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Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic, 27 May 1999

... at UCL have often gone to people with a foot in the literary world outside the academy. David Masson, who succeeded Arthur Hugh Clough at UCL, wrote an immense Life of Milton, ran his department with great success, and in his spare time edited Macmillan’s Magazine. His successor Henry Morley was, as Sutherland says, ‘a heroic populariser’, a ...

Public Works

David Norbrook, 5 June 1986

The Faber Book of Political Verse 
edited by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 481 pp., £17.50, May 1986, 0 571 13947 7
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... Arnold and Eliot ensured that the magic of monarchy and superstition permeated English literary criticism and education like a syrupy drug ... ’ Yes, this is Tom Paulin speaking. Readers of the London Review will remember the review of a collection of essays on Geoffrey Hill in which he bitterly attacked the conservatism of English poetry and criticism ...

He wouldn’t dare

David A. Bell: Bloodletting in Paris, 9 May 2002

Blood in the City: Violence and Revelation in Paris 1789-1945 
by Richard D.E. Burton.
Cornell, 395 pp., £24.50, September 2001, 0 8014 3868 3
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... in which he died on a makeshift altar; the brazenly Christ-like representation of his dead body by David; the renaming of Montmartre (Martyr’s Mount) as Montmarat; the chant of ‘cor de Jésus, cor de Marat’ as members of the Cordelier club carried his heart through the streets of Paris. What did this imitation really amount to? Did it simply express a ...

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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... influence on the generations that followed. Following Osborne’s death in 1994, however, David Hare, among others, leaped to the playwright’s defence, in his memorial eulogy and a longer lecture first delivered in 2002 and repeated on the stage of the Royal Court on the 50th anniversary of Look Back in Anger’s opening. Now John Heilpern has taken ...

Putting on Some English

Terence Hawkes: Eagleton’s Rise, 7 February 2002

The Gatekeeper: A Memoir 
by Terry Eagleton.
Allen Lane, 178 pp., £9.99, January 2002, 0 7139 9590 4
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... it wasn’t altogether surprising that another gate opened, courtesy of Maurice Bowra and Lord David Cecil, to a fellowship at Oxford. The only begetter of the study of literary theory at Oxford, he became the subject’s best-known teacher there, the leading authority in the field in Britain, and one of its most acclaimed proponents in the world ...

Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... to Craft from Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard are newly included. Letters (also to Craft) from Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Glenn Gould and other musical luminaries are also published for the first time; and most of the illustrations are new. Gone are the itineraries that laboriously prefaced each chapter-year in the original edition and the ...

Which is the hero?

David Edgar, 20 March 1997

Henrik Ibsen 
by Robert Ferguson.
Cohen, 466 pp., £25, November 1996, 1 86066 078 9
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... are exposed in his treatment of When We Dead Awaken, in which another ageing creator (the sculptor Arnold Rubek) meets a lover of his youth – the model for his only work of authentic genius – and leaves his wife, Maja, to commune with his lifelong love in the mountains (Maja herself chooses to commune with a virile young huntsman). As Ferguson puts ...

Diary

Christopher Nicholson: Rare Birds, 22 November 2018

... And indeed, in his 1862 book The Illustrated Natural History – Birds, the Rev. J.G. Wood, the David Attenborough of his day, states that the cream-coloured courser ‘seems to live chiefly in Barbary or Abyssinia’. In the late 1860s, with the publication of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy, the word ...

Fit and Few

Donald Davie, 3 May 1984

The Making of the Reader: Language and Subjectivity in Modern American, English and Irish Poetry 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 30632 5
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... but himself. If he is in earnest – and if he isn’t we’ll not bother with him, any more than David Trotter does – he thought that he was testing his society by moving out to the periphery of that society, speaking for and with the disaffected, the vagabonds, the ill-adjusted. How disconcerting, then, to find that the disaffection he thought he was ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... And of songs: ‘David of the White Rock’, the ‘Summer Song’ so soft, and that Beautiful tune to which roguish words by Welsh pit boys Are sung – but never more beautiful than here under the ...

The Prodigal Century

David Blackbourn: Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th Century by John McNeill, 7 June 2001

Something New under the Sun: An Environmental History of the 20th Century 
by John McNeill.
Penguin, 448 pp., £8.99, August 2001, 0 14 029509 7
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... not adopt. His book is explicitly anthropocentric – he distances himself from the approach of Arnold Toynbee in ‘The Roman Revolution from the Flora’s Point of View’, where speaking roles were given to plants. By implication, at least, he would also reject the injunction of the American environmental historian Donald Worster that we learn to ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... the possibility of Weimar’s revival. This would be a recurring pattern. Franz von Lenbach and Arnold Böcklin, two of the first teachers at the painting academy established by Grand Duke Carl Alexander, would later become major artists, but both left within a few years, repelled by the philistinism of local notables and the formality of the court. A ...

Back to the futuh

Robert Irwin, 1 August 1996

The Middle East: 2000 Years of History from the Birth of Christianity to the Present Day 
by Bernard Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 433 pp., £20, September 1995, 0 297 81345 5
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... in a ‘History of Civilisation’ series, in which it joins such works as Charles Burney and David Marshall Lang’s The People of the Hills: Ancient Ararat and Caucasus (1971) and George Lichtheim’s Europe in the 20th Century (1972). Indeed, the back of Lichtheim’s book announced Lewis’s work as forthcoming, though it then bore the title The ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... was an ideal anthology for a sixth-form prize on Speech Day. Here were Scott’s lieutenants: W.T. Arnold, grandson of Arnold of Rugby; L.T. Hobhouse, social philosopher and member of a Liberal dynasty; and Herbert Sidebotham, sent on a scholarship to Balliol but as Lancashire as his name. Here was Scott himself, presiding ...

Every one values Mr Pope

James Winn, 16 December 1993

Alexander Pope: A Critical Edition 
edited by Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 706 pp., £11.95, July 1993, 0 19 281346 3
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Essays on Pope 
by Pat Rogers.
Cambridge, 273 pp., £30, September 1993, 0 521 41869 0
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... imagination, and went so far as to doubt whether his works should be called poetry. Matthew Arnold took this line further, dismissing Pope and Dryden as ‘classics of our prose’. Attacks on Pope’s morals also continued in the 19th century: C.W. Dilke was shocked to discover that Pope had ‘cooked’ a few letters in his published correspondence by ...

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