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Versatile Monster

Marilyn Butler

5 May 1988
In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity and 19th-century Writing 
by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 207 pp., £22.50, December 1987, 0 19 811726 4
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... The plot of Frankenstein, Chris Baldick points out, can be summed up in two sentences. ‘Frankenstein makes a living creature out of bits of corpses. The creature turns against him and runs amok.’ The mystery is why so many people know the plot of Frankenstein, and have known it, as this book ably demonstrates, since shortly after the work’s first appearance in 1818, without necessarily reading a line of Mary Shelley’s prose ...

Re-Readings

Chris Baldick

10 November 1988
Poetry, Language and Politics 
by John Barrell.
Manchester, 174 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2441 2
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Garden – Nature – Language 
by Simon Pugh.
Manchester, 148 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 2824 8
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Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture 
by David Cairns and Shaun Richards.
Manchester, 178 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2371 8
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The Shakespeare Myth 
edited by Graham Holderness.
Manchester, 215 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 1488 3
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... Academic publishers in Britain are relying increasingly upon the series of monographs, a form which permits the development of brand loyalty and which allows a few excellent literary introductions and re-interpretations to carry in their wake any number of inferior works. The rise of the series is most pronounced in the oppositional subculture of academic feminism, socialism and deconstruction which seeks in various ways to challenge traditional notions of method, of canon, and of the status of literature ...
9 April 1992
The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales 
edited by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 533 pp., £16.95, March 1992, 0 19 214194 5
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... was exactly summed up by one of its exponents, Mrs Anna Laetitia Barbauld, whom I am surprised Chris Baldick does not refer to in his thoughtful and well-informed introduction. In the course of a long career which spanned the last half of the 18th century and the first quarter of the 19th she edited Collins’s and Akenside’s poems and ...

Placing Leavis

Geoffrey Hartman

24 January 1985
The Leavises: Recollections and Impressions 
edited by Denys Thompson.
Cambridge, 207 pp., £15, October 1984, 0 521 25494 9
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The Social Mission of English Criticism: 1848-1932 
by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 264 pp., £19.50, August 1983, 0 19 812821 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Robertson, 253 pp., £16.50, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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The Critic as Anti-Philosopher: Essays and Papers by F.R. Leavis 
edited by G. Singh.
Chatto, 208 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 7011 2644 2
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... application of technology to learning, and unfounded hopes as to the ‘culture’ of science. As Baldick writes in his fine The Social Mission of English Criticism, the educational model of the Leavises ‘revolves around the opposition between society at large and “society” in the 18th-century sense; between an unconscious mass and its conscious ...
7 February 1985
The Function of Criticism: From the ‘Spectator’ to Post-Structuralism 
by Terry Eagleton.
Verso, 133 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86091 091 1
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... which was offered as a standard of godliness (‘the reality of the world since Christ’) and of a cultural politics based on Williams’s thoroughly secular study of Culture and Society. In From Culture to Revolution (1968) Eagleton and Brian Wicker introduced a Slant symposium devoted to Williams and his ‘richly creative tradition of ...

Hierophants

Stefan Collini: C. Day-Lewis

6 September 2007
C. Day-Lewis: A Life 
by Peter Stanford.
Continuum, 368 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 8264 8603 5
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... a large public which expected poets, above all others, to take the pulse of the age. The 1930s, as Chris Baldick observed in his excellent recent volume in the Oxford English Literary History, 1910-40: The Modern Movement, were ‘the last years in which that assumption was widely shared’. Quite how widely is hard to say, of course, just as it would be ...

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