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Cave’s Plato

A.D. Nuttall, 7 July 1988

In Defence of Rhetoric 
by Brian Vickers.
Oxford, 508 pp., £40, February 1988, 0 19 812837 1
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Recognitions: A Study in Poetics 
by Terence Cave.
Oxford, 530 pp., £40, March 1988, 0 19 815849 1
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... consistent upon almost nothing else, have been united in a sustained denunciation of rhetoric. Brian Vickers’s In Defence of Rhetoric is an attempt, copious, complex, armed at all points with telling examples, to meet and turn back this onslaught, which seems so confidently sure of its own rightness. If we define rhetoric as the art of ...


Michael Dobson, 18 November 1993

‘Hamlet’ versus ‘Lear’: Cultural Politics and Shakespeare’s Art 
by R.A. Foakes.
Cambridge, 262 pp., £30, March 1993, 0 521 34292 9
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Appropriating Shakespeare: Contemporary Critical Quarrels 
by Brian Vickers.
Yale, 508 pp., £35, April 1993, 0 300 05415 7
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Shakespeare, Poet and Citizen 
by Victor Kieran.
Verso, 261 pp., £18.95, March 1993, 0 86091 392 9
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... I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law. Then kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill! R.A. Foakes and Brian Vickers, both approaching retirement after reigning for nearly thirty years in the upper reaches of Shakespeare studies, aren’t feeling entirely charitable towards their heirs either, although on the evidence of their new reflections on the state of ...

Application for Funding

John Bossy, 23 April 1992

Francis Bacon, the State, and the Reform of Natural Philosophy 
by Julian Martin.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 521 38249 1
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... its most familiar forms’ (i.e. the Idols). This judgment seems pretty good to me, though Brian Vickers has demurred at taking Bacon’s method as a ‘paradigm of changes in the Renaissance mind’. I take from Vickers’s masterly account of Bacon’s rhetoric (Francis Bacon and Renaissance Prose, 1968) a ...

Verie Sillie People

Keith Thomas: Bacon’s Lives, 7 February 2013

The Oxford Francis Bacon Vol. I: Early Writings 1584-96 
edited by Alan Stewart, with Harriet Knight.
Oxford, 1066 pp., £200, September 2012, 978 0 19 818313 6
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... Rees and administered nowadays by an editorial advisory board of 16 experts under the direction of Brian Vickers, the leading Baconian scholar. Early Writings 1584-96 is the seventh volume to be published and there will be 15 altogether. They are intended to supersede the great 19th-century edition of Bacon’s works on which generations of scholars have ...

Shakespeare and the Elizabethan Sonnet

Barbara Everett: The Sonnets, 8 May 2008

... the last few years this readerly hesitation has been supplemented by the able scholarship of Brian Vickers, first in the pages of the TLS and then in a book published last year.† Vickers has a double aim: to argue that ‘A Lover’s Complaint’ is simply too bad to be Shakespearean but competent enough to be ...

Cardenio’s Ghost

Charles Nicholl: The Bits Shakespeare Wrote, 2 December 2010

The Arden Shakespeare: Double Falsehood 
edited by Brean Hammond.
Arden Shakespeare, 443 pp., £16.99, March 2010, 978 1 903436 77 6
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... According to Gary Taylor he was ‘one of the finest editors of the last three centuries’, while Brian Vickers accounts him ‘the best all-round editor of Shakespeare in this period or any other’. In Shakespeare Restored, Theobald set out his stall as a new kind of editor – scholarly, specialist, always ready to grapple with the textual corruptions ...

Even paranoids have enemies

Frank Kermode, 24 August 1995

F.R. Leavis: A Life in Criticism 
by Ian MacKillop.
Allen Lane, 476 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 7139 9062 7
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... MacKillop describes in his usual detail the extraordinary series of events which followed Brian Vickers’s acceptance of a fellowship (to teach English) at Downing. Leavis had naturally wanted the appointment for one of his own men, and he created such a rumpus that young Vickers withdrew. In the course of ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... rumbled back to the stricken vehicle. The regimental medical officer at Camp Abu Naji, Captain Vickers, was woken before midnight and told to come to the operations room. ‘A contact had been made and we had a casualty.’ The blast had come from an explosive device hidden at the side of the road, concealed in a mound of dirt with an infrared trip set in ...

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