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The Strange Case of John Bampfylde

Roger Lonsdale, 3 March 1988

... If John Bampfylde has any continuing public existence, it must be as the man on the right in this unusual double portrait by Joshua Reynolds. An interested enquirer might learn that Bampfylde was a minor poet of the later 18th century and, in the absence of much hard information, encounter what is scarcely more than a striking anecdote of frustrated love and subsequent insanity ...
From Author to Reader: A Social Study of Books 
by Peter Mann.
Routledge, 189 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 7100 9089 7
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David Copperfield 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 781 pp., £40, March 1981, 0 19 812492 9
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Martin Chuzzlewit 
by Charles Dickens, edited by Margaret Cardwell.
Oxford, 923 pp., £45, December 1982, 0 19 812488 0
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Books and their Readers in 18th-Century England 
edited by Isabel Rivers.
Leicester University Press, 267 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7185 1189 1
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Mumby’s Publishing and Bookselling in the 20th Century 
by Ian Norrie.
Bell and Hyman, 253 pp., £12.95, October 1982, 0 7135 1341 1
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Reading Relations 
by Bernard Sharratt.
Harvester, 350 pp., £18.95, February 1982, 0 7108 0059 2
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... to the German Archiv für Geschichte des Buchwesens. Nor does Britain have an equivalent to John Tebbel’s multivolume history of American publishing. The student of the subject in this country (particularly if he is interested in contemporary matters) will find himself dredging through the pages of more or less hagiographic ‘house histories’ and ...

The Archaeology of Childhood

John Burnside, 23 May 2002

... myself: room after room of furniture no one could use; stairs leading upwards to nothing; an empty hall filling with snow where a door has been left ajar; then whatever I make of the one room high in the roof where something alive and frantic is hopelessly trapped, whatever I make of the sweetness it leaves behind on waking, what I know and cannot tell is ...

One Night in Maidenhead

Jean McNicol, 30 October 1997

Noel Coward and Radclyffe HallKindred Spirits 
by Terry Castle.
Columbia, 150 pp., £15.95, November 1996, 0 231 10596 7
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Your JohnThe Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall 
edited by Joanne Glasgow.
New York, 273 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 8147 3092 2
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Radclyffe HallA Woman Called John 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 434 pp., £25, June 1997, 9780719554087
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... pioneer that’s got left behind. I believe she’s the beginning of things like me.’ Radclyffe Hall has long since been left behind, along with Joan Ogden, the heroine of her first novel, The Unlit Lamp, and the character to whom these words refer. The young women she had overheard, Ogden thought, were ‘aggressively intelligent ... not at all ...

Johnsons

John Sutherland, 7 June 1984

The Place of Dead Roads 
by William Burroughs.
Calder, 306 pp., £9.95, April 1984, 0 7145 4030 7
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Angels 
by Denis Johnson.
Chatto, 209 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2777 5
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Moll Cutpurse: Her True History 
by Ellen Galford.
Stramullion, 221 pp., £4.50, May 1984, 0 907343 03 1
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... it as ‘vomit’. Nevertheless, helped by a determined defence from its British publisher, John Calder (who claimed to discern in Burroughs the James Joyce of our day), Naked Lunch went on to become a terrific post-Chatterley best-seller. The Place of Dead Roads is published with a grant from the Arts Council: a double seal of Establishment approval ...

Sour Notes

D.A.N. Jones, 17 November 1983

Peter Hall’s Diaries: The Story of a Dramatic Battle 
edited by John Goodwin.
Hamish Hamilton, 507 pp., £12.95, November 1983, 0 241 11047 5
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... Sir Peter Hall is a man of Notes. He is a director of plays who has become Director of the National Theatre. The skills of play directors are not those of performers (like his predecessor at the National, Lord Olivier). Play directors pride themselves on their ability to give what they call Notes. This sort of Note (scarcely recognised by dictionaries) is not the sort manual workers make, in notebooks or on notepaper: it is mouth work ...

Father-Daughter Problems

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Bad Daughters, 8 May 2008

The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street 
by Charles Nicholl.
Allen Lane, 378 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 7139 9890 0
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... was on the point of getting betrothed when he finally premiered King Lear. (She married Dr John Hall in 1607, the year between Lear’s performance at court and its publication.) Biographers have pointed out, too, that Shakespeare had a younger brother called Edmund, who followed him to London and into the theatre business. Did Shakespeare name ...

Journey

John Tranter, 25 June 1992

... a locked book and an idiot rampant in a tree wondering what the fuss was about at the front of the hall:     the shriek, the slap,     the shattered glass, the     burst of clapping, the stock market crash and the shock declaration of war. And we seem to be rattling out of control along the track     that clatters into the ...

Who owns John Sutherland?

John Sutherland: Intellectual property in the digital age, 7 January 1999

... instantly have sniffed out the scientific balderdash. The defence – provocatively stated by John Sturrock in these pages – was that humanities journals don’t work that way. In return for their services to the academy, science journals have traditionally demanded exclusive copyright from authors. This allows the publisher to control and charge for ...

Even Uglier

Terry Eagleton: Music Hall, 20 December 2012

My Old Man: A Personal History of Music Hall 
by John Major.
Harper, 363 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 00 745013 8
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... consummate performer. Randolph Churchill, Winston’s father, was said to have an ‘almost music-hall style of speaking’, while his son greatly admired the music-hall comic Dan Leno and would sing his songs with what this book enigmatically describes as ‘teddy bear gestures’. Harold Macmillan could do a superb ...

Two Poems

John Ashbery, 6 March 2014

... time. Railroad elders would border on the interesting. What of Lepchek, Spongey, Mr Johnson? Huntz Hall? These and others, swept to their doom over the solid-seeming railing, make for clouded sailing ahead. I’m going to start working on it, or the other. A rumble upstate said: ‘No, they’re not. I told them eighty-six hundred times. You got enough feet to ...

Bad John

Alan Bennett: John Osborne, 3 December 1981

A Better Class of Person 
by John Osborne.
Faber, 285 pp., £7.95, November 1981, 0 571 11785 6
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... One of John Osborne’s Thoughts for 1954: ‘The urge to please above all. I don’t have it and can’t achieve it. A small thing but more or less mine own.’ This book does please and has pleased. It is immensely enjoyable, is written with great gusto and Osborne has had better notices for it than for any of his plays since Inadmissible Evidence ...

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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... to London. ‘When I got off the train they would look at me with respect at the station. Albert Hall, Wigmore Hall, or the Queen’s Hall? Whereas the car would take me to the furthest and coolest of the suburbs, where I delighted the natives with my playing.’ That claim might have ...

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 ...

Ports

John Burnside, 21 August 1997

... entwined.           Our neighbour                           John who spends his free time diving plumbing the sea for evidence and spilt cargoes         who has burrowed in the mud to touch the mystery of something absolute         can tell you how                         out in the ...

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