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Tennyson’s Nerves

Frank Kermode, 6 November 1980

Tennyson: The Unqulet Heart 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Oxford/Faber, 656 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 812072 9
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Thro’ the Vision of the Night: A Study of Source, Evolution and Structure in Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ 
by J.M. Gray.
Edinburgh, 179 pp., £10, August 1980, 0 85224 382 0
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... were uneasy on political as well as personal grounds) and very puritanical in matters of sex. J.M. Gray, in a thoughtful new book on the Idylls of the King, argues that Tennyson took a strong line on masculine morality because he knew there was no possibility of relaxing the rules for women, and so the only way to get equality was to tighten them for men. Mr ...

High Punctuation

Christopher Ricks, 14 May 1992

But I digress: The Exploitation of Parentheses in English Printed Verse 
by John Lennard.
Oxford, 324 pp., £35, November 1991, 0 19 811247 5
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... a very imprudent gauntlet, with for once more bravado than bravery, when he says of the moment in Gray’s Elegy, ‘Approach and read (for thou can’st read) the lay,’ that ‘Gray does nothing with the ostentatious parenthesis ... Gray has managed, in despite of Puttenham, to graft a ...

Beltz’s Beaux

D.A.N. Jones, 3 March 1983

by Sholom Aleichem, translated by Aliza Shevrin.
Weidenfeld, 222 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 297 78200 2
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A Coin in Nine Hands 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Dori Katz.
Aidan Ellis, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 85628 123 9
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Entry into Jerusalem 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 172 pp., £7.50, January 1983, 0 09 150950 5
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People Who Knock on the Door 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 306 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 434 33521 5
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A Visit from the Footbinder 
by Emily Prager.
Chatto, 174 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 7011 2675 2
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by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 125 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 9780436102967
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... in a chapel full of nuns delicately made-up.’ The picturegoer remembers how she hated ‘the gray-faced nuns’ at her convent school. ‘The only difference between this movie and life was that here the public knew it was being deceived.’ She turns to her lover – ‘an ordinary man, less real than Lord Southsea’ – and hears him speak ‘Movie ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... is a natural nobility … He even looks the part. With his solid build and sad eyes, his heraldic gray hair and pointed beard, he resembles a benevolent Shakespearean duke.’ To McClatchy, Hecht related what happened when he got out of the army in 1946: I was consistently drunk for well over two weeks. My parents were particularly forbearing and indulgent ...

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