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17 July 1980
... of the future will be that Dean Stanley has enshrined a woman whose achievements were without parallel in the previous history of womankind.’ Opposition came, strangely, from the liberal scientist Thomas Henry Huxley. In reply to a telegram from Herbert Spencer asking support for the burial, Huxley wrote:   It can hardly be doubted that the proposal will be bitterly opposed, possibly with the ...

The Perfect Pattern of a Prelate

Eamon Duffy: Pius XII and the Jews

26 September 2013
The Life and Pontificate of Pope Pius XII: Between History and Controversy 
by Frank Coppa.
Catholic University of America, 306 pp., £25.50, February 2013, 978 0 8132 2016 1
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The Pope’s Jews: The Vatican’s Secret Plan to Save Jews from the Nazis 
by Gordon Thomas.
Robson, 336 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 1 84954 506 8
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Soldier of Christ: The Life of Pope Pius XII 
by Robert Ventresca.
Harvard, 405 pp., £25, January 2013, 978 0 674 04961 1
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... a new depth to our understanding of this austere and complicated man. Studies of Pius have too often made cases for the prosecution or the defence, in which Pacelli features as a monster or a saint. GordonThomas’s account of Pacelli’s response to the Final Solution, for instance, is a tendentious exercise in exculpation and hagiography that implausibly depicts Pacelli as a papal pimpernel ...

Emily v. Mabel

Susan Eilenberg: Emily Dickinson

30 June 2011
Lives like Loaded Guns: Emily Dickinson and Her Family’s Feuds 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Virago, 491 pp., £9.99, April 2011, 978 1 84408 453 1
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Dickinson: Selected Poems and Commentaries 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 535 pp., £25.95, September 2010, 978 0 674 04867 6
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... not be a Chamber – to be Haunted – One need not be a House – The Brain has Corridors – surpassing Material Place – ‘All men say “What” to me,’ Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson. She certainly mystified Higginson. He never entirely overcame his uneasiness about her odd, disjunctive words and bewildering epistolary tones and seven years into their ...

Private Thomas

Andrew Motion

19 December 1985
Edward ThomasA Portrait 
by R. George Thomas.
Oxford, 331 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 19 818527 8
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... R. George Thomas is a cautious man. His life of Edward Thomas (no relation) is ‘a portrait’ not ‘a biography’. Maybe this is just as well. The poet was a cautious man too. He was also a scrupulous one, and when we read in the first few pages that ...
29 September 1988
Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... The idea that Eliot’s poetry was rooted in private aspects of his life has now been accepted,’ says Lyndall Gordon in the Foreword to her second volume of biographical rooting among these aspects. This acceptance, which she evidently approves, has undoubtedly occurred, as a root through the enormous heap of books ...
7 September 2000
Irish America 
by Reginald Byron.
Oxford, 317 pp., £40, November 1999, 0 19 823355 8
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Remembering Ahanagran: Storytelling in a Family’s Past 
by Richard White.
Cork, 282 pp., IR£14.99, October 1999, 1 85918 232 1
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From the Sin-é Café to the Black Hills: Notes on the New Irish 
by Eamon Wall.
Wisconsin, 139 pp., $16.95, February 2000, 0 299 16724 0
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The Encyclopedia of the Irish in America 
edited by Michael Glazier.
Notre Dame, 988 pp., £58.50, August 1999, 0 268 02755 2
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... a bit. Wall is more concerned with what a writer chooses as subject-matter than with where he or she is from. He discusses the work of writers from a great variety of backgrounds: Brian Moore, Mary Gordon, Thomas McGonigle and Michael Stephens. Stephens’s work, he says, is best read alongside that of the African-American Trey Ellis, the Latina Sandra Cisneros and the Scot James Kelman, rather than ...

