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Pound & Co.

August Kleinzahler: Davenport and Kenner

26 September 2019
Questioning Minds: Vols I-II: The Letters of Guy Davenport and Hugh Kenner 
edited by Edward Burns.
Counterpoint, 1817 pp., $95, October 2018, 978 1 61902 181 5
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... letters Kenner and Davenport sent each other over the course of 44 years, copiously annotated by Edward Burns and cross-referenced at the end of each year, begins, politely and a bit tentatively, in March 1958: ‘Dear Guy, I hope subsequent activities haven’t yet sufficed to obliterate our Boston dinner last fall from your memory.’ The two had ...

How Does It Add Up?

Neal Ascherson: The Burns Cult

12 March 2009
The Bard: Robert Burns, a Biography 
by Robert Crawford.
Cape, 466 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 224 07768 2
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... that Crick ever set it. Nowhere is it more difficult to observe than in the matter of Robert Burns. Long ago, Edwin Muir said that ‘for a Scotsman to see Burns simply as a poet is almost impossible.’ Robert Crawford, himself an admired and graceful poet, writes on the closing page of The Bard that ‘...

Peeping Tam

Karl Miller

6 August 1981
... Robert Burns wrote about art, friendship, religion, animals, drink, marriage and love. The First two and the last of these themes – poetry, sociability and sexual adventure, to call them by other names – commemorate activities which enabled him in youth, as did his drinking, to face the prospect of a lifetime’s hard labour on the land ...

The Crowe is White

Hilary Mantel: Bloody Mary

24 September 2009
Fires of Faith: Catholic England under Mary Tudor 
by Eamon Duffy.
Yale, 249 pp., £19.99, June 2009, 978 0 300 15216 6
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... In the reign of Edward VI, an Exeter clergyman named William Herne, an enthusiast for the gospel, told one of the city’s aldermen that he would rather be torn apart by wild horses than ever again say the Catholic Mass. In December 1553, Queen Mary newly enthroned, the alderman entered his parish church to find Herne at the altar, in his old vestments and all ready to go ...


Ruth Padel: Singing Madrigals

29 November 2007
... was probably 24. No one knows who wrote the text. Suggestions have ranged from Weelkes himself to Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford. Thule, the period of cosmographie, Doth vaunt of Hecla whose sulphureous fire Doth melt the frozen clime and thaw the sky; Trinacrian Etna’s flames ascend not higher. These things seem wondrous, yet more wondrous I, Whose heart ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment

5 April 2007
The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... of Moral Sentiments and Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, nor even Burns’s Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect but William Robertson’s History of the Reign of the Emperor Charles V of 1769, William Buchan’s Domestic Medicine of the same year, William Smellie’s 1771 Encyclopaedia Britannica and the five volumes of Hugh ...

Making sense

Denis Donoghue

4 October 1984
A Wave 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £4.95, August 1984, 9780856355479
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Secret Narratives 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 46 pp., £6, March 1983, 0 907540 29 5
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Liberty Tree 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 78 pp., £4, June 1983, 0 05 711302 5
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111 Poems 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 85635 457 0
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New and Selected Poems 
by James Michie.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2723 6
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By the Fisheries 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 79 pp., £4, March 1984, 0 224 02154 0
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by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2736 8
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... of secrets, whispers, unanswered telephones, Anne Frank’s house, Albert Schweitzer’s music, Edward Lear as ‘dream companion’. These are the kind of poems a good poet would write if his ‘one idea’ for the moment were that everything in the world wants to be a message. Rain in London wants to ‘whisper’. A shaken duster waves ...

Husbands and Wives

Terry Castle: Claude & Marcel, Gertrude & Alice

13 December 2007
Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore 
edited by Louise Downie.
Tate Gallery, 240 pp., £25, June 2006, 1 59711 025 6
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Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice 
by Janet Malcolm.
Yale, 229 pp., £16.99, October 2007, 978 0 300 12551 1
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... and has devoted herself since 1976 to preparing the first accurate editions of Stein’s works); Edward Burns, the editor of Staying on Alone: Letters of Alice B. Toklas, the Stein/Van Vechten correspondence and more recently (with Dydo) Stein’s correspondence with Thornton Wilder; and William Rice, a painter and actor in his seventies with a longtime ...

White Slaves

Christopher Driver

3 March 1983
Prostitution and Prejudice: The Jewish Fight against White Slavery, 1870-1939 
by Edward Bristow.
Oxford, 340 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 19 822588 1
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Peasants, Rebels and Outcastes 
by Mikiso Hane.
Scolar, 297 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 85967 670 6
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... cast light on civilisation by comparing what happens when blood is sold and when it is donated. Edward Bristow’s subject, likewise, is a service which may be either donated or traded – or obtained under duress. His exploration of it takes him into unfamiliar recesses of public and private depravity, and shines a torch into the laundry room of ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck

16 November 2000
The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... which, until that day, had contained memorials only to English and Scottish writers (Shakespeare, Burns, Scott). The whole nation was still finding it hard to shake off the convention whereby nothing American could achieve real distinction except by comparison with a European model. (Such comparisons almost invariably do American achievements a ...
6 June 1985
The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... in what it says but in when it was said. 1968 was the year in which it seemed necessary to warn Edward Heath against wandering too eagerly in the direction of Selsdon Park. Here is Blake on tariff reform: It has seldom paid for the Conservative Party to come forward as the party of change. That is not why people vote for it. The Conservatives can accept ...
19 February 2004
John Clare: A Biography 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 650 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 330 37106 1
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‘I Am’: The Selected Poetry of John Clare 
edited by Jonathan Bate.
Farrar, Straus, 318 pp., $17, November 2003, 0 374 52869 1
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John Clare, Politics and Poetry 
by Alan Vardy.
Palgrave, 221 pp., £45, October 2003, 0 333 96617 1
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John Clare Vol. V: Poems of the Middle Period 1822-37 
edited by Eric Robinson, David Powell and P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 822 pp., £105, January 2003, 0 19 812386 8
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... in his lifetime than Keats, with whom he shared a publisher). Clare was discovered in 1819, when Edward Drury, a young Stamford bookseller, wrote to his cousin John Taylor, who was also a bookseller – what we would now call a publisher – and told him that he had discovered a wholly untutored genius: Your hopes of good grammar and correct verse, depend ...


Paul Barker: Bellamy’s Dream

19 May 1988
... 113 years, three months and 11 days.’ Thus the sleeper awakes, and begins – in the words of Edward Bellamy’s title – ‘looking backward’. Julian West had fallen asleep in the Boston of 1887, a city riven with poverty and industrial strife. He was now in a new Boston of peace and harmony, which was ticking away like well-oiled clockwork. It is ...

A Long Forgotten War

Jenny Diski: Sheila Rowbotham

6 July 2000
Promise of a Dream: A Memoir of the 1960s 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Allen Lane, 262 pp., £18.99, July 2000, 0 7139 9446 0
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... who took her provincial style in hand and then left her, to Oxford, to Aldermaston, and via Edward and Dorothy Thompson, to the watering hole of the New Left at the Partisan in Carlisle Street in Soho. It’s a fair geography of the early 1960s. People had begun wandering about, and unless you stayed put, you were bound to meet them. They were delighted ...

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