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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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...
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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

Diary

Paul Barker: Bellamy’s Dream

19 May 1988
... That you should be startled by what I shall tell you is to be expected,’ Dr Leete tells Julian West as he stirs from his slumbers. ‘Your appearance is that of a young man of barely thirty, and your bodily condition seems not too greatly different from that of one just roused from a somewhat long and profound sleep, and yet this is the tenth day of September in the year 2000, and you have slept exactly 113 years, three months and 11 days ...

‘We would rather eat our cake than merely have it’

Rosemary Hill: Victorian men and women

4 October 2001
A Circle of Sisters: Georgiana Burne-Jones, Agnes Poynter and Louisa Baldwin 
by Judith Flanders.
Penguin, 392 pp., £17.99, September 2001, 0 670 88673 4
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The Hated Wife: Carrie Kipling 1862-1939 
by Adam Nicolson.
Short Books, 96 pp., £4.99, May 2001, 0 571 20835 5
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Victorian Diaries: The Daily Lives of Victorian Men and Women 
edited by Heather Creaton.
Mitchell Beazley, 144 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 1 84000 359 6
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... Carrie Kipling, once arrived at their house in Sussex to find Rudyard in a sweat in front of the hall fireplace shovelling a pile of his manuscripts into the flames. It was a horrifying sight, especially to a publisher. ‘For heaven’s sake, Rud, what are you doing?’ Doubleday asked. To which the answer came: ‘I was looking over old papers and I got ...

Demi-Paradises

Gabriele Annan

7 June 1984
Milady Vine: The Autobiography of Philippe de Rothschild 
edited by Joan Littlewood.
Cape, 247 pp., £10.95, June 1984, 0 224 02208 3
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I meant to marry him: A Personal Memoir 
by Jean MacGibbon.
Gollancz, 182 pp., £10.95, May 1984, 0 575 03412 2
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... Party version was ‘Masturbation not Mass Starvation’. The MacGibbons assumed that their maid Edith was with them politically. ‘She even consented to appear on the platform in the Conway Hall at a meeting to discuss the formation of a Domestic Servants’ Union, and spoke shortly and to the point – after the ...

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