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Paul Laity: Little England, 24 May 2001

... the ‘feasts’ served up at Hogwarts boarding school are of ‘roast beef, roast chicken . . . lamb chops . . . Yorkshire puddings . . . peppermint humbugs’ and the like. All of which is, as the Daily Mail has said of Steve Thoburn, simply ‘patriotic and sensible’. Reclaiming the flag has always been one of Tony Blair’s priorities for New ...

The Only Way

Sam Kinchin-Smith: Culinary Mansplaining, 4 January 2018

... I wondered if the whole thing was an elaborate joke I’d missed. Meades’s take on an Elizabeth David recipe for sauce au vin du Médoc, which David credited to ‘Madame Bernard, the wife of a wine-grower of Cissac-Médoc’ (Meades wonders whether David ‘emulated [the] deadpan ...

We stop the words

David Craig: A.L. Kennedy, 16 September 1999

Everything you need 
by A.L. Kennedy.
Cape, 567 pp., £16.99, June 1999, 0 224 04433 8
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... being right, of understanding your tantrums almost before they happen. Into this hotbed comes Mary Lamb, whose memory sucks and whoops and sinks – the daughter of Nathan and his long-since-estranged wife Maura, whom he still adores. Mary is a promising writer and also a promising daughter, golden-haired and golden-skinned, irreverently witty and physically ...

Ruling the Roast

David A. Bell: A Nation of Beefeaters, 25 September 2003

Beef and Liberty: Roast Beef, John Bull and the English Nation 
by Ben Rogers.
Chatto, 207 pp., £17.99, April 2003, 9780701169800
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... except for the moments when it is fish and chips or steak and kidney pie, or, for that matter, lamb vindaloo or jerk chicken. Some of its ‘national’ symbols and traits belong only to a part of the population; some of them are shared with other nations; some are deeply contested; some are constantly changing. In practice, we speak of a ‘national ...

Virgin’s Tears

David Craig: On nature, 10 June 1999

Nature: Western Attitudes since Ancient Times 
by Peter Coates.
Polity, 246 pp., £45, September 1998, 0 7456 1655 0
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... were arguing vigorously that the journals and other descriptive writings of explorers such as David Thompson, Simon Fraser and Alexander MacKenzie were the first contributions to Canadian literature, and these works teem with a sense of the forests and prairies, lakes and rivers as the inexhaustible new land in which settlers had to strive to make ...

Before I Began

Christopher Tayler: Coetzee Makes a Leap, 4 June 2020

The Death of Jesus 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Harvill Secker, 208 pp., £18.99, January, 978 1 78730 211 2
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... and the good.Simón’s self-appointed task in the new life is to look after a small boy, David, who, he thinks, lost a document that would lead him to his mother on the boat over. (The details aren’t clear thanks to ‘the waters of forgetting’, in which people speak repeatedly of being ‘washed clean’.) In time, Simón becomes convinced that ...

Shoe-Contemplative

David Bromwich: Hazlitt, 18 June 1998

The Day-Star of Liberty: William Hazlitt’s Radical Style 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 382 pp., £22.50, June 1998, 0 571 17421 3
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... and how he keeps coming back. T.S. Eliot said he was guilty of ‘crimes against taste’. David Lodge made him a twee subject of nostalgic research for the English hero of Small World, Philip Swallow, hopelessly outgunned by the vulgar but irresistible American, Morris Zapp. Lodge had got his significant detail wrong – Swallow should be a scholar of ...

Alphabeted

Barbara Everett: Coleridge the Modernist, 7 August 2003

Coleridge’s Notebooks: A Selection 
edited by Seamus Perry.
Oxford, 264 pp., £17.99, June 2002, 0 19 871201 4
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works I: Poems (Reading Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1608 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00483 8
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works II: Poems (Variorum Text) 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1528 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 00484 6
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The Collected Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Vol. XVI: Poetical Works III: Plays 
edited by J.C.C. Mays.
Princeton, 1620 pp., £135, November 2001, 0 691 09883 2
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... function, she thinks of verse as private and therefore inconsiderable, grouping Coleridge with Lamb (in many ways the best literary critic of his age) as a pair of malingerers: ‘Like Coleridge in “Kubla Khan” . . . Lamb values literature as fantasy, otherness; in some sense magical. It is the mal du siècle.’ In ...

The Real Founder of the Liberal Party

Jonathan Parry, 2 October 1997

Lord Melbourne 1779-1848 
by L.G. Mitchell.
Oxford, 349 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 19 820592 9
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... Solomons, free from prejudice, passion, envy and the desire for fame or money. William Lamb, second Viscount Melbourne, prime minister in 1834 and 1835-41, had no such illusions. He loved reading history because it pricked the pomposity of vain and foolish ‘great men’. But he also knew that historical judgments were relative and that historians ...

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... half-crust. (‘That bread alone was worth the journey,’ they probably remark, just as Elizabeth David says of a trip to an out-of-the-way eatery in France.) Art has a morality of its own, and the aesthetics of cooking and eating aspire, in ‘foodism’, towards the heights of food-for-food’s sake. Therefore the Third World can go suck its fist.The ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire, 2 January 2020

... but ‘counterbalanced with magnificent and ornate interiors’. It belonged to the Lamb family, forebears of Queen Victoria’s first prime minister, Lord Melbourne and was bought in the 1920s by a Liverpool brewer, soon ennobled as Lord Brocket. Then it became a hotel and conference centre. The lake, a dammed section of the River Lea, attracts ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... explains that, far from indulging a deliberately obscure language of type and emblem, the Song to David and the late Hymns reflect a current trend in Biblical interpretation which was intended precisely to rescue the Bible from the scholars and render it accessible to a wider community of unlearned but diligent Christians. The fact remains that Smart’s ...

Round Things

T.J. Binyon, 24 October 1991

Maurice Baring: A Citizen of Europe 
by Emma Letley.
Constable, 269 pp., £18.95, September 1991, 0 09 469870 8
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... Two soups, Salmon, Whitebait,                 Sweetbread, Bits of Chicken, Lamb, Potatoes, Asparagus, Duck,                 Peas, Salad,              Jelly, Ice, Strawberries,                    Round Things ‘Very soon, during dinner, the musical instruments were smashed to ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth, 5 April 2001

Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... David Lurie, the soured academic who is the protagonist of J.M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, earns his living as a professor of ‘communications’ in a Cape Town university (his former department, Classics and Modern Languages, has been rationalised out of existence). He is obliged to spend most of his time teaching this new subject, in which he has no interest, no belief even, but is allowed to offer one special course per year ‘irrespective of enrolment ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy, 9 April 2015

Hollywood 
by Don Bachardy.
Glitterati, 368 pp., £45, October 2014, 978 0 9913419 2 4
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... one by Simon Bussy, drawn in 1904 (the year of Isherwood’s birth); there’s one by Henry Lamb, painted in 1914; there’s one by Dora Carrington from 1916. In Meade’s book, I was most struck by the following passage about a party in Los Angeles. (Parker, in addition to writing both poetry and fiction, not to mention reviews for the New Yorker, did ...

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