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Rule by Inspiration

John Connelly: A balanced view of the Holocaust, 7 July 2005

The Origins of the Final Solution: The Evolution of Nazi Jewish Policy 1939-42 
by Christopher Browning.
Arrow, 615 pp., £9.99, April 2005, 0 09 945482 3
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... logic common to all modern states? At a time when Holocaust history is full of such debates, Christopher Browning provides a desperately needed synthesis. For him, the Holocaust grew out of ideological obsession, was furthered by callous bureaucratic ambition, and realised in technologically sophisticated killing centres, but also in the ...

Visa Requirement

D.D. Guttenplan: Whitehall and Jews, 6 July 2000

Whitehall and The Jews 1933-48 
by Louise London.
Cambridge, 313 pp., £30, March 2000, 0 521 63187 4
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... near the village of Chelmno in Poland. These vehicles were prone to breakdowns, but according to Christopher Browning, the author of The Path to Genocide and an expert witness at the Irving trial, the real problem was with the men. Browning cites a Nazi medical report describing the crews as suffering ‘enormous ...

Diary

Colin Richmond: Love of Killing, 13 February 1992

... haven’t mentioned those who made these things happen: the bureaucrats and clerks. Raul Hilberg, Christopher Browning and Claude Lanzmann (among others) have laid their contribution bare: such men did not care to know what they were doing; nevertheless they knew what they had to do and did it – with a dedicated efficiency which usually resulted in ...
Hitler’s Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust 
by Daniel Jonah Goldhagen.
Little, Brown, 622 pp., £20, March 1996, 0 316 87942 8
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... against Jews – were the work of ordinary soldiers and police auxiliaries: ‘ordinary men’, as Christopher Browning called them in his 1992 study of one battalion of the Ordnungspolizei. Some military commanders opposed the use of their troops for these purposes, but as Christian Streit and others have shown, the Army was deeply implicated in the war ...

Provincialism

Denis Donoghue: Karlin’s collection of Victorian verse, 4 June 1998

The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Danny Karlin.
Allen Lane, 851 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780713990492
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... the 19th century as a whole. His major precursors are Quiller-Couch, Yeats, Auden, George MacBeth, Christopher Ricks and Ian Fletcher. I don’t intend a Shopper’s Guide, but I’ll start with two small complaints. Unlike Fletcher, Karlin doesn’t give explanatory notes, except for a few dialect words and phrases in foreign languages. Reading Davidson’s ...

Excellent Enigmas

Christopher Reid, 24 January 1980

Lies and Secrets 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 70 pp., £3.50, October 1980, 0 436 16753 0
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Crossing 
by John Matthias.
Anvil, 125 pp., £3.25, October 1980, 0 85646 035 4
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Growing Up 
by Michael Horovitz.
Allison and Busby, 96 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 85031 232 9
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Report to the Working Party. Asylum. Otiose [preceded by] After 
by Anthony Barnett.
Nothing Doing, 121 pp., £4.80, August 1980, 0 901494 17 8
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... satire towards something also ambiguous, but more complex – to take up the poetic monologue as Browning used it in Men and Women and Dramatis Personae. Not that ‘Spirals’ or ‘The Most Difficult Position’ is doggedly imitative. For one thing, Browning was a more scrupulous, and so perhaps knottier, prosodist than ...

Tennyson’s Text

Danny Karlin, 12 November 1987

The Poems of Tennyson 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Longman, 662 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 582 49239 4
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Tennyson’s ‘Maud’: A Definitive Edition 
edited by Susan Shatto.
Athlone, 296 pp., £28, August 1986, 0 485 11294 9
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The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Vol.2: 1851-1870 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 585 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 19 812691 3
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The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 654 pp., £15.95, June 1987, 0 19 214154 6
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... Writing in 1842 to his friend Alfred Domett, who had emigrated to New Zealand, Robert Browning enclosed ‘Tennyson’s new vol. and, alas, the old with it – that is what he calls old’. Browning was referring to the two-volume Poems of 1842, whose first volume consisted of heavily revised versions of poems published in 1830 and 1832 ...

