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Wittgenstein’s Confessions

Norman Malcolm, 19 November 1981

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Personal Recollections 
edited by Rush Rhees.
Blackwell, 235 pp., £9.50, September 1981, 0 631 19600 5
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... are by Wittgenstein’s sister, Hermine; Fania Pascal, who taught him Russian in the 1930s; F.R. Leavis, the literary critic; John King, who attended Wittgenstein’s lectures and became a friend; M.O’C. Drury, a close friend over many years, who gives an unmatched account of Wittgenstein’s spiritual concerns; Rush Rhees, another close friend, who ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... to recognise virtue in anyone but himself’), and his sponsor David Pryce-Jones now finds F.R. Leavis much the same, so it may be legitimate to cite the famous excoriation of Bloomsbury that was voiced by Lawrence and amplified by Leavis: ‘they talked endlessly, but endlessly – and never, never a good thing ...

House History

John Sutherland, 24 January 1980

Allen Lane: King Penguin 
by J.E. Morpurgo.
Hutchinson, 405 pp., £9.95, November 1980, 0 09 139690 5
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... Allen Lane: King Penguin. In Elizabethan drama the king’s two bodies might well be a theme for tragedy, and a latterday Lytton Strachey might have made much of the hypocritical discrepancies between public eminence and private person. J.E. Morpurgo has settled for ‘paradox’. His biography-cum-house-history evokes a constant sense of how odd it was ...

Diary

Stephen Spender: Towards a Kind of Neo-Paganism, 21 April 1983

... had never met or heard of – B, the 17-year-old son of a friend of his. He had flown from America for the funeral and to do all he could for the mother and stepfather of B, whom he regarded as a promising young artist and the most lively and intelligent boy he knew. I gathered that some of B’s school friends, when they ...

Literature and the Left

Marilyn Butler, 18 August 1983

English Literature in History: 1730-80: An Equal, Wide Survey 
edited by Raymond Williams, by John Barrell.
Hutchinson, 228 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149820 1
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English Literature in History: 1350-1400: Medieval Readers and Writers 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Janet Coleman.
Hutchinson, 337 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 09 144100 5
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English Literature in History: 1780-1830: Pastoral and Politics 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Roger Sales.
Hutchinson, 247 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149830 9
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The Cambridge Guide to English Literature 
by Michael Stapleton.
Cambridge/Newnes Books, 992 pp., £15, April 1983, 9780521256476
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... his local Labour candidate – though the young Williams privately thought Foot too Oxford Union for Pandy village hall. In 1939 he entered Trinity College, Cambridge, an informal precursor of the post-war scholarship boy, and in his first term joined both the University Socialist Club and the student branch of the Communist Party. Within Cambridge English ...

Examples

Denis Donoghue, 2 February 1984

Towards 2000 
by Raymond Williams.
Chatto, 273 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 9780701126858
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Writing in Society 
by Raymond Williams.
Verso, 268 pp., £18.50, December 1983, 0 86091 072 5
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Radical Earnestness: English Social Theory 1880-1980 
by Fred Inglis.
Martin Robertson, 253 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 85520 328 5
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... of “over-abstraction” (which means other people’s abstractions), and a general preference for non-systematised or pluralist theories of political life’. The writers Inglis presents under this rubric are William Morris, T.H. Green, John Maynard Keynes, R.G. Collingwood, F.R. Leavis, George Orwell, Adrian ...

Devil take the hindmost

John Sutherland, 14 December 1995

Shadows of the Future: H.G. Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Liverpool, 170 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 85323 439 6
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The History of Mr Wells 
by Michael Foot.
Doubleday, 318 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 385 40366 6
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A Modern Utopia 
by H.G. Wells, edited by Krishan Kumar.
Everyman, 271 pp., £5.99, November 1994, 0 460 87498 5
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... In the twenty-five years it has been running, no SF title, as I recall, has even been shortlisted for Martyn Goff’s real thing. In 1940, T.S. Eliot struck the recurrent establishment note when he labelled Wells a ‘popular entertainer’.(Dickens was stigmatised with the same term by F.R. Leavis in The Great ...

