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Made in Venice

Charles Hope

2 April 1981
Andrea Schiavone 
by Francis Richardson.
Oxford, 225 pp., £30, April 1980, 0 19 817332 6
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... dominated by a few peaks which are repeatedly scaled while others remain untouched. The paintings of Andrea Schiavone, even his name, are now known only to specialists: before the publication of FrancisRichardson’s book no substantial study of his career had appeared since 1913. Yet in the 25 years before his death in 1563 Schiavone established himself as one of the foremost painters of Venice ...

Jousting for Peace

Thomas Penn: Henry VIII meets Francis​ I

16 July 2014
The Field of Cloth of Gold 
by Glenn Richardson.
Yale, 288 pp., £35, November 2013, 978 0 300 14886 2
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... Trying​ to describe the spectacular summit meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I which took place in June 1520, contemporaries fell into a kind of stupor. It was the eighth wonder of the world, said one. Another thought the temporary palaces – erected at staggering expense ...
21 February 1980
Pilgrimage 
by Dorothy Richardson.
Virago, £3.50, November 1980, 0 86068 100 9
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... Dorothy Richardson can seem to have conspired with those critics of her vast novel, over 2,000 pages long, who have complained that it is boringly avant-garde, inchoate, and vitiated by what Virginia Woolf called ...

Reviewers

Marilyn Butler

22 January 1981
Three-Quarter Face 
by Penelope Gilliatt.
Secker, 295 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436179587
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Show People 
by Kenneth Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77842 0
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When the lights go down 
by Pauline Kael.
Boyars, 592 pp., £8.95, August 1980, 0 7145 2726 2
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... essays. Out of the window – if these experts are right – goes Montaigne. To the bonfire with William Hazlitt, closely followed by Max Beerbohm, Sainte-Beuve and John Aubrey. A brusque kiss-off to Francis Bacon, Charles Lamb, La Bruyère and the best of Mencken, not to mention Svetonius’s Lives of the Caesars; and into the garbage goes Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, perhaps the finest book ...

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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... Lodge, Henry MacKenzie [sic], Thomas Malory, Charles Maturin, Walter Scott, Philip Sidney, Horace Walpole ... twenty, plus the recognised fathers of the novel ... Daniel Defoe, Henry Fielding, Samuel Richardson, Tobias Smollett and Lawrence [sic] Sterne; generosity indeed to double the number!’ A list so nakedly daft obviates detailed scrutiny. It may be worth asking how Lever (born 1806) contrived to ...

Fan-de-Siècle

Brigid Brophy

6 October 1983
Murasaki Shikibu: Her Diary and Poetic Memoirs, A Translation and Study 
by Richard Bowring.
Princeton, 290 pp., £21.70, August 1982, 0 691 06507 1
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Evelina 
by Fanny Burney.
Oxford, 421 pp., £2.50, April 1982, 0 19 281596 2
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The Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney 
edited by Peter Hughes and Warren Derry.
Oxford, 624 pp., £37.50, September 1980, 0 19 812507 0
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Colette 
by Joanna Richardson.
Methuen, 276 pp., £12.95, June 1983, 0 413 48780 6
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Letters from Colette 
translated by Robert Phelps.
Virago, 214 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 86068 252 8
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... For the most part he writes to her wholly in French. It was with a comparable linguistic chauvinism that Colette greeted a cat in the United States as, at last, someone who spoke French. Joanna Richardson maintains the myth of Colette’s sympathy with animals. It would be easier to swallow had Colette abandoned swallowing the corpses of killed animals. The whole blather about Colette’s ‘passion ...

In the field

Nigel Hamilton

5 November 1981
Washington Despatches, 1941-45: Weekly Political Reports from the British Embassy 
edited by H.G. Nicholas.
Weidenfeld, 700 pp., £20, August 1981, 0 297 77920 6
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British Intelligence and the Second World War. Vol. II 
by F.H. Hinsley, E.E. Thomas, C.F.G. Ransom and R.C. Knight.
HMSO, 850 pp., £15.95, September 1981, 0 11 630934 2
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Mars without Venus: A Study of Some Homosexual Generals 
by Frank Richardson.
William Blackwood, 188 pp., £5.95, September 1981, 9780851581484
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Soldiering on: An Unofficial Portrait of the British Army 
by Dennis Barker.
Deutsch, 236 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 233 97391 5
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A Breed of Heroes 
by Alan Judd.
Hodder, 288 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 340 26334 2
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War in Peace: An Analysis of Warfare Since 1945 
edited by Robert Thompson.
Orbis, 312 pp., £9.95, September 1981, 0 85613 341 8
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... at them in depth. Nor does he lack a sense of balance or humour. I consider Mars without Venus: A Study of Some Homosexual Generals one of the most interesting books I have read this year. General Richardson was a decorated Army doctor (DSO and OBE). He writes with such intelligence, conversational elegance and compassion that his remark, in his Acknowledgments, that he is only an amateur author, seems ...

