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Narcissus and Cain

David Bromwich, 6 August 1992

Mary and Maria by Mary Wollstonecraft, Matilda by Mary Shelley 
edited by Janet Todd.
Pickering & Chatto, 217 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 1 85196 023 6
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Lady Sophia Sternheim 
by Sophie von La Roche, edited by James Lynn.
Pickering & Chatto, 216 pp., £24.95, January 1992, 9781851960217
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... Sensibility’ was the name of a faculty before it was the name of a style. On the divide of the physical and mental, it suggested a power to receive life’s pleasures and pains, and a less certain power to judge their worth. Such was the critical usage of the late 18th century, largely derived from Hume. Popular usage went further and has lasted longer ...

Wounds

Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

Hemingway 
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... started with the publication of Death in the Afternoon in 1932, the hero of which, as Kenneth Lynn cogently expresses it, is not ‘a haunted Nick Adams, or a crippled Jake Barnes, or a hollowed-out Frederic Henry, but an overbearing know-it-all named Ernest Hemingway’. Max Eastman said Hemingway had false hair on his chest. Gertrude ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... As Solness, Redgrave, who was drinking heavily, forgot entire sections of the script. His daughter Lynn, who was also part of the National that year, recalled that ‘all of us in the company watched aghast as, again and again, Dad called “Line … Line … Line!”’ Redgrave himself remembered it as ‘a general nervousness’ that had taken hold. Every ...

Utterly in Awe

Jenny Turner: Lynn Barber, 5 June 2014

A Curious Career 
by Lynn Barber.
Bloomsbury, 224 pp., £16.99, May 2014, 978 1 4088 3719 1
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... doing this? What do you do on your own in a hotel room? Why? Questions like this are what Lynn Barber uses to open up her celebrity interviews, and I think you can see why. They’re simple, direct, upfront and conversational, but also come at you from an angle. You’d start happily blurting out an answer, only to find yourself in deep and completely ...

Old Tunes

Stephen Sedley, 16 July 2020

... grassy bankTook out a reel of tapeAnd had my country ditty downBefore I could escape.In 1957 Vera Lynn, who died last month at the age of 103, recorded a song called ‘Travellin’ Home’. Within a few days the record had sold 27,000 copies and the sheet music more than 3500. This attracted the attention of J. Curwen & Sons, which in 1939 had published a ...

Collected Works

Angus Calder, 5 January 1989

Men, Women and Work: Class, Gender and Protest in the New England Shoe Industry, 1780-1910 
by Mary Blewett.
Illinois, 444 pp., $29.95, July 1988, 0 252 01484 7
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Men’s Lives 
by Peter Matthiessen.
Collins Harvill, 335 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 00 272519 3
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On Work: Historical, Comparative and Theoretical Approaches 
edited by R.E. Pahl.
Blackwell, 752 pp., £39.95, July 1988, 9780631157625
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Slavery and Other Forms of Unfree Labour 
edited by Léonie Archer.
Routledge, 307 pp., £28, August 1988, 0 415 00203 6
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The Historical Meanings of Work 
edited by Patrick Joyce.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £27.50, September 1987, 0 521 30897 6
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Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland’s Century 1590-1710 
by David Stevenson.
Cambridge, 246 pp., £25, November 1988, 0 521 35326 2
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... till thou return unto the ground.’ The New English Bible translates as ‘labour’ what King James’s scholars called ‘sorrow’ – ‘Accursed shall be the ground on your account. With labour you shall win your food from it.’ A few pages later comes the very odd passage in which Noah’s son Ham sees him naked when drunk. Awakening from his ...

Loot

Ian Buruma, 9 March 1995

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War 
by Lynn Nicholas.
Macmillan, 498 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62652 4
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... by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1937. And the third, described by William Shirer, and quoted by Lynn Nicholas, is about the Germans in Vienna after the Anschluss in 1938. It is probably right to conclude from these and many other examples that looting is as natural to human beings as raping and killing. In the state of nature, people show their strength by ...

