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Period Pain

Patricia Beer, 9 June 1994

Aristocrats 
by Stella Tillyard.
Chatto, 462 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7011 5933 2
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... chapter which deals with the Irish rebellion of 1798. In France, just before the Revolution, Lord Edward Fitzgerald, Emily’s son, converted to Republicanism. It was called ‘the levelling movement’ by Lady Emily, the last person one can imagine being levelled, who placidly remarked: ‘I think it charming to hear talked of but I fear they will never ...

Tennyson’s Nerves

Frank Kermode, 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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... great and small, saw him thus; as I have said, a few abstained, including his friend Edward FitzGerald, 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 devote his entire life to poetry (he ...

Under the Flight Path

August Kleinzahler: Christopher Middleton, 18 May 2016

... looks like being sick again. The owls Have built a stinking nest on the Eighteenth Century. (‘Edward Lear in February’) Middleton was also one of the pre-eminent translators of his era, chiefly from German. As an essayist he had few peers, though Guy Davenport was one of them. Middleton and Davenport met a few years after the war when Davenport was a ...

Renewing the Struggle

Penelope Fitzgerald: Edward White Benson, 18 June 1998

Father of the Bensons: The Life of Edward White Benson, Sometime Archbiship of Canterbury 
by Geoffrey Palmer and Noel Lloyd.
Lennard, 226 pp., £16.99, May 1998, 1 85291 138 7
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... self-expression, self-justification and self-explanation. Yet they did not give themselves away. Edward White Benson took charge of his five brothers and sisters at the age of 14, after the death of his father in 1842. This father had been an unsuccessful research chemist who had invested what money he had in a process for manufacturing white lead, but ...

Fitz

John Bayley, 4 April 1985

With Friends Possessed: A Life of Edward FitzGerald 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Faber, 313 pp., £17.50, February 1985, 0 571 13462 9
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... of The Shropshire Lad was quaint in its time but became the more modern the more it caught on. FitzGerald’s version of Omar Khayyam, which became the most popular poem of the century, is sui generis in the same way. It also seems to stand outside its author. Although Professor Martin does the best that can be done with him, ...

New Women

Patricia Beer, 17 July 1980

The Odd Women 
by George Gissing.
Virago, 336 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 86068 140 8
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The Beth Book 
by Sarah Grand.
Virago, 527 pp., £3.50, January 1980, 0 86068 088 6
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... the equally great Count Fosco in the book but also such men of the readership as Swinburne and Edward Fitzgerald, who named his new boat after her. It was difficult for the Rhoda Nunns of fiction to follow her. But Marian Halcombe had no need to work. Though not rich herself, she was half-sister to an heiress. Rhoda Nunn has to work, and this gives ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... the pervasive effect on Carlyle’s style of this ‘literary apothecary’. Anthony Trollope and Edward Fitzgerald thought Carlyle had finally gone mad, and former disciples such as Matthew Arnold denounced him as frankly dangerous, a ‘moral desperado’. Some of the mud stuck. It was soon apparent that he was unwholesomely fascinated by Blood and ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: The Belfast agreement, 18 June 1998

... King’s Hall the following day, a journalist tells me it was 200 years ago this morning that Lord Edward Fitzgerald issued the order for the United Irish Uprising to commence. A man my age points to a former terrorist a yard from us: ‘Hi, see thon fella – he put a contract out on me in the Seventies. I had to move South.’ The press pack are ...

Phut-Phut

James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... habits of early 20th-century London. The paper’s first lead review was of More Letters of Edward Fitzgerald, done by Augustine Birrell, a barrister, a Liberal MP, and the author of a volume of essays entitled Obiter Dicta. The first poem was by Harold Begbie. It was an anthem for Empire, and May succinctly describes it as ‘rather an absurd ...

Lola did the driving

Inigo Thomas: Pevsner’s Suffolk, 4 May 2016

Suffolk: East, The Buildings of England 
by James Bettley and Nikolaus Pevsner.
Yale, 677 pp., £35, April 2015, 978 0 300 19654 2
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... in the grocer’s shop that a man is going to lecture on the Gorilla in a few weeks,’ said Edward FitzGerald, who lived near Woodbridge. ‘So there is something to look forward to.’ ‘Suffolk is supremely and unassailably isolated,’ Julian Tennyson wrote in Suffolk Scene. ‘It is a country for the individualist, for the explorer and lover ...

Obstacles

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 July 1996

Edward Thomas: Selected Letters 
edited by R. George Thomas.
Oxford, 192 pp., £30, March 1996, 0 19 818562 6
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... It would be quite possible to read about Edward Thomas and wonder how it was that so many people made such allowances for him. A man who had a house built for himself and then refused to live in it, he tormented his wife and children with his restlessness – he calculated he was never happy for more than a quarter of an hour in the day ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 December 2013

Penelope FitzgeraldA Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... Nobody expected Penelope Fitzgerald to win the Booker Prize in 1979 for her novel Offshore. Keneally was also on the shortlist, with Naipaul’s A Bend in the River the clear frontrunner. Julian Barnes remembers Paul Theroux, who was judging, saying he would ‘skim out into the pampas’ the candidates he considered non-starters; back from Patagonia, there he sat at the Booker dinner, ‘a polite smile on his face ...
... by that book, and American intellectuals have never put him beside Faulkner, Hemingway or Scott Fitzgerald. And on the Continent there is no translation of Waugh as audacious as Avanti Jeeves. And yet even those who praise him nearly always begin by dissociating themselves from what they regard as his bigotry, his snobbery, his cruelty, his infatuation with ...

The Road to West Egg

Thomas Powers, 4 July 2013

Careless People: Murder, Mayhem and the Invention of ‘The Great Gatsby’ 
by Sarah Churchwell.
Virago, 306 pp., £16.99, June 2013, 978 1 84408 766 2
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The Great Gatsby 
directed by Baz Luhrmann.
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... when you’re young. ‘I want to be one of the greatest writers who have ever lived,’ Scott Fitzgerald said to his friend Edmund Wilson when they were just out of college, ‘don’t you?’ Wilson was the son of a lawyer, a bit chilly, a prodigious reader steeped in Plato and Dante. He thought Fitzgerald’s remark ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... In 1997, three years before her death, Penelope Fitzgerald asked her American publisher, Chris Carduff, who had offered to send her any books she wanted, for a copy of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. An account of a 30,000-mile journey around the continent by two naturalists, it was originally published in 1955 and was being reissued in memory of Peterson, who had recently died ...

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