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Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist, 22 May 2008

... all literary critics (including Lentricchia) are supposed to do, I – well, let me quote Winton Dean: There is a big difference between the comparatively rare occasions on which Handel passed off others’ compositions as his own and the far more numerous instances of his using the ideas of others as a jumping-off point for fresh composition. It may seem ...

Inside Mr Shepherd

James Wood: In conversation with Jane Austen, 4 November 2004

Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation 
by Bharat Tandon.
Anthem, 303 pp., £45, March 2003, 1 84331 101 1
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Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style 
by D.A. Miller.
Princeton, 108 pp., £12.95, September 2003, 0 691 09075 0
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... get each other wrong, then learn to get each other right, and in the process learn a great deal about themselves, generally humbling. Marriage is the reward paid to these now better-adjusted heroines and heroes. The reason that we, as readers, root so happily and swiftly for the heroines is that the novels turn them into readers, too: Elizabeth and ...

A Lot to Be Said

Stefan Collini: Literary Criticism, 2 November 2017

Literary Criticism: A Concise Political History 
by Joseph North.
Harvard, 272 pp., £31.95, May 2017, 978 0 674 96773 1
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... for examples of what he calls ‘a genuinely critical impulse’, Joseph North picks out D.A. Miller’s subtle analysis of Jane Austen’s prose. ‘The critical voice speaking here is quite remarkable for the finesse with which it mimics the rhetorical effect it is describing,’ North writes, referring to a passage in which ...

What Works

Michael Friedman: The embarrassing cousin, 31 March 2005

The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity 
by Raymond Knapp.
Princeton, 361 pp., £22.95, December 2004, 0 691 11864 7
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... of the American musical has been to combine the forces of the minstrel show, the operetta, the drag act, the issue drama, the boulevard farce and the political rally on a single stage and still find a way to make itself acceptable in the marketplace. In many ways, the musical is no different from 19th-century opera, another collaborative musical-theatre ...

Gaslight and Fog

John Pemble: Sherlock Holmes, 26 January 2012

The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England 
by Haia Shpayer-Makov.
Oxford, 429 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 19 957740 8
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... to hang a theory. It’s also made him famous for things he never said (‘Elementary, my dear Watson!’; ‘Quick, Watson, the needle!’). What’s the explanation? Edmund Wilson’s verdict – ‘literature on a humble but not ignoble level’ offering ‘imagination and literary taste’ – isn’t much help. Nor is Raymond Chandler’s snub ...

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