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Two Sharp Teeth

Philip Ball: Dracula Studies

25 October 2018
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote ‘Dracula’ 
by David​ J. Skal.
Norton, 672 pp., £15.99, October 2017, 978 1 63149 386 7
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The Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ 
edited by Roger Luckhurst.
Cambridge, 219 pp., £17.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 60708 4
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The Vampire: A New History 
by Nick Groom.
Yale, 287 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 0 300 23223 3
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... Few writers​ have seemed less likely to produce a modern myth than Bram Stoker, not only because of the limits of his ability and imagination but because for much of his life he was furiously overworked as house manager for Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London. Aside from ...

Fire and Water

Rosalind Mitchison

17 October 1985
Water Power in Scotland: 1550-1870 
by John Shaw.
John Donald, 606 pp., £25, April 1984, 0 85976 072 3
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The History of the British Coal Industry. Vol. II: 1700-1830, The Industrial Revolution 
by Michael Flinn and David Stoker.
Oxford, 491 pp., £35, March 1984, 0 19 828283 4
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Industry and Ethos: Scotland 1832-1914 
by Sydney Checkland and Olive Checkland.
Arnold, 218 pp., £5.95, March 1984, 0 7131 6317 8
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The Jacobite Clans of the Great Glen: 1650-1784 
by Bruce Lenman.
Methuen, 246 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 0 413 48690 7
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The Prince and the Pretender: A Study in the Writing of History 
by A.J. Youngson.
Croom Helm, 270 pp., £16.95, April 1985, 0 7099 2908 0
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Canna: The Story of a Hebridean Island 
by J.L. Campbell.
Oxford, 323 pp., £25, December 1984, 0 19 920137 4
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... The first three of these books combine to remind us of the role of economic development in our history, and force home the fact that there can be no true separation of economic history from other histories. The dates bounding the Checklands’ volume in the New History of Scotland might seem to be ones of political significance primarily, but 1832 and 1914 mark very nearly the span of the domination ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: How to Type like a Man

10 May 2007
... notes that between 1870 and 1930, the female proportion of typists in America soared from 4 per cent to 95.6 per cent, the bulk of The Iron Whim concerns itself with the likes of Paul Auster, Bram Stoker, William Burroughs, David Cronenberg, Mark Twain, Jack Kerouac, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, J.G. Ballard and Hunter S. Thompson: in other words, men. He says more than once that he’s less ...

Karl’s Darl

M. Wynn Thomas

11 January 1990
William Faulkner: American Writer 
by Frederick Karl.
Faber, 1131 pp., £25, July 1989, 9780571149919
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William Faulkner 
by David​ Dowling.
Macmillan, 183 pp., £6.95, June 1989, 0 333 42855 2
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... ideas which Karl himself admits are absurd – the elemental qualities of the Bundren family can’t, for instance, be usefully related to Faulkner’s ‘Vulcan-like’ labours as a power-station stoker. Equally regrettable in a book of this length are the examples of tedious repetition. Twice within the space of a single page we learn that the impression of wanting to get back to the basics of life ...

What kind of funny is he?

Rivka Galchen: Under Kafka’s Spell

4 December 2014
Kafka: The Years of Insight 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 682 pp., £24.95, June 2013, 978 0 691 14751 2
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Kafka: The Decisive Years 
by Reiner Stach, translated by Shelley Frisch.
Princeton, 552 pp., £16.25, June 2013, 978 0 691 14741 3
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... because ‘gangster’ is the more marketable word. Here our man asks his sister, Ottla, to go out and please buy twenty copies of the magazine that has run a Czech translation of his story ‘The Stoker’; here he is writing to the married translator, whom he has wooed; here he is writing a 16-page letter asking for a promotion at the Workers’ Accident Insurance Institute; here he is giving a ...

My Darlings

Colm Tóibín: Drinking with Samuel Beckett

5 April 2007
... who had a small private income, as Beckett and Wilde did, and a memory of glory; and then Yeats, who worked all his life, not only for his living, but at making himself grander than he was; and Bram Stoker and George Bernard Shaw, who were hardly more than clerks. And then Sean O’Casey who was poor and nearly blind. All of them baptised into the wholly un-Roman and highly Protestant church. And none ...

Love in a Dark Time

Colm Tóibín: Oscar Wilde

19 April 2001
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde 
edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis.
Fourth Estate, 1270 pp., £35, November 2000, 1 85702 781 7
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... that the rents on property outside Dublin are ‘to be paid to me direct’. The only things he flirted with were Catholicism and, when he was 23, Florence Balcombe. When she became engaged to Bram Stoker and wanted one last meeting with Wilde, he wrote her a letter in a tone more pompous than Lady Bracknell at the height of her powers: ‘As for my calling at Harcourt Street, you know, my dear ...

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