyielding’ sentences that Anne Enright describes in the volume’s introduction. It’s difficult to look at Brennan here and not think of the words she puts in a missionary’s mouth in ‘Stories of Africa’: ‘You could say that an exile was a person who knew of a country that made ...

Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... aesthetic and intellectual appreciation to what they acquired. Country Life’s proprietor, Edward Hudson, himself pioneered one approach to the reinvention of the country house when he commissioned Lutyens, who had designed the magazine’s offices and furnishings, to remodel Lindisfarne Castle, a ruined Tudor fortress on Holy Island. The work was finished in ...

‘The Meeting of the Waters’

John Barrell, 27 July 2017

... at the confluence. Less than ten years after the song’s first publication, the English writer Anne Plumptre visited the Meeting of the Waters, and wrote that to its name ‘the delightful muse of the Anacreon of Ireland, Mr Moore, has given a celebrity which can never be lost again’. As early as 1823 a tribute poem addressed by a ‘young lady’ to her ...

To Serve My Friends

Jonathan Parry, 27 January 2022

Trust and Distrust: Corruption in Office in Britain and Its Empire, 1600-1850 
by Mark Knights.
Oxford, 488 pp., £35, December 2021, 978 0 19 879624 4
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... were presented with a particularly juicy scandal, as in 1809, when it was discovered that Mary Anne Clarke, the mistress of the Duke of York, commander-in-chief of the army, had been using her position to broker the sale of commissions.Historians​  of later periods will benefit from applying Knights’s big themes to subsequent stages of the corruption ...

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