Crop Masters

Daniel Aaron

19 January 1989
Tobacco Culture: The Mentality of the Great Tidewater Planters on the Eve of the Revolution 
by T.H. Breen.
Princeton, 216 pp., $9.95, February 1988, 0 691 04729 4
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... and moral decline between 1675 and 1725 evoked small concern in the general population, but it provided American revolutionists with a schema. The pervasive influence of Country publicists like ThomasGordon, John Trenchard, Bolingbroke and Benjamin Hoadly on colonial pamphleteers is now taken for granted. American historians have tested Bailyn’s thesis by extending and particularising it. This ...

No Law at All

Stephen Sedley: The Governor Eyre Affair

2 November 2006
A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law 
by R.W. Kostal.
Oxford, 529 pp., £79.95, December 2005, 0 19 826076 8
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... distinguished it from the measures adopted in response to other such risings. What gave the outrage a focus was that Eyre had personally authorised the arrest in Kingston of a man named George Gordon, and what today would be called his extraordinary rendition to Morant Bay. Arriving there on a Saturday, Gordon was given an instant trial without access to counsel and hanged two days later – the ...

Menagerie of Live Authors

Francesca Wade: Marys Shelley and Wollstonecraft

7 October 2015
Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley 
by Charlotte Gordon.
Hutchinson, 649 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 09 195894 7
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... at school that he needed to learn to think for himself, Mary Shelley said: ‘Oh God, teach him to think like other people!’ Percy Florence was unusual in a uniformly cerebral family. Charlotte Gordon’s premise for writing a dual biography of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley is that while their lives overlapped only for ten days, they shared a spirit. Wollstonecraft’s work – especially ...
5 May 1988
Under Storm’s Wing 
by Helen Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas.
Carcanet, 318 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 85635 733 2
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... The structural ironies of Edward Thomas’s life still condition his reputation. Just as he made a late poetic start, so criticism has been slow to gather momentum. Even the recent spate of studies – by Michael Kirkham, Stan Smith, and ...

Short Cuts

Thomas​ Jones: TV Lit

15 November 2001
... because he can’t bear looking at his reflection even to shave. At the BBC, when he’s not on air he’s as likely as not in the toilet, not snorting cocaine as everyone thinks but throwing up. Gordon Bannach, a reporter at the Daily News, is determined to destroy Fleming’s career, which he does with a bit of help from a researcher fatale calling herself Abbi Pascoe – real name Tanya Griffiths ...

Short Cuts

Thomas​ Jones: Politicians and the Press

26 January 2006
... Kennedy. If the conspirators had waited too much longer, there was always the danger that they might have found coverage of their coup overshadowed by the downfall of the prime minister (in Gordon Brown’s dreams). When politicians fall, it’s in everyone’s interest that they fall hard; Kennedy’s suggestion that he stand for re-election was never going to go down well. At least he’s ...

Short Cuts

Thomas​ Jones: Blair’s nuptials

3 March 2005
... himself at great length, ensuring that most of the media coverage would do the same. According to a poll published in the Independent in January, Labour would do better at a general election under Gordon Brown’s leadership. Never mind the good of the country: if Blair really cared more about his party staying in government than about himself staying in Number Ten, he wouldn’t still be there ...

Short Cuts

Thomas​ Jones: The life expectancy of a Roman emperor

3 June 2004
... more than happy to overlook evidence of torture that was.) Admittedly, Morgan didn’t resign so much as get sacked, but it would be rash of the prime minister to wait for the electorate to sack him: Gordon Brown wouldn’t be the only disappointed person were Tony Blair to be succeeded by Michael Howard. Caracalla was succeeded by Macrinus, a co-conspirator of Martialis, the man who did the actual ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair

5 June 2003
... school.) When Geoffrey joined them a month or two later it was clear that something had to change. He looked for a position of some kind but without success. A deal was struck with his elder brother, Gordon, a leading Anglican theologian and Dean of Winchester, who took possession of the title deeds of the farm and offered them a loan. But the condition was that Helen was to take over. Her husband was ...

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