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Obscene Child

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Mozart, 5 July 2007

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: A Biography 
by Piero Melograni, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Chicago, 300 pp., £19, December 2006, 0 226 51956 2
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Mozart: The First Biography 
by Franz Niemetschek, translated by Helen Mautner.
Berghahn, 77 pp., £17.50, November 2006, 1 84545 231 3
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Mozart’s Women: His Family, His Friends, His Music 
by Jane Glover.
Pan, 406 pp., £7.99, April 2006, 0 330 41858 0
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... a Prague professor of philosophy undoubtedly well schooled in rhetoric. Both Piero Melograni and Jane Glover sidestep the issue of transcendence. Melograni, like Niemetschek, is an academic: an Italian political scientist whose best-known scholarly work is Lenin and the Myth of World Revolution. Not surprisingly, the music itself (as opposed to its ...

Small Boys and Girls

Brigid Brophy, 4 February 1982

The Handbook of Non-Sexist Writing for Writers, Editors and Speakers 
edited by Casey Miller and Kate Swift.
Women’s Press, 119 pp., £3.25, November 1981, 0 7043 3878 5
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... Ah, Jane Austen! He is such a great novelist!’ That was said to me by a Hungarian émigré, who, when I mildly queried the ‘he’, explained: ‘I find those English pronouns tiresome. We don’t have them in Hungarian.’ Thus I stumbled on the fact, which I report now in Mario Pei’s words (and on his authority, since mine doesn’t rise to vouching for a syllable of Hungarian), that ‘in Hungarian the same word means “he”, “she”, “it” ...

Being splendid

Stephen Wall, 3 March 1988

Civil to Strangers 
by Barbara Pym.
Macmillan, 388 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 333 39128 4
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The Pleasure of Miss Pym 
by Charles Burkhart.
Texas, 120 pp., $17.95, July 1987, 0 292 76496 0
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The World of Barbara Pym 
by Janice Rossen.
Macmillan, 193 pp., £27.50, November 1987, 0 333 42372 0
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The Life and Work of Barbara Pym 
edited by Dale Salwak.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 333 40831 4
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... hurt as she was by the subsequent break-up of her wartime affair with the radio writer Gordon Glover. Robert Liddell, in his contribution to Dale Salwak’s volume, objects to too tragic a view of ‘Barbara’s hobby (generally enjoyable) of “unrequited love” ’, and as a friend of hers since 1932 his view has to be taken ...

Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl, 8 December 1988

Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... generation in Canterbury were tanners; Christopher’s sisters married a tailor, a shoemaker and a glover. This tough, industrious class nurtured much of the budding literary talent of the time: the Elizabethan leather industry provided a livelihood, not only for Marlowe’s family, but also for that of Robert Greene and William Shakespeare, sons respectively ...

One Thing

John Bayley, 22 November 1990

Jean Rhys 
by Carole Angier.
Deutsch, 780 pp., £15.99, November 1990, 0 233 98597 2
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A Lot to Ask: A Life of Barbara Pym 
by Hazel Holt.
Macmillan, 308 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 333 40614 1
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... books were sought out and praised. She started to write Wide Sargasso Sea, about the first wife of Jane Eyre’s Mr Rochester, and that, too, was a great success when it came out in 1968, although it is somehow appropriate that things continued to go wrong, and that she hated the picturesque Devon cottage found for her after the end of Max, where she drank as ...

Whig Dreams

Margaret Anne Doody, 27 February 1992

A Tour through the Whole Island of Great Britain 
by Daniel Defoe, edited by P.N. Furbank and W.R. Owens.
Yale, 423 pp., £19.95, July 1991, 0 300 04980 3
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James Thomson: A Life 
by James Sambrook.
Oxford, 332 pp., £40, October 1991, 0 19 811788 4
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... he was to have an effect on the Romantics. The story was told that when Thomson heard that Richard Glover was planning to write an epic poem, Thomson exclaimed: ‘He write an epic poem, a Londoner, who has never seen a mountain!’ The idea that a poet is one who looks upon mountains was an idea that got established in Thomson’s own time, and partly by ...

Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 7 January 1999

Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... popular Lives (a genre ably parodied by Patrick Barlow’s Shakespeare: The Truth, or, From Glover to Genius, 1993), as well as important work on particular phases or aspects of the Bard’s life by Honigmann, Stanley Wells and others, but Shakespeare: A Life can make some claim to be the first sustained scholarly attempt on its subject since the books ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... Middleton’s father was a prosperous London building contractor, while Shakespeare’s was a glover who rose to become an alderman of Stratford-upon-Avon. Both fathers were socially ambitious: William Middleton bought himself a coat of arms from the College of Heralds in 1568, thereby securing the all-important right for himself and his successors to ...

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