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Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB

3 February 2011
The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David​ Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... their auxiliary status: now, because of the different use to which we put them, the italicised words shout their presence (the radically different visual effect of the original is illustrated in DavidNorton’s The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today, as well as in Campbell’s own Bible, another history of the KJB). It’s a pity, but the change emphasises just how remote the ...
18 July 1985
The Ponting Affair 
by Richard Norton-Taylor.
Cecil Woolf, 144 pp., £5.95, June 1985, 0 900821 74 4
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Who Killed Hilda Murrell? 
by Judith Cook.
New English Library, 182 pp., £1.95, June 1985, 0 450 05885 9
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... Without Richard Norton-Taylor of the Guardian, there would be no Belgrano affair, and doubtless Mr Clive Ponting OBE would be plying his way, ever upwards, in the Ministry of Defence. This is no exaggeration. Simply a ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies

3 February 2000
The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton​ Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton​ Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David​ Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David​ Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... Engels took time out from The Condition of the Working Class in England to sneer at the anthologies littering the sofa tables of the Manchester bourgeosie. In the 1980s, the American poet David Antin charged that ‘anthologies are to poets as the zoo is to animals.’ More recently, Marjorie Perloff called for undergraduates to swear off Evian, in the hope that tap-water drinkers could ...

Pods and Peds

Caroline Maclean: Iain Sinclair

18 November 2004
Dining on Stones, or, The Middle Ground 
by Iain Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 449 pp., £16.99, April 2004, 0 241 14236 9
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... it disintegrates if you concentrate too hard on the middle. Dining on Stones, a postmodern thriller for geeky pedestrians, doesn’t really have a story; Sinclair’s idea of a plot is a walk. Andrew Norton, a disillusioned flâneur, novelist and bookseller lives in Hackney. Dover St Gallery commissions him to write a commentary on the artist Jimmy Seed, who paints pictures of motorways: ‘Bucket of ...

Heavy Lifting

John Palattella: John Ashbery

7 June 2001
Other Traditions 
by John Ashbery.
Harvard, 168 pp., £15.50, October 2000, 0 674 00315 2
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John Ashbery and American Poetry 
by David​ Herd.
Manchester, 245 pp., £45, September 2000, 0 7190 5597 0
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... Invisible Avant-Garde’: carve out a space between a vanguard and a tradition, remaining receptive to both, but immune to the enervating forces of each. Other Traditions, a series of Charles Eliot Norton Lectures delivered at Harvard in 1989-90, is the poet’s most recent answer to the conundrum, and suggests that it is possible for an individual to consort with a tradition without becoming locked ...

Vibrations

Margaret Anne Doody

5 August 1993
The Culture of Sensibility: Sex and Society in 18th-century Britain 
by G.J. Barker-Benfield.
Chicago, 520 pp., £39.95, October 1992, 0 226 03713 4
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Eighteenth-Century Sensibility and the Novel: The Senses in Social Context 
by Ann Jessie van Sant.
Cambridge, 143 pp., £27.95, January 1993, 0 521 40226 3
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Drunks, Whores and Idle Apprentices: Criminal Biographies of the 18th Century 
by Philip Rawlings.
Routledge, 222 pp., £40, October 1992, 0 415 05056 1
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Mother Clap’s Molly House: The Gay Subculture in England 1700-1830 
by Rictor Norton.
Gay Men’s Press, 302 pp., £12.95, September 1992, 0 85449 188 0
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... been reluctant to deal with the philosophical or physiological ramifications of the subject. Nowadays, I look in the index of books on either sensibility or sentiment, and if there is no reference to David Hartley I close the volume. G.J. Barker-Benfield passes the test – his index lists Hartley as well as Shaftesbury, Hume, Adam Smith and, of course, Locke, for even the non-philosophical usually ...

Long live the codex

John Sutherland: The future of books

5 July 2001
Book Business: Publishing Past, Present and Future 
by Jason Epstein.
Norton, 188 pp., £16.95, March 2001, 0 393 04984 1
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... from disvalued bestsellers was ploughed back into worthier literary ventures. This is the essence of GTP. Edna Ferber paid for Gertrude Stein. Ferber has been forgotten; Stein is eternalised in the Norton Anthology of American Literature. The ‘Jewish publishers’ appreciated that the important thing was to keep their great books in print. For bookmen like Livewright, Epstein’s particular hero ...

