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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 ...

A Mile or Two outside Worthing

Richard Jenkyns: Edward Trelawny, 26 November 1998

Lord Byron’s Jackal: A Life of Trelawny 
by David Crane.
HarperCollins, 398 pp., £19.99, July 1998, 0 00 255631 6
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... is this odd fish?’ Severn also asked, and Crane’s book is an attempt to answer that question. Edward John Trelawny was born in 1792 and died in 1881. In his later years he was a legendary figure, farouche and craggy, a solitary survivor from an epoch which already seemed fabulously remote: here, living on deep into the later Victorian age was a man who ...
The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe 
edited by George Holmes.
Oxford, 398 pp., £17.50, March 1988, 0 19 820073 0
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A History of 12th-century Western Philosophy 
edited by Peter Dronke.
Cambridge, 495 pp., £37.50, April 1988, 0 521 25896 0
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The Cambridge History of Medieval Political Thought c.350-c.1450 
edited by J.H. Burns.
Cambridge, 808 pp., £60, May 1988, 0 521 24324 6
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Medieval Popular Culture: Problem of Belief and Perception 
by Aron Gurevich, translated by Janos Bak and Paul Hollingsworth.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £27.50, May 1988, 0 521 30369 9
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A History of Private Life: Revelations of the Medieval World 
edited by George Duby, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 650 pp., £24.95, April 1988, 0 674 39976 5
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... Anglia and fell on Wessex over Twelfth Night 878, King Alfred ‘rallied his subjects’ (writes Edward James). ‘Rallied his subjects’ sounds more grown-up, more professional and political, than ‘burnt the cakes’ – though this is exactly the moment when King Alfred is supposed to have burnt the cakes – but on reflection one wonders whether it ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... Keats walked this coast he felt it followed him,’ I said. But our plans involved Robert Burns. Karl, since he first began publishing Seamus in the New Statesman in the 1960s, always felt there was a clear affinity between Burns and Heaney. They were both the sons of farmers and they both allowed nature to ...

Monetarism and History

Ian Gilmour, 21 January 1982

... commanded the senior posts in the Party, a position they were to hold until the departure of Edward Heath as leader in 1975.’ In 1953, Labour moved slightly to the left. The Conservatives, instead of moving to the right, decided to stay where they were: there were to be no cuts in the welfare state and no more denationalisation. ‘By so doing,’ runs ...

Ireland’s Invisibilities

Owen Dudley Edwards, 15 May 1980

Ireland in the Age of Imperialism and Revolution 1760-1801 
by R.B. McDowell.
Oxford, 740 pp., £28, December 1979, 9780198224808
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... but page 503 makes it clear that initially it was (although the author might, have added that ‘Edward Bancroft, the American diplomat’ suggested by Lafayette for preliminary reconaissance, was also Edward ‘Edwards’ the English spy, which may have had something to do with the failure to hit the target). But the real ...

Father Bosco to Africa

Walter Nash, 5 February 1987

The Red Men 
by Patrick McGinley.
Cape, 304 pp., £10.95, January 1987, 0 224 02386 1
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Chat Show 
by Terence de Vere White.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 575 03910 8
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Leaden Wings 
by Zhang Jie, translated by Gladys Yang.
Virgo, 180 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 86068 759 7
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Russian Novel 
by Edward Kuznetsov, translated by Jennifer Bradshaw.
Quartet, 285 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 7043 2522 5
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Richard Robertovich 
by Mark Frankland.
Murray, 216 pp., £9.95, January 1987, 0 7195 4330 4
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... abruptly burst out laughing, suddenly take offence, spontaneously weep or are precipitately drunk. Edward Kuznetsov’s Russian Novel, providing as it does a sort of running commentary on Russian-ness, often throws light on that kind of puzzlement – which does not mean that it is a not a complicated and often perplexing book. At one level it is easy ...

