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12 September 1991
... author of ‘Into Battle’, he is seen as the saddest freak of the literary fairground: the one-poem poet. The publication of his collected poems will give the lie to that gross misperception. Henry Reed was born, in Birmingham, on 22 February 1914 and named after his father, a master bricklayer and foreman in charge of forcing at Nocks’ Brickworks. Henry senior was nothing if not forceful, a ...
6 January 1994
The Magus of the North: J.G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism 
by Isaiah Berlin, edited by Henry Hardy.
Murray, 144 pp., £14.99, October 1993, 0 7195 5312 1
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... to consider the ensemble of Berlin’s studies of modern thought. The volume is a collection of lectures originally delivered in 1965 and then forgotten, until their existence was discovered by HenryHardy, who shaped them into a publishable manuscript. The result is a happy one. Not only does the book give a sense of how Berlin began thinking about the opposition between the Enlightenment and ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy

4 January 2007
Thomas HardyThe Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... but ‘stretched out in a horizontal line, like a gigantic ostrich feather whose tip kept blowing away’. But where Flaubert turns his train-steam into writing, flourishing his fine literary simile, Hardy, flirting with the pictorially gnomic, seems to want to resist that conversion; Hardy would like to preserve the visuality of the detail. Hardy was supremely a man ‘who used to notice such things ...

Kiss me, Hardy

Humphrey Carpenter

15 November 1984
Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Chatto, 266 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2908 5
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Watson’s Apology 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 222 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7156 1935 7
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The Foreigner 
by David Plante.
Chatto, 237 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2904 2
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... the outside they were set in was somehow also metaphorical, that’s to say was really the inside of something else.’ So it’s rather a blow to Barney to discover he’s a reincarnation of Thomas Hardy. The discovery comes about at a séance organised by Sharon in her bookshop, where, under the influence of a hypnotist, Barney finds himself recounting, in the first person, Hardy’s memory of ...

Cramming for Success

James Wood: Hardy​ in London

14 June 2017
Thomas HardyHalf A Londoner 
by Mark Ford.
Harvard, 305 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 0 674 73789 1
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... the contingent; it is one half of art, the other being the eternal and the immovable.’I was often put in mind of ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ while reading Mark Ford’s study of Thomas Hardy. Ford doesn’t mention it (though he does refer to Baudelaire’s flaneurial poems), perhaps because that manifesto is too obvious, or too obviously theoretical: he prefers to build his case ...

Embarrassed

Graham Hough

7 October 1982
Thomas HardyA Biography 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 637 pp., £15, June 1982, 0 19 211725 4
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. III: 1902-1908 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 367 pp., £19.50, July 1982, 0 19 812620 4
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The Neglected HardyThomas Hardy’s Lesser Novels 
by Richard Taylor.
Macmillan, 202 pp., £17.50, May 1982, 0 333 31051 9
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Good Little Thomas Hardy 
by C.H. Salter.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 333 29387 8
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Thomas Hardy​ and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form 
by Penny Boumelha.
Harvester, 178 pp., £18.95, April 1982, 0 7108 0018 5
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Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy 
by Arlene Jackson.
Macmillan, 151 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 32303 3
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... There has been an abundance of good critical writing about Thomas Hardy, from Lionel Johnson in 1894 to our own day, but his biography has been in a curious condition from the start. The authorised version (Early Life, 1928; Later Years, 1930) is supposed to be by ...

Cheeky

Norman Page

16 March 1989
Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas HardyThe Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy​ Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy​ Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... is another ghostly volume we are unable to read, for it contains all those letters that have been lost or destroyed. Hence a scholarly enterprise such as the Purdy/Millgate edition, now complete, of Hardy’s letters, handsomely produced and impeccably edited though it is – or perhaps precisely because it has such a finished and monumental look – can inadvertently create a false impression ...
2 August 1984
The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... The fourth volume of the Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy opens with a recommendation for Mr Harry Pouncy, ‘Lecturer and Entertainer’, of Dorchester, apparently with a view to his extending his fascinations to a wider public. There follows a note to ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists

7 June 2007
The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... Literary tourism is naff. It means coach parties, blue plaques, monuments, the National Trust, Friends of this and that. It buys from Oxfam books like The Brontë Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back ...

