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Diary

Marina Warner: Why I Quit, 10 September 2014

... November, I attended an academic staffing committee meeting presided over by the vice-chancellor. Anthony Forster has a military background and retains the jutting bearing and combed-down hair of the profession, though he left the army aged 26 to do political and social science. Colchester is a garrison town and he must have seemed a friendly fit. (The ...

Economic Performance

Sydney Checkland, 19 April 1984

The Victorian Economy 
by François Crouzet, translated by Anthony Forster.
Methuen, 430 pp., £18, June 1982, 0 416 31110 5
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British Economic Growth 1856-1973 
by R.C.O. Matthews, C.H. Feinstein and J.C. Odling-Smee.
Oxford, 712 pp., £37.50, October 1982, 0 19 828453 5
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The Cambridge Economic History of Europe. Vol. VII: The Industrial Economies: Capital, Labour and Enterprise 
edited by Peter Mathias.
Cambridge, 832 pp., £13.50, June 1982, 0 521 28800 2
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... the present state of knowledge is the economic performance of a nation to be viewed over time? In Anthony Forster’s translation, it is a brave attempt at comprehension. Matthews, Feinstein and Odling-Smee offer their work as a component of a series of parallel historical studies of growth in seven industrial countries, sponsored by the American and ...

Being on top

John Ryle, 20 February 1986

Sexual Desire 
by Roger Scruton.
Weidenfeld, 428 pp., £18.95, February 1986, 9780297784791
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The History of Sexuality. Vol. II: The Use of Pleasure 
by Michel Foucault, translated by Robert Hurley.
Pantheon, 293 pp., $17.95, December 1985, 0 394 54349 1
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Western Sexuality: Practice and Precept in Past and Present Times 
by Philippe Ariès and André Béjin, translated by Anthony Forster.
Blackwell, 220 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 9780631134763
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No Magic Bullet: A Social History of Venereal Disease in the United States since 1880 
by Allan Brandt.
Oxford (New York), 245 pp., £18.50, August 1985, 0 19 503469 4
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Jealousy 
by Nancy Friday.
Collins, 593 pp., £12.95, January 1986, 0 00 217587 8
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... What is more important: is it the project of understanding why sexual desire is, or has become, a problem for us like no other, fraught with particular anxiety and special perplexity; or is it the task of establishing – maintaining, perhaps – principles according to which this desire can be regulated, guided, temporised? The change in relations between the sexes and the concomitant change in relations between members of the same sex, the double alteration that has come over us in the last two or three generations makes a certain kind of intellectual investigation possible for the first time ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: Burning Letters, 7 July 1988

... had to be good’. But ‘good’ isn’t good enough as a category.) Last year’s promotion of Anthony Burgess to official Grand Old Man was a case in point. After years of getting respectful, rather than ecstatic reviews, and of writing the sort of books which perhaps aren’t naturally suited to the British book-reader, Burgess suddenly turns 70 and ...

The World of School

John Bayley, 28 September 1989

The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 523 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 297 79320 9
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Osbert: A Portrait of Osbert Lancaster 
by Richard Boston.
Collins, 256 pp., £17.50, August 1989, 0 00 216324 1
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Ackerley: A Life of J.R. Ackerley 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 465 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 09 469000 6
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... of a sacred monster. Although Carpenter skilfully weaves the friends – Connolly, Betjeman, Anthony Powell, Brian Howard, Robert Byron – into a completed composition, the others serve chiefly to start a scene or two and swell the progress of Waugh himself. Of course this gives a misleading picture of period and individuals, but that is in a sense the ...

Tons of Sums

Michael Mason, 16 September 1982

Charles Babbage: Pioneer of the Computer 
by Anthony Hyman.
Oxford, 287 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 9780198581703
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... economist, inventor, reformer of scientific institutions, craftsman, even salon host. But Anthony Hyman does not seek to displace the computers from centre-stage in Babbage’s life, and this seems correct. They provide the most sustained theme in his variegated career, and may be seen as a point of convergence for most of the tendencies of his ...

Large and Rolling

Penelope Fitzgerald, 31 July 1997

The Scholar Gypsy: The Quest for a Family Secret 
by Anthony Sampson.
Murray, 229 pp., £16, May 1997, 0 7195 5708 9
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... Anthony Sampson begins and ends his book with an account of his grandfather’s funeral, held, as requested in his will, at the top of a Welsh mountain, Foel Goch. Among the mourners were Gypsy harpers and fiddlers, scholars, civic officials and ‘the painter Mr Augustus John’. ‘Hundreds of spectators,’ it was reported, ‘waited for the coming of the mortal remains of Dr John Sampson, the well-known philologist and librarian of Liverpool University ...

