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Wandability

Hugh Pennington: Supermarkets, 18 November 2004

Shopped: The Shocking Power of British Supermarkets 
by Joanna Blythman.
Fourth Estate, 368 pp., £12.99, May 2004, 0 00 715803 3
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Not on the Label: What Really Goes into the Food on Your Plate 
by Felicity Lawrence.
Penguin, 272 pp., £7.99, May 2004, 0 14 101566 7
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Food Policy Old and New 
edited by Simon Maxwell and Rachel Slater.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £19.99, March 2004, 1 4051 2602 7
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... the expense of food quality. They sell squidgy bread. And they call their staff ‘colleagues’. Felicity Lawrence’s dislike of contemporary food production methods and systems is equally strong. She disapproves of broiler chickens. The use of migrant seasonal labour and gangmasters affronts her. Ready meals are a bad thing. Just-in-time delivery to ...

What We’re about to Receive

Jeremy Harding: Food Insecurity, 13 May 2010

... if only because they simply cannot go on. We are now entering a period of rapid transition’ (Felicity Lawrence, Eat Your Heart Out, 2008). ‘We depend just as much on our gas-guzzling, chilled plug-in, “just-in-time” food deliveries as ancient Romans did on foreign conquests, shipping and slaves – and our food system is no more ...

How much meat is too much?

Bee Wilson, 20 March 2014

Farmageddon: The True Cost of Cheap Meat 
by Philip Lymbery, with Isabel Oakeshott.
Bloomsbury, 426 pp., £12.99, January 2014, 978 1 4088 4644 5
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Planet Carnivore 
by Alex Renton.
Guardian, 78 pp., £1.99, August 2013
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... they witness will come as little surprise to anyone who has read Peter Singer, Michael Pollan, Felicity Lawrence, Eric Schlosser or any of the previous exposés of factory-farmed meat, but they make grim and startling reading even so. If you can get beyond the title, the great virtues of Farmageddon are its global reach and eyewitness accounts of the ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... with a dust-pan and brush, ‘sweeping up [a visitor’s] footmarks’ – a touch of Dickensian felicity evoking that roughly contemporary Victorian household, the Veneerings, and suggesting what a price could be exacted in emotional and spiritual terms for the social reassurance of a flawless surface. His travels as a young man, to Canada, to Russia, to ...

Knowing more

Rosalind Mitchison, 14 September 1989

Poets, Polities and the People 
by V.G. Kiernan, edited by Harvey Kaye.
Verso, 239 pp., £29.95, June 1989, 0 86091 245 0
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For King and Conscience: John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee 
by Magnus Linklater and Christian Hesketh.
Weidenfeld, 244 pp., £16.95, June 1989, 0 297 79540 6
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... we are given instances of those who supported the role of violence, Carlyle, Ruskin and T.E. Lawrence – hardly a representative sample and not strictly contemporary. One absent theme, striking to those aware of modern historiography, is the experience of women. In a long exposition of the development of socialism, which carries an updating of ...

Good Things: Pederasty and Jazz and Opium and Research

Lawrence Rainey: Mary Butts, 16 July 1998

Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life 
by Nathalie Blondel.
McPherson, 539 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 929701 55 0
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The Taverner Novels: ‘Armed with Madness’, ‘Death of Felicity Taverner’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 18 6
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The Classical Novels: ‘The Macedonian’, ‘Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 384 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 42 9
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‘Ashe of Rings’ and Other Writings 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £18.50, March 1998, 0 929701 53 4
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... No work of Butts is quite the equal of Armed with Madness. Her next novel, The Death of Felicity Taverner, is very distinguished, and contains a probing exploration of anti-semitism. But it is already turning back towards a more conventional realism. The two historical fictions which followed, a life of Alexander the Great called The Macedonian ...

Preceding Backwardness

Margaret Anne Doody, 9 January 1992

Women’s Lives and the 18th-Century English Novel 
by Elizabeth Bergan Brophy.
University of South Florida Press, 291 pp., $29.95, April 1991, 0 8130 1036 5
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Fictions of Modesty: Women and Courtship in the English Novel 
by Ruth Bernard Yeazell.
Chicago, 306 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 226 95096 4
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... persons. Brophy tends to whip them up into a nice homogeneous blend. She is far too acquiescent in Lawrence Stone’s view of ‘companionate marriage’ and spends time working out whether some woman had a ‘really happy marriage’ or not – although the difficulties of figuring out, even among one’s contemporaries, whether a marriage is ‘happy’ are ...

Terrible to be alive

Julian Symons, 5 December 1991

Randall Jarrell: A Literary Life 
by William Pritchard.
Farrar, Straus, 335 pp., $25, April 1990, 0 374 24677 7
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Randall Jarrell: Selected Poems 
edited by William Pritchard.
Farrar, Straus, 115 pp., $17.95, April 1990, 0 374 25867 8
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... us read the poems more intelligently, with greater appreciation of their almost invariable verbal felicity. To his poetic coevals Jarrell was the voice of sanity, somebody able to bring their fancies down to earth because his own were so firmly placed on the ground. He was a corrective to excesses in other ways, drinking little, uneasy at parties, disliking ...

‘Gwendolen Harleth’

F.R. Leavis, 21 January 1982

... his power to do so felt – and he remains always bored. There is a remarkable coincidence with Lawrence when George Eliot refers to Grandcourt as a ‘handsome lizard of a hitherto unknown species, not of the lively, darting kind’. I am thinking of the passage in The Crown (V) where Lawrence takes the snake and the ...

May I come to your house to philosophise?

John Barrell: Godwin’s Letters, 8 September 2011

The Letters of William Godwin Vol. I: 1778-97 
by Pamela Clemit.
Oxford, 306 pp., £100, February 2011, 978 0 19 956261 9
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... during the darkest period of his mourning. The volume includes letters to Joseph Priestley, Thomas Lawrence, John Thelwall, Samuel Parr (‘the Whig Dr Johnson’), the great liberal advocate Thomas Erskine, R.B. Sheridan, Charles James Fox, the novelists and dramatists Elizabeth Inchbald, Thomas Holcroft, Amelia Alderson, Mary Hays and Charlotte Smith, as ...

Awful but Cheerful

Gillian White: The Tentativeness of Elizabeth Bishop, 25 May 2006

Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments 
by Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Alice Quinn.
Farrar, Straus, 367 pp., £22.50, March 2006, 0 374 14645 4
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... one that implies that ‘her writing has sophistication – that somehow unfortunate state of felicity in whose toils most of us wallow from time to time even as we struggle to cast them off.’ Indeed, Quinn’s new edition compels us to go a step further, to realise that another problematic part of Bishop’s appeal involves the contrast between the ...

Poor Hitler

Andrew O’Hagan: Toff Humour, 15 November 2007

The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters 
edited by Charlotte Mosley.
Fourth Estate, 834 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 84115 790 0
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... but quite delicious. Anybody interested in the question of literary style – or the history of felicity – will understand why it used sometimes to be said that the right had the best jokes. They did have the best jokes, if one understands a joke to be a remark that succeeds at someone else’s expense, or at the general expense of earnestness, of which ...

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