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Inexhaustible Engines

Michael Holroyd, 1 March 1984

Bernard Shaw: A Bibliography, Vols I and II 
by Dan Laurence.
Oxford, 1058 pp., £80, December 1983, 0 19 818179 5
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Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: 1856-1907 
by Margery Morgan.
Profile, 45 pp., £1.50, July 1982, 0 85383 518 7
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The Art and Mind of Shaw: Essays in Criticism 
by A.M. Gibbs.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 28679 0
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... man who had no understanding or respect for the responsibilities of scholarship’. To Dan Laurence, bibliography is something other. Where Shaw had observed only a harmless drudge, Mr Laurence sees ‘an exacting science’, a work that may be ‘treated artfully’, and the culmination (like an elevation ...

Fabian Figaro

Michael Holroyd, 3 December 1981

Shaw’s Music. Vol. I: 1876-1890 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 957 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30247 8
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. II: 1890-1893 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 985 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30249 4
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Shaw’s Music. Vol. III: 1893-1950 
by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 910 pp., £15, June 1981, 0 370 30248 6
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Conducted Tour 
by Bernard Levin.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, November 1981, 0 224 01896 5
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... all Shaw’s writings on music. The hero of this enterprise is that doyen of Shaw scholars, Dan Laurence. Unlike the seven volumes of plays (for which Mr Laurence acted only as editorial supervisor), Shaw’s Music carries the imprimatur of the full Laurence editorship that ...

Sick mother be damned

P.N. Furbank, 6 March 1986

Bernard Shaw’s Collected Letters. Vol. III: 1911-1925 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 989 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 370 30203 6
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... has, for Shaw, an extra application. In his Collected Letters 1911-1925, very finely edited by Dan Laurence, Shaw is quite explicit, and most illuminating, about a curious principle which is exhibited in his plays and also has much bearing on his life. ‘All the characters in all my plays,’ he writes to the producer Augustin Hamon (5 November ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... a well-known letter, used by Frank Harris in his biography and now given in its original form by Dan Laurence, Shaw claims to have no scruples in matters of sex, but at once goes on to admit he has two: he will take care not to get women into trouble, and he will refrain from cuckolding his friends. Here as elsewhere – in money matters, for instance ...

Making Lemonade

Sarah Rigby, 8 June 1995

The Best of Friends 
by Joanna Trollope.
Bloomsbury, 261 pp., £15.99, March 1995, 0 7475 2000 3
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... New or illicit sex can seem a way of regaining control but it’s also problematic, fraught with danger. The heroine enters a period of crisis which she resolves either by sacrificing the safety of the world she knows – this often involves leaving a child – or by accepting the limitations of her situation, and returning to it with a different ...

The End of the Future

Jeff McMahan, 1 July 1982

The Fate of the Earth 
by Jonathan Schell.
Cape/Picador, 256 pp., £7.95, June 1982, 0 224 02064 1
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The Two-Edged Sword: Armed Force in the Modern World 
by Laurence Martin.
Weidenfeld, 108 pp., £5.95, March 1982, 0 297 78139 1
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Zero Option 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin, 198 pp., £10, June 1982, 0 85036 288 1
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Disarming Europe 
edited by Mary Kaldor and Dan Smith.
Merlin, 196 pp., £10, May 1982, 0 85036 277 6
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... relish for the Cold War have finally succeeded in rousing Americans to an awareness of the danger of nuclear war. But, while Reagan and his associates certainly deserve most of the credit for dispelling people’s complacency, the American campaign against the nuclear arms race has also received considerable inspiration from a series of articles by ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... rather than Adam Low’s enlightening 1998 Arena, a pedestrian 1983 ‘biographical film’ by Laurence Rees, which at £26.99 is not only not worth the price of admission, but not worth the bother of removing the cellophane. There have been a number of explanations as to why Dad’s second renaissance feels more like a restoration. The first is that the ...

Stalking Out

David Edgar: After John Osborne, 20 July 2006

John Osborne: A Patriot for Us 
by John Heilpern.
Chatto, 528 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 7011 6780 7
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... reaction was: ‘Oh no, not the ironing-board.’ He went on to write The Entertainer (in which Laurence Olivier played the lead), Luther (played by Albert Finney), Inadmissible Evidence (with Nicol Williamson) and A Patriot for Me (which, along with Edward Bond’s later Saved, can be credited with having brought about the end of theatre ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2014

... claimed to be ill. ‘I’m going to be the youngest person ever to die,’ he’d once said to Dan Jacobson when he wasn’t feeling well. He was then around thirty. Almost three decades later, he was still talking in a similar vein. Even feeling especially healthy could be a bad sign. ‘I’m feeling unusually well at the moment,’ he once told me, on ...

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