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No Crying in This House

Jackson Lears: The Kennedy Myth, 7 November 2013

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy 
by David Nasaw.
Allen Lane, 896 pp., £12.35, September 2013, 978 0 14 312407 8
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Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch 
by Barbara Perry.
Norton, 404 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 0 393 06895 5
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... determination to create a political dynasty through expert manipulation of money and mass media. Barbara Perry’s Rose Kennedy faces the trickier task of reconstructing the conjugal partner in that enterprise, whose life often seems little more than an endless round of state dinners and high-class shopping. In the end, ...

Hail, Muse!

Seamus Perry: Byron v. Shelley, 6 February 2003

The Making of the Poets: Byron and Shelley in Their Time 
by Ian Gilmour.
Chatto, 410 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7110 3
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Byron and Romanticism 
by Jerome McGann.
Cambridge, 321 pp., £47.50, August 2002, 0 521 80958 4
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... contempt of poetry: ‘Who would write, who had anything better to do?’ Byron exemplifies Barbara Everett’s compelling thesis that English poets thrive on a stubbornly philistine mistrust of the pretensions of art: Shelley reminds us that the thesis does not hold good for all great English poets. Even in their politics, while they are obviously both ...


Barbara Everett: Coleridge the Modernist, 7 August 2003

Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection 
edited by Seamus Perry.
Oxford, 264 pp., £17.99, June 2002, 0 19 871201 4
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works I: Poems (Reading Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1608 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00483 8
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works II: Poems (Variorum Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1528 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00484 6
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works III: Plays 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1620 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 09883 2
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... constitute a revival. The recent Cambridge Companion to Coleridge has a remarkable essay by Seamus Perry on ‘The Talker’, which in itself would serve as an excellent general introduction to the writer in both literary and philosophical terms. He has also edited a well-judged and helpfully annotated selection from Coleridge’s Notebooks that is eminently ...

Are we there yet?

Seamus Perry: Tennyson, 20 January 2011

The Major Works 
by Alfred Tennyson, edited by Adam Roberts.
Oxford, 626 pp., £10.99, August 2009, 978 0 19 957276 2
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... to call it ‘mature’; but if it is any good then perhaps it is ‘good’ in the way that, as Barbara Everett once remarked in these pages, people (such as Leavis) say that Keats’s ‘To Autumn’ is good: ‘in the way that a child will be called “good”, when what is really meant is that its spirit is broken’.† Auden was not the only writer to ...


Perry Anderson, 9 February 2012

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China 
by Ezra Vogel.
Harvard, 876 pp., £29.95, September 2011, 978 0 674 05544 5
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On China 
by Henry Kissinger.
Allen Lane, 586 pp., £30, May 2011, 978 1 84614 346 5
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The Generalissimo: Chiang Kai-shek and the Struggle for Modern China 
by Jay Taylor.
Harvard, 736 pp., £14.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 06049 4
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... is fixed elsewhere, however. Central to The Generalissimo is the aim of reversing the verdict of Barbara Tuchman’s book on the American role, personified by General Stilwell, in the Chinese theatre of the Pacific War.3 For Taylor, it wasn’t the long-suffering Chiang, but the arrant bully and incompetent meddler Stilwell who was to blame for disputes ...

Wire him up to a toaster

Seamus Perry: Ordinary Carey, 7 January 2021

A Little History of Poetry 
by John Carey.
Yale, 303 pp., £14.99, March 2020, 978 0 300 23222 6
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... through Kenner’s denunciation it can be difficult sometimes to tell who the joke is on; and, as Barbara Everett remarked in her marvellous review of his book in the LRB of 10 November 1988, ‘if philistines created the longest and strongest and richest literary tradition in existence, there must be something interesting and complicated about some forms of ...

We want our Mars Bars!

Will Frears: Arsène Who?, 7 January 2021

My Life in Red and White 
by Arsène Wenger, translated by Daniel Hahn and Andrea Reece.
Weidenfeld, 352 pp., £25, October 2020, 978 1 4746 1824 3
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... or Busby’s or Guardiola’s. Why would I care? The five I have read are: We All Live in a Perry Groves World (Arsenal winger, 1986-92); It’s Only Ray Parlour (Arsenal midfielder, 1992-2004); Stillness and Speed: My Story by Dennis Bergkamp (Arsenal striker, 1995-2006); Addicted by Tony Adams (Arsenal centre-back, 1983-2002); and, now, Arsène ...

