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Pleased to Be Loony

Alice Spawls: The Janeites, 8 November 2012

Jane Austen’s Cults and Cultures 
by Claudia Johnson.
Chicago, 224 pp., £22.50, June 2012, 978 0 226 40203 1
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... a squire) of the order of St Jane’. In 1949, after writing two books about Austen, Sheila Kaye-Smith had a conversation with her about electric lamps and radios. Inevitably there have been squabbles over whose Austen is the real one. Lionel Trilling warned the new reader of her novels that ‘Jane Austen is to be for him not only a writer but an issue ...

Friends

Eugene Goodheart, 16 March 1989

The company we keep: An Ethics of Fiction 
by Wayne Booth.
California, 485 pp., $29.55, November 1988, 0 520 06203 5
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... sexism in Gargantua and Pantagruel, and to Jane Austen’s complicity with male authority in Emma, works he has long loved and admired. The reconsiderations of Rabelais, Austen and Twain, however, are only a part of a larger enterprise to rehabilitate the nearly lost practice of ethical criticism. There is no single account of why ethical criticism has ...

Female Heads

John Bayley, 27 October 1988

Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... women in these fictions do tend to take over each other – the archetype would be Jane Austen’s Emma taking over Harriet Smith – as if the maternal role had in this new context got out of hand. ‘George Egerton’, the intense but somewhat clumsy author of an intriguingly named novel, The Spell of the White Elf ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... from 1660 – this is omitting foreign authors, pseudonymous characters like ‘Captain Alexander Smith’, and others whose masculinity may be nominal. It would be rash to expect all these to qualify for Spender’s epithet ‘good’. But if Ann Emelinda Skinn and M. Peddle (two of Dale’s hundred best tunes) deserve a place in the record, it is not ...

Ghosts

Hugh Haughton, 5 December 1985

The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate.
Macmillan, 604 pp., £30, April 1985, 0 333 29441 6
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The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy: Vols I and II 
edited by Lennart Björk.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 333 36777 4
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Emma Hardy’s Diaries 
edited by Richard Taylor.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 216 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 904790 21 5
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. V: 1914-1919 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 357 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 19 812622 0
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, Vol. III 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 390 pp., £32.50, June 1985, 0 19 812784 7
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Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England 1660-1900 
by K.D.M. Snell.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 24548 6
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Thomas Hardy 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 547 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 19 254177 3
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... private life that Hardy keeps under wraps – we hear next to nothing of his unhappy marriage with Emma, for example, or his recurrent infatuations with pretty literary women, or the effect of his mentor Horace Moule’s suicide at Queen’s College, Cambridge; there’s no mention of his mother’s early life as one of seven children brought up on parish ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis, 4 April 2002

Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... that it’s difficult to agree when the series of murders began. The killing in April 1888 of Emma Elizabeth Smith was probably a street robbery and gang-rape, but is sometimes reckoned as the first of the Whitechapel murderer’s crimes. The murder on 7 August of Martha Tabram is attributed by some to an unidentified ...

Counting weapons

Rudolf Peierls, 5 March 1981

Britain and Nuclear Weapons 
by Lawrence Freedman.
Papermac, 160 pp., £3.25, September 1980, 0 333 30511 6
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Countdown: Britain’s Strategic Forces 
by Stewart Menual.
Hale, 188 pp., £8.25, October 1980, 0 7091 8592 8
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The War Machine 
by James Avery Joyce.
Quartet, 210 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 7043 2254 4
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Protest and Survive 
edited by E.P. Thompson and Dan Smith.
Penguin, 262 pp., £1.50, October 1980, 0 14 052341 3
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... Defence Pamphlet Protect and Survive) is a collection of essays, edited by E. P. Thompson and Dan Smith, with emphasis on the effect of nuclear weapons on Europe, and particularly on Britain, and on current statements dealing with Civil Defence. An impressive article by Alva Myrdal discusses the function of tactical nuclear weapons, and argues that their real ...

Happy Bunnies

John Pemble: Cousin Marriage, 25 February 2010

Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 
by Adam Kuper.
Harvard, 296 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 674 03589 8
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... liberal-humanist intellectuals and nobody was any longer interested in how to combine Adam Smith with the Bible, or the rule of the many with the wisdom of the few. Yet literature gives back what history has erased. In fact literature – Galsworthy, Woolf, Waugh, Wodehouse, Nancy Mitford, Compton-Burnett – has made this Victorian hybrid, the ...

