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22 May 1997
Citizen Lord: Edward Fitzgerald​ 1763-98 
by Stella Tillyard.
Chatto, 336 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6538 3
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... 1913’ Yeats was convinced that Ireland in his own time had ‘come to sense’, and had nothing to do now ‘but fumble in a greasy till’. Was it For this that all the blood was shed, For this EdwardFitzgerald died, And Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone, All that delirium of the brave? ‘Delirium’ suggests Yeats’s usual equivocal insight; but more magnificently it celebrates the fever in the ...


Marina Warner: Dear Old Khayyám

9 April 2009
Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám 
by Edward Fitzgerald, edited by Daniel Karlin.
Oxford, 167 pp., £9.99, January 2009, 978 0 19 954297 0
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... A glass-fronted Regency bookcase in a corner of the London Library opposite the lift holds a collection of rare and beautiful editions of EdwardFitzGerald’s poem, Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám. Since its first publication in 1859, it has appeared in every size and shape, giant and toy, on vellum and silk, in fabulous bindings stamped with peacocks ...

Ripping the pig

Robert Bernard Martin

5 August 1982
The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson: Vol. 1 1821-1850 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 366 pp., £17.50, February 1982, 0 19 812569 0
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Tennyson: ‘In Memoriam’ 
edited by Susan Shatto and Marion Shaw.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1982, 0 19 812747 2
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... and son in repainting the portrait of Tennyson as a young man which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Emily Tennyson had never liked the picture, perhaps in part because she also disliked EdwardFitzGerald, who had originally commissioned it from Samuel Laurence. Earlier she had asked Watts to repaint it, but he refused, and during her husband’s lifetime she had not succeeded in finding ...

At the North Miami Museum

Mary Ann Caws: Alice Paalen Rahon

10 February 2020
... after the darkness. The wire marionettes are reminiscent of the work of Alexander Calder, another friend, who sometimes exhibited with her.After divorcing Paalen in 1947, she married the Canadian EdwardFitzgerald, who had worked on Luis Buñuel’s sets, and with whom she made a film called ‘Le Magicien’, about life after a nuclear disaster (again). This time, the only survivor is a magician ...

Our Boys

John Bayley

28 November 1996
Emily Tennyson 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 716 pp., £25, October 1996, 0 571 96554 7
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... have come as quite a relief to her, although it took her some time to produce children of her own. She fitted as snugly in Emily’s bosom as did everyone else. Of course Emily was resented by some. EdwardFitzGerald, the poet of Omar Khayyam, clearly could not stand her, but he was probably jealous of her relation with her husband, and he was a little envious of Tennyson, too, shrewd critic as he was ...
2 August 1984
The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... hardly make the most gracious of letter-writers, and Hardy is not one of those whose communications one reads for their own sakes, as one does the letters of Madame de Sevigné, Madame du Deffand, EdwardFitzgerald – or indeed of William Cowper, the new edition of whose Letters and Prose Writings has just reached its fourth volume. Yet Hardy’s letters are admirable in their way, laconic and to ...

He had it all

Alex Harvey: Fitzgerald’s Decade

5 July 2018
Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald 
by David S. Brown.
Harvard, 424 pp., £21.95, May 2017, 978 0 674 50482 0
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‘I’d Die for You’ and Other Lost Stories 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Scribner, 384 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4711 6473 6
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... Scott Fitzgerald​ spent his declining years in ‘a hideous town, pointed up by the insulting gardens of its rich, full of the human spirit at a new low of debasement’. Hollywood, he complained in 1940, was ‘a ...

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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... American roots’, which it isn’t. Though never subtle, his argument, or idée fixe, is developed mainly by inference. For example, the first poem the adolescent Eliot fell in love with was EdwardFitzgerald’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 ...

Faber Book of Groans

Christopher Ricks

1 March 1984
Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982 
by Philip Larkin.
Faber, 315 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 571 13120 4
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... mean then.’ Sometimes the retorting tone is nannying, along the lines of ‘Take those words out of your mouth, you don’t know where they’ve been.’ Mostly the tone has the dear grouchiness of EdwardFitzGerald, another master of lugubrious comedy and of critical aperçus that weigh more than other men’s tomes. Like Larkin a chastening defender of poets against their own incipient ...

The German Ocean

D.J. Enright: Suffolk Blues

17 September 1998
The Rings of Saturn 
by W.G. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse.
Harvill, 296 pp., £15.99, June 1998, 1 86046 398 3
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... I instantly felt as if I lived or had once lived there, in every respect precisely as he does, I cannot explain.’ Empathy is often inexplicable. The next journey is to Bredfield, birthplace of EdwardFitzgerald, and thus of Omar Khayyám as we know him in English. Of FitzGerald’s versions of the Rubáiyát, Sebald observes finely that they ‘feign an anonymity that disdains even the least ...

Doing the bores

Rosemary Ashton

21 March 1991
The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle, Duke–Edinburgh Edition. Vols XVI-XVIII: 1843-4 
edited by Clyde Ryals and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 331 pp., £35.65, July 1990, 9780822309192
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... from such humble beginnings, was by nature proud and demanding. He quailed before no one. There are insistent, even importunate letters to civil servants, scholars and friends (among them Henry Cole, EdwardFitzgerald and John Forster) demanding access to documents or help with maps for his work on Cromwell. He expected help as his right, and he got it. But he never merged into metropolitan literary and ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin

25 August 2011
... writer. Saunders’s self-impressionists, veracious and subtle (Proust, Woolf), ventriloquists and counterfeiters (‘Mark Rutherford’, the pseudonym used by William Hale White, and, you could add, EdwardFitzGerald), foreshadow current developments in autofiction, in which memory acts become, as the filmmaker Chris Marker put it, ‘the lining of forgetting’, where ‘lining’ renders the French ...

Ferrets can be gods

Katherine Rundell

10 August 2016
Gabriel-Ernest and Other Tales 
by Saki and Quentin Blake.
Alma Classics, 156 pp., £6.99, October 2015, 978 1 84749 592 1
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... faced saki is shaped such that it always looks a little suspicious. Saki is also the name of the bearer of the cup of life in Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, first translated into English in 1859 by EdwardFitzGerald. The poem contains these lines: And fear not lest Existence closing your Account, and mine, should know the like no more; The Eternal Saki from that Bowl has pour’d Millions of Bubbles ...
6 December 1984
The Lyttelton Hart-Davis Letters: Correspondence of George Lyttelton and Rupert Hart-Davis. 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 193 pp., £13.50, April 1984, 0 7195 4108 5
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... create a market, long before the first volume appeared. Be that as it may, the letters are not an accidental growth, like those of Madame de Sevigné, Madame du Deffand, Mademoiselle de Lespinasse, EdwardFitzGerald or indeed the great Swift himself. They bear the same relationship to such products as do those modern diaries like Crossman’s, written with malice aforethought and for publication, to ...
6 November 1980
Tennyson: The Unqulet Heart 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Oxford/Faber, 656 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 812072 9
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Thro’ the Vision of the Night: A Study of Source, Evolution and Structure in Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ 
by J.M. Gray.
Edinburgh, 179 pp., £10, August 1980, 0 85224 382 0
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... so completely into the statuesque representative of poetry as a popular force. Most of his contemporaries, great and small, saw him thus; as I have said, a few abstained, including his friend EdwardFitzGerald, but at the same time had to acknowledge the majority view; and Tennyson himself came to share the general opinion of the nature of his greatness. Confident of an exclusive vocation, he was able to ...

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