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New Faces on the Block

Jenny Diski, 27 November 1997

Venus Envy 
by Elizabeth Haiken.
Johns Hopkins, 288 pp., £20.50, January 1998, 0 8018 5763 5
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The Royal Women of Amarna: Images of Beauty From Ancient Egypt 
by Dorothea Arnold.
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 192 pp., $45, February 1997, 0 8109 6504 6
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... themselves. The depictions of the royal women of Amarna were conceptual rather than realistic, Dorothea Arnold explains, quoting Edna Russmann, who dismisses the search by other scholars for a pathological explanation of the egg-headed princesses. Such views are, she says, based on false premises. ‘They arise from modern perceptions and ...

Tic in the Brain

Deborah Friedell: Mrs Dickens, 11 September 2008

Girl in a Blue Dress 
by Gaynor Arnold.
Tindall Street, 438 pp., £9.99, August 2008, 978 0 9556476 1 1
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... that it was his wife who had failed him, because of the ‘peculiarity of her character’. Gaynor Arnold’s first novel, Girl in a Blue Dress, long-listed for the Booker Prize, is a retelling of the Dickens marriage, and although the names have been changed (the great man is now called ‘Alfred Gibson’), in an afterword ...

Waiting for the Dawn to Come

Rachel Bowlby: Reading George Eliot, 11 April 2013

Reading for Our Time: ‘Adam Bede’ and ‘Middlemarch’ Revisited 
by J. Hillis Miller.
Edinburgh, 191 pp., £19.99, March 2012, 978 0 7486 4728 6
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... Towards the end of Middlemarch, Dorothea spends a mostly sleepless night following a dream-ending encounter the day before. At dawn, she goes to her window: She opened her curtains, and looked out towards the bit of road that lay in view, with fields beyond, outside the entrance-gates. On the road there was a man with a bundle on his back and a woman carrying her baby; in the field she could see figures moving – perhaps the shepherd with his dog ...


Richard Luckett, 21 December 1989

I.A. Richards: His Life and Work 
by John Paul Russo.
Routledge, 843 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03134 6
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... that of Wordsworth and, to a far greater extent, Coleridge? His debts to Bentham and Mill, even to Arnold, were largely those of a debater who picks up whatever may usefully be gleaned from the other side of a discussion which, in Coleridge on the Imagination, he deliberately took back to first principles. The man who, at the onset of his literary career, had ...

A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley, 24 June 2004

Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... at Tarrytown and hanged at Tappan for his supposedly traitorous collaboration with Benedict Arnold. André was an attractive felon: even Americans called him ‘beautiful’, ‘manly’ and ‘noble’, and his charmed memory inspired commemorative sites associated with the last ten days of his life. A window he might have looked through in West ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... himself in the book. Virginia Woolf described the Modernist experiment as an attempt to improve on Arnold Bennett and his contemporaries, who held forth in theory about the importance of character but failed miserably in practice. The Marxist and Freudian explanations of the demise of characterisation in modern writing are surely commonplace by now – but ...


Terry Eagleton, 21 September 1995

George Eliot: A Biography 
by Frederick Karl.
HarperCollins, 708 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 00 255574 3
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... early self-punitive Evangelicism to consort with fashionable Coventry freethinkers. For Matthew Arnold, it is culture which will inherit the ideological role of religion in sustaining a corporate faith; but Arnold’s ‘culture’ is altogether too lofty and nebulous an idea for the task in hand, too much on the side of ...

Against the Same-Old Same-Old

Seamus Perry: The Brownings, 3 November 2016

The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 21 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 432 pp., $110, April 2014, 978 0 911459 38 8
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The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 22 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 430 pp., $110, June 2015, 978 0 911459 39 5
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Robert Browning 
edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan.
Oxford, 904 pp., £95, December 2014, 978 0 19 959942 4
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Browning Studies: Being Select Papers by Members of the Browning Society 
edited by Edward Berdoe.
Routledge, 348 pp., £30, August 2015, 978 1 138 02488 5
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... of his message: ‘We are struggling with the waves of doubt – storm-tost and ready to sink,’ Dorothea Beale said at a Society meeting in 1882, going on, as though unwittingly describing a Punch cartoon: ‘And as we look at him, we see him with a smile on his face, calmly floating, his head above the waves, his body supported therein.’ (The paper ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... as The Cheery Orchard.30 September. Read The Birth of Shylock and the Death of Zero Mostel by Arnold Wesker, an account of his attempts to get his play, Shylock, produced and how it flopped on Broadway. Much of it I find sympathetic, though the only lesson I can draw from it is that playwright and director should never correspond. The text is full of ...

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