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Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting, 1 January 1998

Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... pictures it is the humans not the fairies who are drained of colour. The catalogue, edited by Jane Martineau, includes essays on much that the exhibition could not include: John Warwick, for example, describes the innovations which fairy subjects inspired in the music of Weber, Mendelssohn, Liszt and Verdi. The essay by Charlotte Gere, who is also ...

And That Rug!

Michael Dobson: Images of Shakespeare, 6 November 2003

Shakespeare’s Face: The Story behind the Newly Discovered Portrait 
by Stephanie Nolen.
Piatkus, 365 pp., £18.99, March 2003, 0 7499 2391 1
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Imagining Shakespeare: A History of Texts and Visions 
by Stephen Orgel.
Palgrave, 172 pp., £25, August 2003, 1 4039 1177 0
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Shakespeare in Art 
by Jane Martineau et al.
Merrell, 256 pp., £29.95, September 2003, 1 85894 229 2
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In Search of Shakespeare 
by Michael Wood.
BBC, 352 pp., £20, May 2003, 9780563534778
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... Above the entrance to the saloon bar there is a picture of Shakespeare on the swinging sign. It is the same picture of Shakespeare that I remember from my schooldays, when I frowned over Timon of Athens and The Merchant of Venice. Haven’t they got a better one? Did he really look like that all the time? You’d have thought that by now his publicity people would have come up with something a little more attractive ...

Adulation or Eggs

Susan Eilenberg: At home with the Carlyles, 7 October 2004

Thomas and Jane Carlyle: Portrait of a Marriage 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Pimlico, 560 pp., £15, February 2003, 0 7126 6634 6
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... Reminiscences, a hundred years since Alexander Carlyle’s New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, Froude’s posthumous My Relations with Carlyle, and Alexander Carlyle and Sir James Crichton-Browne’s The Nemesis of Froude. Everyone has long since taken sides, if not with the tactless first biographer or with the vindictive and ...

Like a Retired Madam

Rosemary Dinnage: Entranced!, 4 February 1999

Mesmerised: Powers of Mind in Victorian Britain 
by Alison Winter.
Chicago, 464 pp., £23.95, December 1998, 0 226 90219 6
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... on his own encounters with mesmerism, and probably also on the famous case of the writer Harriet Martineau. Even his modest invalid knew enough to know that she was living in an age of prescientific ferment. One of Alison Winter’s main points in Mesmerised is that, in an age when so much of what was being discovered seemed extraordinary, a belief in the ...

Carlyle’s Mail Fraud

Rosalind Mitchison, 6 August 1981

The Collected Letters of Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle: Vol. VIII 1835-1836, Vol. IX 1836-1837 
edited by Charles Sanders and Kenneth Fielding.
Duke, 365 pp., £32.95, May 1981, 0 8223 0433 3
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... of the book was agony for Carlyle, and it is obvious that he made it pretty rough for his wife Jane, too. He wrote, he says, with his heart’s blood. The physiological contribution would be more realistically seen as his digestive juices. He distrusted the world of literary evaluation, did not see how a man could honestly live by writing, and yet had to ...

How one has enjoyed things

Dinah Birch: Thackeray’s daughter, 2 December 2004

Anny: A Life of Anne Thackeray Ritchie 
by Henrietta Garnett.
Chatto, 322 pp., £18.99, January 2004, 0 7011 7129 4
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... and reading novels – wh. seems the employment of English ladies . . . as my favourite Miss Martineau says it is far nobler to earn than to save. I think I should like to earn very much & become celebrated like the aforesaid Harriet who is one of the only sensible women living beside thee & me & 2 or 3 more I know. The first thing she published was an ...

Englishing Ourselves

F.W.J. Hemmings, 18 December 1980

by Robert Alter.
Allen and Unwin, 285 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 04 928042 2
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... the author’s life, another on his works. This was the solution adopted, many years ago, by Henri Martineau, who brought out a two-volume life, Le Coeur de Stendhal, which turned out to be much more worthwhile than his one-volume Oeuvre de Stendhal. There is, however, something a little artificial in separating ‘life’ and ‘work’ (or works), especially ...

He ate peas with a knife

John Sutherland: Douglas Jerrold, 3 April 2003

Douglas Jerrold: 1803-57 
by Michael Slater.
Duckworth, 340 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 7156 2824 0
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... sea as a ‘boy entrant’, to serve on HMS Namur, a 74-gun man-of-war. The vessel’s captain was Jane Austen’s younger brother, Charles (there are no references to Douglas in the Austen family correspondence). He entered the Royal Navy not as a cabin-boy but as officer material, and was (probably) instructed in reading, writing and seamanship by the ...

Fear among the Teacups

Dinah Birch: Ellen Wood, 8 February 2001

East Lynne 
by Ellen Wood, edited by Andrew Maunder.
Broadview, 779 pp., £7.95, October 2000, 1 55111 234 5
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... in the mushrooming industrial cities consumed it with fervour; but the austere Harriet Martineau liked it too, as did General Gordon, Joseph Conrad and Edward VII. Its appeal spread far beyond British readers. R.K. Narayan dwells fondly on the ‘bitter tears’ he shed over East Lynne in his 1975 memoir, My Days: ‘Reading and rereading it always ...

New Women

Patricia Beer, 17 July 1980

The Odd Women 
by George Gissing.
Virago, 336 pp., £2.50, May 1980, 0 86068 140 8
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The Beth Book 
by Sarah Grand.
Virago, 527 pp., £3.50, January 1980, 0 86068 088 6
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... the first time he compassionated Rhoda.’ It sounds like Fanny Knatchbull talking about her aunt, Jane Austen. Barfoot marries Agnes Brissenden. There is no suggestion in The Odd Women that the New Woman is sexually unattractive. On the contrary: the worldly (as we are meant to think) Barfoot feels she might have very special attractions, and Gissing’s ...

If It Weren’t for Charlotte

Alice Spawls: The Brontës, 16 November 2017

... are luxury editions, befitting the occasion, and reprints of the novels and of the manuscript of Jane Eyre, updated selections of the letters, non-updated editions of Charlotte’s and Emily’s poetry, books about the novels (scholarly and not), books of essays, books about their belongings, about the parsonage and Haworth, comic books, volumes of artwork ...

Visitors! Danger!

Lorraine Daston: Charles Darwin, 8 May 2003

Charles Darwin. Vol. II: The Power of Place 
by Janet Browne.
Cape, 591 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 224 04212 2
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... remained a lifelong confidant. He introduced Charles and Emma to the political economist Harriet Martineau (whom Charles and his sisters once feared might carry Erasmus off in marriage), Thomas and Jane Carlyle, George Eliot and G.H. Lewes. Cash and connections flowed through family channels, and it was the ...

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