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Lunacies

Ian Campbell Ross: ‘provincial genius’, 23 October 2003

Hermsprong; or Man as He Is Not 
by Robert Bage, edited by Pamela Perkins.
Broadview, 387 pp., £8.99, March 2002, 1 55111 279 5
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... In the summer of 1797, William Godwin set out on a tour of the Midlands. He had hoped to visit, among others, Erasmus Darwin, but finding the naturalist away from home, Godwin asked Darwin’s wife for a letter of introduction to Robert Bage instead. To his surprise, Mary Darwin said she could not properly provide one since, though Bage was her husband’s ‘very particular friend’, she wasn’t sure she had ever set eyes on him ...

Black Electricities

John Sutherland, 30 October 1997

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle. Vol. XXV: January-December 1850 
edited by Clyde de L. Ryals and K.J. Fielding.
Duke, 364 pp., £52, September 1997, 0 8223 1986 1
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Reminiscences 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell.
Oxford, 481 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 0 19 281748 5
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... his recall to current political debate, if only to induce a necessary modesty. K.J. Fielding and Ian Campbell, the British side of the joint Anglo-American team producing the letters, have taken time off to edit Carlyle’s Reminiscences. They have stripped away the varnish laid on by previous editors and reinserted what earlier prudence deleted. The ...

Shandying It

John Mullan: Sterne’s Foibles, 6 June 2002

Laurence Sterne: A Life 
by Ian Campbell Ross.
Oxford, 512 pp., £25, March 2001, 0 19 212235 5
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... kind of superiority to fashion, publicity, even print itself. Sterne affected no such loftiness. Ian Campbell Ross’s new biography provides an introductory cameo of Sterne’s triumph of self-marketing. He made himself available to his admirers, the measure and embodiment of his fictional imagination. After a week he was writing home to say he was ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... from Frances Sheridan, William Chaigneau and Thomas Amory to create a readership for these novels. Ian Campbell Ross’s superbly informative introduction to ‘Fiction to 1800’ creates a persuasive argument for a political relevance and a coherent tradition in the early Irish novel. Ross includes an excerpt from Tristram Shandy, less on the basis of ...

Memories of New Zealand

Peter Campbell, 1 December 2011

... eroded too, but into proper sea cliffs.) Nearly always the holidays were shared with my Uncle Ian and his family. I can’t remember at all what the adult sleeping arrangements were – I guess the living-room was given over to one couple. And there were tents too. Washing was done in enamel basins, filled with the precious rainwater that dwindled all ...

Miss Dior, Prodigally Applied

Ian Patterson: Jilly Cooper, 17 May 2017

Mount! 
by Jilly Cooper.
Corgi, 610 pp., £7.99, February 2017, 978 0 552 17028 4
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... various dashing and extant English aristocrats, including Andrew Parker Bowles. Rupert Campbell-Black, wealthy landowner, sometime world champion showjumper, sometime Tory MP and sports minister, exuder of brio, glamour and charisma, is an all-round amoral charmer and shit, immune to scandal and opinion, and the envy of lesser men. Tony ‘didn’t ...

Tall, Slender, Straight and Intelligent

Philip Kitcher: Cloning and reprogenetics, 5 March 1998

Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Ahead 
by Gina Kolata.
Allen Lane, 218 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 7139 9221 2
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Remaking Eden: Cloning and Beyond in a Brave New World 
by Lee Silver.
Weidenfeld, 315 pp., £20, January 1998, 0 297 84135 1
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... contemporary biology should be able to follow her. Especially successful is her account of the way Ian Wilmut and his co-worker Keith Campbell managed to trick nuclei from differentiated cells into behaving like their embryonic counterparts. The biochemical constitution of a cell varies throughout the cycle, and there is a ...

Diary

Julian Girdham: Mansergh v. Arnold, 21 June 1984

... in one slogan or its antithesis. There’s nothing in between. Mansergh continues: ‘Duncan Campbell of the New Statesman, who critically exposes Britain’s nuclear policies and installations, was knocked off his bicycle and his papers ransacked.’ The paragraph spacing that follows this sentence leaves us a moment’s contemplation, before we reach ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Norman Rockwell, 20 January 2011

... The souvenir volume that stands in for a catalogue for the Dulwich exhibition has a note by Ian A.C. Dejardin, director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery.* It begins with a quotation – ‘Rockwell is terrific. It’s become too tedious to pretend he isn’t’ – and goes on: ‘So famously wrote the New Yorker art critic Peter Schjeldahl in Art ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gardens, 8 July 2004

... are the gardens made by artists: Ivon Hitchens’s six acres on Lavington Common near Petworth, Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Little Sparta in the Pentland Hills, the garden Patrick Heron had in Cornwall and the garden Derek Jarman made on a shingle bank at Dungeness. Each makes different use of plants in landscape. Finlay’s intention was polemical and the ...

Le Roi Jean Quinze

Stefan Collini: Roy Jenkins and Labour, 4 June 2014

Roy Jenkins: A Well-Rounded Life 
by John Campbell.
Cape, 818 pp., £30, March 2014, 978 0 224 08750 6
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... that attached themselves to him. In choosing ‘a well-rounded life’ as his subtitle, John Campbell risks some obvious jibes about his increasingly portly subject, but he delivers on its promise. It is a persuasive, if at times indulgent, portrait of a life rich in satisfactions. At its heart were a long, close marriage and three children, to which ...

Adrian

Peter Campbell, 5 December 1985

... have it when we read them in the Fifties, and it’s what makes song-writers sound like sages – Ian Dury has, appropriately, done a song to back the television credits for The Secret Diary. It is a quality which seems to be anti-authoritarian, but only because it notices how things have changed before the rules about what can be said, and assumptions about ...

Just what are those teeth for?

Ian Hamilton, 24 April 1997

... I have seen so far have tended to be Liberal Democrats: Charles Kennedy, Conrad Russell, Menzies Campbell. But then, it will be said, politicians such as these can well afford to be themselves. From the two interested parties, Kenneth Clarke is, of course, known to be attractively ‘robust’, not to say quarrelsome, but he is always in control. Supremely ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... author of that remarkable first novel about South Africa, Turbott Wolfe. His fellow-countryman Roy Campbell praised his achievement in a poem of the time: Plomer, ’twas you who, though a boy in age, Awoke a sleepy continent to rage, Who dared alone to thrash a craven race And hold a mirror to its dirty face. His voice was described by Charles Causley as ...

Footpaths

Tom Shippey, 26 July 1990

England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900 
by John Lucas.
Hogarth, 227 pp., £18, February 1990, 0 7012 0892 9
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The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism 
by Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £45, February 1990, 0 521 37374 3
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Fleeting Things: English Poets and Poems, 1616-1660 
by Gerald Hammond.
Harvard, 394 pp., £24.95, March 1990, 0 674 30625 2
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... Of all nations’, writes Ian Ousby, ‘we’, the English, have ‘perhaps the most strongly defined sense of national identity – so developed and so stylised, in fact, that we are frequently conscious of it as a burden or restraint’. I wonder what he can possibly mean by that. The most anomalous thing about England in comparison with all other European nations (of course it isn’t a nation, but even in comparison with Scotland and Wales) is that it doesn’t have the formal marks of national identity acquired even by Iceland or Finland, Luxembourg or Albania ...

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