Fat and Fretful

John Bayley, 18 April 1996

Foreign Country: The Life of L.P. Hartley 
by Adrian Wright.
Deutsch, 304 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 233 98976 5
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... The only time L.P. Hartley met E.M. Forster they did not get on. Too much politeness, and mutual wariness. And what a comedy in contrasting physiques: Forster sharp, quizzical and birdlike; Hartley plump, vacant, moustached and apologetic, half walrus and half melting snowman, pipe in mouth ...

The Voice from the Hearth-Rug

Alan Ryan: The Cambridge Apostles, 28 October 1999

The Cambridge Apostles 1820-1914: Liberalism, Imagination and Friendship in British Intellectual and Professional Life 
by W.C. Lubenow.
Cambridge, 458 pp., £35, October 1998, 0 521 57213 4
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... to as the proper replacement for the landed variety. To cynical outsiders, after the revelation of Anthony Blunt’s long service as a Soviet agent, it was one of the recruiting grounds for the homintern. Why should one care about the Apostles at all? For several rather different reasons. For one thing, the Society recruited an extraordinary group of highly ...

Superchild

John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... lifetime, that she could not ‘make things up’, and of course it irritated her. She hated what Forster called the novelist’s ‘faking’ and the death of Rachel in The Voyage Out can be seen as a protest against the way death is managed in fiction. Of the death of Milly Theale in The Wings of the Dove she wrote in her Diary that ‘There is a great ...

Unhappy Childhoods

John Sutherland, 2 February 1989

Trollope and Character 
by Stephen Wall.
Faber, 397 pp., £17.50, September 1988, 0 571 14595 7
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The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Michigan, 528 pp., $35, December 1988, 0 472 10102 1
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Dickens: A Biography 
by Fred Kaplan.
Hodder, 607 pp., £17.95, November 1988, 0 340 48558 2
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Charlotte Brontë 
by Rebecca Fraser.
Methuen, 543 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 9780413570109
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... had the reputation of giving out more prizes than any other school; at least one of them came to Anthony.’ So too with the unpaid ‘school bills’ at Winchester that the autobiographer tells us caused him so much wretchedness (‘I suffered horribly!’). In the biographer’s version, there were no unpaid bills and no consequent horrible suffering. Old ...

Out of the jiffybag

Frank Kermode, 12 November 1987

For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... on Mayhew. He’s not a slasher – though there is a very severe notice of the autobiographies of Anthony Powell and Peter Quennell – and he seems to enjoy being generous to other reviewers, as when he justly praises John Updike. He is full of gratitude to literary editors, commemorating Ian Hamilton’s work on the New Review in terms only this side of ...

Into Council Care

John Bayley, 6 July 1995

Elizabeth Bowen and the Dissolution of the Novel 
by Andrew Bennett and Nicholas Royle.
Macmillan, 208 pp., £35, December 1994, 0 333 60760 0
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... were a reassurance and a bulwark, like sitting an exam with a lot of other candidates. (E.M. Forster liked to imagine novelists from all periods all writing together in the same room.) Conscious Modern (nothing to do with the Modernist movement of course) was much rarer because harder to do. A good writer in this genre, such as Martin Amis, succeeds in ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland, 5 November 1992

Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... on Marvell, Milton and Dryden) without reference to Lawrence Lipking or Richard Helgerson. The Forster-Dickens chapter makes no mention of the alternative line of Dickens biography that descends through Thomas Wright and Katherine Longley to our contemporaries Peter Ackroyd and Claire Tomalin. In his chapter on James Joyce Hamilton dwells exclusively on ...

Thank you for your letter

Anthony Grafton: Latin, 1 November 2001

Latin, or the Empire of a Sign: From the 16th to the 20th Centuries 
by Françoise Waquet, translated by John Howe.
Verso, 346 pp., £20, July 2001, 1 85984 615 7
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... Petrarch to the members of the Pléiade to Milton, wrote Latin when young to obtain what Leonard Forster called their ‘training in poetic diction’ and continued to do so as adults, producing what they and their readers saw as independent works of art. Such extraordinary creations as Fracastoro’s Syphilis and More’s Utopia match anything written in ...

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