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Poor Cyclops

David Quint: The ‘Odyssey’, 25 June 2009

The Return of Ulysses: A Cultural History of Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Edith Hall.
Tauris, 296 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 1 84511 575 3
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Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Lillian Doherty.
Oxford, 450 pp., £80, January 2009, 978 0 19 923332 8
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The Unknown Odysseus: Alternate Worlds in Homer’s ‘Odyssey’ 
by Thomas Van Nortwick.
Michigan, 144 pp., $50, December 2008, 978 0 472 11673 7
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... In The Return of Ulysses Edith Hall takes us on a tour of global culture high and low, mostly from the last hundred years, to demonstrate how Homer’s great poem continues to permeate our sensibility and imagination. She is an informative and enthusiastic guide, and the sheer wealth of her examples is impressive ...

The Iron Rule

Jacqueline Rose: Bernhard Schlink’s Guilt, 31 July 2008

Homecoming 
by Bernhard Schlink, translated by Michael Henry Heim.
Weidenfeld, 260 pp., £14.99, January 2008, 978 0 297 84468 6
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... from the moment when the narrator suggests that the ending of the Odyssey is no ending at all. As Edith Hall writes in The Return of Ulysses, Homer’s story has proved particularly attractive material for a postwar Europe trying to come to terms with the violence of its own history.1 Hans Erich Nossack is just one German writer who made the Odyssey his ...

Between Troy and Rome

Denis Feeney: Trojan Glamour, 14 June 2017

Virgil’s Ascanius: Imagining the Future in the ‘Aeneid’ 
by Anne Rogerson.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £75, January 2017, 978 1 107 11539 2
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... Hesiodic corpus, from the second half of the sixth century BCE. The Trojans, on the other hand, as Edith Hall showed almost thirty years ago in Inventing the Barbarian, had stood as a model of oriental hyper-civilisation since the fifth century BCE, when the tragedians of Athens co-opted Homer’s Trojans into the roles of their contemporary Persian ...

An Easy Lay

James Davidson: Greek tragedy, 30 September 1999

Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy 
edited by Simon Goldhill and Robin Osborne.
Cambridge, 417 pp., £45, June 1997, 0 521 64247 7
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The Cambridge Companion to Greek Tragedy 
edited by P.E. Easterling.
Cambridge, 410 pp., £14.95, October 1997, 0 521 42351 1
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Tragedy in Athens: Performance Space and Theatrical Meaning 
by David Wiles.
Cambridge, 130 pp., £13.95, August 1999, 0 521 66615 5
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... contrasts strikingly with the passionate emotion of her songs.’ It’s most peculiar, as Edith Hall notes in Performance Culture and Athenian Democracy, that modern translations do not generally mark which parts of a tragedy were spoken and which were sung, although there is some difficulty, as Easterling admits in a footnote, over anapaests ...

The Authentic Snarl

Blake Morrison: The Impudence of Tony Harrison, 30 November 2017

The Inky Digit of Defiance: Selected Prose 1966-2016 
by Tony Harrison, edited by Edith Hall.
Faber, 544 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 571 32503 0
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Collected Poems 
by Tony Harrison.
Penguin, 464 pp., £9.99, April 2016, 978 0 241 97435 3
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... or more poetry collections and pamphlets, not to mention the essays and addresses assembled in Edith Hall’s edition of his selected prose. That teacher, commemorated but unnamed in the poem ‘Them & [uz]’, was so dismayed by Harrison’s ‘barbarian’ recital of Keats’s ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ in a Northern working-class accent that he ...

No False Modesty

Rosemary Hill: Edith Sitwell, 20 October 2011

Edith Sitwell: Avant-Garde Poet, English Genius 
by Richard Greene.
Virago, 532 pp., £25, March 2011, 978 1 86049 967 8
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... enough to hang bells in’ was, apparently, the response of one American visitor to a portrait of Edith Sitwell in the Tate. Elizabeth Bowen, herself an imposing physical presence, described Sitwell in real life as like ‘a high altar on the move’, and Virginia Woolf, on first encountering her in 1918, noted that she was ‘a very tall young woman, wearing ...

Gatsby of the Boulevards

Hermione Lee: Morton Fullerton, 8 March 2001

Mysteries of Paris: The Quest for Morton Fullerton 
by Marion Mainwaring.
New England, 327 pp., £23, March 2001, 1 58465 008 7
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... In the spring of 1907, a few weeks after Edith Wharton had met Morton Fullerton in Paris, she described him to a mutual friend as ‘very intelligent, but slightly mysterious, I think’. Eight years later, by which time her passionate affair with Fullerton was long over, Henry James, in one of his last letters to her, confirmed her first thoughts about the man who had fascinated them both ...

