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Beware of counterfeits

Dror Wahrman: 18th-century fakery

6 June 2002
The Perreaus and Mrs Rudd: Forgery and Betrayal in 18th-Century London 
by Donna Andrew and Randall McGowen.
California, 346 pp., £24.95, November 2001, 0 520 22062 5
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The Smart: The True Story of Margaret Caroline Rudd and the Unfortunate Perreau Brothers 
by Sarah Bakewell.
Chatto, 321 pp., £17.99, April 2001, 9780701171094
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... into James Boswell’s arms, and then into a life of poverty and relative obscurity. Donna Andrew and Randall McGowen’s The Perreaus and Mrs Rudd and Sarah Bakewell’s The Smart both tell the same story, but approach it in very different ways. Bakewell’s eloquent version reads rather like an 18th-century romance. ...

Thin Ayrshire

Andrew O’Hagan

25 May 1995
... were slim and unchanging. It had been a nice morning that day. Sandy and his younger sister Donna were being looked after by their granny, Mary Bunce, who lived on the Bourtreehill estate. Like many other parts of the town, Bourtreehill was only half-built in that year. Many of the houses were having the final work done to them; and many were still at ...
3 December 1981
... which characterises the ‘poem’ of Lisa Erdman; there was skill in it, but it was at best, as Andrew Motion said in the TLS, ‘impressively unlikeable’. In The White Hotel the pornography is more calculatingly deployed. The rioting fantasy which constituted the kind of ‘free novel’ Thomas wanted to write is ironised by those sections which are ...

Function v. Rhetoric

Peter Campbell: Engineers and Architects

10 April 2008
Architect and Engineer 
by Andrew Saint.
Yale, 541 pp., £45, March 2008, 978 0 300 12443 9
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... but it is particularly hard to decide what is due to the architect and what to the engineer. Andrew Saint, in his new book, sees them as sibling rivals, and in tracing how their relations have changed over time, looks for answers to three questions. Was there a time when the roles of architect and engineer were indistinguishable? If so, how and why did ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott

23 May 2019
White 
by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... It was tough keeping track of all the debutantes promenading into print and creating a stir: Donna Tartt, David Leavitt, Mary Gaitskill, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Nancy Lemann, Susan Minot, Mary Robison, Anderson Ferrell – a cast of dozens. Many of those rookies trained at the literary dojo of the author, editor, creative writing teacher and ...

In the Châtelet

Jeremy Harding

20 April 1995
François Villon: Complete Poems 
edited by Barbara Sargent-Bauer.
Toronto, 346 pp., £42, January 1995, 0 8020 2946 9
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Basil Bunting: Complete Poems 
edited by Richard Caddel.
Oxford, 226 pp., £10.99, September 1994, 0 19 282282 9
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... the abject stuff that gave Lazarus his edge over Dives, the rich man ‘ensevely en feu’: IL DONNA TOUT, the poet suggests as part of the inscription on his grave, CHASCUN LE SCET. But everyone knows, too, that Villon was on the take; he even helped himself to the trappings of perdition in an elaborate game of sin and redemption which satisfied his taste ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart

12 December 2002
James Stewart at the NFT 
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... of each other, and observers of his early work often say that she brought out the best in him. Andrew Sarris has noticed the particular delicacy of the scene in The Shop around the Corner where she reads the letter from her anonymous correspondent, and Stewart, its author, watches and waits, yearning to tell the truth but playing as ever by the rules. It ...

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