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Well done, you forgers

John Sutherland, 7 January 1993

The Two Forgers: A Biography of Harry Buxton Forman and Thomas James Wise 
by John Collins.
Scolar, 317 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 85967 754 0
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Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship 
by Anthony Grafton.
Princeton, 157 pp., £10.75, May 1990, 0 691 05544 0
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... to go into now.’ Recent sleuthing has filled in some of the gaps. Nicholas Barker and John Collins’s A Sequel to ‘An Enquiry’ (1983) clarifies the role of Wise’s reluctant partner, Harry Buxton Forman. The forgers’ liaison is fleshed out further in the biographical The Two Forgers, which offers the fullest and most readable ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: War Talk, 6 February 2003

... to consolidate his place in the history books as Britain’s greatest wartime Prime Minister since John Major, shipping our boys out to the Gulf, boots or no boots, his rhetoric at least is wearing steel toe caps. ‘We are going to be in the front line of this whatever happens,’ he told the Commons Liaison Committee, meaning not, as you might think, that ...

Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: Hungarians and Falklanders, 17 February 1983

... on the Times in the London Library. The name that stirred my memories and regrets most was Canon John Collins, who died on New Year’s Eve. John Collins was that very rare thing: a good man. He was not particularly a rebel or a radical. He was very conventional in many of his ways, as in being a Canon of St ...

Where’s Esther?

Robert Alter: The Dead Sea Scrolls, 12 September 2013

The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography 
by John Collins.
Princeton, 272 pp., £16.95, October 2012, 978 0 691 14367 5
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The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea 
by Joan Taylor.
Oxford, 418 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 19 955448 5
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... hymns and liturgical texts. One could scarcely imagine a better concise guide to the Scrolls than John Collins’s The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography. Collins, who teaches at Yale, writes with clarity and liveliness, and throughout his account exercises great judiciousness, a quality that has not always been prominent ...

Paliography

John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie CollinsWomen, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... Ray, writing in 1956, all that posterity could reasonably expect to know about the elusive Wilkie Collins was his name and dates of birth and death. This has proved to be an exaggeration. Thanks to Kenneth Robinson (whose revised Wilkie Collins, A Biography came out in 1974) and now, preeminently, to William Clarke, we now ...

My Missus

John Sutherland, 13 May 1993

Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... working-class literature than about Lapland. In a much quoted essay twenty years later, Wilkie Collins, after a similar expedition, coined the phrase ‘the Unknown Public’. It was something of a misnomer since the public was well enough known. It was their ‘entertaining literature’ that was the mystery. English society put such a moral premium on ...

Dictionaries

Randolph Quirk, 25 October 1979

Collins Dictionary of the English Language 
by P. Hanks, T.H. Long and L. Urdang.
Collins, 1690 pp., £7.95
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... English dictionary of 1616 the minimally anglicised edifice ‘a building’, in the 1979 Collins edifice ‘a building’. For all their bright newness, dictionaries of the 1970s (such as the Webster 8th Collegiate, the Longman Modern English Dictionary, the revised Chambers, the 6th Concise Oxford, the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English, the ...

Unwarranted

John Barrell: John Wilkes Betrayed, 6 July 2006

John Wilkes: The Scandalous Father of Civil Liberty 
by Arthur Cash.
Yale, 482 pp., £19.95, February 2006, 0 300 10871 0
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... The last time I wrote for the LRB, I mentioned a speech made by Tim Collins, the then shadow education secretary, calling for a review of the teaching of history in schools. ‘Nothing is more important to the survival of the British nation,’ he had declared, ‘than an understanding among its young of our shared heritage and the nature of the struggles, foreign and domestic, which have secured our freedoms … a nation which loses sight of its past cannot long expect to enjoy its future ...

Who is Lucian Freud?

Rosemary Hill: John Craxton goes to Crete, 21 October 2021

John Craxton: A Life of Gifts 
by Ian Collins.
Yale, 383 pp., £25, May, 978 0 300 25529 4
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... all talking about the same house in a backstreet in Chania. Each of them had given the painter John Craxton a lump sum to repair it, in exchange for a half share in the ownership. None of them minded the imposture, which had been going on for about twenty years, and they all remained friends with Craxton, which says something about his character. His ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: On Michael Collins, 28 November 1996

... has emerged, which threatens to bar our family’s return to its amnesiac state. Michael Collins, Neil Jordan’s film, is not about us as a family, but we are part of its revolutionary story and provide much of its romance. In May 1917, Michael Collins came down for a few days to Longford, one of those anonymous ...

Disaster

Ronan Bennett, 16 December 1993

De Valera: Long Fellow, Long Shadow 
by Tim Pat Coogan.
Hutchinson, 772 pp., £20, October 1993, 9780091750305
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... If they remind Catholics to keep Clear of Republicanism, killings like these can be useful, as John Taylor, an MP from the ‘respcetable’ side of Unionism and a Minister of Home Affairs in the days of Stormont, has acknowledged. Another Stormont MP, now very happily deceased, took the logic of his strong feelings about Northern Catholics a stage ...

Ghost Artists

J.I.M. Stewart, 18 December 1980

The Case of the Philosophers’ Ring by Dr John H. Watson 
by Randall Collins.
Harvester, 152 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 85527 458 1
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... A good many years ago the late Sir John Masterman, when Provost of Worcester College, had the idea of creating a species of Sherlock Holmes Apocrypha. He wrote two or three short stories which appeared, I think, in an evening newspaper. I myself can recall nothing of them except a little joke. In the course of investigating a case of poisoning ...

Woman in Love

Brigid Brophy, 7 February 1985

The Life of Jane Austen 
by John Halperin.
Harvester, 400 pp., December 1984, 0 7108 0518 7
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... Two voices are there of Centennial Professor of English at Vanderbilt University John Halperin, whose rank and area of operation are, by what strikes me as a publishing solecism in a book that solicits a general readership, placed in apposition to his name on the title-page. The first voice is scarcely of the deep, but it utters some common sense ...

Self-Made Women

John Sutherland, 11 July 1991

The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present 
edited by Virginia Blain, Isobel Grundy and Patricia Clements.
Batsford, 1231 pp., £35, August 1990, 0 7134 5848 8
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The Presence of the Present: Topics of the Day in the Victorian Novel 
by Richard Altick.
Ohio State, 854 pp., $45, March 1991, 0 8142 0518 6
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... The George Eliot entry does not mention her brother Isaac, Charles Bray, Charles Hennell or John Chapman. Lewes gets just eight words (‘a married man unable to divorce his wife’). Sartre similarly gets no more than a dismissive sentence in the de Beauvoir entry. Beauvoir’s book on her mother’s death is cited, but not Adieux, her farewell to ...

Like Unruly Children in a Citizenship Class

John Barrell: A hero for Howard, 21 April 2005

The Laughter of Triumph: William Hone and the Fight for a Free Press 
by Ben Wilson.
Faber, 455 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 0 571 22470 9
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... Tory faithful no doubt knew, Howard was picking up on a speech made a few weeks earlier by Tim Collins, his shadow education secretary, to the National Catholic Heads’ Conference. In a zealous attack on the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, the only school subject Collins had discussed at any length was ...

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