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Shaggy Fellows

David Norbrook, 9 July 1987

A History of Modern Poetry: Modernism and After 
by David Perkins.
Harvard, 694 pp., £19.95, April 1987, 0 674 39946 3
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Collected Poems 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Penguin, 207 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 14 008383 9
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The Poetry of Geoffrey Hill 
by Henry Hart.
Southern Illinois, 305 pp., $24.95, January 1986, 0 8093 1236 0
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... aesthetics as well as with his politics? This is a question that needs extensive treatment, and Henry Hart provides some illumination in the first full-length study of Hill’s poetry. Apprehension may be aroused by the sentence from Donald Hall’s introduction quoted on the dust-jacket: ‘Geoffrey Hill’s intense Englishness leaches back into the ...

Saucy to Princes

Gerald Hammond: The Bible, 25 July 2002

The Book: A History of the Bible 
by Christopher de Hamel.
Phaidon, 352 pp., £24.95, September 2001, 0 7148 3774 1
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The Wycliffe New Testament 1388 
edited by W.R. Cooper.
British Library, 528 pp., £20, May 2002, 0 7123 4728 3
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... the rise and fall of the Bible in working-class life. Beginning with 16th-century figures such as Henry Hart, who ‘led a group of about sixty dissidents who believed that the educated class had misinterpreted Scripture and were determined to read it for themselves’, Rose fixes the origins of plebeian intellectual culture in the Bible’s singular ...

Extraordinary People

Anthony Powell, 4 June 1981

The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... Among those who appeared there from time to time with a guest evidently not his wife was Rupert Hart-Davis. He was unique among those couples, with their faintly clandestine air, in boldly underlining his presence within the pub by parking outside the entrance a publisher’s van on the side of which was inscribed in large letters: RUPERT ...

Hoo sto ho sto mon amy

Maurice Keen: Knightly Pursuits, 15 December 2005

A Knight’s Own Book of Chivalry 
by Geoffroi de Charny, translated by Elspeth Kennedy.
Pennsylvania, 117 pp., £10, May 2005, 0 8122 1909 0
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The Master of Game: The Oldest English Book on Hunting 
by Edward, Duke of York.
Pennsylvania, 302 pp., £14.50, September 2005, 0 8122 1937 6
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... Aumerle; and for the same reason he lost the title two years later when Richard lost his throne to Henry Bolingbroke. After 1399, though for long distrusted (justifiably) by the new Lancastrian regime, he on the whole served Henry IV well. Between 1402 and 1407 he was heavily engaged in the drawn-out fighting in Wales to put ...

Old America

W.C. Spengemann, 7 January 1988

Look homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe 
by David Herbert Donald.
Bloomsbury, 579 pp., £16.95, April 1987, 0 7475 0004 5
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From this moment on: America in 1940 
by Jeffrey Hart.
Crown, 352 pp., $19.95, February 1987, 9780517557419
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... may be classified according to the times and places in which they locate their homes. Some, like Henry Adams, seem to discover that far country through study and then begin to remember it as their own birthplace. Others, like David Donald and Jeffrey Hart, remember it first and then study it up in order to flesh out their ...

Supermax

John Bayley, 8 December 1988

The Letters of Max Beerbohm 1892-1956 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 244 pp., £16.95, August 1988, 0 7195 4537 4
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The Faber Book of Letters 
edited by Felix Pryor.
Faber, 319 pp., £12.95, October 1988, 0 571 15269 4
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... for pen to write or paper to record.’ Yet pen wrote it and paper recorded it, even so. Rupert Hart-Davis does not reprint much of the correspondence about Wilde, rightly thinking it available elsewhere, but he does publish the touching letter Max wrote to Robert Ross, Oscar’s premier initiator, when he was in New York with his half-brother, the famous ...

So Much Smoke

Tom Shippey: King Arthur, 20 December 2018

King Arthur: the Making of the Legend 
by Nicholas Higham.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 21092 7
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... lack of corroboration from any European chronicle that eventually – and much to the annoyance of Henry VII – put an end to Arthur-based claims of ancient seniority for English kings.As for the many modern attempts to make sense likewise of Nennius’s list of battles, by identifying place-names and trying to construct a plausible campaign history, Higham ...

