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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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... enough, they were also stranded like D.H. Lawrence between country and city, full of a Romantic yearning for the moors and likely to have witnessed a good deal of urban destitution. According to ChristineAlexander, 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 ...

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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... on. Stravinsky, commissioned by the princesse de Polignac, wrote a one-act opera ballet called Renard, 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 ...

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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... generated a variety of byproducts ranging from the reputable to the catchpenny. On sale now, in addition 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 ...

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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... Chapter 9 she reveals: ‘I Married a Satirist.’ Christopher Booker, her second husband, enables 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 ...
22 December 1983
Mémoires 
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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Clausewitz 
by Michael Howard.
Oxford, 79 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 19 287608 2
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... prométhéenne de la faire’ (‘everything happens as if men are all the more the victims of 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 ...

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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... such as Salzburg and Vienna. The book begins in Paris, ‘the biggest city west of Cairo’ and ‘five 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 ...
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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... fiction, under-the-counter page-turners, authors whose names are whispered among the cognoscenti 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 ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës

16 November 2017
... Charlotte Brontë Wrote Her Masterpiece by John Pfordresher (Norton, 256 pp., £20, August, 978 0 393 24887 6)Celebrating Charlotte Brontë: Transforming Life into Literature in ‘Jane Eyre’ by ChristineAlexander 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 ...
17 July 1980
... entertained no illusions about Borgia himself. On a legation to Rome he had witnessed the great man’s 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 ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger

26 September 2019
... a finger in a mock scolding. Putin smiles.The French slyly release a video of Ivanka waving her hands 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 ...

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