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Where wolf?

John Gallagher: Everyone knows I’m a werewolf, 7 April 2022

Old Thiess, a Livonian Werewolf: A Classic Case in Comparative Perspective 
by Carlo Ginzburg and Bruce Lincoln.
Chicago, 289 pp., £20, March 2020, 978 0 226 67441 4
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... was a werewolf.’That he was a werewolf seems to have been common knowledge and Thiess himself freely admitted it – in fact, he said, it wasn’t even the first time it had been mentioned in court. Ten years earlier, he had been questioned about his broken nose and had explained to the court that a neighbour had struck him with a broomstick while they ...

On Jonathan Miller

Neal Ascherson: Jonathan Miller, 2 January 2020

... sofas in the 1950s had broken springs. Once they had buoyed up culture heroes like Rupert Brooke, John Cornford or Guy Burgess. Now, as we trudged across the great Gromboolian plain of the 1950s, they had given up the struggle. Modish undergraduates perched on the arms. Jonathan, new to the place, tried to sit down and slid backwards into the depths. All I ...

Monsieur Apollo

John Sturrock, 13 November 1997

Victor Hugo 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 682 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 330 33707 6
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... over, who thought the mot juste was the first one that came to mind, and who poured himself so freely into his verse, his melodramas, his novels, his family, his women and his politics that he presided over the literary world for sixty years. Hugo’s was a carelessness of expression unthinkable for the slow-writing Flaubert, but Flaubert was happy to pay ...

Cromwell’s Coven

John Sutherland, 4 June 1987

Witchcraft 
by Nigel Williams.
Faber, 390 pp., £10.95, May 1987, 0 571 14823 9
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Without Falling 
by Leslie Dick.
Serpent’s Tail, 153 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 1 85242 005 7
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Outlaws 
by George V. Higgins.
Deutsch, 360 pp., £10.95, April 1987, 0 233 98110 1
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... of pamph-lets writt-en by the leaders of so-ciety and by ord-inary men and women and they are not freely available at fucking W.H. Smith’s. Since it is 1986, he promptly gets his reader’s card. And the point is made, on the first page of the novel, that the world of Nigel Williams has no time for truckling. Nowadays insolence is what you survive ...

A Piece of Single Blessedness

John Burrows, 21 January 1988

Jane Austen: Her Life 
by Park Honan.
Weidenfeld, 452 pp., £16.95, October 1987, 0 297 79217 2
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... smacks of excess. But, compared with Lord David Cecil’s A Portrait of Jane Austen (1979) and John Halperin’s The Life of Jane Austen (1984), the work under review is in so many ways the best that it deserves to make its mark. The three authors, moreover, approach their subject (or subjects) from quite different directions and differ greatly in their ...

The Last Cigarette

John Bayley, 27 July 1989

Memoir of Italo Svevo 
by Livia Veneziani Svevo, translated by Isabel Quigly.
Libris, 178 pp., £17.95, April 1989, 1 870352 40 8
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... in southern Poland, Bruno Shulz, than he is to Proust, with whom his French admirers were soon freely comparing him, or than he is to Joyce himself. Shulz came from a lowlier background but had the same kind of humour as Svevo and the same age-in-the-womb tendencies. Cinnamon Shops, titled in America The Street of Crocodiles, is a kind of provincial cousin ...

Jon Elster’s Brisk Meditations

Bernard Williams, 1 May 1980

Logic and Society 
by Jon Elster.
Wiley, 244 pp., £12.65, March 1978, 0 471 99549 5
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Ulysses and the Sirens 
by Jon Elster.
Cambridge/Editions de la Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, 240 pp., £9.75, May 1979, 0 521 22388 1
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... have – ‘unilateral recognition’, as Elster puts it in Logic and Society, a recognition freely accorded to him by someone who is a chattel, who cannot freely recognise anyone. This state of consciousness is essential to the master, and implicit in the historical forms that his institution takes. There is nothing ...

Happy Bunnies

John Pemble: Cousin Marriage, 25 February 2010

Incest and Influence: The Private Life of Bourgeois England 
by Adam Kuper.
Harvard, 296 pp., £20.95, November 2009, 978 0 674 03589 8
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... job as vicar of Doncaster. Not until 1964, when Phyllis Grosskurth published her biography of John Addington Symonds, was it revealed that Vaughan had resigned in order to avoid prosecution for sexual offences with a pupil. As late as 1955, in his essay ‘The Intellectual Aristocracy’, Noël Annan was writing (probably with a knowing wink at fellow ...

Blake at work

David Bindman, 2 April 1981

William Blake, printmaker 
by Robert Essick.
Princeton, 304 pp., £27.50, August 1980, 0 691 03954 2
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... and the need to pore over a small piece of copper all day, meant that the mind could wander freely and would find no check to its uninformed speculations. A contemporary explained: ‘In engraving and its operation the process of thought may be carried on with that of the work, and neither be retarded in its progress, by one who is master of his subject ...

Diary

Celia Paul: Painting in the Dark, 17 December 2020

... The painter​ Gwen John suffered from jealousy in her relationship with the sculptor Auguste Rodin. She was 27 when she started to model for him. He was 63. Rodin slept with a lot of women during his lifetime and the women he slept with also posed for him. John was jealous of Rodin’s other women ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan, 21 June 1984

Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... eyed askance or turned askew. Like Dedalus in the Irish National Library, trying to impress A.E., John Eglinton and Mr Best with his theory of Hamlet, the narrator of Nothing Like the Sun throws in lots of local colour, freely kitsched with quasi-Elizabethan compounds and archaic turns of phrase. Moreover, following ...

Living on Apple Crumble

August Kleinzahler: James Schuyler, 17 November 2005

Just the Thing: Selected Letters of James Schuyler 1951-91 
edited by William Corbett.
Turtle Point, 470 pp., £13.99, May 2005, 1 885586 30 2
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... it still Connecticut, the dear deer, the steady lay, the unprivate walls?’ His correspondent, John Hohnsbeen, an art-dealer friend, was having an affair with the architect Philip Johnson, and the ‘unprivate walls’ are those of Johnson’s famous Glass House. Schuyler was 28 and this was his first serious mental breakdown. He had only recently arrived ...
Jeremy Thorpe: A Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... 1975. Yet it was not till October 1975, after a meeting with Scott at which the latter talked freely and showed his letters, that he obtained a gun (page 224). Newton is not reported by either book as having given evidence that anyone told him to do this. His evidence as reported by Leigh and Chippindale contains no reference to his receiving instructions ...

Living with a little halibut

John Bayley, 8 October 1992

Fraud 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 224 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 224 03315 8
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... produced at the highest level of imaginative intensity, but she manages to make it an asset, as if freely entering and leaving her own novel world. This may indeed be the point which produces her special interest as a novelist, her version of Todorov’s formula of the Jamesian riddle and query: the unsolved query which her art solves is about both her subject ...

Mount Amery

Paul Addison, 20 November 1980

The Leo Amery Diaries 
edited by John Barnes and David Nicholson, introduced by Julian Amery.
Hutchinson, 653 pp., £27.50, October 1980, 0 09 131910 2
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... utopian. The ramshackle Empire was to be reorganised into a world-state of self-governing nations, freely co-operating and acting as one in defence, trade, foreign policy and ideals of citizenship. As Seeley had taught, the British would cease to think of themselves as a European people with a rag-bag of overseas possessions, and take their place around a ...

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