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Why so late and so painfully?

Frederick Brown: Cézanne, 21 March 2013

Cézanne: A Life 
by Alex Danchev.
Profile, 488 pp., £30, October 2012, 978 1 84668 165 3
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... In 1857, when Cézanne was 18, the government lawyer prosecuting Madame Bovary as an affront to public decency declared that the novel was ‘a painting admirable from the point of view of talent but execrable from that of morality … Monsieur Flaubert embellishes his paintings with all the resources of art but without any of its caution; there is in his work no gauze, no veils – it shows nature in the raw ...

How stupid people are

John Sturrock: Flaubert, 7 September 2006

Bouvard and Pecuchet 
by Gustave Flaubert, translated by Mark Polizzotti.
Dalkey Archive, 328 pp., £8.99, January 2006, 1 56478 393 6
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Flaubert: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Heinemann, 629 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 434 00769 2
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... letter from Damascus. In his magnificently thorough and consistently illuminating new life, Frederick Brown locates the book’s origins as early as 1839, when Flaubert was 18 years old and a schoolboy in Rouen (the city where he was born and in or very close to which he lived for the rest of his life). Young Gustave was slow learning to read – a ...

La Bête républicaine

Christopher Prendergast, 5 September 1996

The Dreyfus Affair: ‘J’Accuse’ and Other Writings 
by Emile Zola, edited by Alain Pagès, translated by Eleanor Levieux.
Yale, 208 pp., £25, June 1996, 0 300 06689 9
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Zola: A Life 
by Frederick Brown.
Farrar, Straus, 888 pp., £37.50, May 1996, 0 374 29742 8
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... endeavouring to keep his wife, Alexandrine, moderately happy. This is the stuff of biography and Frederick Brown trawls through it in considerable detail. In this 888-page Life, he does the same with almost everything that catches his attention. There is indeed not much one can say about the book, for the reason that it itself has so much to say. ...

Westward Ho

Frank Kermode, 7 February 1985

The Letters of D.H. Lawrence. Vol. III: October 1916 - June 1921 
edited by James Boulton and Andrew Robertson.
Cambridge, 762 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 521 23112 4
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Brett: From Bloomsbury to New Mexico 
by Sean Hignett.
Hodder, 299 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 9780340229736
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... difficult. She went late to the Slade and had an odd, apparently innocent affair with Professor Frederick Brown, then in charge at the School. Thence to Garsington, Bloomsbury, and a real, profound and absurd affair with Murry; and so, in the course of things, to Taos. She was famous for her ear-trumpet and her loyalty but never endeared herself to ...

Worst When It’s Poetry

Frederick Seidel, 5 May 2016

... But even Joseph Roth’s Radetzkymarsch. Mandelstam could absolutely not be – Then Clarence Brown and Merwin came along and did. I’m thinking green, but the English-speaking sky is blue. I tell you what I’m going to do. They tell me what they’re going to do. Here’s what my words will do today. The words are at the other end. I’ll have to ...

Living Doll and Lilac Fairy

Penelope Fitzgerald, 31 August 1989

Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington 1893-1932 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 342 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 7195 4688 5
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Lydia and Maynard: Letters between Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Polly Hill and Richard Keynes.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 233 98283 3
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Mazo de la Roche: The Hidden Life 
by Joan Givner.
Oxford, 273 pp., £18, July 1989, 0 19 540705 9
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Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby: A Working Partnership 
by Jean Kennard.
University Press of New England, 224 pp., £24, July 1989, 0 87451 474 6
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Dangerous by Degrees: Women at Oxford and the Somerville College Novelists 
by Susan Leonardi.
Rutgers, 254 pp., $33, May 1989, 0 8135 1366 9
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The Selected Letters of Somerville and Ross 
edited by Gifford Lewis.
Faber, 308 pp., £14.99, July 1989, 0 571 15348 8
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... loved her father more than her mother. She studied at the Slade under the all-powerful trinity of Frederick Brown, Wilson Steer and Tonks. It was 1910, and the students were advised not to attend Roger Fry’s Post-Expressionist exhibition. By 1914 Carrington, a mild bohemian, had cut her hair short, Mark Gertler and C.W. Nevinson were in love with ...


