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Colin Burrow: Chapman’s Homer

27 June 2002
Chapman’s Homer: The ‘Iliad’ 
edited by Allardyce Nicoll.
Princeton, 613 pp., £13.95, December 1998, 0 691 00236 3
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Chapman’s Homer: The ‘Odyssey’ 
edited by Allardyce Nicoll.
Princeton, 613 pp., £13.95, January 2001, 0 691 04891 6
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... someone wronged by an overlord, but as the destructive pique of a rebellious subject. ‘Let us obey that king, whome Jove hath set here in his place,’ Hall insists. In 1598 things were to change. GeorgeChapman, known chiefly as the author of a handful of comedies and a couple of punishingly obscure poems, printed the first instalment of his translation of Homer. This was to become Chapman’s most ...

The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones

11 December 1997
Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... pages of the third Appendix, ‘Squeeze Play’. Auster’s first attempt at a novel, and another bid to keep financially afloat, ‘Squeeze Play’ revolves around the death of former baseball star, GeorgeChapman. Written by ‘Paul Benjamin’, and narrated in the first person by Max Klein, a private dick, it’s much the best bit of Hand to Mouth. The snappy dialogue and quick-fire clichés sit much ...

Walking backward

Robert Taubman

21 August 1980
Selected Works of Djuna Barnes 
Faber, 366 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 571 11579 9Show More
Black Venus’s Tale 
by Angela Carter.
Next Editions/Faber, 35 pp., £1.95, June 1980, 9780907147022
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The Last Peacock 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 370 30261 3
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The Birds of the Air 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 152 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 7156 1491 6
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... perhaps even to constraints arising in real life; but mainly can only be due to the language, which all along withholds more than it reveals. T. S. Eliot maintained: ‘As with Dostoevski and GeorgeChapman, one feels that the action is hardly more than the shadow-play of something taking place on another plane of reality.’ I can’t see any grounds for positing another plane of reality ...

Best at Imitation

Anthony Pagden: Spain v. England

2 November 2006
Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America 1492-1830 
by J.H. Elliott.
Yale, 546 pp., £25, May 2006, 0 300 11431 1
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... went on, having been locked for more than half a century in intermittent combat with this behemoth, was struggling hard to emulate it. ‘So let the sovereign Empire be increased,’ wrote a hopeful GeorgeChapman, And with Iberian Neptune part the stake Whose Trident he the triple world would make. At least until the early 18th century, it would be in America that the rivalry between the two global ...

Ducking and Dodging

R.W. Johnson: Agent Zigzag

19 July 2007
Agent Zigzag 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 372 pp., £14.99, January 2007, 978 0 7475 8794 1
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... In December 1940, Ben Macintyre’s anti-hero, Eddie Chapman, was in jail in Jersey – he already had a long record, including everything from safe-breaking to blackmail – when the Nazi occupiers threw a young hotel dishwasher, Tony Faramus, into the same ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper

7 February 2008
The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... Aaron Kosminski, who was incarcerated in an asylum though never charged with the murders. Other Jewish suspects were John Pizer, a shoemaker known as ‘Leather Apron’; Severin Klosowski alias GeorgeChapman; Michael Ostrog, described by a police investigator as ‘a mad Russian doctor and convict, and unquestionably a homicidal maniac’; and Joseph Isaacs. A few brief sightings of the Ripper ...


John Sutherland

9 January 1992
The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Manchester, 528 pp., £29.95, July 1990, 0 472 10102 1
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Anthony Trollope: A Victorian in his World 
by Richard Mullen.
Duckworth, 767 pp., £25, July 1990, 0 7156 2293 5
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Trollope: A Biography 
by N. John Hall.
Oxford, 581 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 19 812627 1
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... Trollope is our most popular and reprinted Victorian novelist. His new companions in the Abbey – Dickens, George Eliot and Hardy – may sell more copies of individual novels, but they cannot match the expansiveness of Trollope’s appeal. Forty or more of his works are currently in print – some in as many as ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess

11 July 2002
Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... remain: in 1970 as in 1964, the young man addressed in the Sonnets is the Earl of Southampton, not, as some still think, William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. The Rival Poet of Sonnet 86 remains GeorgeChapman, not, as some think, Samuel Daniel or Michael Drayton or Christopher Marlowe or Ben Jonson or, since his was assuredly an ‘alien pen’ (Sonnet 78), Torquato Tasso. Candidates for the doubtful ...

