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Danger-Men

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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... indicated’ after 1660. But people can be stubbornly resistant to mere proximity, however much scholars like to forge connections. It is striking to note, for instance – to take an example from AnneHudson’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 ...

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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... books, and she is in good company: in the fifty years since McFarlane’s volume, the scholarship devoted to Wyclif’s mind, and to Wyclif’s Oxford, has grown exponentially. As for the long view, AnneHudson’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 ...

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 ...

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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... Do you think so?’ she said coolly. Nothing escaped her. The lover, like the reader, notices 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 ...
9 January 1992
John Cheever: The Journals 
Cape, 399 pp., £16.99, November 1991, 0 224 03244 5Show More
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... with the felt-tip, the shiv and the porcelain-pointing spray-can. For decades, the locus of Cheever’s 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 ...

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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... painters – Grant Wood, Reginald Marsh, Thomas Hart Benton and Georgia O’Keeffe – were then 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 ...

In what sense did she love him?

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Constance Fenimore Woolson

7 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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... it is to suspect the Atlantic’s editor, William Dean Howells, of playing favourites. Her first report 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 ...
22 March 1990
Wright of Derby 
by Judy Egerton.
Tate Gallery, 294 pp., £25, February 1990, 1 85437 038 3
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... fashionable world. Following the portraits in sequence, one watches him gathering skills. A stiff self-portrait 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 ...

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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... fixated on that, with no element of place at all. Where did he learn how to become a great landscape 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 ...

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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... portrait, which appears on the cover of Brennan’s reissued collection The Springs of Affection, 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 ...

Erasures

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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... Anthony Hecht, with whom he is so often, and rather unfortunately, grouped. Rather, Justice’s poems 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 ...
26 July 2017
... Britain as well as Ireland recorded their impressions of the place, reciting the song as they stared 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 ...
13 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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... who hoped to merge seamlessly into the landed aristocracy, the new owners often brought a more 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 ...

Who do you think you are?

Jacqueline Rose: Trans Narratives

4 May 2016
... of young trans people and a third of adult trans people attempt suicide. The report singles out the recent deaths in custody of two trans women, Vicky Thompson and Joanne Latham, and the case of Tara Hudson, a trans woman who was placed in a men’s prison, as ‘particularly stark illustrations’ (after public pressure, Hudson was moved to a women’s jail). ‘I saw,’ Jacques writes in Trans ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: My 2006

4 January 2007
... Lynn W.’s 16th Street apartment, which is the penthouse of a small 1930s skyscraper with a balcony all the way round and views uptown to the Chrysler Building and Central Park and to the west the Hudson and the Jersey shore. It’s warm and windy and sitting in the bedroom with the door open I can see the Empire State Building reflected in the mirror opposite. Planes cross the blue sky unheeded as ...

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