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Ian CampbellRoss: ‘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 ...

Shandying It

John Mullan: Sterne’s Foibles, 6 June 2002

Laurence Sterne: A Life 
by Ian CampbellRoss.
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 CampbellRoss’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 ...
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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... that age almost unique example of continuity in distinction. Another fine poet and editor, Alan Ross, can look back on a long and successful custodianship of the London Magazine: but this second volume of autobiography – the first, Blindfold Games, began what should be a memorable series – again shows how much more colourful his life has been than that ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan, 31 March 2005

The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... Princess Diana, George Michael, Anthea Turner, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair. (If there are names in that list you haven’t heard of, don’t worry, none of them matters as much as they think they ...

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 CampbellRoss’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. ...

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