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Period Pain

Patricia Beer, 9 June 1994

Aristocrats 
by Stella Tillyard.
Chatto, 462 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 7011 5933 2
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... a matter of natural and wholesome professional sympathies. Stella Tillyard is married to historian John Brewer who helped Schama with Citizens, as the author warmly acknowledges in the Introduction; and there is further scholarly harmony in the fact that Tillyard, in her Preface, shows that she agrees with the views of ...

Old Western Man

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 September 1980

C.S. Lewis at the Breakfast Table and Other Reminiscences 
edited by James Como.
Collins, 299 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 9780002162753
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... with characteristic candour: ‘At the Socratic the enemy often wipe the floor with us.’ Derek Brewer, a pupil of Lewis’s who was later to become Master of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, formed the impression that Lewis attended, and presided over, the Socratic ‘entirely as a sacrificial duty, and loathed it’. This may well be an exaggeration, since ...

Rabbit Resartus

Edward Pearce, 8 November 1990

Rabbit at Rest 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 505 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 233 98622 7
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... Rabbit Angstrom – Toyota dealer, wife-swapper, gone-to-seed athlete, conservative, citizen of Brewer, Pennsylvania, ex-working man, Scandinavian American and emblematic mess – just where he was after a mere three books. Indeed, although Rabbit, at the end of what is now a tetralogy, looks sick to the terminal rim, I would hesitate to take bets that ...

Diary

Tom Carver: Philby in Beirut, 11 October 2012

... rainstorm, Philby walked down the five flights of stairs from the flat he shared with Eleanor Brewer, the former wife of the New York Times Middle East correspondent, Sam Brewer, and disappeared. It was six months before the Soviets announced that he had defected to Moscow and another five years before the British ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Dictionaries, 24 August 2000

... but at night he’s an amateur astronomer. He’s dismissive of fears that the association with John Wyndham’s 1950s novel won’t do the controversy-strewn world of GM any favours; and he’s done that clever thing of appropriating an opponent’s discourse: the Canadian triffid is an ironic (and more modern) riposte to all the talk about Frankenstein ...

Gossip in Gilt

James Wood: John Updike’s Licks of Love, 19 April 2001

Licks of Love: Short Stories and a Sequel, ‘Rabbit Remembered’ 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 368 pp., £16.99, March 2001, 9780241141298
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... It seems to be easier for John Updike to stifle a yawn than to refrain from writing a book. It is generally thought niggardly or envious to complain about a writer’s abundance (a book a year, roughly, in Updike’s case). Most novelists, it is said, would pant to exhibit such a fault. Or the case is made that it is otiose to complain about the mediocre books when there are so many fine ones; the odd truancy in a record of such inspired application is inevitable, the waterfall has its chilly underside and so on ...

World’s End

John Sutherland, 1 October 1987

The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... nearby Norfolk Island). Keneally’s episodic progression allows him to draw at length Harry Brewer, the colony’s Provost Marshal. Formerly the oldest midshipman in the Royal Navy, Brewer ran away to sea to escape the consequence of his thieving, only to find himself once again threatened by the criminal underworld ...

The Deaths Map

Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border, 20 October 2011

... smuggling and drug smuggling are intimately connected. During a gubernatorial debate in 2010, Jan Brewer, the Republican governor, said of undocumented migrants: ‘The majority of them in my opinion and I think in the opinion of law enforcement … are not coming here to work. They are coming here, and they’re bringing drugs.’ But how does this hold up ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer, 25 January 1990

The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... Reagan’s speech-writer, a rant on modern television from Frederic Raphael, and views on editing (John Gross), Post-Structuralism (Alison Lurie) and computers. ‘Art’ in particular contains some notable essays, among them Walter Ong on subway graffiti, and the section opens with a splendidly passionate and ambitious piece by Margaret Doody on the revision ...

When in Rom

John Sutherland, 9 June 1994

The English Poetry Full-Text Database 
editorial board: John Barnard, Derek Brewer, Lou Burnand, Howard Erskine-Hill and Danny Karlin et al.
Chadwyck-Healey, £30,000, June 1994
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... Ask what has been the single greatest influence on literary research since the Sixties and the answer might be the Xerox machine, the jumbo jet or Jacques Derrida. Ask what will transform literary research in the next ten years and a likely answer is The English Poetry Full-Text Database. This project, whose three serial instalments will be complete this summer, has reportedly clocked up almost a hundred sales ...

Diary

John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... the Epitaph on Elias James. As Leslie Hotson showed some years ago, Shakespeare had links with a brewer of that name during his sojourn near St Andrew by the Wardrobe. Doubtless the Oxford editors felt that a single unfamiliar poem was as much as the public would swallow at once, but sagacious readers will instantly agree that the proximity of another ...

Diary

Ruth Padel: Singing Madrigals, 29 November 2007

... one voice sings. These madrigals display the individual voice very differently from those of, say, John Dowland (who was ten years younger than Monteverdi). From the 1580s to 1620, Dowland wrote wonderfully for the single voice. He was a consummate polyphonist, but his music was informed by his knowledge of his own instrument – the lute – whereas ...

Nelly gets her due

John Sutherland, 8 November 1990

The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 317 pp., £16.99, October 1990, 0 670 82787 8
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The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant 
edited by Elisabeth Jay.
Oxford, 184 pp., £16.95, October 1990, 0 19 818615 0
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... Thomas Adolphus Trollope (Anthony’s brother), and wrote novels. Maria Ternan married a rich brewer, had no children, separated, and eventually became a New Woman and a journalist. Less talented than Fanny, less clever than Maria, but prettier than either, Ellen was supported by Dickens for 13 dubious years. In 1870 she ‘reinvented herself’. She cut ...

Plantsmen

David Allen, 20 December 1984

The John Tradescants: Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen 
by Prudence Leith-Ross.
Owen, 320 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 7206 0612 8
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Sydney Parkinson: Artist of Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ Voyage 
edited by D.J. Carr.
Croom Helm, 300 pp., £29.95, March 1984, 9780709907947
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... responsible for introducing the young Sydney Parkinson to Joseph Banks. The son of an Edinburgh brewer and a fellow Quaker of Lee’s, Parkinson had begun to demonstrate promise as a flower painter. Banks was on the look-out for such talents, to employ on the illustrating of his natural-history collections; and having tried him out on his zoological ...

Sea Changes

Patrick Parrinder, 27 February 1992

Indigo, or Mapping the Waters 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 402 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 9780701135317
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Shakespeare’s Caliban: A Cultural History 
by Alden Vaughan and Virginia Mason Vaughan.
Cambridge, 290 pp., £35, January 1992, 0 521 40305 7
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... of Radio Four’s Desert Island Discs, including, a few weeks ago, our current island governor John Major. The BBC’s (by now rather crowded) island retreat both affirms and denies the insular character of Britain itself: once there, you would have the advantages of an island without the British climate and the rest of the British people. The Prime ...

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