The Candidates

Chris Lehmann: Scott, Rick, Ted, Marco and Jeb, 18 June 2015

... on earth – the gay-tolerant, climate-change affirming, rich-baiting Pope Francis.) Rick Perry, former governor of Texas, recently announced his entry into the 2016 primary race. During his ill-starred 2012 campaign, Perry suffered an excruciating nationally televised brain freeze during a Michigan primary ...

Against the Same-Old Same-Old

Seamus Perry: The Brownings, 3 November 2016

The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 21 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 432 pp., $110, April 2014, 978 0 911459 38 8
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The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 22 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 430 pp., $110, June 2015, 978 0 911459 39 5
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Robert Browning 
edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan.
Oxford, 904 pp., £95, December 2014, 978 0 19 959942 4
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Browning Studies: Being Select Papers by Members of the Browning Society 
edited by Edward Berdoe.
Routledge, 348 pp., £30, August 2015, 978 1 138 02488 5
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... Browning’s verbose and casuistical creatures are always keen to add one more thing. He was, as Barbara Everett once said in these pages, ‘the kind of human being who enters a room talking’.* His people, too, wander in to their poems, and talk and talk, and wander back outside, where they ...

Shall we tell the children?

Paul Seabright, 3 July 1986

Melanie Klein: Her World and her Work 
by Phyllis Grosskurth.
Hodder, 516 pp., £19.95, June 1986, 0 340 25751 2
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Bloomsbury/Freud: The Letters of James and Alix Strachey 1924-1925 
edited by Perry Meisel and Walter Kendrick.
Chatto, 360 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 7011 3051 2
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... by several of its members, including Nina Searl, Ella Sharpe, Susan Isaacs, Donald Winnicott and Barbara Low). Ernest Jones, the President and later Freud’s biographer, was enthusiastic (‘absolutely heart-and-soul whole-hogging pro-Melanie’, according to James Strachey). In July 1925 Klein visited London to give a course of lectures on child ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... whose earliest prominent figure, the glamorous and elusive Baron Gottfried von Cramm, married Barbara Hutton and had an ambiguous relationship with the Nazis; his tenacity and panache had a lasting influence on the game, apparent not only in Boris Becker and Michael Stich (who resembles von Cramm in the sheer fluency of his strokes) but also in the ...

Rudy Then and Rudy Now

James Wolcott, 16 February 2023

Giuliani: The Rise and Tragic Fall of America’s Mayor 
by Andrew Kirtzman.
Simon and Schuster, 458 pp., £20, September 2022, 978 1 9821 5329 8
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... reaching for the ring of power have taken slapstick spills or made memorable gaffes (Rick Perry, with his celebrated ‘Oops’ during a Republican presidential candidate debate, Dan Quayle misspelling ‘potato’), providing comic relief before receding into the ranks of also-rans, but Rudy – as he is familiarly, and not affectionately, known ...

Too Big to Shut Down

Chal Ravens: Rave On, 7 March 2024

Party Lines: Dance Music and the Making of Modern Britain 
by Ed Gillett.
Picador, 464 pp., £20, August 2023, 978 1 5290 7064 4
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... with debauchery for its own sake – as depicted in Harry Enfield’s gross-out comedy Kevin and Perry Go Large – rather than musical discovery. Rave’s anti-establishment attitude was now easily mocked: on the TV series Peep Show, two characters, Jez and Super Hans, formed an electronic duo with a sentence-long manifesto, ‘Big beats are the best, get ...

People shouldn’t be fat

Zachary Leader, 3 October 1996

Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu 
by Simon Callow.
Cape, 640 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 224 03852 4
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Rosebud: The Story of Orson Welles 
by David Thomson.
Little, Brown, 460 pp., £20, September 1996, 0 316 91437 1
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... with Welles, at least in respect of Citizen Kane, while praising his collaborators, especially Perry Ferguson, the picture’s art director. Welles’s contributions to the script of Citizen Kane were secondary, those of an editor or adapter. Like Coleridge, however, Welles undervalued secondary processes – hence the wrangling over ...

The Italian Disaster

Perry Anderson, 22 May 2014

... his empire. But she is rather retiring, and shows no great sign of wanting to pick up the baton. Barbara, his middle daughter, who is 29, helps run Berlusconi’s football club, AC Milan. She is glamorous, outgoing and reputed to be much sharper. Her mother, Veronica Lario, now deeply alienated from her father, took care to bring her up as shielded from him ...

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