Diary

Christopher Nicholson: Rare Birds

22 November 2018
... but the Reverend John Mansel-Pleydell (1817-1902), a naturalist and antiquary, who later wrote the first history of Dorset’s birds. Of the other characters involved, the Earl of Ilchester was Henry Stephen Fox-Strangways (1787-1858), who lived at Melbury House near Evershot, in west Dorset. Built in the 16th century, Melbury is a grand English country house with formal gardens, lakes and an ...

Shuffling off

John Sutherland

18 April 1985
Death Sentences: Styles of Dying in British Fiction 
by Garrett Stewart.
Harvard, 403 pp., £19.80, December 1984, 0 674 19428 4
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Forms of Feeling in Victorian Fiction 
by Barbara Hardy.
Owen, 215 pp., £12.50, January 1985, 9780720606119
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Language and Class in Victorian England 
by K.C. Phillipps.
Basil Blackwell in association with Deutsch, 190 pp., £19.50, November 1984, 0 631 13689 4
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... coda of The Newcomes provides the textual obverse of Amy Dorrit’s confidence in closural inscription, which seems for her the open-ended predication of a new “life story”.’ (If what?) Barbara Hardy shares with Stewart a sense of the Victorian novel’s maturity, a maturity which exacts the full range of 20th-century exegetic skill. But in other respects the two critics are traditions apart. The ...

Lotti’s Leap

Penelope Fitzgerald

1 July 1982
Collected Poems and Prose 
by Charlotte Mew, edited by Val Warner.
Carcanet/Virago, 445 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 85635 260 8
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... by Fred. Here Lotti, radiant, passionate and excitable, ruled the nursery, hopped up beside the driver whenever a cab was called, and was half-mad with excitement at Christmas. She told Florence Hardy that she ‘never outgrew the snowflakes’. And yet when she was only seven two of her brothers died – one a baby, one, her great playmate, a six-year-old. Lotti, as was then considered right, was ...
15 September 1988
Europe and the Mystique of Islam 
by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger Veinus.
Tauris, 163 pp., £19.50, April 1988, 1 85043 104 3
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The Political Language of Islam 
by Bernard Lewis.
Chicago, 168 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 226 47692 8
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Islam and Revolution in the Middle East 
by Henry​ Munson.
Yale, 180 pp., £15.95, June 1988, 0 300 04127 6
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... that the modern idea of nationalism has been fully absorbed into the mainstream of Muslim thinking, from Morocco to Indonesia. Lewis is implicitly challenged in a number of respects, too, in Henry Munson’s stimulating book, Islam and Revolution in the Middle East. Take, for example, Lewis’s endorsement of the familiar argument that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam ...
25 April 1991
... subtly depends on a bald newspaper technique: the awful or comic or odd or dissociated things one sees in the press. The method, like Greene’s, is highly effective, but it can never produce what Henry James would have called ‘saturation’. Virginia Woolf remarked that A Handful of Dust was a brilliant novel but that she didn’t believe a word of it: a way of turning round the ordinary reader ...

Wrong Trowsers

E.S. Turner

21 July 1994
A History of Men’s Fashion 
by Farid Chenoune, translated by Deke Dusinberre.
Flammarion/Thames & Hudson, 336 pp., £50, October 1993, 2 08 013536 8
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The Englishman’s Suit 
by Hardy​ Amies.
Quartet, 116 pp., £12, June 1994, 9780704370760
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... fat plopping down into the ladies’ bare chests, and gentlefolk exchanging non-stop courtesies on the lines of ‘Pleased to meet you.’ ‘So I see.’ In essence, Chenoune’s book, like that of Hardy Amies, tells of the rise and near-eclipse of the suit, as evolved from the gentleman’s riding coat, and of the attempts by successive counter-cultures, delinquent and otherwise, to discredit it. In ...

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