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Tony Tanner

22 April 1993
The Correspondence of William James. Vol. I: William and Henry 1861-1884 
edited by Ignas Skrupskelis and Elizabeth Berkeley.
Virginia, 477 pp., £39.95, January 1993, 0 8139 1338 1
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Henry James: The Imagination of Genius 
by Fred Kaplan.
Hodder, 620 pp., £25, November 1992, 9780340555538
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... I take up my pen once more after this long interval to converse with my in many ways twin bro.’ Thus William James to Henry in 1873. We might put against this comments from earlier letters. ‘Our ways are so far apart that I doubt if we ever really get intimate’ (1867). But then again, a year later: ‘I feel as if you were one of the 2 or 3 sole intellectual & moral companions I have.’ Leon ...

Jabs

Richard Horton

8 October 1992
Edward Jenner 1749-1823 
by Richard Fisher.
Deutsch, 361 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 233 98681 2
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... Jenner adopted are able to stimulate ill-tempered debate among members of a normally reticent scientific community. Born on 17 May 1749, he was the second son of the marriage between the vicar of Berkeley, Gloucestershire, and the daughter of a former vicar of the same parish. Orphaned at the age of five, he attended grammar school and soon became apprentice to a local surgeon. At 21 he moved to ...
5 August 1982
Trinity College Dublin 1592-1952: An Academic History 
by R.B. McDowell and D.A. Webb.
Cambridge, 580 pp., £35, June 1982, 0 521 23931 1
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... a college the lands and dilapidated buildings of the Augustinian priory of All Hallows, which had been given to the city at the dissolution of the monasteries. A year later, on 3 March 1592, Queen Elizabeth issued a charter incorporating ‘the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity near Dublin’ as ‘the mother of a university’ with the aim of providing ‘education, training and instruction of ...

Never Knowingly Naked

David Wootton: 17th-century bodies

15 April 2004
Common Bodies: Women, Touch and Power in 17th-Century England 
by Laura Gowing.
Yale, 260 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 300 10096 5
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... It was Foucault’s view that power always expresses itself by way of the body: his history was (at least in its inception) a corporal politics, intended to reconfigure our understanding of power. At Berkeley he ran a seminar from which two other major books emerged: Peter Brown’s The Body and Society: Men, Women and Sexual Renunciation in Early Christianity (1988), which explored the theme of carnality ...

Use Use Use

Robert Baird: Robert Duncan’s Dream

23 October 2013
Robert Duncan: The Ambassador from Venus 
by Lisa Jarnot.
California, 509 pp., £27.95, August 2013, 978 0 520 23416 1
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... the teenage Duncan to an art that ‘belonged not to what every well-read person must know … but to that earlier, atavistic, inner life of a person’. His extracurricular education continued at Berkeley, where a circle of female friends including Pauline Kael taught him the byways of modernist poetry and leftist politics. He joined the campus literary magazine and discovered there ‘a stubbornness ...

Calcutta in the Cotswolds

David Gilmour: What did the British do for India?

3 March 2005
Empire Families: Britons and Late Imperial India 
by Elizabeth​ Buettner.
Oxford, 324 pp., £25, July 2004, 0 19 924907 5
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... t like inheriting an estate or entering the family firm, where they could be groomed by their parent. An Indian career meant that sons hardly saw their fathers once they were no longer infants. As Elizabeth Buettner observes in Empire Families, Sir Adelbert Talbot, the Resident in Kashmir, retired in the same month that his son Addy came out to start his own career in the ICS. Henry Cotton’s ...

Diary

Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist

22 May 2008
... between what Dean calls ‘creative process’ and ‘simple larceny’? Or rather, between creative process and not so simple larceny. Between process and, oh – just ‘write it!’ (to quote Elizabeth Bishop) – plagiarism. The answer, by way of explanation for which I offer the following narrative (or confession), is ‘no.’ Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking that all such ...

