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Locked and Barred

Robert Crawford: Elizabeth Jennings, 24 July 2003

New Collected Poems 
by Elizabeth Jennings.
Carcanet, 386 pp., £9.95, February 2002, 1 85754 559 1
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... Like most poets, Elizabeth Jennings, who died two years ago, wrote too many poems. She was careless about her output, sending Michael Schmidt, her editor at Carcanet, ‘sacks’ of manuscript work to sift through and make into a collection. Even he seems occasionally to have lost track. His sympathetic and shrewd introduction records that her own favourite among her poems was ‘Fountains’, but there isn’t a poem called that ...


C.H. Sisson, 27 September 1990

Collected Poems 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 475 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 85635 875 4
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... poets of the Fifties, which marks him as originally associated with, among others, Thom Gunn, Elizabeth Jennings and Philip Larkin. No less than they, he has gone his own way and no purpose is served by hanging this historical label round his neck now. Even in its time it contributed more to publicity than to enlightenment. Robert Conquest, as editor ...


Stefan Collini: The Movement, 25 June 2009

The Movement Reconsidered: Essays on Larkin, Amis, Gunn, Davie and Their Contemporaries 
edited by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 336 pp., £18.99, May 2009, 978 0 19 955825 4
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... work by eight poets: Robert Conquest, D.J. Enright, Kingsley Amis, Donald Davie, John Holloway, Elizabeth Jennings, Philip Larkin and John Wain, to which list Conquest’s volume added the name of Thom Gunn. Insofar as there has ever been agreement on the matter, the Movement has been taken to consist of these nine writers. They appeared in these ...

The Last Romantic

John Bayley, 5 May 1983

Philip Larkin 
by Andrew Motion.
Methuen, 96 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 416 32270 0
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... who has also taken part in studies of the Movement group of poets – Wain, Amis, Conquest, Elizabeth Jennings and others – with which Larkin was originally associated. He has made skilful use of background material and unpublished material. Barbara Everett in her essay saw Larkin from a new angle. Andrew Motion emphasises still further, and with ...

Inside Mr Shepherd

James Wood: In conversation with Jane Austen, 4 November 2004

Jane Austen and the Morality of Conversation 
by Bharat Tandon.
Anthem, 303 pp., £45, March 2003, 1 84331 101 1
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Jane Austen, or The Secret of Style 
by D.A. Miller.
Princeton, 108 pp., £12.95, September 2003, 0 691 09075 0
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... there has been disagreement about the ideological price of that harmony. Do Emma and Mr Knightley, Elizabeth and Darcy, Anne and Captain Wentworth, Fanny and Edmund, represent ideal or merely idealised marriages? Do Austen’s novels foreclose their own vitality by choosing the safety of proper settlements? Are romance and marriage at odds ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’, 15 December 2016

... with Boy’s Own brio and a racist heart. In Episode 2, he arrives in Kenya with Princess Elizabeth (Claire Foy) at the beginning of a tour of the Commonwealth. The scene opens with a group of African boys chasing ostriches off the runway. Philip, dressed in a starched naval uniform with gold braiding, stripes and medals, points to some medals on a ...


P.N. Furbank, 18 October 1984

Experiment in Autobiography: Discoveries and Conclusion of a Very Ordinary Brain (since 1866) 
by H.G. Wells.
Faber, 838 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13330 4
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H.G. Wells in Love: Postscript to an Experiment in Autobiography 
edited by G.P. Wells.
Faber, 253 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 571 13329 0
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The Man with a Nose, and the Other Uncollected Short Stories of H.G. Wells 
edited by J.R. Hammond.
Athlone, 212 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 485 11247 7
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... subtitled ‘On Loves and the Lover-Shadow’ and recounting his love-affairs with Amber Reeves, Elizabeth von Arnim, Rebecca West, Odette Keun, Moura Budberg and others. It was definitely intended for publication (posthumously simply because of the libel dangers), and Wells wanted it to be bound up with Experiment in Autobiography and The Book of Catherine ...

Hard Romance

Barbara Everett, 8 February 1996

... incestuous, Austen reserves the excitement of conflict for those characters erotically attracted: Elizabeth and Darcy, Emma and Knightley. But these arguments are unnecessary given a simple fact. Sense and Sensibility is not about two sisters; it is about three sisters. 19-year-old Elinor and 17-year-old Marianne have a sister, the 13-year-old ...


Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015, 7 January 2016

... when the rams achieve a brief, even a Roman dignity, haughty, disdainful and looking not unlike Elizabeth I. We have a narrow strip of front garden and at the first sound of the approaching flock my father used to rush out flapping his apron and shouting his head off to protect his precious plants.13 April. Rereading Portnoy’s Complaint I’m not ...

Women in Power

Mary Beard: From Medusa to Merkel, 16 March 2017

... story is all about the disruption of this world when three American males discover it: Vandyck Jennings, the nice-guy narrator; Jeff Margrave, a man whose gallantry is almost the undoing of him in the face of all these ladies; and the truly appalling Terry Nicholson. When they first arrive, Terry refuses to believe that there aren’t some men around ...

Keeping up with Jane Austen

Marilyn Butler, 6 May 1982

An Unsuitable Attachment 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 256 pp., £6.95, February 1982, 0 333 32654 7
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... are almost recognisable. Sister Dew, good-hearted parish helper, is the equivalent of Mrs Jennings or Miss Bates. The mean Lady (Muriel) Selvedge, who comes to open the Church bazaar and lunches en route near Victoria for 3s 9d, might be based on the entrepreneurial Lady Denham in Sanditon. Ianthe’s aunt, Bertha, married to the rector of a ...

Ruthless and Truthless

Ferdinand Mount: Rotten Government, 6 May 2021

The Assault on Truth: Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and the Emergence of a New Moral Barbarism 
by Peter Oborne.
Simon and Schuster, 192 pp., £12.99, February 2021, 978 1 3985 0100 3
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Political Advice: Past, Present and Future 
edited by Colin Kidd and Jacqueline Rose.
I.B. Tauris, 240 pp., £21.99, February 2021, 978 1 83860 120 1
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... is as hard to give up as alcohol.Under the old dispensation, familiar from Bagehot, Dicey and Jennings and surviving into the Crossman era and beyond, the prime minister spoke first and foremost to the House of Commons. By contrast, communications (not yet shortened to comms) to the media and via the media to the public were sparse and obsessively ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... the ceremonial life of the late medieval church and its systematic dismantling under Edward VI and Elizabeth. I hadn’t realised that the Elizabethan Settlement also meant the end of the mystery plays, which were pretty well forgotten by 1580. It shames me that I am more outraged by these events of nearly five hundred years ago (particularly by the ...

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