Apocalypse

David Trotter, 14 September 1989

The Rainbow 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 672 pp., £55, March 1989, 0 521 22869 7
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D.H. Lawrence in the Modern World 
edited by Peter Preston and Peter Hoare.
Macmillan, 221 pp., £29.50, May 1989, 0 333 45269 0
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D.H. Lawrence and the Phallic Imagination: Essays on Sexual Identity and Feminist Misreading 
by Peter Balbert.
Macmillan, 190 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 333 43964 3
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... That E.M. Forster gave only two cheers for democracy, but three for D.H. Lawrence, on the occasion of Lawrence’s death, is well-known. Forster was upset that the lowbrows Lawrence scandalised had joined forces with the highbrows he bored to denigrate ‘the greatest imaginative novelist’ of his generation ...

Golden Boy

Denis Donoghue, 22 December 1983

W.H.Auden: The Critical Heritage 
edited by John Haffenden.
Routledge, 535 pp., £19.95, September 1983, 0 7100 9350 0
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Auden: A Carnival of Intellect 
by Edward Callan.
Oxford, 299 pp., £12.50, August 1983, 0 19 503168 7
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Drawn from the Life: A Memoir 
by Robert Medley.
Faber, 251 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 571 13043 7
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... of the machinery of present-day thought’, take their place in ‘the normal and rational tragic form, and indeed what constitutes the tragic situation’. The play – Empson took it as that, not as the ‘charade’ Auden called it – had ‘the sort of completeness that makes a work seem to define the attitude of a generation’. This notion, that Auden ...

Against Theory

Gerald Graff, 21 January 1982

Structuralism or Criticism? 
by Geoffrey Strickland.
Cambridge, 209 pp., £17.50, April 1981, 0 521 23184 1
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... possibly understand what is written or said unless we understand its interest and importance for the writer or speaker, which affects inevitably its interest and importance to us. Evaluation, in this sense, and interpretation are the same. Each of these propositions is expounded at some length in the central portion of the book, a section preceded by an ...

The Wizard of Finella

E.E. Duncan-Jones, 24 January 1985

Mansfield Forbes and his Cambridge 
by Hugh Carey.
Cambridge, 154 pp., £15, October 1984, 0 521 25680 1
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... what Pevsner considers a milestone in Expressionist decoration, still stands, not quite as it was, for the abundant use of glass would have made it too vulnerable to air attack. For a short time, in 1931, when it housed Epstein’s Genesis, it was said to be the most visited house in England. I am told that nowadays very ...

Disastered Me

Ian Hamilton, 9 September 1993

Rebecca’s Vest: A Memoir 
by Karl Miller.
Hamish Hamilton, 186 pp., £14.99, September 1993, 0 241 13456 0
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... my terrible diary to read in a terrible tea-room, while I entered the college, at five p.m. sharp for my little chat. This is Karl Miller, aged 18. His ‘little chat’ would be with F.R. Leavis, who subsequently admitted him to Downing College as a student. ‘Lotte’ was his older woman, an exotic foreign dancer of ...

Dan’s Fate

Craig Raine, 3 October 1985

Time and Time Again 
by Dan Jacobson.
Deutsch, 213 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 233 97804 6
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... weight left it. That day, he had been ordered to assume supreme command of the Russian army in the Far East. And there the incident might satisfactorily end, with the ten matches in immortal disarray – a slow freeze of sudden technicolour from the sepia past. But it doesn’t. There is a sequel, an historical rhyme. Fifteen years later, Nabokov’s ...

Faculty at War

Tom Paulin, 17 June 1982

Re-Reading English 
edited by Peter Widdowson.
Methuen, 246 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 416 31150 4
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Against Criticism 
by Iain McGilchrist.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 571 11922 0
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... which now afflicts English studies is a reflection of a more general cultural atmosphere – for example, that futureless and pastless sense of blankness which is for various reasons the quality that distinguishes the present generation of students. It could also be seen as a response to the period of critical ...

Fame

Ian Hamilton, 2 July 1981

Charles Charming’s Challenges on the Pathway to the Throne 
by Clive James.
Cape, 103 pp., £4.95, June 1981, 0 224 01954 6
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... a finely-educated literary talent. The ‘education’, I need hardly say, came over in the form of dropped names and flowery adjectives, and as for the pop, one could all too easily imagine teeny-boppers wondering how this booksy troubadour had ever found the time for bona fide ...

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