Feuds Corner

Thomas Jones: Ismail Kadare

6 September 2007
Chronicle in Stone 
by Ismail Kadare, translated by Arshi Pipa.
Canongate, 301 pp., £7.99, May 2007, 978 1 84195 908 5
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Agamemnon’s Daughter: A Novella and Stories 
by Ismail Kadare, original translation by Tedi Papavrami and Jusuf Vrioni, translated from the French by David​ Bellos.
Canongate, 226 pp., £7.99, August 2007, 978 1 84195 978 8
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The Successor 
by Ismail Kadare, original translation by Tedi Papavrami, translated from the French by David​ Bellos.
Canongate, 207 pp., £6.99, January 2007, 978 1 84195 887 3
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The File on H 
by Ismail Kadare, original translation by Jusuf Vrioni, translated from the French by David​ Bellos.
Vintage, 169 pp., £7.99, August 2006, 0 09 949719 0
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... The new Canongate edition of Chronicle in Stone is largely based on Arshi Pipa’s 1987 translation. Kadare dropped a few passages and added some new ones in a French edition of 1997, however, and David Bellos has changed the English text accordingly, as well as making ‘stylistic amendments here and there where they seemed called for’. (Bellos’s judgment in matters of style is not unerring. In ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Fact-checking

5 April 2012
... who mangled his hand working on an iPad assembly line, for example – were fictions. While Daisey is being reprimanded, a writer called John D’Agata has been promoting a book, Lifespan of a Fact (Norton, $17.95), about the way he changes or makes up the facts. D’Agata and David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010), are the leaders of a movement that believes the most interesting ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’

16 April 2014
The Grand Budapest Hotel 
directed by Wes Anderson.
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... an isolated alpine monastery: ‘Put these on and sing.’ ‘These’ are the white habits of a monk and a rosary each. The list of stars in the film (Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Edward Norton, all the others mentioned elsewhere in this piece) is a clue to what we are watching. They are all themselves, bringing with them the clouds of movies they have been in. They have come to the party ...

Jack in the Belfry

Terry Eagleton

7 September 2016
The Trials of the King of Hampshire: Madness, Secrecy and Betrayal in Georgian England 
by Elizabeth Foyster.
Oneworld, 368 pp., £20, September 2016, 978 1 78074 960 0
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... his affairs, while Portsmouth himself, one of the wealthiest landowners in England, was provided with what amounted to pocket money. (He did better in this respect than the feeble-minded Mr Dick of David Copperfield, who is supplied with pocket money but not allowed to spend it.) Not long after becoming third earl, he fled from home for a brief period in the company of his Swiss valet, though whether ...
30 August 1990
The Sign of Angellica: Women, Writing and Fiction, 1660-1800 
by Janet Todd.
Virago, 328 pp., £12.99, April 1989, 0 86068 576 4
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Uneven Developments: The Ideological Work of Gender in Mid-Victorian Britain 
by Mary Poovey.
Virago, 282 pp., £12.99, February 1989, 1 85381 035 5
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The Woman Question. Society and Literature In Britain and America, 1837-1883: Vols I-III 
edited by Elizabeth Helsinger, Robin Lauterbach Sheets and William Veeder.
Chicago, 146 pp., £7.95, February 1989, 0 226 32666 7
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Sexual Science: The Victorian Construction of Womanhood 
by Cynthia Eagle Russett.
Harvard, 245 pp., £15.95, June 1989, 9780674802902
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... that enveloped literary culture in the mid-18th century, emphasising instead the brisker perspectives represented by Henry Fielding. Henry’s sister Sarah, whose novel The Adventures of David Simple is examined in detail here, demonstrates the power of the vision of sensibility which culminated in Richardson’s Clarissa. It was a double-edged rule, bound up with the perverse ...

Trust the Coroner

John Bossy: Why Christopher Marlowe was probably not a spy

14 December 2006
Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 421 pp., £25, October 2005, 0 19 818695 9
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... one. When not writing his sonorous verse, he was spying, preaching atheism, fighting and getting murdered. Park Honan has done one of the two already, and now has done the other. Coming shortly after David Riggs’s solid, even too-solid The World of Christopher Marlowe, his Christopher Marlowe: Poet and Spy feels a little lightweight. He is probably right to say that he has a better story about ...

Do your homework

David​ Runciman: What’s Wrong with Theresa May

16 March 2017
Theresa May: The Enigmatic Prime Minister 
by Rosa Prince.
Biteback, 402 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 1 78590 145 4
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... This​ is a dry and dutiful book which reads like a ghost story. The person being haunted is David Cameron. Theresa May grew up in a Cotswolds village called Church Enstone, where her father was vicar for much of the 1960s. The vicarage is within five miles of what became Cameron’s constituency ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman

20 February 2003
John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... and about whom Hillier tells us very little. Betjeman and Cavendish met in 1951 at a dinner party; he was 45 and she was 25. Cavendish was the daughter of the Duke of Devonshire, a cousin of Lord David Cecil, et cetera, and became a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret – the next best thing, perhaps, to Betjeman bagging a royal. His relationship with Cavendish was clearly one of the most ...

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