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Shaggy Fellows

David Norbrook

9 July 1987
A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After 
by David Perkins.
Harvard, 694 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 674 39946 3
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Collected Poems 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 207 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 14 008383 9
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The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill 
by Henry Hart.
Southern Illinois, 305 pp., $24.95, January 1986, 0 8093 1236 0
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... his own. Beauty is no absolute guarantee of truth or morality; art may illuminate or corrupt. As David Perkins points out in Modernism and After, Pound is incomparable amongst modern poets for the rhythmic subtlety of his evocation of sensuous beauty, of the play of light and shade. For Perkins, this lyricism is the redeeming feature of his poetry. He ...

Democratic Sublime

Derek Hirst: Writing the English republic

19 August 1999
Writing the English Republic: Poetry, Rhetoric and Politics 1627-60 
by David Norbrook.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £40, January 1999, 0 521 63275 7
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... when the axe fell on Charles Stuart’s neck, was no mere romantic gesture. Rather, it declared David Norbrook’s belief that to vindicate the cultural vitality and integrity of English republicanism at its moment of flowering – a moment of high energy not only in politics but also in political thought, journalism and in literature, too – is to ...
19 May 1988
Dragons Teeth: Literature in the English Revolution 
by Michael Wilding.
Oxford, 288 pp., £25, September 1987, 0 19 812881 9
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Apocalyptic Marvell: The Second Coming in 17th-Century Poetry 
by Margarita Stocker.
Harvester, 381 pp., £32.50, February 1986, 0 7108 0934 4
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The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defence of Old Holiday Pastimes 
by Leah Marcus.
Chicago, 319 pp., £23.25, March 1987, 0 226 50451 4
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Milton: A Study in Ideology and Form 
by Christopher Kendrick.
Methuen, 240 pp., £25, June 1986, 0 416 01251 5
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... When John Aubrey discovered that Milton had written some panegyrics of Cromwell and Fairfax, he eagerly sought them out for their ‘sublime’ quality: ‘were they made in commendation of the Devil, ’twere all one to me: ’tis the hypsos that I look after.’ Aubrey’s brief lives of the leaders of the Puritan revolution retain something of his youthful excitement at the sublimity, the magnanimity in defence of liberty, aspired to by the Devil’s party ...

Horror like Thunder

Germaine Greer: Lucy Hutchinson

21 June 2001
Order and Disorder 
by Lucy Hutchinson, edited by David Norbrook.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £55, January 2001, 0 631 22061 5
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... Apsley (1616-83). The poem described by Lee as ‘rarely accessible’, now easily accessible in David Norbrook’s modern spelling edition, offers according to Norbrook ‘a particularly strong corrective to the conventional view that literature after 1660 became firmly Royalist’, for it is entirely informed by the ...

Insolence

Blair Worden

7 March 1985
Poetry and Politics in the English Renaissance 
by David Norbrook.
Routledge, 345 pp., £15.95, October 1984, 0 7100 9778 6
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Restoration Theatre Production 
by Jocelyn Powell.
Routledge, 226 pp., £19.95, November 1984, 0 7100 9321 7
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Theatre and Crisis: 1632-1642 
by Martin Butler.
Cambridge, 340 pp., £25, August 1984, 0 521 24632 6
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The Court Masque 
edited by David Lindley.
Manchester, 196 pp., £22.50, August 1984, 0 7190 0961 8
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Ben Jonson, Dramatist 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 370 pp., £30, July 1984, 0 521 25883 9
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... and none of them would have understood the modern relocation of politics below imagination. David Norbrook’s Poetry and Politics in Renaissance England is a protest against the devaluation of political verse, and especially of radical political verse. Where Dr Johnson could deplore Milton’s radicalism yet admire his poetry, Eliot and Leavis ...

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 ...

Shakespeares

David Norbrook

18 July 1985
Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... Shakespeare one gets acquainted with without knowing how. It is part of an Englishman’s constitution.’ Henry Crawford’s comment in Mansfield Park is a reminder that ‘Shakespeare’ is more than an individual writer: ‘it’ is an institution, a body of texts whose study, from O-level to the highest reaches of academia, is a means of legitimating social advancement and whose production on the stage and on television makes a powerful contribution to Britain’s invisible exports ...
23 October 1986
Hugh MacDiarmid: The Man and his Work 
by Nancy Gish.
Macmillan, 235 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 333 29473 4
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Complete Poems 
by Hugh MacDiarmid.
Penguin, £8.95, February 1985, 0 14 007913 0
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... In Exiles and Emigrés (1970) Terry Eagleton argued that modern British culture had proved incapable of producing a major writer who could analyse society as a whole. It had collapsed into a ‘withered empiricism’. And English poetry in this century has seemed to many to confirm this analysis, the dominant voice being one of cautious ‘common sense’ tinged with a wistful conservatism                             an immense load Of self-neutralising moral and social qualities, Above all, Circumspection ...
5 January 1989
Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Oxford, 205 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812980 7
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Representing the English Renaissance 
edited by Stephen Greenblatt.
California, 372 pp., $42, February 1988, 0 520 06129 2
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... his closest to recent studies in the politics of literature by British literary historians such as David Norbrook and Jonathan Dollimore. These essays, which originated as lectures, are certainly dazzling performances. To historians like myself, what is most impressive about them is not the attention to historical context, which we have been trained to ...

New Model Criticism

Colin Burrow: Writing Under Cromwell

19 June 2008
Literature and Politics in Cromwellian England: John Milton, Andrew Marvell, Marchamont Nedham 
by Blair Worden.
Oxford, 458 pp., December 2007, 978 0 19 923081 5
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... am a young radical who wants to show the value to the left of writing from this period.’ David Norbrook’s Writing the English Republic is the summation of this movement. Norbrook wants there to be a republican cultural moment in the mid-17th century. For him the ‘Horatian Ode’ is not bipolar, as it is ...

Jangling Monarchy

Tom Paulin: Milton and the Regicides

8 August 2002
A Companion to Milton 
by Thomas N. Corns.
Blackwell, 528 pp., £80, June 2001, 0 631 21408 9
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The Life of John Milton: A Critical Biography 
by Barbara K. Lewalski.
Blackwell, 816 pp., £25, December 2000, 0 631 17665 9
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... by many readers, but it was nonetheless Milton’s founding intention in composing his epic. As David Norbrook shows in his seminal study Writing the English Republic, the language of chaos and creation briefly took on optimistic overtones during the Commonwealth, but with its disintegration the images became despairing. The Grand Concernments of ...

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