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First Pitch

Frank Kermode: Marianne Moore, 16 April 1998

The Selected Letters of Marianne Moore 
edited by Bonnie Costello and Celeste Goodridge et al.
Faber, 597 pp., £30, April 1998, 0 571 19354 4
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... We are told by the editors that some 30,000 letters of Marianne Moore survive, many of them extremely long, and that she sometimes wrote fifty letters a day. When she was young and not famous her family saved her letters; later on people kept some because she had become rather famous, and then a great many because she had become very famous. Correspondents, some as famous as she was, treasured every word she wrote them ...

That’s what Wystan says

Seamus Perry, 10 May 2018

Early Auden, Later Auden: A Critical Biography 
by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 912 pp., £27.95, May 2017, 978 0 691 17249 1
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... to poetry’, and Auden would doubtless have blushed at the effrontery of such a remark; but, as Bonnie Costello shows in her deft, knowledgable and consistently interesting study, Auden was drawn all his writing life to meditate just such questions, and to write poems with, as she puts it, ‘a clear civil motive’.* ‘The Shield of ...

God wielded the buzzer

Christian Lorentzen: The Sorrows of DFW, 11 October 2012

Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace 
by D.T. Max.
Granta, 352 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 84708 494 1
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... John McCain for Rolling Stone in 2000, he was basically a liberal Democrat.) His roommate Mark Costello became a lifelong confidant and sometime collaborator. (Costello is now a novelist in New York and teaches law at Fordham University.) Wallace’s depression was recognised by William Kennick, the philosophy professor ...

How They Brought the Good News

Colin Kidd: Britain’s Napoleonic Wars, 20 November 2014

In These Times: Living in Britain through Napoleon’s Wars, 1793-1815 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 739 pp., £25, November 2014, 978 0 571 26952 5
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... an invasion of England. After all, William of Orange had managed it in the autumn of 1688; and Bonnie Prince Charlie had got as far south as Derby with his ragamuffin army in December 1745. The notion of an impregnable island fortress was less convincing when 1688 and 1745 remained fresh in the national memory. Besides, in an age of gas-filled balloons who ...

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