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Bad Shepherd

Robert Crawford: James Hogg

5 April 2001
The Collected Works of James Hogg. Vol. VIII: The ‘Spy’ 
edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 641 pp., £60, March 2000, 9780748613656
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... published three scarcely known books of verse. In her shrewd and elegant introduction to the Spy, Gillian Hughes points out that by 1809 Hogg had been rejected by his own community, who distrusted his poetic pretensions, and, knowing that he had failed at farming, refused him work as a shepherd. Cold-shouldered by the people he had grown up with, he ...

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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... Afterglow of Abbotsford: John Macrone, Celebrity Culture and Commemoration’, in which Gillian Hughes, a biographer of Hogg’s deeply cognisant of the literary culture and daily life of the Romantic period, does what the rest of the compilation does not: gives body to the elusive figure of Macrone. He seems, she writes, ‘a typical ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg

18 November 2004
The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... Tales became the title of a solitary volume, which now takes its place, skilfully edited by Gillian Hughes, in the current Collected Works. Conceived as the first book of a dozen in which Hogg would ‘give the grave and gay tales, the romantic and the superstitious, alternately, as far as is consistent with the size of each volume’, Altrive ...
21 February 1980
Gya/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism 
by Mary Daly.
Women’s Press, 485 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 7043 2829 1
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The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the 19th Century 
by Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar.
Yale, 719 pp., £15.75, October 1980, 0 300 02286 7
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Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes 
by Margaret Dickie Uroff.
Illinois, 235 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 252 00734 4
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Women Writing and Writing about Women 
edited by Mary Jacobus.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 0 85664 745 4
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... of polemical biography: it is good to have the relationship between the two poets, Plath and Hughes, treated mainly in literary terms. Yet the account of Plath’s poetry, especially that written in 1962 and 1963 when she had separated from Hughes, is thin, and relies heavily on descriptive paraphrase. Plath made the ...

Cut-Ups

Robert Crawford

7 December 1989
Perduta Gente 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, £5, June 1989, 0 436 40999 2
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Letting in the rumour 
by Gillian Clarke.
Carcanet, 79 pp., £4.95, July 1989, 9780856357572
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Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman 
by Grace Nichols.
Virago, 58 pp., £4.99, July 1989, 1 85381 076 2
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Studying Grosz on the Bus 
by John Lucas.
Peterloo, 64 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 02 8
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The Old Noise of Truth 
by Joan Downar.
Peterloo, 63 pp., £4.95, August 1989, 1 871471 03 6
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... comment on themselves and on other texts. An early poem, ‘Plague Graves’, signals a debt to Hughes and speaks of litter being destroyed when                           Sheep maul beyond recognition alarmingly quickly the sandwich-paper memorials left by charabanc trippers, dissolving all tangible trace of us. Very soon in ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford

20 April 1989
Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... often come from knowing oneself part of a historical or geographical community of voices. Gillian Allnutt is aware of this in her selection of ‘Quote Feminist Unquote Poetry’ in The New British Poetry. Her introduction steers clear of claiming that there is yet any discernible ‘tradition’ in this area, yet she feels at least that ‘it is now ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... sights set lower and horizons diminished. There were, and still are, alternatives to Larkin. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, Seamus Heaney and Tony Harrison are powerfully present in these books, as are a number of the poets Motion and Morrison published in Contemporary British Poetry: Douglas Dunn, Anne Stevenson, Craig Raine, James Fenton, Andrew ...
5 May 1983
Philip Larkin 
by Andrew Motion.
Methuen, 96 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 416 32270 0
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... own poems. When Kemp first sees and then actually meets the double of Jill, a real girl called Gillian, who turns out to be the cousin of his room-mate’s girl, his personality, already meagre, seems to take leave of the reader, and after a symbolic consummation he is thrown into a fountain by her friends, catches a severe chill, and collapses in the ...

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