Homage to Mrs Brater

Rosemary Ashton, 7 August 1986

George Eliot 
by Gillian Beer.
Harvester, 272 pp., £16.95, May 1986, 0 7108 0506 3
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German Women in the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Social and Literary History 
edited by Ruth-Ellen Joeres and Mary Jo Maynes.
Indiana, 356 pp., $29.95, January 1986, 0 253 32578 1
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Red Jenny: A Life with Karl Marx 
by H.F. Peters.
Allen and Unwin, 182 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 04 928053 8
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Wives of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin 
by Edna Healey.
Sidgwick, 210 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 283 98552 6
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A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon 
by Sheila Herstein.
Yale, 224 pp., £16.95, January 1986, 0 300 03317 6
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George Eliot and Blackmail 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 400 pp., £20.50, November 1985, 0 674 34872 9
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... they face. While in Wives of Fame Edna Healey claims that Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx and Emma Darwin ‘deserve to be brought out of the shadows’, she ensures by her choice of title that our interest is aroused precisely through their famous husbands. Peters, with refreshing frankness, entitles his book Red Jenny: A Life with Karl Marx, thus ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... Henry Raeburn’s ‘John Johnstone, Betty Johnstone and Miss Wedderburn’ (c.1790-95). Emma Rothschild has a written a strange, immensely thoughtful book which at first glance ought to complement Devine’s work. But it does nothing of the sort, attending instead to the history of sensibilities rather than of nations. It is based on the lives and ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... and powers served by the proliferation of hermeneutic techniques’. Jerome McGann and Olivia Smith are two good critics, both Americans publishing in England, who fall in with Mitchell’s injunction to ‘historicise’. Each regards a work of the past as both an individual literary performance and an event occurring in space and time. They think of ...

Looking for a Way Up

Rosemary Hill: Roy Strong’s Vanities, 25 April 2013

Self-Portrait as a Young Man 
by Roy Strong.
Bodleian, 286 pp., £25, March 2013, 978 1 85124 282 5
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... George was a travelling salesman selling hats along the south coast for the firm of Ayres & Smith. He had served in the First World War, and the outbreak of the Second all but ruined him when Ayres & Smith turned their production over to military headgear. He persisted nevertheless, setting off day after day, decade ...

Her pen made the first move

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 7 July 1994

Charlotte Brontë: A Passionate Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Chatto, 418 pp., £17.99, March 1994, 9780701161378
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Shared Lives 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Vintage, 285 pp., £6.99, March 1994, 0 09 942461 4
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The Sickroom in Victorian Fiction: The Art of Being Ill 
by Miriam Bailin.
Cambridge, 169 pp., £30, April 1994, 0 521 44526 4
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... speculates in a similar vein about the later and sunnier correspondence with the publisher, George Smith, whose evident pleasure in Brontë’s letters may partly have arisen, she thinks, from the artist’s capacity imaginatively to transform him with her pen, recreating him in a form cleverly designed to soothe his insecurities. Though Brontë’s teasingly ...

Make use of me

Jeremy Treglown: Olivia Manning, 9 February 2006

Olivia Manning: A Life 
by Neville Braybrooke and June Braybrooke.
Chatto, 301 pp., £20, November 2004, 0 7011 7749 7
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... with a young family, died of a brain tumour in 1937. Manning’s husband from 1939, R.D. (Reggie) Smith, a British Council teacher and later an academic and BBC radio producer, drank a lot and was a compulsive, if helpfully complaisant, philanderer. Among other men she was attracted to, the novelist William Gerhardie proved to have sadistic tendencies which ...

Quod erat Hepburn

John Bayley, 3 April 1986

Katharine Hepburn: A Biography 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 395 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 340 33719 2
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... devoted to her in the most gentle and chivalrous manner. Quite why she married ‘Luddy’ Ogden Smith remains something of a mystery, but he was a good friend, kind and sophisticated, who must have been a reassurance and who made no demands on her. When she obtained a Mexican divorce it was widely supposed she wanted to remarry. But she preferred men as ...

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