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Clarissa and Louisa

Karl Miller, 7 November 1985

Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady 
by Samuel Richardson, edited with an introduction by Angus Ross.
Viking, 1533 pp., £19.95, August 1985, 0 670 80829 6
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Memoire of Frances, Lady Douglas 
by Lady Louisa Stuart, edited by Jill Rubenstein.
Scottish Academic Press, 106 pp., £9.50, August 1985, 0 7073 0358 3
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... Watson calls attention to the statement, in the biography of the politician by Namier and John Brooke, that Townshend needed his wit to shield a poverty of heart. This might be held to be like Lovelace, and in each case the wit is very brilliant. Each is a paragon in this respect. And Townshend was also known for his easy success with women. In ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language, 10 May 2012

Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... tracing a line from Rimbaud through Futurism to Gertrude Stein, Wittgenstein, Frank O’Hara, John Cage and beyond – who have advanced what she sees as modernist goals: above all, the up-to-date, sceptical investigation of the materials and ideas from which a work of art gets made. Though much of Perloff’s writing concerns the great dead, she became ...

John McEnroe plus Anyone

Edward Said: Tennis, 1 July 1999

The Right Set: The Faber Book of Tennis 
edited by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 327 pp., £12.99, June 1999, 0 571 19540 7
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... athletes in white flannels. Even the commentators are pros (some of them, like Cliff Drysdale and John McEnroe, excellent ones). In nearly every way tennis has become an alienated, albeit highly lucrative profession rather than a sport. The game’s most flamboyant and most gifted practitioner, Andre Agassi, has earned fabulous sums as an endorser of various ...

Rat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat-a-tat

David Runciman: Thatcher’s Rise, 6 June 2013

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography. Vol. I: Not for Turning 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 859 pp., £30, April 2013, 978 0 7139 9282 3
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... swashbuckling capitalism; Keith Joseph, who represented high-minded anti-statism; Geoffrey Howe, who represented disciplined proto-monetarism. But she saw them all off easily. In this she was greatly helped by their obvious lack of leadership qualities. Du Cann was cavalier and untrustworthy; Joseph was flaky and depressive; ...

On the Secret Joke at the Centre of American Identity

Michael Rogin: Ralph Ellison, 2 March 2000

Juneteenth 
by Ralph Ellison, edited by John Callaghan.
Hamish Hamilton, 368 pp., £16.99, December 1999, 0 241 14084 6
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... over for the last forty years of his life and failed to finish. When his literary executor John Callahan appended some of these jottings to the end of ‘Juneteenth’, the ‘novel’ he extracted from two thousand manuscript pages, he gave Ellison the last word: the final note reproaches the editor from beyond the grave, along with the readers ...

Big Pod

Richard Poirier: How Podhoretz Dumped His Friends, 2 September 1999

Ex-Friends 
by Norman Podhoretz.
Free Press, 256 pp., $25, February 1999, 0 684 85594 1
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... of Dissent: the political theorist Michael Walzer and the literary and social critic Irving Howe. Though the attack on these two occurs in the Trilling chapter, it has no direct connection with any strains in his relationship with the Trillings. He had known in the early Seventies that both of them felt he was moving too far to the right, a suspicion ...

Her way of helping me

Hugo Young, 6 December 1990

Listening for a Midnight Tram: Memoirs 
by John Junor.
Chapmans, 341 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 9781855925014
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... Sir John Junor made his reputation mainly as the man prepared to be more bitchy about famous people than any other newspaper columnist. This was the basis on which he conducted his column on the Sunday Express, the paper he also edited for 32 years, and which underpins its less successful appearance nowadays in the Mail on Sunday ...

Female Heads

John Bayley, 27 October 1988

Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... itself in realistically. Richardson uses as a convention the letter-writing of Clarissa and Anna Howe, but their intimacy is itself a fact to be taken for granted. The problem is that once men have invented women in fiction, it is difficult for women not to produce a counter-invention in the same spirit. Guidelines and frontiers are all too easily drawn. I ...

In Memoriam: V.S. Pritchett

John Bayley, 24 April 1997

... to win immediate recognition. ‘No one alive writes a better English sentence,’ observed Irving Howe, and there is something peculiarly just about that, for no one could be less narrowly and definably English in outlook and manner than Pritchett. Howe’s verdict suggests a time when English, as such, was well-written as ...

Fatalism, Extenuation and Despair

Peter Clarke: John Major, 5 March 1998

Major: A Political Life 
by Anthony Seldon.
Weidenfeld, 856 pp., £25, October 1997, 0 297 81607 1
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... his own party – not least from MPs owing their Westminster seats to his popular appeal. Or so John Major came to feel by the end of 1992. Tony Blair must be thankful that things are now working out so differently for his government, and that, having been elected as New Labour, it is finding it so easy to govern as New Labour, free of the ideological ...

On Spanking

Christopher Hitchens, 20 October 1994

AGuide to the Correction of Young Gentlemen or, The Successful Administration of Physical Discipline to Males, by Females 
by a Lady, with illustrations by a Former Pupil.
Delectus, 140 pp., £19.95, August 1994, 1 897767 05 6
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... funk.) But whenever I read of the humiliation of some over-mighty cabinet colleague – Geoffrey Howe, say, or Jim Prior or John Moore or Francis Pym – I could picture the scene only too well: I can do no better at this stage than describe my own punishment chamber, which I call the Lady Chapel.    This is not ...
... not playing it tough enough. At West Ham, it was the assistant manager (and current manager), John Lyall, who supported his guilt feelings – and in Spain, it was, I suggest, the much-praised coach, Don Howe. Much praised by everyone, that is, except Jimmy Greaves, who reminded us of what ...

Bitter End

Alasdair St John, 27 October 1988

Hong Kong 
by Jan Morris.
Viking, 304 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 670 80792 3
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... it again, Hong Kong would be sufficiently independent to take care of itself. Had not Sir Geoffrey Howe spoken of Her Majesty’s Government’s plan to develop a representative form of government in Hong Kong? And had not Deng himself, with that Chinese predilection for four-character slogans, spoken of gang ren zhi gang – ‘Hong Kong people ruling Hong ...

Had he not run

David Reynolds: America’s longest-serving president, 2 June 2005

Franklin Delano Roosevelt 
by Roy Jenkins.
Pan, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2005, 0 330 43206 0
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Franklin D. Roosevelt 
by Patrick Renshaw.
Longman, 223 pp., $16.95, December 2003, 0 582 43803 9
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Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom 
by Conrad Black.
Weidenfeld, 1280 pp., £17.99, October 2004, 0 7538 1848 5
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... women his personal life, his political career depended on two tacticians. The first was Louis Howe, a scruffy New York journalist, who latched onto Roosevelt’s rising star in 1911 and never let go. He was soon using the salutation ‘Future President’. Howe forged a strong partnership with Eleanor once she had ...

A Lone Enraptured Male

Kathleen Jamie: The Cult of the Wild, 6 March 2008

The Wild Places 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Granta, 340 pp., £18.99, September 2007, 978 1 86207 941 0
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... it with phosphorus and calcium, to the detriment of rare alpine plants.A delicate issue. The John Muir Trust and the other owners of the land around Ben Nevis have constructed a ‘Memorial Site for Contemplation’ at the foot of the mountain, and are removing the memorials from the open hill. As for ashes, well, the Nevis Partnership says: try throwing ...

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