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What is concrete?

Michael Wood: Erich Auerbach

5 March 2015
Time, History and Literature: Selected Essays of Erich Auerbach 
by Erich Auerbach, edited by James Porter, translated by Jane Newman.
Princeton, 284 pp., £27.95, December 2013, 978 0 691 13711 7
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... what Auerbach means by reality. It is asking what he means by reality. Reality is in a first sense whatever exists or takes place, in the world, in the mind. ‘Whatever happens, happens,’ as JaneNewman, the translator of Time, History and Literature shrewdly renders a difficult German phrase. In a second sense it is whatever piece of the actual or lived, the experienced or the deeply needed, that a ...

Walls, Fences, Grilles and Intercoms

Andrew Saint: Security and the City

19 November 2009
Ground Control: Fear and Happiness in the 21st-Century City 
by Anna Minton.
Penguin, 240 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 0 14 103391 4
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... values over Britain’s built environment, recurrent in Ground Control. Minton has more to say about the American influences, no doubt because they wield so much power today. As long ago as 1961, Jane Jacobs in her Death and Life of Great American Cities presented the case for a free and open security system based on the mutual vigilance of the street. That was partly countered by Oscar Newman ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen

22 June 2006
Doctor Who 
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Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... Like everyone else of my generation, I have memories of the Doctor going back for ever, to shows and monsters it’s quite impossible that I ever saw. ‘All lazy writing about Doctor Who,’ Kim Newman writes in his ‘critical reading’ of what he calls ‘the franchise’, ‘trades on the stereotypes of children watching “from behind the sofa”’ – exactly what I remember doing, though in ...

Resurrecting the Tudors

John Pemble: James Anthony Froude

23 May 2013
James Anthony Froude: An Intellectual Biography of a Victorian Prophet 
by Ciaran Brady.
Oxford, 500 pp., £45, May 2013, 978 0 19 966803 8
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... now preserved in Westminster Abbey, that were carried in funeral processions through the street’. Froude’s Carlyle blew open the citadel of privacy. It encouraged public speculation about what Jane Carlyle’s friends were saying in private, by strongly hinting that Carlyle was impotent. It was doubly shocking in being as much about her as about him: a portrait of the silently suffering and ...

Heaven’s Gate

Rosemary Hill

8 September 1994
Pugin: A Gothic Passion 
edited by Paul Atterbury and Clive Wainwright.
Yale, 310 pp., £45, June 1994, 0 300 06014 9
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... melodrama. Lambourne quotes him writing in 1850, ‘Ha Mr Editor, I have you on the hip. Look to yourself,’ in an address to the Rambler about plainsong. Such support made the fastidious John Henry Newman shudder. ‘A profound silence’, he suggested, was the only way ‘to bear such blushing honours’. Nothing in Pugin’s life was more dramatic than his own transformation from talented but ...
19 June 1986
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Vol. II: The Tender Passion 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 490 pp., £19.50, June 1986, 0 19 503741 3
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... situation has then reversed itself: ‘realism’ today comes to seem as unreal as Mrs Radcliffe, and a proper, placid and pleasant surface may seem to carry us back to ordinary life in the way that Jane Austen did. Our emphasis today on the healthiness of sex, Aids-causing tactics always excluded, and its place in society as a kind of domestic football, narrows a once spacious emotional area. Where ...


Jane​ Holland: My Snooker Career

6 February 1997
... nature. Respot the colours wrongly, snooker yourself, even miss the ball altogether: they get all misty-eyed and pat you on the head, which is when you move in and take them for every penny. As Paul Newman said, ‘money won is twice as sweet as money earned.’ Winning a game of snooker is not particularly straightforward, especially if you’re afraid of your opponent. A difficult draw can be costly ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers

10 November 1988
The Faber Book of Seductions 
edited by Jenny Newman.
Faber, 366 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 571 15110 8
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Journeys to the Underworld 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 226 pp., £10, October 1988, 9780701132231
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... what she describes isn’t seduction but casual sex. And later he caught a bus and she a train And all there was between them then was rain. Brian Patten’s perfunctory verse is included in Jenny Newman’s anthology in order to make the same sort of point: seductions, which begin with fine words and end with desperate recriminations, are a thing of the past. ‘You cannot seduce anyone when ...
17 July 1980
... ardour instilled by a teacher in childhood held Marian in uncommon sway until her 22nd year. The revolution in her belief, long in preparation, was sudden and complete. At the moment when John Henry Newman was being received into the Roman Catholic Church Marian was own pitting her translation of Strauss’s Life of Jesus, applying to the New Testament the Higher Criticism, which had made literal ...

The Monster Plot

Thomas Powers: James Angleton, Spymaster

10 May 2018
The Ghost: The Secret Life of CIA Spymaster James Jesus Angleton 
by Jefferson Morley.
Scribe, 336 pp., £20, December 2017, 978 1 911344 73 5
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... that Oswald acted alone but they have expanded public knowledge of the inner workings of the CIA by several orders of magnitude. Poring through these files in 1994 was a friend of Morley’s, John Newman, who was completing a book called Oswald and the CIA, published in 1995. Among the new files Newman spotted some routing slips from the CI Staff which recorded the arrival of documents circulated by ...


P.N. Furbank

18 November 1982
The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... the English character, traceable in English literature from Shakespeare downwards.’ The profound patriotism of Shelley and Byron, the inability to think logically of John Stuart Mill and Cardinal Newman and Lewis Carroll? No, it won’t do, and Orwell, for once, was talking through his hat – perhaps relaxing in what he considered an ‘English’ manner. It really seems, then, not quite proper ...

Eminent Athenians

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

1 October 1981
The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain 
by Frank Turner.
Yale, 461 pp., £18.90, April 1981, 0 300 02480 0
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... elements of their society and their ideas. Turner is strongest on history, religion and philosophy; he says little about literature, except in connection with Matthew Arnold’s controversy with F.W. Newman over Homer, and not much about aesthetics in general. But he remarks that, in the study of Greek sculpture, Victorian Classicists, down to the brothers Gardner, still active in the Thirties of this ...


Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater

27 January 2020
The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... and modernists are no longer the same people. Anyone who can cope with Pater’s allusions to Pindar and Apuleius is unlikely to spot the references, often disguised, to Baudelaire, Schiller and Newman – or vice versa. Who is to say which range of reference is the more important, in any particular case?Take, for example, this sentence from ‘The Genius of Plato’, included in Wong’s ...


C.K. Stead

22 February 1996
Letters of Claire Clairmont, Charles Clairmont and Fanny Imlay Godwin 
edited by Marion Kingston Stocking.
Johns Hopkins, 704 pp., £45, May 1995, 0 8018 4633 1
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... and ash; her love for Shelley, about which she said next to nothing, survived the Byron episode and persisted. Flexibility about names suggests concealment of origins and uncertainty of identity. Jane Clairmont became Clare, then Claire, sometimes Clara, and added Constantia. Her mother married William Godwin twice in an afternoon, once as ‘Jane Clairmont, widow’, a second time as ‘Mary Vial ...

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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... about. His mother, a cultivated woman in her own right, entered into his literary and intellectual 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 ...

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