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The Wrong Stuff

Christopher Hitchens, 1 April 1983

The Purple Decades 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 396 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 224 02944 4
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... For another, the older and cleverer phrase – limousine liberal – had gone out with Adlai Stevenson and needed a retread. To take up Radical Chic now (excerpted in this volume) and to turn its pages is to undergo a disturbing experience compounded of déjà vu and disappointment. Was there really a time when Park Avenue bled for the American black ...

Diary

Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... Wallace Stevens – none of whom Amis had much time for), as well as extensive collections of Stevenson and Jack London, the latter represented by 131,000 items. It has also purchased the archive of the novelist Elizabeth Jane Howard, Amis’s second wife. The Huntington’s Rare Book Room closes for an hour at noon and ...

Henry James and Romance

Barbara Everett, 18 June 1981

Henry James Letters. Vol. III: 1883-1895 
edited by Leon Edel.
Macmillan, 579 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 333 18046 1
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Culture and Conduct in the Novels of Henry James 
by Alwyn Berland.
Cambridge, 231 pp., £17.50, April 1981, 0 521 23343 7
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Literary Reviews and Essays, A London Life, The Reverberator, Italian Hours, The Sacred Fount, Watch and Ward 
by Henry James.
Columbus, 409 pp., £2.60, February 1981, 0 394 17098 9
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... to as a correspondent, giving exquisite elegies for old friends like Mrs Kemble and Robert Louis Stevenson; even the noble, scrupulous and harrowing account of his loved sister’s last days and hours is improved by an altered phrase. Some things probably came near to defeating him, though he records them desperately. Professor Edel chooses to end his volume ...

For ever Walsall

Angus Calder, 21 March 1985

Rural Life in England in the First World War 
by Pamela Horn.
Gill and Macmillan, 300 pp., £25, November 1984, 0 312 69604 3
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Britain in Our Century: Images and Controversies 
by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.95, November 1984, 9780500250914
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Labour and Society in Britain: 1918-1979 
by James Cronin.
Batsford, 248 pp., £8.95, August 1984, 0 7134 4395 2
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Women in England 1870-1950: Sexual Divisions and Social Change 
by Jane Lewis.
Wheatsheaf, 240 pp., £16.95, November 1984, 0 7108 0186 6
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... is a very good example of the type of specialised study on which Arthur Marwick, James Cronin and Jane Lewis have had to depend while putting together their syntheses. In this case, the omission of Scotland and Ireland might seem uncontentious. Ireland’s was another story. The Scottish narrative would be similar in respect of government policy, different ...

Blood Relations

J.I.M. Stewart, 1 December 1983

Diversity and Depth in Fiction: Selected Critical Writings of Angus Wilson 
edited by Kerry McSweeny.
Secker, 303 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 436 57610 4
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... be chosen? Is Vardon Hall to accommodate both sexes, so that there will be admission for budding Jane Austens, George Eliots, Virginia Woolfs and Ivy Compton-Burnetts – all novelists so admired by Sir Angus? Or is it to be an all-male academe of the sort proposed in Love’s Labour’s Lost? There are casual references to the ‘men’ and to ‘those ...

A Subtle Form of Hypocrisy

John Bayley, 2 October 1997

Playing the Game: A Biography of Sir Henry Newbolt 
by Susan Chitty.
Quartet, 288 pp., £25, July 1997, 0 7043 7107 3
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... he was well-schooled and sent to Clifton, which he adored. As with many 19th-century writers – Jane Austen was one – Newbolt was perfectly familiar with all kinds of life in the middle and upper levels of society, and well accustomed to behave, as it suited, in the manner appropriate to each. It was a subtle form of the hypocrisy which, in a society ...

Husbands and Wives

Terry Castle: Claude & Marcel, Gertrude & Alice, 13 December 2007

Don’t Kiss Me: The Art of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore 
edited by Louise Downie.
Tate Gallery, 240 pp., £25, June 2006, 1 59711 025 6
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Two Lives: Gertrude and Alice 
by Janet Malcolm.
Yale, 229 pp., £16.99, October 2007, 978 0 300 12551 1
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... Follain’s essay on Cahun and Moore’s Resistance work.) The V&A’s photographic manager, James Stevenson, is illuminating on the subject of Cahun and Moore’s startlingly unprofessional approach to picture-making. It’s a shock to read that they produced virtually all their work – at least 500 photographs between 1910 and the 1950s – using the same ...

Gesture as Language

David Trotter, 30 January 1992

A Cultural History of Gestures: From Antiquity to the Present 
edited by Jan Bremmer and Herman Roodenburg.
Polity, 220 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 7456 0786 1
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The New Oxford Book of 17th-Century Verse 
by Alastair Fowler.
Oxford, 830 pp., £25, November 1991, 0 19 214164 3
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... was still regarded, in France in the 1850s, as an English custom. Roodenburg might have added Jane Austen’s novels, where handshakes are the usual form of greeting. But to Austen a gesture is interesting only insofar as it allows inferences to be made about the intentions of its originator. Knightley indicates that he has forgiven Emma for her treatment ...

All the girls said so

August Kleinzahler: John Berryman, 2 July 2015

The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 427 pp., £11.99, October 2014, 978 0 374 53455 4
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77 Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 84 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53452 3
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Berryman’s Sonnets 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 127 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53454 7
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The Heart Is Strange 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 179 pp., £17.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 22108 9
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Poets in their Youth 
by Eileen Simpson.
Farrar, Straus, 274 pp., £11.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 23559 8
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... my God, mercy for him and me. Faces half-fanged, Christ drives abroad, and though the crop hopes, Jane is so slipshod I cry. Evil dissolves, & love, like foam; that love. Prattle of children powers me home, my heart claps like the swan’s under a frenzy of who love me & who shine.Homage to Mistress Bradstreet is much admired and little read, its clotted ...

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