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Harriet Guest, 10 December 1987

The Rules of Life 
by Fay Weldon.
Century Hutchinson, 79 pp., £7.95, September 1987, 0 09 168680 6
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The Hearts and Lives of Men 
by Fay Weldon.
Heinemann, 328 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 434 85192 2
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... Let there not be a single stripe, a single spot, a single stray grey sock or tartan-bordered handkerchief, implores Miss Sumpter, that goes with the white wash into the tub or into the machine, or pure whiteness will be lost forever. Heavily soiled cotton and linen whites must of course be pre-washed before allowed into contact with more delicate fabrics – woollens and silks and polyesters and so forth: even so, and although quite a quantity of the heavier, tougher fabrics may be allowed to press up close in the wash with one another, be tumbled this way and that and still not lose their purity, it is preferable to wash a white blouse, or white stockings, or a white shirt, quite separately ...

Mr Lion, Mr Cock and Mr Cat

Roger Lonsdale, 5 April 1990

A Form of Sound Words: The Religious Poetry of Christopher Smart 
by Harriet Guest.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, October 1989, 0 19 811744 2
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... Harriet Guest’s starting-point is Donald Davie’s suggestion in 1958 that Christopher Smart might be considered ‘the greatest poet between Pope and Wordsworth’. Her intelligent and carefully argued book does not deliver quite the far-reaching reassessment of Smart’s status Davie must have had in mind ...


Chris Baldick, 10 November 1988

Poetry, Language and Politics 
by John Barrell.
Manchester, 174 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2441 2
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Garden – Nature – Language 
by Simon Pugh.
Manchester, 148 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 2824 8
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Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture 
by David Cairns and Shaun Richards.
Manchester, 178 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2371 8
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The Shakespeare Myth 
edited by Graham Holderness.
Manchester, 215 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 1488 3
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... and rural labourers. Just as stimulating in a different way is the chapter on Pope, written with Harriet Guest. Here the benefits of abandoning practical criticism’s assumptions of organic unity become startlingly evident as the authors ponder the frequency with which longer poems of the 18th century flatly contradict themselves on major points of ...

Burnished and braced

Alethea Hayter, 12 July 1990

A Second Self: The Letters of Harriet Granville 1810-1845 
edited by Virginia Surtees.
Michael Russell, 320 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 0 85955 165 2
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... burnished and braced’ aspect of an ambivalent personality and pattern of life. It presents Harriet Cavendish (or Hah-yet Candish as it was then pronounced) only as a wife. For her upbringing among the splendours of the Devonshire ménage, and for her widowhood, Betty Askwith’s Piety and Wit is needed as a complement to this sparkling collection of ...

The Ground Hostess

Francis Wyndham, 1 April 1983

... The telephone rang. It had to be Hurricane Harriet. ‘Hi,’ she said. ‘Hi. Listen, I can’t talk now – ’ ‘You sound funny. Is something the matter? Look, why don’t I come over right – ’ ‘No,’ I said in a panic, and I hung up on her. The telephone rang again at once. This time it was Jeremy – who else? ‘Hi,’ he said ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism, 25 March 2010

The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... Few Don’ts by an Imagiste’, published in the March 1913 issue of Poetry, several months after Harriet Monroe, its founding editor, had signed Pound up as a ‘foreign correspondent’. In the heat of excitement he had met up with H.D. in the British Museum tea room and marked up the manuscript copy of her poem ‘Hermes of the Ways’. To her ...

Edward and Tilly and George

Robert Melville, 15 March 1984

Swans Reflecting Elephants: My Early Years 
by Edward James, edited by George Melly.
Weidenfeld, 178 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 297 77988 5
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... came down from Oxford in 1929 he went to New York to spend the winter with Arthur and his wife Harriet. They were childless and it was thought that Edward might inherit. Arthur was worth about four hundred million dollars, but when the Depression came he was down to a mere 98 million. Harriet had crying fits to think of ...