Upright Ends

Vincent Newey

1 October 1987
The Origins of the English Novel, 1660-1740 
by Michael McKeon.
Johns Hopkins, 530 pp., £21.25, April 1987, 0 8018 3291 8
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... it should be pointed out that the pattern of double reversal is seen as dynamic, perpetually in motion, persisting unresolved even at that point in the 1740s when, in the controversy between Richardson and Fielding, the new genre achieved the status of what Marx calls ‘a simple abstraction’, an identifiable category in its own right. McKeon’s terms are useful ones; and his theory argues ...

Costume Codes

David Trotter

12 January 1995
Rebel Women: Feminism, Modernism and the Edwardian Novel 
by Jane Eldridge Miller.
Virago, 241 pp., £15.99, October 1994, 1 85381 830 5
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... the novel is radical in its acknowledgment of the Newest Woman, it is written from the point of view of a New Woman, and in a manner more like Violet Hunt’s than Rebecca West’s, or Dorothy Richardson’s, or Virginia Woolf’s. 1924 was the year of Woolf’s ground-breaking essay on ‘Mr Bennett and Mrs Brown’, which urges the development of new narrative techniques and criticises Arnold ...

Pay me for it

Helen Deutsch: Summoning Dr Johnson

9 February 2012
Samuel Johnson: A Life 
by David Nokes.
Faber, 415 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22636 8
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Selected Writings 
by Samuel Johnson, edited by Peter Martin.
Harvard, 503 pp., £16.95, May 2011, 978 0 674 06034 0
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The Brothers Boswell: A Novel 
by Philip Baruth.
Corvus, 336 pp., £7.99, January 2011, 978 1 84887 446 6
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The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. 
by John Hawkins, edited by O.M. Brack.
Georgia, 554 pp., £53.50, August 2010, 978 0 8203 2995 6
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... off from his narrative, but for David Nokes they become a central feature of his ability to create a ‘shock effect’. Thus William Hogarth’s first encounter with Johnson at the home of Samuel Richardson: While he was talking, he perceived a person standing at a window in the room, shaking his head and rolling himself about in a strange ridiculous manner. He concluded that he was an idiot whom his ...

The HPtFtU

Christopher Tayler: Francis​ Spufford

5 October 2016
Golden Hill 
by Francis​ Spufford.
Faber, 344 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 0 571 22519 4
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... genres, it isn’t good at knowing what to do with writers who set out their stalls in the equivocal zone where the techniques of fiction and non-fiction intermingle outside the ambit of the novel. Francis Spufford is an almost parodically English figure whose output includes a cultural history of polar exploration (I May Be Some Time, 1996), a memoir of childhood reading (The Child that Books Built ...
21 May 1981
Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ 
edited by Brian Southam.
Oxford, 150 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 19 812637 9
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... autumn of 1977, there was an Austen discovery, not of a novel but not of a fragment either – a complete new play, apparently Jane Austen’s version of a work she had admired from childhood, Samuel Richardson’s Sir Charles Grandison. It was actually a discovery only in a manner of speaking, since the manuscript was never properly lost. It had been handed down among the descendants of Jane Austen’s ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters

25 April 2013
The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... prescribed by method or study’. At school, children were exposed from an early age to the letters of Cicero and other classical masters. Those nervous or incapable of writing like this, could, as Richardson had discovered to his profit early in his publishing career, purchase volumes of model letters in English, replete with flourishes and sentiments often alien to the sender, but part nevertheless of ...

Azure Puddles

John Bayley

21 May 1987
Compton Mackenzie: A Life 
by Andro Linklater.
Chatto, 384 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 7011 2583 7
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... running it like a continuous one-man show, and probably in unconscious competition with the activities of his dynamic father. On Capri he was to see himself as Byron, D.H. Lawrence as Shelley and Francis Brett Young as a more retiring kind of Keats. And Lawrence was fascinated by him, found him sympathetic and good company, and made him the model in his story called ‘The man who loved islands ...

At the Hayward

Marina Warner: Tracey Emin

25 August 2011
... They’re drawings made in the mind, and have nothing to do with the languorous spectacle of Ingres or Klimt’s self-pleasuring odalisques. They’re charged with a furious erotic longing, and in Francis Bacon’s terms, they go straight past the brain to the nervous system. Self-revelation is an art, and public intimacy – to use Giuliana Bruno’s phrase – requires crafty selection, decisions ...

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