Resurrection Man

Danny Karlin: Browning and His Readers, 23 May 2002

The Ring and the Book 
by Robert Browning, edited by Richard Altick and Thomas Collins.
Broadview, 700 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 1 55111 372 4
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning. Vol. VIII: The Ring and the Book, Books V-VIII 
edited by Stefan Hawlin and Tim Burnett.
Oxford, £75, February 2001, 0 19 818647 9
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... At the very end of The Ring and the BookBrowning delivers one of the most staggering mule-kicks ever meted out by an author to his readers. Bear in mind that the poem is more than 21,000 lines of blank verse – about twice the length of Paradise Lost. It was published in four monthly instalments, each containing three books of the poem, which appeared from November 1868 to February 1869 ...

Breathing on the British public

Danny Karlin, 31 August 1989

Tennyson and the Doom of Romanticism 
by Herbert Tucker.
Harvard, 481 pp., £29.95, May 1988, 0 674 87430 7
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Browning the Revisionary 
by John Woolford.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £27.50, November 1988, 0 333 38872 0
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Poetic Remaking: The Art of Browning, Yeats and Pound 
by George Bornstein.
Pennsylvania State, 220 pp., £17.80, August 1989, 9780271006208
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The Printed Voice of Victorian Poetry 
by Eric Griffiths.
Oxford, 369 pp., £35, January 1989, 0 19 812989 0
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... Nine years ago Herbert Tucker wrote an excellent first book, Browning’s Beginnings; like many first books it gave the impression of being a labour of love. Tucker’s second is a tremendous disappointment. It has all the inflated idea of itself that the title suggests. Browning’s Beginnings was short, keen and suggestive ...

Power Systems

John Bayley, 15 March 1984

Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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Dante: Purgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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Dante: Paradiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... world and despises society. Dante scholarship soon began to operate, however, and Browning perceived that the exposition of a serious and complex intellectual theme could be based on Dante’s example and his characters. Sordello, the ideal poet and man of action combined, ‘half minstrel and half emperor’, provides ...

Chronicities

Christopher Ricks, 21 November 1985

Gentlemen in England 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 02 411165 1
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... and Gain, to say nothing of Modern Love and The Europeans, and – best of all and best used – Browning’s great poem of comedy and sadness, of hopes dished, ‘Youth and Art’. The allusions are child’s play for homo ludens. It is true that the decision to compile a compendium both does and doesn’t help with Wilson’s notorious difficulty in ...

Death for Elsie

Christopher Ricks, 7 August 1986

Found in the Street 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 277 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 9780434335244
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Private Papers 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 214 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 7011 2987 5
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... Papers makes the most responsible and unexpected use of Emily Brontë and of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. But it is Robert Browning who fails to furnish the one thing needed, and this is where the novel fails. The dramatic monologue, after all, grew out of the epistolary novel. Forster is writing essentially an epistolary ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... what Moss calls ‘their chums from other disciplines – Clive James, Craig Raine, James Fenton, Christopher Hitchens, Redmond O’Hanlon’. Together, novelists and ‘chums’ are not unlike a coterie of window-cleaners crowded onto a single boatswain’s chair (or rather bench): each time one of them tugs on his rope, they all move a little higher up the ...

It can happen here

Alan Milward, 2 May 1985

Hitler and the Final Solution 
by Gerald Fleming.
Hamish Hamilton, 219 pp., £12.95, January 1985, 0 241 11388 1
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Hitler in History 
by Eberhard Jäckel.
University Press of New England, 115 pp., $9.95, January 1985, 0 87451 311 1
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Albert Speer: The End of a Myth 
by Matthias Schmidt, translated by Joachim Neugroschel.
Harrap, 276 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 245 54244 2
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... and circumstantial, in Fleming’s book, as well as in recent papers by the American historian Christopher Browning, persuasively suggests a sequential pattern of policy which is virtually impossible to envisage without what would have been tantamount to an initial order from the Führer, no matter how conveyed and to how few. And the evidence is very ...

Armadillo

Christopher Ricks, 16 September 1982

Dissentient Voice: Enlightenment and Christian Dissent 
by Donald Davie.
University of Notre Dame Press, 154 pp., £11.85, June 1982, 0 268 00852 3
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These the Companions 
by Donald Davie.
Cambridge, 220 pp., £12.50, August 1982, 0 521 24511 7
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... is, above all, impatient and therefore irreverent. And it is certainly to be heard at times in Browning, as in Charles Kingsley, where Gerard Manley Hopkins heard it and characterised it unforgivingly but vividly when he envisaged a man starting up from the breakfast table, his mouth full of bacon and eggs, declaring that he will stand no damn’d ...

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