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Glaucus and Ione

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

17 April 1980
The Last Days of Pompeii 
by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.
Sidgwick, 522 pp., £6.95, December 1979, 0 283 98587 9
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... The recent Pompeii exhibition has been a success in America; and this is why we are offered a handsome new edition of Bulwer-Lytton’s novel, based upon one produced at the Officina Bodoni in Verona for the Limited Editions Club. Sixteen reproductions of Pompeian paintings from the catalogue of the exhibition illustrate the book ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines

16 March 2000
Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... While other Victorian novelists rested comfortably in the routines that had brought them success in the past, Sir EdwardBulwer-Lytton (1803-73) was always committed to experimentation. He was his own pitiless taskmaster, working for money as strenuously as a starveling, and received £30,000 from Routledge for a 15-year option on ...

Snakes and Leeches

Rosemary Hill: The Great Stink

4 January 2018
One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 352 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 300 22726 0
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... v. Robinson and Lane. Henry Robinson had read his wife Isabella’s diary and found that not only did she dislike him intensely but she had recorded in considerable detail a passionate affair with Edward Lane, the doctor at whose cure house, Moor Park in Surrey, she had been receiving treatment. The case hinged on whether or not she had made up the affair. A keen reader of novels, she had indeed ...

A Perfect Eel

Elaine Showalter: ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’

21 June 2012
Lady Audley’s Secret 
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Lyn Pykett.
Oxford, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2012, 978 0 19 957703 3
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... two mutually reinforcing plots. The Lady Audley story describes the rise and fall of a poor girl called Helen Maldon, who strikes out on her own when she is abandoned by her hot-headed husband, George Talboys. Helen leaves her baby son with her father, changes her name to Lucy Graham and becomes a governess. Soon she escapes from the ‘dull slavery’ of her job by becoming the trophy wife of the ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire

22 December 2019
... the former Leavesden aerodrome at Abbots Langley – they’re now home to Harry Potter World. How can knobbly Knebworth House, which looks as though it’s built of papier-mâché, compete? In 1843 EdwardBulwer-Lytton had the Tudor manor house remodelled – in Pevsner’s words – as a ‘romantic paraphrase of the Gothic palace’, reflecting his own overblown historical fiction. The 16th-century ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Who’s Afraid of the Library of America?

19 June 2008
... no Marianne Moore.) Some have even argued that the brief has been stretched too far. Wilson’s canonisation came after those of Charles Brockden Brown, H.P. Lovecraft, James Weldon Johnson, George Kaufman, William Bartram and Theodore Roosevelt. He might not have been too chuffed about that. I am an abject fan of the Library. I own, I find, ten of its volumes: three of Parkman, one each of ...

Chronicities

Christopher Ricks

21 November 1985
Gentlemen in England 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 02 411165 1
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... woolly affection and silky malice, is at once prochronistic and parachronistic, an out-of-date beau and a not-yet-in-date subject of the once in a while and future king whom Henry James will christen Edward the Caresser. And at the centre of the novel is Professor Horace Nettleship, banked and glowering, a man whose geological hammer has chipped away his deity, and who is deep-seatedly obsessed with the ...

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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... and discursive by turns, a major influence on Sartor Resartus, and Marx now noted and deplored 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 ...

McNed

Gillian Darley: Lutyens

17 April 2003
The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... false trail and the misleading, if jocular, aside. Born and educated in London, he preferred to dwell on his formative years in rural Surrey. Although trained in the architectural office of Ernest George and Harold Peto, the older of whom was an able vernacular revivalist and the younger a skilled landscape architect, he portrayed himself as a self-taught artist who learned what he needed by haunting ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement

29 November 2001
The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... on the march. Gregory Claeys’s edition of a hundred or so Chartist tracts, lectures and pamphlets easily surpasses in size (and in price) the principal older collections edited by F.C. Mather and Edward Royle, although for the hardy there remains a less easily available set put together by Dorothy Thompson, the doyenne of Chartist studies. Claeys is a past master of the art of compilation, having ...

Spurning at the High

Edward​ Pearce: A poet of Chartism

6 November 2003
Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... wall. The happy ending is secured when the peasantry joins with the nobility to invoke the Christian decencies. Jones published this at 21 and it was well received. He became a close friend of Bulwer-Lytton, and introduced the spirit and style of German Romantic poetry to a London audience in his own verse. He also engaged in the favourite Victorian recreation of religious disputation – from a ...

Delightful to be Robbed

E.S. Turner: Stand and deliver

9 May 2002
Outlaws and Highwaymen: The Cult of the Robber in England from the Middle Ages to the 19th century 
by Gillian Spraggs.
Pimlico, 372 pp., £12.50, November 2001, 0 7126 6479 3
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... a thesis on the robber in Tudor and early Stuart times. Outstanding among her early villains is the Folville gang, headed by a rascally rector, who murdered a Leicestershire magnate and robbed one of Edward I’s trailbaston judges, before going on to commit numerous robberies in Lincolnshire. The gang were brothers, well-connected enough to buy pardons from the Crown, or to atone by serving in the King ...

Unembraceable

Peter Wollen

19 October 1995
Sex and Suits 
by Anne Hollander.
Knopf, 212 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 43096 2
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... to the Empress Eugénie, while Louis Napoleon patronised Henry Creed, who had originally made Eugénie’s riding-habits. The same year Henry Poole became tailor to the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, and soon both Worth and Poole, who had actually helped finance the Emperor’s return to France, had established a vast clientele of kings, princes and grand-dukes, stretching across Europe and ...

Trollopiad

John Sutherland

9 January 1992
The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Manchester, 528 pp., £29.95, July 1990, 0 472 10102 1
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Anthony Trollope: A Victorian in his World 
by Richard Mullen.
Duckworth, 767 pp., £25, July 1990, 0 7156 2293 5
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Trollope: A Biography 
by N. John Hall.
Oxford, 581 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 19 812627 1
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... Trollope is our most popular and reprinted Victorian novelist. His new companions in the Abbey – Dickens, George Eliot and Hardy – may sell more copies of individual novels, but they cannot match the expansiveness of Trollope’s appeal. Forty or more of his works are currently in print – some in as many as ...
14 September 1989
A Short Guide to the World Novel: From Myth to Modernism 
by Gilbert Phelps.
Routledge, 397 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 415 00765 8
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The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction 
by John Sutherland.
Longman, 696 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 582 49040 5
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The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel 1875-1914 
by Peter Keating.
Secker, 533 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 436 23248 0
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... reconstructing the conditions and constraints of their trade, carefully distinguishing enlightened houses and individuals from fools and rogues, so that credit could be given where it was due: to George Smith for instance, as the ‘godfather to Esmond’, saving Thackeray from the scatty habits he lapsed into when he wrote for serialisation, and providing support for the more measured creation of ...

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