Great Instructor

Charles Nicholl

31 August 1989
Ben Jonson: A Life 
by David Riggs.
Harvard, 399 pp., £27.95, April 1989, 0 674 06625 1
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... skirmishes with the authorities. In 1603 his tragedy Sejanus was denounced to the Council for ‘popery and treason’, and in 1605 he was in prison again, for the comedy Eastward Ho, co-written with GeorgeChapman and John Marston. The trouble this time was a joke – ‘I ken the man weel: he’s one of my thirty pound knights’ – which hit too obviously at King James’s sale of honours ...
23 May 1985
Pound’s Cantos 
by Peter Makin.
Allen and Unwin, 349 pp., £20, March 1985, 0 04 811001 9
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To Write Paradise: Style and Error in Pound’s Cantos 
by Christine Froula.
Yale, 208 pp., £18.50, February 1985, 0 300 02512 2
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Ezra Pound: Politics, Economics and Writing 
by Peter Nicholls.
Macmillan, 263 pp., £25, September 1984, 0 333 36159 8
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... virtues, it seems unfair to launch an attack on it at its weakest. But the points at issue are important enough to require this. So here goes – with a justly famous poem, ‘On First Looking Into Chapman’s Homer’: Much have 1 travell’d in the realms of gold, And many goodly states and kingdoms seen; Round many western Islands have I been Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold. Oft of one wide ...

Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman​ Pincher’s Scoops

4 June 2014
Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman​ Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... and mischievous proprietor than Lord Beaverbrook, no more technically gifted editor than Arthur Christiansen, and few more celebrated reporters than the paper’s defence and science correspondent, Chapman Pincher. Out of the Express’s triumvirate of black-glass offices in London, Manchester and Glasgow came a torrent of newsprint that set the popular tone for the last days of imperial Britain, the ...

Gurney’s Flood

Donald Davie

3 February 1983
Geoffrey Grigson: Collected Poems 1963-1980 
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 419 4Show More
The Cornish Dancer 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 64 pp., £4.95, June 1982, 0 436 18805 8
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 420 8
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses: A Critical Collection 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, £9.95, November 1982, 0 85031 437 2
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Collected Poems of Ivor Gurney 
edited by P.J. Kavanagh.
Oxford, 284 pp., £12, September 1982, 0 19 211940 0
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War Letters 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 271 pp., £12, February 1983, 0 85635 408 2
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... The lyric voice, so savagely extirpated from Rewards of Wonder, can now be re-admitted because the poet has a sure sense of when it is appropriate, when not. The influences – Hopkins in ‘GeorgeChapman – The Iliad’, Edward Thomas in ‘On Foscombe Hill’ and ‘Up There’ and possibly ‘Imitation’, Jonson in ‘We Who Praise Poets’, Whitman and possibly D.H. Lawrence in ...
3 May 1984
The Letters of Anthony Trollope 
edited by John Hall.
Stanford, 1082 pp., $87.50, July 1983, 0 8047 1076 7
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Anthony Trollope: Dream and Art 
by Andrew Wright.
Macmillan, 173 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34593 2
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... his other money-making occupation was that they left insufficient time for his true passion, which was hunting. ‘I have been trying to hunt three days a week,’ he wrote his friend and publisher George Smith. ‘I find it must be only two. Mortal man cannot write novels, do the Post Office, and go out three days.’ ‘In some coming perfect world,’ he said on another occasion, ‘there will be ...
25 October 1990
No Other Choice 
by George​ Blake.
Cape, 288 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 224 03067 1
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Inside Intelligence 
by Anthony Cavendish.
Collins, 181 pp., £12.95, October 1990, 9780002157421
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... Here are two more spy books from authors who worked long ago for British Intelligence. George Blake was very left-wing, and is now slightly less so. Anthony Cavendish has always been very right-wing. Both authors write of their profound respect for one of their former bosses, George K. Young ...

Homage to Mrs Brater

Rosemary Ashton

7 August 1986
George​ Eliot 
by Gillian Beer.
Harvester, 272 pp., £16.95, May 1986, 0 7108 0506 3
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German Women in the 18th and 19th Centuries: A Social and Literary History 
edited by Ruth-Ellen Joeres and Mary Jo Maynes.
Indiana, 356 pp., $29.95, January 1986, 0 253 32578 1
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Red Jenny: A Life with Karl Marx 
by H.F. Peters.
Allen and Unwin, 182 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 04 928053 8
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Wives of Fame: Mary Livingstone, Jenny Marx, Emma Darwin 
by Edna Healey.
Sidgwick, 210 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 283 98552 6
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A Mid-Victorian Feminist: Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon 
by Sheila Herstein.
Yale, 224 pp., £16.95, January 1986, 0 300 03317 6
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George​ Eliot and Blackmail 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 400 pp., £20.50, November 1985, 0 674 34872 9
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... Was it sisterly or unsisterly of George Eliot to celebrate in Middlemarch Dorothea’s contribution to human progress by means of ‘unhistoric acts’ carried out under limiting social conditions which ensured that, unlike St Theresa, she ...

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