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An Abiding Sense of the Demonic

Stefan Collini: Arnold, 20 January 2000

The Letters of Matthew Arnold. Vol. I: 1829-59 
edited by Cecil Lang.
Virginia, 549 pp., £47.50, November 1998, 0 8139 1651 8
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The Letters of Matthew Arnold. Vol. II: 1860-65 
edited by Cecil Lang.
Virginia, 505 pp., £47.95, November 1998, 0 8139 1706 9
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The Letters of Matthew Arnold. Vol. III: 1866-70 
edited by Cecil Lang.
Virginia, 483 pp., £47.95, November 1998, 0 8139 1765 4
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... life, even though some of his sallies made her uncomfortable. The letters to his favourite sister, Jane, constantly invoke, and try against the odds to recreate, the intense intimacy they had shared in childhood, and include an extraordinarily revealing strangulated cry of pain at the news of her engagement. Hardly less intriguing are the numerous letters to ...

Likeable Sage

Sheldon Rothblatt, 17 September 1981

Matthew Arnold: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Weidenfeld, 496 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 297 77824 2
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... other times we encounter outright lies or convenient omissions. Matthew skipped out on his sister Jane’s wedding to William Forster of the landmark Education Act. Forster’s personal style was flat, but Matthew was also jealous of his political success. Still, he did not give his sister away – in the Lake Country ‘with the great fells standing ...

George Crabbe: Poetry and Truth

Jerome McGann, 16 March 1989

George Crabbe: The Complete Poetical Works, Vols I-III 
edited by Norma Dalrymple-Champneys and Arthur Pollard.
Oxford, 820 pp., £70, April 1988, 0 19 811882 1
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... widely read. In his own day Crabbe was a famous and distinguished author – the favourite of both Jane Austen and Byron. And while he had two distinct and distinctly successful careers, until the last two decades of his long life he was continually beset with disaster and the threat of disaster. The first of his two careers happened in the 1780s, before the ...

Taking it up again

Margaret Anne Doody, 21 March 1991

Henry James and Revision 
by Philip Horne.
Oxford, 373 pp., £40, December 1990, 0 19 812871 1
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... the entire revision, which is to centre the point of view within his central character, pursuing Newman’s own responses – a process which Horne believes offers ‘an increase in ironic consciousness of relation’. But the reader may object that these niceties slow the narrative to little purpose, that Newman is not ...
The Dons 
by Noël Annan.
HarperCollins, 357 pp., £17.99, November 1999, 0 00 257074 2
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A Man of Contradictions: A Life of A.L.Rowse 
by Richard Ollard.
Allen Lane, 368 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 7139 9353 7
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... the present day, each one made to stand for a particular type of donnish character: John Henry Newman (‘The Charismatic Don’); Maurice Bowra (‘The Don as Wit’); George Rylands (‘The Don as Performer’); John Sparrow (‘The Don as Dilettante’); Isaiah Berlin (‘The Don as Magus’). The scheme falters somewhat when we reach the Don as ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... while his long-suffering wife, Dorothy (they were married for 57 years), stayed at home. When Jane Russell, a family friend, and his co-star on two films including Macao – the film which prompted Howard Hughes to write a multi-page memo on the subject of her breasts – was asked to choose her favourite Mitchum film, she said: ‘I just like ...

All the Assujettissement

Fergus McGhee: Mr Mid-Victorian Doubt, 18 November 2021

Arthur Hugh Clough 
edited by Gregory Tate.
Oxford, 384 pp., £85, September 2020, 978 0 19 881343 9
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... In​ the summer of 1849, Arthur Hugh Clough went to dinner with the writer Jane Octavia Brookfield. ‘I tried to talk with him, but he has the most peculiar manner I almost ever saw,’ she wrote to Thackeray the following day. ‘Mr Clough sat at the foot of my sofa with this keen expression of investigation, which I determined not to mind, & only thought him un-understandable ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church, 7 February 2008

... involved, a rank shift had occurred in certain hearts and minds. The Kentish gospeller John Newman explained the matter to the turncoat bishop of Dover, Richard Thornden. He and his fellow gospellers, he declared, had drunk too deep of the teaching of the Edwardine reformers to renounce it simply on command. For, he told Thornden, their doctrine was ...

Travels with My Mom

Terry Castle: In Santa Fe, 16 August 2007

... portrait of such informal ravishing loveliness one felt one’s own complex sort of gratitude. (Jane Freilicher’s gorgeous gouaches come to mind.) Beauty is Truth. But she seemed not to realise when she had produced a winner. Her pictures hang on the walls indiscriminately; the stunning ones mixed in with a lot of mermaids, dreamy girls in ...

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