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Reader, I married you

Alethea Hayter, 30 March 1989

Robert Browning and Elizabeth Barrett: The Courtship Correspondence 1845-1846 
edited by Daniel Karlin.
Oxford, 363 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 19 818547 2
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... of another correspondence such as she had had in the past with other men of letters – with Hugh Stuart Boyd on prosody, with Richard Hengist Horne on contemporary literature, with Benjamin Robert Haydon on the artist’s vocation. Browning in this first letter told her that he loved her poetry with its ‘fresh strange music, the affluent language, the ...

Toot Sweet

Ian Aitken, 27 May 1993

Tired and Emotional: The life of George Brown 
by Peter Paterson.
Chatto, 320 pp., £20, May 1993, 0 7011 3976 5
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... our hero, as Her Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, is the guest of honour. When the orchestra strikes up a toe-tapping tune, George spots an attractive figure clad entirely in scarlet, approaches, bows unsteadily, and declares with exaggerated gallantry: ‘Oh beautiful lady in red, may I have this waltz?’ The person thus ...

For ever England

John Lucas, 16 June 1983

Sherston’s Progress 
by Siegfried Sassoon.
Faber, 150 pp., £2.25, March 1983, 9780571130337
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The War Poems of Siegfried Sassoon 
by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 160 pp., £5.25, March 1983, 0 571 13010 0
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Siegfried Sassoon Diaries 1915-1918 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 288 pp., £10.50, March 1983, 0 571 11997 2
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... reviewers and commentators, then and later, seem to have agreed with Spring’s assessment. Not Hugh MacDiarmid, however. In a poem which contrasts those who went to fight in 1914 with the International Brigaders, MacDiarmid writes: Despite the undeniable honesty, the little literary gift, What is Sherston’s Progress but an exposure Of the eternal ...

Making saints

Peter Burke, 18 October 1984

Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom 1000-1700 
by Donald Weinstein and Rudolph Bell.
Chicago, 314 pp., £21.25, February 1983, 0 226 89055 4
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The Norman Conquest and Beyond 
by Frank Barlow.
Hambledon, 318 pp., £22, June 1983, 0 907628 19 2
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Miracles and the Medieval Mind 
by Benedicta Ward.
Scolar, 321 pp., £17.50, November 1983, 0 85967 609 9
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The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume 
by R.M. Burns.
Associated University Presses, 305 pp., £17.50, July 1983, 0 8387 2378 0
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Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore and History 
edited by Stephen Wilson.
Cambridge, 435 pp., £35, December 1983, 0 521 24978 3
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... If we can only discover why, say, kamikaze pilots or Medieval saints have been singled out for honour, so the argument goes, the basic values of the culture which admires them will be revealed. The idea of using the saints of the Catholic Church as a kind of historical or sociological litmus paper goes back at least as far as the beginning of the ...

Eden and Suez

David Gilmour, 18 December 1986

Anthony Eden 
by Robert Rhodes James.
Weidenfeld, 665 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 297 78989 9
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Descent to Suez: Diaries 1951-56 
by Evelyn Shuckburgh, edited by John Charmley.
Weidenfeld, 380 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 297 78993 7
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Cutting the Lion’s Tail: Suez through Egyptian Eyes 
by Mohamed Heikal.
Deutsch, 242 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 233 97967 0
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The Suez Affair 
by Hugh Thomas.
Weidenfeld, 255 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 297 78953 8
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... for Sir Anthony Nutting. In his introduction to the new edition of The Suez Affair, Hugh Thomas describes Sir Anthony as ‘the one man who conducted himself consistently and with impeccable honour’ at the time of Suez, and it is a judgment difficult to dispute. A young and talented minister of ...

Riches to riches

John Brooks, 20 November 1986

Bend’Or, Duke of Westminster: A Personal Memoir 
by George Ridley.
Robin Clark, 213 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 86072 096 9
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Getty: The Richest Man in the World 
by Robert Lenzner.
Hutchinson, 283 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 09 162840 7
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... Nazis during the Thirties; each was an important art-collector. But there the resemblance ends. Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor (1879-1953), Duke of Westminster – called Bend’Or from the family coat of arms – was the product of a landed Cheshire family whose estate, Eaton Hall south of Liverpool, dated from the 15th century. The family’s first ...

What happened to MacDiarmid

David Norbrook, 23 October 1986

Hugh MacDiarmid: The Man and his Work 
by Nancy Gish.
Macmillan, 235 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 333 29473 4
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Complete Poems 
by Hugh MacDiarmid.
Penguin, £8.95, February 1985, 0 14 007913 0
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... assault on the ‘English ethos’ comes from one of its most vehement and defiant opponents, Hugh MacDiarmid. In the preface to his last published collection, Direadh (1974), he praised Eagleton’s book, but added that he had unfortunately overlooked the one shining exception to his general thesis: MacDiarmid himself. If even Eagleton has been ...