Take out all the adjectives

Jeremy Harding: The poetry of George Oppen, 6 May 2004

New Collected Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by Michael Davidson.
Carcanet, 433 pp., £14.95, July 2003, 1 85754 631 8
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... were in Europe that the word ‘Objectivist’ came into existence. Pound had foisted Zukofsky on Harriet Monroe as a guest editor of Poetry for an issue which appeared in February 1931. Carl Rakosi, another first-phase Objectivist and a good raconteur, reran the story for August Kleinzahler and George Evans half a century ...

Only the Drop

Gabriele Annan, 17 October 1996

Every Man for Himself 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £14.99, September 1996, 0 7156 2733 3
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... and regretted by the other, noblesse oblige looms over behaviour like an unwelcome but unejectable guest. Captain Scott has a partition put up in the expedition’s tent: ‘I’m quite sure the arrangement is to the satisfaction of officers and men alike,’ he notes in his usual stuffy tone. ‘Whatever conversations take place on the other side of the ...

At Miss Whitehead’s

Edward Said, 7 July 1994

The Sixties: The Last Journal, 1960-1972 
by Edmund Wilson, edited by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 968 pp., $35, July 1993, 0 374 26554 2
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... student of literature at some of the same universities he frequented first as student and later as guest lecturer. During World War One he was a Princeton undergraduate (as I was almost fifty years later) with F. Scott Fitzgerald and John Peale Bishop, at a time of what seems now like relatively uncomplicated Wasp hegemony there and in the arts generally. His ...

Ladies and Gentlemen

Patricia Beer, 6 May 1982

The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-17 
by Jane Marcus.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 333 25589 5
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The Harsh Voice 
by Rebecca West, introduced by Alexandra Pringle.
Virago, 250 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 0 86068 249 8
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The Meaning of Treason 
by Rebecca West.
Virago, 439 pp., £3.95, February 1982, 0 86068 256 0
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by Rebecca West.
Weidenfeld, 190 pp., £10, February 1982, 9780297779636
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... now as Rebecca West, she published another one in the Freewoman, the feminist paper financed by Harriet Weaver and edited by Dora Marsden. It is a good thwacking piece, cheerfully serious, in which she accuses Mrs Humphry Ward of lacking both honour and sense in her aggrandisement of ‘the sheltered woman’, who can be recognised by ‘a smooth brow that ...

Fast Water off the Bow-Wave

Jeremy Harding: George Oppen, 21 June 2018

21 Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by David B. Hobbs.
New Directions, 48 pp., £7.99, September 2017, 978 0 8112 2691 2
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... a small press, To Publishers, with Zukofsky as editor. In 1931, at Pound’s instigation, Zukofsky guest edited an issue of Harriet Monroe’s Poetry. With it came the term ‘Objectivist’: Monroe had wanted a peg. There were quite a few poets who didn’t seem to fit, but Williams was there, while the key figures ...

What a Mother

Mary-Kay Wilmers: Marianne Moore and Her Mother, 3 December 2015

Holding On Upside Down: The Life and Work of Marianne Moore 
by Linda Leavell.
Farrar, Straus, 455 pp., $18, September 2014, 978 0 374 53494 3
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... she received, and it augured a change in her – or in modernism’s – fortunes. In July, Harriet Monroe, the editor of Poetry, accepted five poems; in April 1915 two of her poems appeared in the Egoist, the paper Richard Aldington edited (‘I am so delighted to have them take me I shouldn’t mind if they charged me’); in August, HD invited her to ...

The Italy of Human Beings

Frances Wilson: Felicia Hemans, 16 November 2000

Felicia Hemans: ‘Records of Woman’ with Other Poems 
edited by Paula Feldman.
Kentucky, 248 pp., £15.50, September 1999, 0 8131 0964 7
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... years after Records of Woman was published, Wordsworth’s sister-in-law thought that the house-guest was not ladylike enough. Mrs Hemans, Sara Hutchinson complained, offended feminine etiquette and had ideas above her station. She was ‘that despicable thing: a woman living on admiration’. She talked incessantly, expecting not only to be listened to but ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... enlightening about the mind of Mick Jagger. This incandescent incarnation of frenzied freedom, a guest star even in Edie, which describes him as ‘the most famous singer and the one everybody wanted to fuck’ and reproduces a snapshot in which his Ovidian mouth is open to swallow the heroine, reveals, when he opens that mouth to talk to Vyner, the ...

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