He fights with flashing weapons

Katherine Rundell: Thomas Wyatt, 6 December 2012

Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest 
by Susan Brigden.
Faber, 714 pp., £30, September 2012, 978 0 571 23584 1
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Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy 
by Nicola Shulman.
Short Books, 378 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 1 906021 11 5
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... innocence. It is a punning lament, for neither wit nor Wyatt himself can change the mind of Henry VIII. ‘My head sticks’: that is both a hope and a horror, in that botched beheadings were not uncommon. Thomas Cromwell’s was particularly crude and butcherly. The Tower of London has been partially reconstructed since that day in 1536, and we cannot ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes, 18 February 1999

Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... fought. In this he was echoed by his admirer and biographer, the military historian, Basil Liddell Hart, although an anonymous reviewer of Anthony Nutting’s Lawrence of Arabia: The Man and the Motive in the TLS was to mock this notion that all wars could be won by adopting Lawrence’s tactics: ‘No one ever defeated an enemy by avoiding him: all that can ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’, 6 February 2014

... a perfect host. By the end the question is, who haven’t we encountered? We bump into Whitman, Hart Crane, all the Abstract Expressionists, Herbert Huncke plus any given Beat, all of the New York School, Bob Dylan, Nico, John Cale, Lou Reed, Malcolm McLaren, Patti Smith and Mapplethorpe, William Eggleston, and … hang on, here’s Walker Evans. And ...

Schusterism

C.H. Sisson, 18 April 1985

Diaries: 1923-1925 
by Siegfried Sassoon, edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 571 13322 3
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... acquaintance of Sassoon’s, still cuts a dignified figure; it was indeed only in 1925, as Rupert Hart-Davis tells us in one of his meticulous (and most helpful) footnotes, that this ‘critic, biographer and man of letters’, born in 1849, was knighted. Frank Schuster (1840-1928), ‘wealthy musiclover and giver of parties’, was still giving parties, and ...

Hillside Men

Roy Foster: Ernie O’Malley, 16 July 1998

Ernie O’Malley: IRA Intellectual 
by Richard English.
Oxford, 284 pp., £25, March 1998, 0 01 982059 3
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... story in cadences influenced by the early Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and American writer friends like Hart Crane, but with a dry assurance all his own. The heroics come through all the more powerfully in his highly-polished but economical style. The supreme example can be found in the closing paragraph of the book. It is July 1921; the ...

Awful but Cheerful

Gillian White: The Tentativeness of Elizabeth Bishop, 25 May 2006

Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments 
by Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Alice Quinn.
Farrar, Straus, 367 pp., £22.50, March 2006, 0 374 14645 4
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... Human Abstract’. The Vassar archives hold references to many other writers and critics – Henry James, Hart Crane, as well as notes on modern art and scattered thoughts on narrative – that don’t make it into Quinn’s edition, and it would have been good to know more about her selection criteria. Small quarrels ...

Through the Gullet

Helen Cooper: Medieval recipes, 16 April 1998

The Medieval Kitchen: Recipes from France and Italy 
by Odile Redon and Françoise Sabban, translated by Edward Schneider.
Chicago, 324 pp., £25.95, September 1998, 0 226 70684 2
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... During the Christmas celebrations of 1251, Henry III and his court ate their way through 830 deer of various kinds, 200 wild swine, 1300 hares and 115 cranes. Basic supplies for the feast to mark the installation of George Neville as Archbishop of York in 1467 began with 104 oxen, 1000 sheep, 10,000 capons and six wild bulls, washed down with a hundred barrels of wine ...

War within wars

Paul Addison, 5 November 1992

War, Strategy and International Politics: Essays in Honour of Sir Michael Howard 
edited by Lawrence Freedman, Paul Hayes and Robert O’Neill.
Oxford, 322 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 822292 0
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... of the Oxford Union, and a performance just before finals as Wolsey in Shakespeare’s Henry VIII, he missed a First in Part II. This was a stroke of luck which, by ruling out a tutorship at Oxford, freed him to pursue his interests in military history as a lecturer at King’s College, London. His first book, a history of the Coldstream Guards ...

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