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Lord Have Mercy

James Shapiro: Plague Writing, 31 March 2011

Plague Writing in Early Modern England 
by Ernest Gilman.
Chicago, 295 pp., £24, June 2009, 978 0 226 29409 4
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... what it was like to live back then, how unfathomable and alien Shakespeare and his world can seem. Ernest Gilman’s Plague Writing in Early Modern England hopes to close the gap in understanding what it was like ‘to live and write in the shadow of a pandemic’. Rather than dig deeper into the archives or rehash familiar arguments (which he knows ...

I adore your moustache

James Wolcott: Styron’s Letters, 24 January 2013

Selected Letters of William Styron 
edited by Rose Styron and R. Blakeslee Gilpin.
Random House, 643 pp., £24.99, December 2012, 978 1 4000 6806 7
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... whose ghostly father and bearded Neptune disturbing the liquor cabinet deep into the night was Ernest Hemingway. Even those least influenced by Hemingway’s style couldn’t fail to register the impact of his hold on America’s consciousness: he established the co-ordinates of celebrity and masculinity that turned literary life at the highest level into ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2009, 7 January 2010

... 1 January, Yorkshire. Ill over Christmas I say to Ernest Coultherd, a farmer in the village, that my Christmas dinner consisted of a poached egg. ‘Oh. Credit crunch, was it?’ Two dead salmon in the beck just above Mafeking Bridge, both of them huge creatures, nearly two feet long, so big that one wonders how the beck at low water can accommodate them, though there are a few deepish pools ...

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