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Raining

Donald Davie, 5 May 1983

Later Poems 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 333 34560 6
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Thomas Hardy Annual, No 1 
edited by Norman Page.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 333 32022 0
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Tess of the d’Urbervilles 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell.
Oxford, 636 pp., £50, March 1983, 0 19 812495 3
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Hardy’s Love Poems 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Carl Weber.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £3.95, February 1983, 0 333 34798 6
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. I: Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and the Present, Time’s Laughingstocks 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 403 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 19 812708 1
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... been long-needed by me. The other Oxford book is more curious. In 1979 appeared in one volume James Gibson’s Complete Poems of Thomas Hardy: A Variorum Edition. And this Richard Taylor calls ‘a major publishing event ... carried out with meticulous care and loving exactness ...’ That is putting it a bit steep, but the book is on my shelves, it ...

Cheeky

Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. 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 Hardy: Vol. 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 Hardy: The 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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... Inside most collections of letters 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 ...

Waldorf’s Birthday Present

Gabriele Annan: The Lovely Langhornes, 7 January 1999

The Langhorne Sisters 
by James Fox.
Granta, 612 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 86207 071 7
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... to do. Irene was the second of the five Langhorne sisters of Richmond, Virginia. She married Dana Gibson, the inventor of the Gibson girl. Famous for her beauty from coast to coast, she never got divorced and never gave any trouble, so she doesn’t come into James Fox’s story much; and ...

Thin Ayrshire

Andrew O’Hagan, 25 May 1995

... David Gibson was a man stiff and parsonical; by all accounts the sort of man who got things done. You could say he was obsessed with ridding Glasgow of its slums, with turning them into something bright and high and unquestionably modern. That’s what he wanted, and he’d already made vast advances towards getting it when he became convener of Glasgow Corporation’s housing committee in 1964 ...

Diary

McGuire Gibson: The Theft of Iraq’s Antiquities, 1 January 2009

... they often made attempts to identify cities known from biblical and classical sources. Claudius James Rich, of the East India Company, correctly identified, explored and mapped Babylon and Nineveh, and visited many other sites. Excavation and extraction began in earnest in 1842, when Paul-Emile Botta, the French consul, dug huge winged bulls and wall slabs ...

Burying Scott

Marilyn Butler, 7 September 1995

The Life of Walter Scott: A Critical Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Blackwell, 386 pp., £19.99, January 1995, 1 55786 231 1
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... is at least 51 per cent image. In its worldly wisdom it resembles the first of its kind, John Gibson Lockhart’s pioneering five-volume Memoirs of the Life of Sir Walter Scott (1837-8), though the drift of the two Lives is in opposite directions. Sutherland has come to bury Scott, while Lockhart, the great man’s son-in-law, praises him in a ...

How Dirty Harry beat the Ringo Kid

Michael Rogin, 9 May 1996

John Wayne: American 
by Randy Roberts and James Olson.
Free Press, 738 pp., £17.99, March 1996, 0 02 923837 4
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... in Vietnam. We see them anyway, collected in Slotkin’s book and in Warrior Dreams (1994) by James William Gibson. When Philip Caputo joined the Marines, he saw himself ‘charging up some distant beachhead, like John Wayne in Sands of Iwo Jima’. ‘War movies with John Wayne’ sent Ron Kovic to Vietnam: ‘Yes, I ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... Museum, appeared in the Quarterly Review, which was published by Murray’s. The editor was John Gibson Lockhart, but we aren’t told why he chose to commission what was guaranteed to be a savage review. The Quarterly was founded by Murray II in 1809 when publishers’ operations in the last Georgian decades, if they were not as multifarious as in the first ...

Northern Laughter

Karl Miller: Macrone on Scott, 9 October 2013

The Life of Sir Walter Scott 
by John Macrone, edited by Daniel Grader.
Edinburgh, 156 pp., £65, February 2013, 978 0 7486 6991 2
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... Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants ...

Out of the Gothic

Tom Shippey, 5 February 1987

Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... from Wyndham’s Day of the Triffids (very clearly a novel about conflict between species) to James Blish’s A Case of Conscience (surely the only novel ever to have been based on a thorough reading of George Gosse’s Omphalos, his totally discredited reconciliation of Darwin and the Book of Genesis). Yet the questions remain, are even stimulated by ...

I now, I then

Thomas Keymer: Life-Writing, 16 August 2017

AHistory of English Autobiography 
edited by Adam Smyth.
Cambridge, 437 pp., £64.99, June 2016, 978 1 107 07841 3
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... of great men mattered, there was ‘little danger of our having too much autobiography’, John Gibson Lockhart, the Quarterly’s editor, protested in 1827. But now ‘England expects every driveller to do his Memorabilia.’ The democratisation of autobiography is one of the running themes of Adam Smyth’s revelatory history of the genre, from the ...

Fraud Squad

Ferdinand Mount: Imposters, 2 August 2007

The Tichborne Claimant: A Victorian Sensation 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Continuum, 363 pp., £25, March 2007, 978 1 85285 478 2
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A Romanov Fantasy: Life at the Court of Anna Anderson 
by Frances Welch.
Short Books, 327 pp., £14.99, February 2007, 978 1 904977 71 1
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The Lost Prince: The Survival of Richard of York 
by David Baldwin.
Sutton, 220 pp., £20, July 2007, 978 0 7509 4335 2
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... abandon a crusade in which they have invested so much. After a lifetime’s campaigning to prove James Hanratty’s innocence, the incorruptible Paul Foot refused to accept the DNA evidence that after all Hanratty had raped Valerie Storie and therefore must have been guilty of the A6 murder. Ultimately, we are not dealing with rival scientific theories. We ...

Madder Men

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton on Richard Hamilton, 24 October 2019

Richard Hamilton: Introspective 
by Phillip Spectre.
König, 408 pp., £49, September 2019, 978 3 88375 695 0
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... the limitations of pure abstraction. A third text, The Perception of the Visual World (1950) by James J. Gibson, ‘a study of how motion affects a viewer in a three-dimensional space’, also played an important role in his art-making (Duchamp was interested in such questions too). During this period Hamilton spent many ...

Binarisms

John Sutherland, 18 November 1993

Complicity 
by Iain Banks.
Little, Brown, 313 pp., £15.99, September 1993, 0 316 90688 3
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Against a Dark Background 
by Iain M. Banks.
Orbit, 496 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 1 85723 185 6
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... with Nintendo than H.G. Wells or Hugo Gernsback. But Banks does not (like the cyberpunk William Gibson) mock the great traditions of the genre; there are moments when Against a Dark Background, for instance, recalls the kitsch utopianism of Asimov’s ‘Foundation’ series. Philip Marlowe used to solve chess problems – he would take on Capablanca on the ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities, 11 September 2003

Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... have the idea that Bush’s delivery is really an impersonation of Ronald Reagan impersonating James Stewart and John Wayne, but I think that elevates him too much: his mentality is clouded with lesser subtleties, occluded with hungers of a more brutal, mercenary, low-budget kind. He has the effective salesman’s knowledge of how to play with people’s ...

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