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How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney, 14 October 1999

‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... Time In’) In his 1996 Everyman selection, George Walter calls this squaddie quality of absorption in the ordinary ‘his fascination with people – his democracy’. But it is not always present: it seems to come and go like a mind moving in and out of focus across all his postwar poetry-writing ...

D.H. Lawrence and Gilbert Noon

Michael Black, 4 October 1984

... It quickly occurs to the reader familiar with the background that Gilbert Noon has the initials of George Neville, who was a constituent, rather bounderish, part of Leslie Tempest in The White Peacock. Neville was a year younger than Lawrence, like him went to Nottingham Grammar School, and became a teacher. Like Gilbert Noon, he got a girl into trouble, and ...

Skipping

Claudia Johnson: The history of the novel, 8 March 2001

The Anthology and the Rise of the Novel: From Richardson to George Eliot 
by Leah Price.
Cambridge, 224 pp., £35, September 2000, 0 521 78208 2
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... Most modern readers will never have heard of Beauties of Sterne, the Wit and Wisdom of Sir Walter Scott, George Eliot’s Sayings, or the Thomas Hardy Calendar, and the few who have actually looked inside such volumes will have done so only because the ‘real’ copy of the novel they were seeking had already been ...

The Everyday Business of Translation

George Steiner, 22 November 1979

The True Interpreter 
by Louis Kelly.
Blackwell, 282 pp., £15
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... work. Could there be a connection? On the philosophic front, thinkers such as I.A. Richards, Walter Benjamin, W.V.O. Quine have made of translation the centre of a theory of meaning. All communication between source and receptor, even within one’s native tongue, has been recognised as analogous to the model of meaning-transfer between languages. To ...
... When George Eliot died in December 1880 no one doubted that England had lost its greatest novelist. It was a reasonable expectation that she would find her place in Poets’ Corner, near the grave of Charles Dickens and the bust of Thackeray. Why has it taken a century to bring this about? In giving notice of her death her husband, John Walter Cross, who had married her in St George’s, Hanover Square, scarcely eight months before, alluded to her wish to be buried here ...

Obstacles

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 July 1996

Edward Thomas: Selected Letters 
edited by R. George Thomas.
Oxford, 192 pp., £30, March 1996, 0 19 818562 6
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... on with his son and was sometimes ruthless with his friends – ‘people soon bore him’ said Walter de la Mare sadly – although most of them were called on to help him in his struggle with depression. But Edward Thomas was, and is, greatly loved. His scholarly biographer, George Thomas, irritated as he is by what he ...

Will-be-ism?

Nicolas Walter, 27 February 1992

Demanding the impossible: A History of Anarchism 
by Peter Marshall.
HarperCollins, 783 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 00 217855 9
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The Self-Build Book 
by Jon Broome and Brian Richardson.
Green Books, 253 pp., £15, December 1991, 1 870098 23 4
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... a survey of previous research. For thirty years the standard work of this kind in English has been George Woodcock’s Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1962), which was a synthesis – an inexpensive paperback, elegantly written, deliberately designed for ordinary readers rather than scholars. There have been other general books, but ...

Modernity

George Steiner, 5 May 1988

Visions and Blueprints: Avant-Garde Culture and Radical Politics in Early 20th-century Europe 
edited by Edward Timms and Peter Collier.
Manchester, 328 pp., £29.50, February 1988, 0 7190 2260 6
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... out of the abyss. Limitations on length must have inhibited Helga Geyer-Ryan. Her contribution on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history is characteristically intelligent and dense (she thinks in German, which, in this context, is altogether an advantage). But her sketch makes use neither of the polemic correspondence between Benjamin and Adorno, nor of ...

Wannabee

Frank Kermode, 8 October 1992

Sacred Country 
by Rose Tremain.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 365 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 1 85619 118 4
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... Tremain often revisits Suffolk – trying to observe two minutes’ silence for the funeral of George VI. The time is extended by her father’s inability to judge time by his faulty watch. Like most of the characters, the father is pretty odd; unlike most of them, he is also capable of brutality. He has had an ear shot off in the war, and later becomes a ...

Trevelogue

E.S. Turner, 25 June 1987

The Golden Oriole: Childhood, Family and Friends in India 
by Raleigh Trevelyan.
Secker, 536 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 436 53403 7
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... the Andaman Islands, the penal settlement run by the Raj off the coast of Burma, where his father, Walter Raleigh Trevelyan, was an Army captain. There may have been chain-gangs clanking away on the roads, and predatory savages on the neighbouring isles, but gracious living was not excluded: Government House had a ballroom the floor of which was polished by ...

Northern Laughter

Karl Miller: Macrone on Scott, 9 October 2013

The Life of Sir Walter Scott 
by John Macrone, edited by Daniel Grader.
Edinburgh, 156 pp., £65, February 2013, 978 0 7486 6991 2
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... Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants ...

Suiting yourself

Peter Campbell, 27 July 1989

I Modi. The Sixteen Pleasures: An Erotic Album of Renaissance Italy 
by Lynne Lawner.
Northwestern, 132 pp., $35.95, February 1989, 0 8101 0803 8
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The Dress of the Venetians 1495-1525 
by Stella Mary Newton.
Scolar, 196 pp., £28.50, December 1988, 0 85967 735 4
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Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: René Bouët-Willamez and Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: Carl Erickson 
by William Parker.
Joseph, 128 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 0 86350 198 2
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Women and Fashion 
by Caroline Evans and Minna Thornton.
Quartet, 184 pp., £15, March 1989, 0 7043 2691 4
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... produced in Venice around 1527. The unique surviving copy of this edition was found in 1928 by Walter Toscanini, son of the conductor. The pages of this book, the de Waldeck drawings, the British Museum fragments, and translations of the sonnets, are all included in Lawner’s book. A foreword by George Szabo relates the ...

Monsieur Mangetout

Walter Nash, 7 December 1989

The Guinness Book of Records 1990 
edited by Donald McFarlan.
Guinness, 320 pp., £10.95, October 1989, 0 85112 341 4
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The Chatto Book of Cabbages and Kings: Lists in Literature 
edited by Francis Spufford.
Chatto, 313 pp., £13.95, November 1989, 0 7011 3487 9
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... Gall’ry,/ You’re Garbo’s sal’ry,/ You’re cellophane’), here is Homer at war, here is George Herbert at prayer, here are the irrepressible inventorial masters like Rabelais and Dickens and Edward Lear, here, indeed, is a collection with so many fine exhibits that Mr Spufford might give some consideration, for future purposes, to the possibility of ...

In the Hands of Any Fool

Walter Gratzer, 3 July 1997

A Short History of Cardiology 
by Peter Fleming.
Rodopi, 234 pp., £53.50, April 1997, 90 420 0048 1
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... the side-effects and relieve pain. This was at a time when the cause of death, as in the case of George IV, could still be described as a ‘gouty heart’. Not long afterwards, amyl nitrate and nitroglycerine were introduced; and, like digitalis, they are still in use today. The urge to try daring new treatments on heart patients, rather than let the ...

Victor Ludorum

Julian Symons, 20 December 1990

The Complete Short Stories 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 1220 pp., £25, November 1990, 0 7011 3712 6
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Lasting Impressions 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 171 pp., £15.99, November 1990, 0 7011 3606 5
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... that ordinary people say and do extraordinary things. The portrait of Pritchett’s father Walter in the autobiographical volumes A Cab at the Door and Midnight Oil shows his powers at full stretch. Walter Pritchett, as seen by his eldest son, was a figure of Micawberian optimism, opening a newsagent and ...

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