Against the Same-Old Same-Old

Seamus Perry: The Brownings

3 November 2016
The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 21 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 432 pp., $110, April 2014, 978 0 911459 38 8
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The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 22 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 430 pp., $110, June 2015, 978 0 911459 39 5
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Robert Browning 
edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan.
Oxford, 904 pp., £95, December 2014, 978 0 19 959942 4
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Browning Studies: Being Select Papers by Members of the Browning Society 
edited by Edward Berdoe.
Routledge, 348 pp., £30, August 2015, 978 1 138 02488 5
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... otherwise so instinctive a philosophical idealist, spent much of his time meditating the mysterious (for an idealist) phenomenon of ‘outness’, a favourite word he had unearthed in Bishop Berkeley; and a large element of his huge and contradictory mind remained deeply attached to those ‘external things’ that were otherwise meant obligingly to fleet away before the enchantments of Mind ...

Toe-Lining

Frank Kermode

22 January 1998
Shakespeare’s Troy: Drama, Politics and the Translation of Empire 
by Heather James.
Cambridge, 283 pp., £37.50, December 1997, 0 521 59223 2
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... especially in France, had a surprisingly long and complicated life. It was used to support the claim that one’s own nation had inherited Roman dominion and classical learning. It is what Bishop Berkeley had in mind much later when he wrote: ‘Westward the course of empire takes its way.’ Berkeley believed so firmly in the idea that he left his library to Yale and Harvard and his name to a great ...
17 April 1980
Perception and Identity: Essays presented to A.J. Ayer with his replies to them 
edited by G.E. MacDonald.
Macmillan, 358 pp., £15, December 1979, 0 333 27182 3
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Intention and Intentionality: Essays in Honour of G.E.M. Anscombe 
edited by Cora Diamond and Jenny Teichmann.
Harvester, 205 pp., £16.95, December 1979, 0 85527 985 0
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... Locke, Berkeley and Hume were three very different philosophers with very different preoccupations, modes of argument and attitudes towards the world. But by the middle of the 19th century it had become the custom ...

Diary

Rebecca Solnit: Get Off the Bus

20 February 2014
... outside all national laws and regulations. And taxes. Let someone else subsidise all that research. The same morning the buses were stopped in downtown San Francisco, some hellraisers went to the Berkeley home of a Google employee who, they say, works on robots for the military. (Google recently purchased eight robotics companies and is going in a lot of new directions, to put it mildly.) After ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: On the Phi Beta Kappa Tour

10 March 1994
... to adventure into newness.’ In seminars, students asked about the relevance of Scott Peck to Jane Austen, and posed New Age questions on the courtship rituals of Pride and Prejudice: ‘Suppose Elizabeth Bennet said to her parents: “I’ve found a life partner I really love, and she’s a woman”?’ Though I had asked for a modern hotel, with a telly and a minibar, my hosts were sure that I would ...
19 October 2006
Last Curtsey: The End of the Debutantes 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 305 pp., £20, October 2006, 0 571 22859 3
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... so distant from the Edwardians. Penny Graham was sponsored at her presentation in 1958 by a great-grandmother who had curtsied to Victoria. Yet the girls who grew up wearing ‘princess coats’ like Elizabeth and Margaret’s emerged from the season into a very different world and several came out not as swans but as viragos. Among MacCarthy’s near contemporaries at the Palace were Vanessa Redgrave ...
7 May 2014
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History 
by Elizabeth​ Kolbert.
Bloomsbury, 336 pp., £12.99, February 2014, 978 1 4088 5122 7
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... In​ 1739, Captain Charles Le Moyne was marching four hundred French and Indian troops down the Ohio River when he came across a sulphurous marsh where, as Elizabeth Kolbert puts it, ‘hundreds – perhaps thousands – of huge bones poked out of the muck, like spars of a ruined ship.’ The captain and his soldiers had no idea what sort of creatures the bones ...
30 January 1992
A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... almost any of its movements might assume significance in the eyes of an observer. History does not record that Johnson made any effort to restrain the limb with which he was about to refute Bishop Berkeley. It is because we cannot help our gestures that so much effort has been put, over the centuries, into classifying and regulating them. Traces of this effort survive: in the manuals compiled for ...

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