Throw it out the window

Bee Wilson: Lady Constance Lytton, 15 July 2015

Lady Constance Lytton: Aristocrat, Suffragette, Martyr 
by Lyndsey Jenkins.
Biteback, 282 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 1 84954 795 6
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... sake of a greater cause. For the first phase of her life, that greater cause had been her mother. Edith Lytton née Villers had been a society beauty in her day. When Constance was a child, Edith praised her beautiful eyes and hoped that ‘the lower part of her face’ would improve. The main quality Constance’s family ...

Diary

Paul Barker: Bellamy’s Dream, 19 May 1988

... Everything public, nothing private; total centralisation; no more ‘politics’ in the Tammany Hall or Westminster sense. And all with benevolent intent. What Bellamy offered was a works able myth. His was the world which Soviet Communism set about building. In parallel, and often under Soviet influence, socialist parties went the same ...

Crusoe and Daughter

Patricia Craig, 20 June 1985

Crusoe’s Daughter 
by Jane Gardam.
Hamish Hamilton, 224 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 241 11526 4
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The Tie that Binds 
by Kent Haruf.
Joseph, 246 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 7181 2561 4
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Hannie Richards, or The Intrepid Adventures of a Restless Wife 
by Hilary Bailey.
Virago, 265 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780860683469
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A Fine Excess 
by Jane Ellison.
Secker, 183 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 436 14601 0
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Victory over Japan 
by Ellen Gilchrist.
Faber, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 571 13446 7
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... on a saltmarsh, somewhere on the Northumbrian coast. Nearby are a church, a nunnery, a folly, a Hall and an iron-works. All of these buildings, but especially the yellow house, which faces the sea, are obliged to withstand the battering of strong winds blowing from the north-east. At the yellow house live Polly’s Aunt Mary and Aunt Frances, both too ...

Man Is Wolf to Man

Malcolm Gaskill: C.J. Sansom, 23 January 2020

Tombland 
by C.J. Sansom.
Pan Macmillan, 866 pp., £8.99, September 2019, 978 1 4472 8451 2
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... concerns the Boleyns, Elizabeth’s maternal relations. A dishevelled woman calling herself ‘Edith Boleyn’ had turned up at Hatfield, but her story was full of holes and she was dismissed. Days later she was found murdered, head down in a stream with her legs in the air. Footprints incriminate Edith’s estranged ...

Like Cold Oysters

Bee Wilson, 18 May 2016

Edith Piaf: A Cultural History 
by David Looseley.
Liverpool, 254 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 78138 257 8
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... In 1957​ , six years before her death, Edith Piaf added a new song to her repertoire, ‘La Foule’ (‘The Crowd’). It wasn’t actually new, having been composed in 1936 in Spanish by Angel Cabral, an Argentinian, using the form of a vals criollo, a dance favoured by the Peruvian working class. Piaf heard it and asked one of her librettists, Michel Rivgauche, to compose new French lyrics ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art, 6 September 2017

... to believe that you are men in female attire.’ Stella was indeed one Ernest Boulton, music hall artiste and rent boy, and Fanny was Frederick Park, a trainee solicitor. At Bow Street police station they were arrested and charged with sodomy. Stella, it transpired, had been living as the wife of Lord Arthur Pelham-Clinton MP, who promptly died of ...

Good Girls and Bad Girls

Anita Brookner, 2 June 1983

Porky 
by Deborah Moggach.
Cape, 236 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 224 02948 7
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The Banquet 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Allen Lane, 191 pp., £6.95, May 1983, 0 7139 1574 9
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Binstead’s Safari 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 221 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 9780571130160
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In Good Faith 
by Edith Reveley.
Hodder, 267 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 340 32012 5
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Cousins 
by Monica Furlong.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 297 78231 2
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The Moons of Jupiter 
by Alice Munro.
Allen Lane, 233 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7139 1549 8
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On the Stroll 
by Alix Kates Shulman.
Virago, 301 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 86068 364 8
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The Color Purple 
by Alice Walker.
Women’s Press, 244 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 7043 3905 6
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Mistral’s Daughter 
by Judith Krantz.
Sidgwick, 531 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 283 98987 4
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... shops at the Kensington branch of Marks and Spencer, falls in love with an assistant in the Food Hall, a girl called Blossom, who is slavishly described and compared with various edibles in the high-quality range: indeed, food plays a considerable part in Harold’s sensorium, as does the noble house of Marks and Spencer. For a while all is King Cophetua and ...

Diary

Philip Horne: Common Assault, 2 March 1989

... sufficiently indicates his persuasive view that the trial was a miscarriage of justice and that Edith Thompson was innocent of the charge of conspiracy to murder – that she was unprepared for her lover’s rash act. René and I have been putting our hands to a screen treatment of the story. On a bright mild Saturday morning in January we drove East to ...

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