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Endgame

John Bayley, 17 March 1988

End of a Journey: An Autobiographical Journal 1979-1981 
by Philip Toynbee.
Bloomsbury, 422 pp., £25, February 1988, 0 7475 0132 7
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... and deep reasons for admiring The Fountain. I quickly suppressed my almost Pavlovian sneer at Charles Morgan, and realised that what she found in the book is the thing that matters. (Not that this alters my opinion about Charles Morgan, but it made me dubious about the whole business of literary criticism. I ...

Upper-Class Contemplative

John Bayley, 7 February 1985

The Fountain 
by Charles Morgan.
Boydell, 434 pp., £4.95, November 1984, 0 85115 237 6
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... as they do to the spirit of the age in which they appear. The Fountain, the novel which made Charles Morgan’s reputation, came out in 1932 and had a very considerable succès d’estime. It was much admired in France, where Morgan still has a solid reputation. Valéry admired it, writing that in ...
... is certainly connected with the Dostoevskian legacy. He is popular there in much the same way that Charles Morgan became a popular ‘spiritual’ novelist in France. Certainly Greene established popular prototypes, even if he did not create them, and they may well survive in the form he gave them, rather like the heroes and heroines of the old romances ...

The Staidness of Trousers

E.S. Turner, 6 June 1996

A Peculiar Man: A Life of George Moore 
by Tony Gray.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 344 pp., £20, April 1996, 1 85619 578 3
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... that Moore, having kindled the world’s sympathy for a wronged maidservant, was capable, if Charles Morgan is right, of hurling his boots at a housemaid who displeased him; and, if William Butler Yeats is right, of quarrelling violently with a sacked cook and a policeman over whether an omelette was fit to eat. Wary, one suspects, of being seen by ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: Burning Letters, 7 July 1988

... describes in his biography of his aunt Marianne Thornton (there was a brick in the pantry with ‘Charles Morgan Forster’ incised upon it). Since Forster was about the only writer the teenage Motion had heard of, he sent news to King’s College of this extraordinary coincidence: ‘I thought he’d probably want to know about it,’ the present-day ...

Cheeky

Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... the Oxford University Dramatic Society produced The Dynasts, Hardy wrote to the stage-manager, Charles Morgan, asking that, instead of being seated in the audience, he be placed ‘in some obscure box or (failing that) behind in the wings, from which I can come out at any time without notice’. The desiderated situation resembles that of the ...

Byron at Sixty-Five

Edwin Morgan, 8 January 1987

... in her company, or sneer Your way into some asymptotic baulk. She’s working all out now with Charles Babbage, And that’s a far cry from roast beef and cabbage. It seems they have the plan for a machine To do computing, a thousand sums a minute. This engine has not trundled on the scene Yet, but d’you think there might be something in it? They need a ...

Anything but Staffordshire

Rosemary Hill, 18 September 1997

Rare Spirit: A Life of William De Morgan 1839-1917 
by Mark Hamilton.
Constable, 236 pp., £22.50, September 1997, 0 09 474670 2
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... William De Morgan’s Life, death and reputation form a curious episode in the history of taste. He died, in 1917, a famous Edwardian novelist, and was almost forgotten. Nearly half a century later he was rediscovered as a great Victorian ceramist. Appropriately, the technique in which he excelled as a potter, lustre, is one that has itself been several times lost, rediscovered and discarded again by different civilisations ...

Swanker

Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... Shaw. It’s not a brilliant contest to win, against the blasé A.B. Walkley, the quasi-mystical Charles Morgan and the appalling James Agate, and personally I’d choose C.E. Montague: but let that go. He was certainly the most entertaining after Shaw, but there I’d say the comparison ends. He lacked the political centre from which Shaw’s jokes ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... Life, Piers Morgan says about being sacked in 2004 as editor of the Mirror, is as serious as you want it to be. Lighten up, he repeatedly tells sad celebrities who complain about his front page exposés that result in their unemployment or divorce. Take it easy, he emails spin doctors and government ministers who fear for their majorities after he has trashed their policies or their love lives to two million readers of the Mirror ...

Churchill’s Jackal

Kenneth O. Morgan, 24 January 1980

Brendan Bracken 
by Charles Edward Lysaght.
Allen Lane, 372 pp., £10, September 1980, 0 7139 0969 2
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... generation, almost unfathomable. An immense aid to solving many of these problems has come with Charles Edward Lysaght’s new biography. The result of years of dedicated research into public and private archives, and of much valuable testimony from Bracken’s friends and acquaintances, it adds considerably to Andrew Boyle’s study, published in 1974. The ...

Middle Way

Paul Addison, 6 December 1979

Consensus and Disunity: The Lloyd George Coalition Government 1918-1922 
by Kenneth O. Morgan.
Oxford, 436 pp., £15
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... and, as if in sympathy, historians have moved to reassess the forgotten regimes. Now Kenneth Morgan has written a first-class study of the Lloyd Georgian experiment of 1918-1922. For some time a muffled debate has been in progress about how political history should be interpreted; from the top downwards, or from the grass roots up? Dr ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... to marry his chosen bride. (Sadly, something happened to her.) Five hundred years later, Prince Charles changes the date of his wedding to his chosen bride so as to attend the funeral of the head of the Catholic Church. We can be sure of only one dissimilarity between these two English royals: Henry wasn’t forced into his decision by a fear of the Daily ...

The general tone is purple

Alison Light: Where the Poor Lived, 2 July 2020

Charles Booth’s London Poverty Maps 
edited by Mary S. Morgan.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £49.95, October 2019, 978 0 500 02229 0
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... Charles​ Booth’s survey of London poverty was an epic Victorian undertaking. Beginning in the late 1880s with East London, Booth and his army of investigators launched a systematic study which went on to cover nearly all of the metropolis, then the largest in the world with around four million inhabitants. The accounts of their walks around London filled 450 notebooks ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Saul Steinberg’s Playful Modernism, 1 January 2009

... Illuminations catalogue was reproduced in these pages, the exhibition had just opened in the Morgan Library in New York. Most of the items were (or were very like) drawings made for print. The framed originals would not, I thought, add much to the intense pleasure to be had from the reproductions. Now that the exhibition has come to London – it can be ...

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