Frederick Seidel, 4 June 1981

... and swoops back and lands A little way down the levee. A railroad bridge Filigrees across the brown sumptuous river. Humid flags sog at half-mast. Bitter bitter bitter bitter Cries a bird somewhere out over the river At dusk, as darkness filters down through the soft evening On St Genevieve, near St Louis. Remember, The creek out there somewhere in the ...

To Stop the World from Ending

Frederick Seidel, 11 September 2014

... in the sun to get a tan. The man can’t stand being stretched out on the sand Trying to turn brown and be attractive. Because he’s otherwise so white and so inactive. He’s otherwise a man of midnight and very grand. How many times a year does a man have to shave? How many times a lifetime? It’s distressing To think of all the pressing a ...

The French are not men

Michael Wood: L’affaire Dreyfus, 7 September 2017

Lettres à la marquise: correspondance inédite avec Marie Arconati Visconti 
by Alfred Dreyfus, edited by Philippe Oriol.
Grasset, 592 pp., £19, March 2017, 978 2 246 85965 9
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... military tribunal find a guilty man innocent? What was the point of this ‘ritual theatre’, as Frederick Brown calls it in For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus (2010)? The questions immediately call up another: why would an 1894 tribunal have found an innocent man guilty of the same crime? The story is complicated but not ...

Leave them weeping

Colin Grant: Frederick Douglass, 1 August 2019

Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom 
by David Blight.
Simon and Schuster, 892 pp., £30, November 2018, 978 1 4165 9031 6
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... grey hair, wearing a frock-coat and necktie. Two hundred years after his birth into slavery, Frederick Douglass, the abolitionist and writer once described as ‘an ornament to society and a blessing to his race’, looms munificently over the city he visited during a speaking tour of Ireland in 1845. The image on the mural is based on one of the 160 ...

Blame Robert Maxwell

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: How Public Inquiries Go Wrong, 17 March 2016

... disaster to the death of David Kelly, Profumo to tabloid phone hacking. On 15 June 2009, Gordon Brown announced an inquiry into the Iraq war – to investigate, as Sir John Chilcot, the inquiry’s chairman, put it, ‘the UK’s involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what ...

Around Here

Alice Spawls: Drifting into the picture, 4 February 2016

... The museum is mottled still, and there are moments when everything seems to emerge in purple and brown, and the thin branches of the trees make a haze against the blank sky. The sensation – of the painting imposing itself on reality – must be like Wordsworth’s experience of two consciousnesses, or like the turn, as John Sturrock describes it in The ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: Plainly Unconstitutional, 21 October 2021

... They may not. If Breyer retires before the midterms, he will probably be replaced by Ketanji Brown Jackson, a judge on the District of Columbia Court of Appeals. If he dies or retires after that, and the Republican Party gains control of the Senate, Mitch McConnell will refuse to confirm any nominee (as he did under Obama). Faced with these odds, has ...

Flaubert at Two Hundred

Julian Barnes: Flaubert, the Parrot and Me, 16 December 2021

... the overall jacket colour: green for France, red for Russia, olive-green for Germany, purple and brown for the Classical world, and so on. The book was too subtle for me, of course, and I failed to find it at all erotic. I doubt I understood the scene in the closed cab, let alone the metonymic burst of white paper shooting from the window at its shrouded ...

Short Cuts

Frederick Wilmot-Smith: RBG’s Big Mistake, 8 October 2020

... by Congress. But they have embraced the Supreme Court and its peculiar powers at least since Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, a decision thought (wrongly: legislation was required) to have ended racial segregation in American schools. The court delivered liberals some victories: legal aid was guaranteed to people charged with crimes, the scope of ...

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