Syme’s Revolution

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 24 January 1980

Roman Papers 
by Ronald Syme, edited by E. Badian.
Oxford, 878 pp., £35, November 1980, 0 19 814367 2
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... handsome volumes and decorated with a good photograph. The collection was originally planned to honour Sir Ronald on his 70th birthday in 1973. Its appearance was delayed in the hope that an index would be available in time, a hope that has sadly been disappointed. But we are promised an index that will embrace the contents not only of this volume but of ...

Feet on the mantelpiece

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 21 August 1980

The Victorians and Ancient Greece 
by Richard Jenkyns.
Blackwell, 386 pp., £15, June 1980, 0 631 10991 9
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... education in the ancient universities, and the institution of the Tripos at Cambridge and the Honour Schools at Oxford had the effect of increasing substantially the numbers of those able to read Greek texts. Learned work continued for some time to be done in the 18th-century tradition: that is true of the brilliant specialised textual critics of Greek ...

At Manchester Art Gallery

Inigo Thomas: Annie Swynnerton, 27 September 2018

... as an artist made it almost impossible for her not to be one. ‘I am much gratified at the honour bestowed upon me,’ she said on learning of her election to the RA, ‘but true art needs no incentive; its work is its own reward.’ Annie Swynnerton was born Anne Louisa Robinson in Manchester in 1844, one of the four daughters of a legal clerk and his ...

A Conversation with Gore Vidal

Thomas Powers: Meeting Gore Vidal, 31 July 2014

... Bellow called him the conductor on the gravy train. Wherever they were passing out money, honour, position, awards – there was Kazin. I didn’t read his memoirs. Well – I did read A Walker in the City, but not the last volume. He’s rewriting his own history. Apparently he didn’t even know Edmund Wilson all that well, and I don’t think ...

Why name a ship after a defeated race?

Thomas Laqueur: New Lives of the ‘Titanic’, 24 January 2013

The Wreck of the ‘Titan’ 
by Morgan Robertson.
Hesperus, 85 pp., £8, March 2012, 978 1 84391 359 7
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Shadow of the ‘Titanic’ 
by Andrew Wilson.
Simon and Schuster, 392 pp., £8.99, March 2012, 978 1 84739 882 6
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‘Titanic’ 100th Anniversary Edition: A Night Remembered 
by Stephanie Barczewski.
Continuum, 350 pp., £15.99, December 2011, 978 1 4411 6169 7
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The Story of the Unsinkable ‘Titanic’: Day by Day Facsimile Reports 
by Michael Wilkinson and Robert Hamilton.
Transatlantic, 127 pp., £16.99, November 2011, 978 1 907176 83 8
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‘Titanic’ Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 404 pp., £9.99, September 2012, 978 0 00 732166 7
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage 
by Hugh Brewster.
Robson, 338 pp., £20, March 2012, 978 1 84954 179 4
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‘Titanic’ Calling 
edited by Michael Hughes and Katherine Bosworth.
Bodleian, 163 pp., £14.99, April 2012, 978 1 85124 377 8
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... Vegas, plus tax) for the opportunity to hear ‘countless stories of heroism and humanity that pay honour to the indomitable force of the human spirit in the face of tragedy’. They have bought replica artefacts, replica clothes, replica perfume (‘Legacy 1912 Titanic’ – a tie-in to a display of vials owned by a perfume merchant called Adolphe Saalfeld ...

Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode, 6 February 1997

Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... End of the Affair. These writers and many others of many stripes – Herbert Read, D.H. Lawrence, Hugh Walpole, for instance – admired him because he was shrewd and helpful about the business of writing. That Max Saunders is a fervent admirer in this tradition is amply proved by his devoting the best part of two decades to this biography. He attends ...

Six hands at an open door

David Trotter, 21 March 1991

Intertextual Dynamics within the Literary Group: Joyce, Lewis, Pound and Eliot 
by Dennis Brown.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £35, November 1990, 9780333516461
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An Immodest Violet: The Life of Violet Hunt 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 205 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 233 98639 1
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... he that the message is as well. For the poet’s death was shortly followed by a critical work, Hugh Kenner’s The Pound Era (1974), which placed him at the head of the ‘Men of 1914’, and chronicled in elegiac terms his lifelong struggle to reanimate a moribund literary culture. Brown shifts the emphasis from Pound Era to Group Era, but his approach is ...

Born of the age we live in

John Lanchester, 6 December 1990

Stick it up your punter! The Rise and Fall of the ‘Sun’ 
by Peter Chippindale and Chris Horrie.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 434 12624 1
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All played out: The True Story of Italia ’90 
by Pete Davies.
Heinemann, 471 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 434 17908 6
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Gazza! A Biography 
by Robin McGibbon.
Penguin, 204 pp., £3.99, October 1990, 9780140148688
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... Herald as part of a deal involving the acquisition of several lucrative magazine titles. Hugh Cudlipp, chairman of IPC, had given the unions a guarantee to keep the paper going for seven years, and to keep it supporting the Labour movement; at the same time, the paper was not allowed to compete with the existing IPC title, the Daily Mirror. With ...

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