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Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist

22 May 2008
... In his book Von der Einheit der Musik [‘The Oneness of Music’], Ferruccio Busoni devoted about one and a half pages to the piano under the heading: ‘Man achte das Klavier’ [‘Respect the piano!’]. In a highly laconic and perfected style he gives such a clear and accurate description of the piano’s characteristics that it is all I can do not to give it in full ...

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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... books, among other things, Austen’s comedy began to be called ‘Shakespearean’ soon after her death. But there has been disagreement about the ideological price of that harmony. Do Emma and Mr Knightley, Elizabeth and Darcy, Anne and Captain Wentworth, Fanny and Edmund, represent ideal or merely i...

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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... studies 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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... two. But its success indicates that the musical is a form in which social issues can be addressed and made comfortable for mass audiences. Less contentious is the importance of the musical in the history of the American theatre, which has been, for most of its life, inseparable from musical theatre: in fact, before O’Neill, there was no tradition of ...

Gaslight and Fog

John Pemble: Sherlock Holmes

26 January 2012
The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwar dian England 
by Haia Shpayer-Makov.
Oxford, 429 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 19 957740 8
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... Edmund Wilson, writing in the New Yorker in 1945. He refused to find out who did, because he’d already discovered that Agatha Christie’s books were garbage and that he couldn’t put them down. This is what you’d expect. Wilson was a literary prude, and detective stories are literature’s oldest profession. They do one thing, they do it once, then ...

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