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Nothing Nice about Them

Terry Eagleton: The Brontës, 4 November 2010

The Brontës: Tales of Glass Town, Angria and Gondal 
edited by Christine Alexander.
Oxford, 620 pp., £12.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 282763 0
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... yearning for the moors and likely to have witnessed a good deal of urban destitution. According to Christine Alexander, the erudite, meticulous editor of this volume, there were 18 small textile mills in Haworth alone. The children were bred in the womb of industrial modernity, among the smokestacks of early Victorian England, and the emotional pattern of ...

Shorn and Slathered

Christine Smallwood: ‘Reynard the Fox’, 5 November 2015

Reynard the Fox: A New Translation 
by James Simpson.
Liveright, 256 pp., £16.99, March 2015, 978 0 87140 736 8
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... histoire burlesque chantée et jouée, based on the tales collected by the Russian folklorist Alexander Afanasyev. The piece, which he finished in 1916 but wasn’t staged until 1922, was meant to be performed by acrobats, dancers or clowns in front of the theatre curtain or on a trestle stage in front of the orchestra. The action begins with Renard ...

Pity the monsters

Richard Altick, 18 December 1980

The Elephant Man 
by Bernard Pomerance.
Faber, 71 pp., £2.25, June 1980, 0 571 11569 1
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The Elephant Man: the Book of the Film 
by Joy Kuhn.
Virgin, 90 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 9780907080091
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The Elephant Man 
by Christine Sparks.
Futura, 272 pp., £1.25, August 1980, 0 7088 1942 7
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The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences 
by Frederick Treves.
Star, 126 pp., £95, August 1980, 0 352 30747 1
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The Elephant Man and Other Freaks 
by Sian Richards.
Futura, 197 pp., £1.25, October 1980, 0 7088 1927 3
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The True History of the Elephant Man 
by Michael Howell and Peter Ford.
Allison and Busby, 190 pp., £6.95, March 1980, 0 85031 353 8
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... to the text of the play, are The Elephant Man: The Book of the Film, an illustrated souvenir; Christine Sparks’s The Elephant Man, a competently written fictionalised narrative based on the film script; a reprint of Treves’s own The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences; a wretched paperback entitled The Elephant Man and Other Freaks, which adds to ...

Boulevard Brogues

Rosemary Hill: Having your grouse and eating it, 13 May 1999

Girlitude: A Memoir of the Fifties and Sixties 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 224 pp., £15.99, April 1999, 0 224 05952 1
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... her to be part of the satire boom, and its ‘sudden, unblinking stare at reality’. Private Eye, Christine Keeler, That Was the Week that Was all duly happen, but Tennant is not, as she imagines, ‘by proxy a satirist’ herself, for inevitably the jokes are, literally, at her expense. Satirists, she discovers, are not very nice people. They are ...

Next Stop, Reims

Ardis Butterfield: Medieval Literary Itineraries, 26 April 2018

Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418 
by David Wallace.
Oxford, 1591 pp., £180, April 2016, 978 0 19 873535 9
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... times the size of London’. Stephen Nichols starts his chapter by discussing a young girl, Christine de Pizan, soon to be the first internationally known female French author. He takes us through the reasons for Paris’s pre-eminence – partly political, partly literary, partly musical. The next chapter concerns Chaalis, a Cistercian abbey north of ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... like a confederation of secret masters: Gerald Kersh, James Curtis, Mark Benney, Robert Westerby, Alexander Baron, John Lodwick, Jack Trevor Story. They have been struck from the canon, these technicians, these life-enhanced witnesses. They are noticed only by slumming journalists (who have built up their own collections of the stuff) or by condescending arts ...

Rules of the Game

Jon Elster, 22 December 1983

by Raymond Aron.
Julliard, 778 pp., frs 120, September 1983, 9782260003328
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Clausewitz: Philosopher of War 
by Raymond Aron, translated by Norman Stone and Christine Booker.
Routledge, 418 pp., £15.95, October 1983, 0 7100 9009 9
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by Michael Howard.
Oxford, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 19 287608 2
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... their history when they cherish the Promethean illusion that they are making it’). Anticipating Alexander Zinoviev, he observed that in the Soviet Union ‘le style de la déstalinisation est resté stalinien.’ Was it just for lack of inclination that he never worked out the implications of these and similar insights? It seems more likely that he lacked ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës, 16 November 2017

... 393 24887 6)Celebrating Charlotte Brontë: Transforming Life into Literature in ‘Jane Eyre’ by Christine Alexander and Sara Pearson (Brontë Society, 204 pp., £25, March, 978 1 9030 0716 7)The Brontë Cabinet: Three Lives in Nine Objects by Deborah Lutz (Norton, 247 pp., £13.99, April 2016, 978 0 393 35270 ...

You’re with your king

Jeremy Harding: Morocco’s Secret Prisons, 10 February 2022

Tazmamart: Eighteen Years in Morocco’s Secret Prison 
by Aziz BineBine, translated by Lulu Norman.
Haus, £9.99, March 2021, 978 1 913368 13 5
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... on its enemies and to honour their experiences. In a book about Tazmamart published in the 1990s, Christine Daure-Serfaty, a French activist working on behalf of Hassan’s detainees, added that she was frightened of ‘forgetting’ and eager to perform ‘an exorcism’ by sharing what she knew with her readers.*What little was reported in the ...
... decline and fall, and vented his disappointment in no uncertain terms. Cesare’s father, Pope Alexander VI, had died. That and the withdrawal of French support left him a pricked bladder of indecision and conceit. Every trace of virtu drained out of it, the celebrated handsome countenance which had dazzled so many courts was now permanently contorted with ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger, 26 September 2019

... as she tries to enter into a conversation among Emmanuel Macron, Justin Trudeau, Theresa May and Christine Lagarde, who grimaces. It is reported that a ‘friendship tree’, given months earlier by Macron to Trump and ceremoniously planted by both on the White House lawn as a symbol of the ties that bind France and the US, immediately died.*Before the ...

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