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Respectful Perversion

John Pemble: Gilbert and Sullivan

16 June 2011
Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody 
by Carolyn Williams.
Columbia, 454 pp., £24, January 2011, 978 0 231 14804 7
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... performers, Gilbert was both making them less grotesque and reclaiming for women the right to represent themselves – since in traditional comic theatre the Dame was a transvestite role. And now CarolynWilliams, a feminist critic, has published a searching analysis of the thinking behind Gilbert’s libretti, and delivered a verdict of ‘not guilty’ on the charge of misogyny. Her book is, in its ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton

20 September 2001
Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... same time, Chatterton was innocently eager for their applause. In this collection of essays he has a chameleon presence. He is seen by Claude Rawson as a fluent parodist in the Augustan mode, and by CarolynWilliams as a pioneer of post-colonial resistance to the hegemony of Received Standard English. As several essays here make clear, he is the poet who, above all others, forced the early historians of ...

Eight Poems

Hugo Williams

23 March 1995
... the tape where Lazy Lestor’s ‘I’m a Lover Not a Fighter’ suddenly gets much louder and one of us always had to get out of bed to turn the volume down. Dangerous Water Don’t go over there, Carolyn, past the nightclub, past the boats, past the rocks, where the waves come furthest up the beach in natural swimming-pools. It’s deserted over there now, except for one or two fishermen and one or ...

Five Poems

Hugo Williams

4 April 1996
... this that cannot hear her voice laughing and apologising for the haircut by her friend the haircut that would soon grow out its innocence its happiness its peace. The Lisboa Pass me the alarm clock, Carolyn. What time do you have to go to work? I’ll set it for half-past seven, then we’ll have time for breakfast. I’ll get the milk. Listen, why don’t you ring up in the morning and say you’re ...


Raymond Williams

17 April 1986
Landscape for a Good Woman: A Story of Two Lives 
by Carolyn​ Steedman.
Virago, 164 pp., £3.95, April 1986, 0 86068 559 4
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... models, can become obstacles. For the most available analytic subject is then not even our own ghost. These points are one way of introducing the questions and uncertainties which both provoked Carolyn Steedman’s book and in some important ways survive it. At an intellectual level, but one supported from her own experience, she wants to challenge the accounts of working-class childhood which have ...


Patrick Parrinder

20 August 1992
Past Tenses: Essays on Writing, Autobiography and History 
by Carolyn​ Steedman.
Rivers Oram, 224 pp., £22, June 1992, 1 85489 021 2
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... policing, a biography of Margaret McMillan and an account of a working-class childhood in South London in the Fifties have in common? They give some idea of the range of Past Tenses, a selection from Carolyn Steedman’s prolific output of books and articles during the last ten years. Steedman is an academic – she remarks wryly on the Universities Funding Council as a source of the pressure she feels ...

Pig Cupid’s Rosy Snout

Jane Eldridge Miller

19 June 1997
Becoming Modern: The Life of Mina Loy 
by Carolyn​ Burke.
Farrar, Straus, 494 pp., $35, July 1996, 0 374 10964 8
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The Lost Lunar Baedeker: Poems 
by Mina Loy, selected and edited by Roger Conover.
Farrar, Straus, 236 pp., $22, July 1996, 0 314 25872 8
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... and had affairs with Marinetti and Papini. She spent the First World War in New York as part of Walter Arensberg’s circle, which included Duchamp, Picabia, Varèse, Man Ray and William Carlos Williams. She sketched Freud in Vienna and lived among the avant garde in postwar Berlin. In the Twenties, when American expatriates flocked to Paris, Loy was there too. In accounts of those years, Loy’s ...


Carolyn​ Steedman

4 February 1988
Spoken History 
by George Ewart Evans.
Faber, 255 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14982 0
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... beliefs gives access to ‘the prehistory of our islands. Up to the present only the findings of the anthropologist have been accepted.’ Once, reading The Pattern Under the Plough (1966), Raymond Williams looked up from the formula on the page, that ‘a way of life that has come down to us from the days of Virgil has suddenly ended,’ reflected on the ever-receding lost rural past of English ...

Whose Candyfloss?

Christopher Hilliard: Richard Hoggart

16 April 2014
Richard Hoggart: Virtue and Reward 
by Fred Inglis.
Polity, 259 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 7456 5171 2
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... and made his students analyse pairs of unattributed poems and prose passages, pressing them to discriminate (a key word) between the living and the hollow. The Uses of Literacy, like Raymond Williams’s Culture and Society, which appeared a year later, was a product of the tension between its author’s Leavisian methods and his un-Leavisian politics. The highly personal survey of working-class ...


Eliot Weinberger: Next stop, Forbidden City

23 June 2005
... on a DAAD fellowship, and was visiting New York with four other poets from the Today Group, in connection with an anthology of their earliest poems, A Splintered Mirror, edited by Donald Finkel and Carolyn Kizer (who referred to them as the ‘Misties’). The first night, Gu Cheng, Xie Ye and I went to a restaurant in Chinatown. As we sat down, my first question, predictably, was about his hat. He ...

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