Labour’s Beachmaster

Peter Clarke: Jenkins, Healey, Crosland, 23 January 2003

Denis Healey: A Life in Our Times 
by Edward Pearce.
Little, Brown, 634 pp., £28, June 2002, 0 316 85894 3
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Friends and Rivals: Crosland, Jenkins and Healey 
by Giles Radice.
Little, Brown, 376 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 316 85547 2
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... book could be expected to have the guile to become prime minister. What, then, is there left for Edward Pearce to say? His biography is a handsome and informative study, benefiting from the co-operation of its subject, notably by means of unique access to the diary which Healey kept from the age of 16. Evidently a spare and terse record, this has provided ...

Italianizzati

Hugh Honour, 13 November 1997

A Dictionary of British and Irish Travellers in Italy 1701-1800 
compiled by John Ingamells.
Yale, 1070 pp., £50, May 1997, 0 300 07165 5
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... are famous) and Naples (Sir William Hamilton). There were political refugees, notably Charles Edward Stuart, the Young Pretender, and his brother, the Cardinal Duke of York (who was born in Rome and left only once to go to Paris in 1745 and prepare to go to England should the rebellion be successful). Many Jacobites had followed them and some may have ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... pathological and homosexual.’ It is a sentence which, fifty years or more after it was written, burns on the page. Pathological and homosexual. Jonathan Arac, who edited Matthiessen’s letters, wrote that ‘to create the centrally authoritative critical identity of American Renaissance, much had to be displaced, or scattered, or disavowed.’ Matthiessen ...

Dysfunctional Troglodytes with Mail-Order Weaponry

Iain Sinclair: Edward Dorn, 11 April 2013

Collected Poems 
by Edward Dorn.
Carcanet, 995 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84777 126 1
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... The publication in Britain of Edward Dorn’s Collected Poems is a big moment, a bonfire of the verities, for the embattled tribe of local enthusiasts, veterans of old poetry wars who are still, more or less, standing. Dorn’s face is news again, live and loud, on a cover laid out like a wanted poster, or the freeze-frame of a sun-bounced downhill skier, against a backcloth of enlarged script (his own words, not the usual blizzard of corporate logos ...

Gurney’s Flood

Donald Davie, 3 February 1983

Geoffrey Grigson: Collected Poems 1963-1980 
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 419 4Show More
The Cornish Dancer 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 64 pp., £4.95, June 1982, 0 436 18805 8
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 420 8
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses: A Critical Collection 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 437 2
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Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney 
edited by P.J. Kavanagh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £12, September 1982, 0 19 211940 0
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War Letters 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 271 pp., £12, February 1983, 0 85635 408 2
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... do not want to lose you yet,                  My Al. And yet, why not? Poetry burns on whatever emotional fuel it can find, and lampoons can be great poems – though only if they are in exact metre, and Grigson hasn’t the patience for that. Is there not some justice to his reproaches? In Grigson’s career nothing is so honourable as ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham, 1 September 2005

Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... is genius.’ He comes out with this idea while discussing the case of his friend Edward Driffield, a Hardy-like figure who becomes the Grand Old Man of English Letters after seeing off late Victorian accusations of impropriety. Ashenden, who finds most of Driffield’s novels rather boring and melodramatic, has decided that elderly authors ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot, 21 September 2006

T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... mainly by inference. For example, the first poem the adolescent Eliot fell in love with was Edward Fitzgerald’s The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Fitzgerald was exclusively attracted to men – though like Eliot embarked on an unhappy marriage – and the Rubáiyát itself was addressed in Persian to a young boy, which Eliot, with his interest in ...

Public Enemy

R.W. Johnson, 26 November 1987

Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Richard Gid Powers.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £16.95, August 1987, 0 02 925060 9
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... the FBI, William Flynn, edited a popular crime magazine, Flynn’s Weekly. His successor, William Burns, was a national celebrity and the subject of countless feature articles. Like Flynn, Burns was an affable, extrovert Irish cop – a major figure in New York night-life as well as a popular lecturer, and the author of two ...

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