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Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... of America’s vigorous adolescence as an economic power and a dark premonition of its destiny. Clare Spark is a devotee of Ahab the fallen angel. She believes that Ishmael has been puffed at the expense of Ahab, largely because Ahab’s free spirit is too anti-social. She objects especially to the idea that he is a one-legged Führer hobbling up and ...

They roared with laughter

Amber Medland: Nella Larsen, 6 May 2021

by Nella Larsen.
Macmillan, 160 pp., £10.99, June 2020, 978 1 5290 4028 9
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... mother and a West Indian father, must pass as Black to enter Harlem society. In Passing (1929), Clare Kendry, also the product of an interracial relationship, passes as white to marry well. What sets Larsen’s novels apart from other such narratives – James Weldon-Johnson’s Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912), for example – is their resistance ...

Art and Vulgarity

Tim Hilton, 18 September 1980

William Mulready 
by Kathryn Heleniak.
Yale, 287 pp., £25, April 1980, 0 300 02311 1
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... she cannot feel his artistic nature. Mulready was Irish. The family came from Ennis, County Clare. They settled in London when he was a boy. Mulready was an early reader, and learnt Latin and French: later in life he taught himself Greek and German. He could draw, and was probably in the Royal Academy schools by the age of 13. This would be in 1799 or ...

Her Father’s Dotter

Terry Eagleton: The life of Lucia Joyce, 22 July 2004

Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake 
by Carol Loeb Shloss.
Bloomsbury, 560 pp., £20, June 2004, 0 7475 7033 7
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... love and guilt towards his daughter is caught in his ominously Ibsenite comment that ‘whatever spark or gift I possess has been transmitted to Lucia and has kindled a fire in her brain.’ Whether the fire is genius or madness is left unspoken. ‘Tell him I am a crossword puzzle,’ Lucia said to a visitor to the asylum, ‘and if he does not mind seeing ...

What We Are Last

Rosemary Hill: Old Age, 21 October 2010

Crazy Age: Thoughts on Being Old 
by Jane Miller.
Virago, 247 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 1 84408 649 8
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... too many tears’ was accompanied by a fascination with the darker poetry of Lermontov and John Clare. These days, ‘needless to say, I can hardly bear to read either’, but the reason for all this, the ‘events and moods’ that provoked it eludes her. It isn’t the specifics that have gone. As well as the poems she has a clear picture of ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... he wrote, had ‘succeeded in keeping alight the flame of Shakespeare’. ‘We wish to awake the spark of enthusiasm in the minds of youth,’ he wrote of his proposed torchlight parades. ‘We wish to throw the utmost light upon the truth, and beauty, and enduring sanity of Shakespeare’s works, that they may blaze as a beacon in the dark.’A.K. was ...

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