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Captain Swing

Eric Hobsbawm, 24 November 1994

The Duke Ellington Reader 
edited by Mark Tucker.
Oxford, 536 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 19 505410 5
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Swing Changes: Big-Band Jazz in New Deal America 
by David Stowe.
Harvard, 299 pp., £19.95, October 1994, 0 674 85825 5
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... about the links between the political and cultural histories of the USA during this period, but David Stowe, who teaches American Thought and Language at Michigan State University, is, to my knowledge, the first writer to have attempted a systematic history of the relationship between jazz and New Deal America. The most immediate impact of ...

Anti-Slavery Begins at Home

Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, 25 May 1995

The First Woman of the Republic: A Cultural Biography of Lydia Maria Child 
by Carolyn Karcher.
Duke, 804 pp., £35.95, March 1995, 0 8223 1485 1
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Harriet Beecher StoweA Life 
by Joan Hedrick.
Oxford, 507 pp., £25, March 1994, 0 19 506639 1
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... Garrison, much less with aspiring literary women like Lydia Maria Child and Harriet Beecher Stowe, who brought the injustices of slavery home to ordinary American readers. When, in 1850, Emerson came to support anti-slavery, he did so more from reasons of abstract ethics than from humanitarian sentiment. It is now argued, and quite ...

As God Intended

Rosemary Hill: Capability Brown, 5 January 2012

The Omnipotent Magician: Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown 1716-83 
by Jane Brown.
Chatto, 384 pp., £20, March 2011, 978 0 7011 8212 0
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... is eloquent. It took him, within a couple of years, to the heart of the landscape garden movement. Stowe, in Buckinghamshire, the home of Lord Cobham, was the centre of Whig opposition to Walpole’s regime. It was also the place where moral allegory and political manifesto were being most powerfully expressed in mortar and the moving of earth, and in 1741, in ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... homes of England competed in assuring their readers that a Sunday-afternoon trip to Blenheim or Stowe would add ‘a new relish to the day of rest’ and leave ‘the heart better disposed either for a religious thought or a benevolent action’. Her analysis of the political factors underlying the growth of tourism chimes in with Peter Wagner’s comments ...

In Pursuit of an Heiress

Nicholas Penny: Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, 16 June 2016

Letters of a Dead Man 
by Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, edited and translated by Linda Parshall.
Dumbarton Oaks, 753 pp., £55.95, May 2016, 978 0 88402 411 8
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... it is elevated to a sublime combination of nature and architecture, as if painted by Caspar David Friedrich, or by Pückler’s friend Friedrich Schinkel, then the leading architect in Berlin: standing in that allée of ivy-clad columns … you see them recede in perspective until they come together three hundred feet ahead of you, terminating in a ...

At Miss Whitehead’s

Edward Said, 7 July 1994

The Sixties: The Last Journal, 1960-1972 
by Edmund Wilson, edited by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 968 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 374 26554 2
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... sparsely-attended course, partly because I wasn’t at the time that interested in Harriet Beecher Stowe and Sidney Lanier, and partly because I couldn’t imagine sitting in a class with the PhD-less Wilson, whom I had mistakenly fixed in my mind’s eye as a journalist, not a scholar or teacher of the kind we were required to seek after. There was a ...

Bobby-Dazzling

Ian Sansom, 17 July 1997

W.H. Auden: Prose 1926-38, Essays and Reviews and Travel Books in Prose and Verse 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Faber, 836 pp., £40, March 1997, 0 571 17899 5
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... fathers sell grand pianos or give up tobacco, that little Adrian or Derek may go to Marlborough or Stowe ... he is beginning to beat out both the rhythms and rhetorical structures of ‘Spain’ (‘Yesterday ... today ... Tomorrow’) and to formulate its strange utopian classifications: Tomorrow the rediscovery of romantic love; The photographing of ...

Why can’t she just do as she ought?

Michael Newton: ‘Gone with the Wind’, 6 August 2009

Frankly, My Dear: ‘Gone with the Wind’ Revisited 
by Molly Haskell.
Yale, 244 pp., £16.99, March 2009, 978 0 300 11752 3
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... Before it was a classic film, Gone with the Wind was a classic PR stunt. The film’s producer, David O. Selznick, announced that he would launch a nationwide search for the young woman who would play Scarlett O’Hara. The move provoked a furore; Margaret Mitchell’s novel, published in 1936, was already a national bestseller – it seemed that everyone was reading it – and the desire to star in the movie version proved irresistible ...

Petty Grotesques

Mark Ford: Whitman, 17 March 2011

Democratic Vistas 
by Walt Whitman, edited by Ed Folsom.
Iowa, 143 pp., $24.95, April 2010, 978 1 58729 870 7
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... and Ethiopia’ that was published in the collection A Historical Guide to Walt Whitman (edited by David Reynolds), and they also feature in Folsom’s excellent introduction to this facsimile edition of the first book publication of Democratic Vistas. Spurred into prose by Carlyle’s taunts and barbs, Whitman set himself the task of composing three ...

American Manscapes

Richard Poirier, 12 October 1989

Manhood and the American Renaissance 
by David Leverenz.
Cornell, 372 pp., $35.75, April 1989, 0 8014 2281 7
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... of infamous goodies. Meanwhile, FDA criticism will probably earn a few more adherents thanks to David Leverenz’s Manhood and the American Renaissance. It is better than most such books because, for one thing, he is at times a competent if constricted close reader, while being at heart resentful that he is required to be one at all by certain of the ...

Pipe down back there!

Terry Castle: The Willa Cather Wars, 14 December 2000

Willa Cather and the Politics of Criticism 
by Joan Acocella.
Nebraska, 127 pp., £13.50, August 2000, 0 8032 1046 9
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... homosexuals: Alexandra in O Pioneers!, Thea in The Song of the Lark, Claude Wheeler and David Gerhardt in One of Ours, Euclide Auclair in Shadows on the Rock, and of course those two priests in Death Comes for the Archbishop. In The Professor’s House we hit pay dirt: according to various commentators, not just Professor St Peter and Tom Outland ...

Waiting for the next move

John Bayley, 23 July 1987

Dostoevsky. The Stir of Liberation: 1860-1865 
by Joseph Frank.
Robson, 395 pp., £17.95, April 1987, 0 86051 242 8
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Selected Letters of Dostoevsky 
edited by Joseph Frank and David Goldstein.
Rutgers, 543 pp., $29.95, May 1987, 0 8135 1185 2
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... that sort of picture, as do Dostoevsky’s own letters, a selection of which has been edited by David Goldstein and Frank. The editing is superb, the notes meticulous, but it must be said that Dostoevsky does not come into the category of great letter-writers. The most interesting are not the ones written to his brother from the Peter and Paul Fortress ...

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