More Pasts Than One

Eric Foner, 23 March 1995

Telling the Truth about History 
by Joyce Appleby, Lynn Hunt and Margaret Jacob.
Norton, 322 pp., £19.95, August 1994, 0 393 03615 4
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... of hundreds of scholars and every major professional association of history teachers. Lynn Cheney, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has condemned the plan because, among other things, George Washington is mentioned less frequently than Harriet Tubman, who led groups of slaves to freedom before the Civil War. Ms Cheney ...

Voyagers

James Paradis, 18 June 1981

Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... in 1788 around Linnaeus’s remarkable botanical collection, which was purchased for £1000 by James Edward Smith in 1783 and brought to London over the protest of all Swedish science. By the beginning of the Victorian era, the amateur tradition of the country naturalist and nature-appreciator – a tradition given great dignity and prestige by Gilbert ...

Seeing Curt Lemon blown up

James Wood, 26 July 1990

The things they carried 
by Tim O’Brien.
Collins, 255 pp., £12.95, May 1990, 0 00 223603 6
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... dispatch: It was a bad time. Billy Boy Watkins was dead, and so was Frenchie Tucker ... Bernie Lynn and Lieutenant Sidney Martin had died in tunnels. Pederson was dead and Rudy Chassler was dead. Buff was dead. Ready Mix was dead. They were all among the dead. The same witnessing is done in this latest book. In one of the autobiographical ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: My 2006, 4 January 2007

... of it being a first night as that the cast have been doing it on and off now for two years. When James C. drops his head on his desk it’s with an almighty crash and he gets up looking a bit pale, but there are no other slip-ups. The response at the end is tumultuous, the audience (though I think this is nowadays obligatory) rising to their feet en ...

Merely an Empire

David Thomson: Eighteen Hours in Vietnam, 21 September 2017

The Vietnam War 
directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick.
PBS, ten episodes
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... to kid ourselves, and try to think of courage.The Vietnam War, a film made by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, comes in ten parts, with beginnings, middles and end credits; and lasts 18 hours altogether, which some may feel is a lot to ask of busy, anxious wrecks who have their own troubles to patrol. Not that 18 hours on your couch, attending to war, is ...

Wide-Angled

Linda Colley: Global History, 26 September 2013

The French Revolution in Global Perspective 
edited by Suzanne Desan, Lynn Hunt and William Max Nelson.
Cornell, 240 pp., £16.50, April 2013, 978 0 8014 7868 0
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... Palmer concentrated on white revolutionaries, in his 1938 classic, The Black Jacobins, C.L.R. James successfully revived interest in the slaves and free blacks active in Saint-Domingue’s revolution in 1791. Arguing that liberty, equality and fraternity meant even more to the enslaved in France’s richest Caribbean colony than to the inhabitants of ...

‘I thirst for his blood’

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Henry James, 25 November 1999

Henry JamesA Life in Letters 
edited by Philip Horne.
Penguin, 668 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 7139 9126 7
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A Private Life of Henry JamesTwo Women and His Art 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Chatto, 500 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 7011 6166 3
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... Henry James was a generous correspondent in more senses than one, but his fellow writers may have found some of the Master’s letters rather exasperating. ‘I read your current novel with pleasure,’ he wrote to William Dean Howells in 1880, ‘but I don’t think the subject fruitful, & I suspect that much of the public will agree with me ...

Strange Stardom

David Haglund: James Franco, 17 March 2011

Palo Alto: Stories 
by James Franco.
Faber, 197 pp., £12.99, January 2011, 978 0 571 27316 4
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... a type of celebrity now.’ He contrasts Ledger, who died three years ago at the age of 28, with James Dean, who died 55 years ago at the age of 24 and became the standard against which all young, handsome, would-be acting geniuses in Hollywood are measured. It’s not only, Thomson says, that Ledger wasn’t the actor Dean was. It’s that movies, and their ...

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