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A.J.P. Taylor: A historian writes for fun, 19 May 1983

... I have recently read The History Men by John Kenyon. I remember reading a different book, The History Man by Malcolm Bradbury, some years ago. I did not find Bradbury’s book at all funny, which I am told it is intended to be. After a careful reading I had not the slightest inkling of what the book was supposed to be about ...

Departure and Arrival Times

Sheldon Rothblatt, 18 August 1983

The History Men: The Historical Profession in England since the Renaissance 
by John Kenyon.
Weidenfeld, 322 pp., £16.50, March 1983, 0 297 78081 6
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... may be added. Frederic Maitland is not very well realised, which is strange given the historians (Kenyon among them) who believe in his greatness. Maitland’s relationship with Leslie Stephen and avid interest in Meredith’s novels would appear to be precisely the kind of detail Kenyon enjoys. Some room might have been ...

Write to me

Danny Karlin, 11 January 1990

The Brownings’ Correspondence. Vol. VII: March-October 1843 
edited by Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson.
Athlone, 429 pp., £60, December 1989, 0 485 30027 3
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... though they have knowledge of each other’s work and exchange compliments through their friend John Kenyon. The 573 letters of the courtship alone (1845-6) lie ahead; further on are the rich records of the Brownings’ life in Italy, and then the less familiar, and therefore more often surprising, documents of Browning’s later years. (Here, too, the ...

Viva la trattoria

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, 9 October 2003

Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Her Sister Arabella 
edited by Scott Lewis.
Wedgestone, $300, October 2002, 0 911459 29 4
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... of the household ‘Genii’ – not to mention an annual gift of £100 from Elizabeth’s cousin John Kenyon – the later letters make it clear that the Browning finances were often tight, and that Robert in particular worried about expenditure. Since he had been accused of marrying Elizabeth for her fortune – she had a small independent ...

Haley’s Comet

Paul Driver, 6 February 1997

The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 431 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 297 81720 5
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... our present Radio 3 ... fears every listener that isn’t listening.’ McIntyre’s successor, John Drummond, a more robust sort of Reithian, resisted populist pressures as much as anything by sheer force of personality, but a real cultural turning-point had by now (1985) been reached. In the prevailing Thatcherite contempt for élites the postwar ...

When the Costume Comes Off

Adam Mars-Jones: Philip Hensher, 14 April 2011

King of the Badgers 
by Philip Hensher.
Fourth Estate, 436 pp., £18.99, March 2011, 978 0 00 730133 1
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... of the stranger allies of the missing child’s mother is a self-appointed representative called John Calvin, the moving spirit behind the local Neighbourhood Watch. Borrowing for this character the name of a punitive theologian, who doled out self-satisfaction to the elect and despair to those destined to be damned, isn’t likely to be a novelist’s mark ...

Ashamed of the Planet

Ian Hamilton, 2 March 2000

No Other Book: Selected Essays 
by Randall Jarrell, edited by Brad Leithauser.
HarperCollins, 376 pp., $27.50, June 1999, 0 06 118012 2
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Remembering Randall: A Memoir of Poet, Critic and Teacher Randall Jarrell 
by Mary von Schrader Jarrell.
HarperCollins, 173 pp., $22, June 1999, 0 06 118011 4
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... too early. A full-of-himself student in Nashville in the 1930s, he was taken up by Allen Tate and John Crowe Ransom, and most of his later academic appointments could be traced back to this connection. Not that Jarrell ever felt inclined to gratitude: another of his famous, and most joyous, thrusts as a reviewer was aimed at the vitals of his early Agrarian ...

Not in the Public Interest

Stephen Sedley, 6 March 2014

... to hear an applicant who has nothing personally to gain. As long ago as 1789 Chief Justice Kenyon said in relation to such a claim: ‘I do not mean to say that a stranger may not in any case prefer this sort of application; but he ought to come to the court with a very fair case in his hands.’ In 1835 the presiding judge of the Court of Exchequer ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... brilliantly treated in a collection of essays edited by Jenny Doctor, David Wright and Nicholas Kenyon.* In terms (for instance) of its performing space, the crucial dates were 1893 and 1941 (when the Queen’s Hall was destroyed and the concerts moved to the Albert Hall); in terms of sponsorship and organisation, the key years were 1927 (when the BBC first ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... history. The chapter on CIA infiltration of the art world is riddled with howlers (that John Hay Whitney had his ‘own’ museum is one among several mistakes of this sort), but the gist of her argument about Abstract Expressionism and its uses as propaganda is correct, if not wholly original. Who Paid the Piper? is even so a major work of ...


Evan Kindley: Modernist Magazines, 23 January 2014

The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 976 pp., £35, May 2013, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 1088 pp., £140, July 2012, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume III: Europe 1880-1940 
edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker and Christian Weikop.
Oxford, 1471690 pp., £145, March 2013, 978 0 19 965958 6
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... more distinguished magazines left standing ($2400 to Scrutiny in 1949, and a whopping $22,500 to John Crowe Ransom’s Kenyon Review over the course of five years, from 1947 to 1952). Literary prestige was, on occasion, converted into capital, as in the case of Cid Corman’s Origin, an important venue for Charles Olson ...

Miss Lachrymose

Liz Brown: Doris Day’s Performances, 11 September 2008

Doris Day: The Untold Story of the Girl Next Door 
by David Kaufman.
Virgin, 628 pp., £29.95, June 2008, 978 1 905264 30 8
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... for Doris Day, the moment from which her longheld stage fright sprang. ‘This shy goddess,’ John Updike once wrote, ‘who avoids parties and live audiences, fascinates us with the amount of space we imagine between her face and her mask.’ The images of Doris Day (that blonde hair, those white teeth) and her personas as the spunky girl next door, the ...

Magical Orange Grove

Anne Diebel: Lowell falls in love again, 11 August 2016

Robert Lowell in Love 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Massachusetts, 288 pp., £36.50, December 2015, 978 1 62534 186 0
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... murderer-poet’, though she liked his ‘raving beauty’. Over Christmas 1938, Lowell, home from Kenyon College where he’d enrolled to study under Tate and John Crowe Ransom, crashed his father’s car. Stafford’s skull and jaw were fractured and her nose crushed. The Lowells were more concerned with their car and ...

Clear Tartan Water

Colin Kidd: The election in Scotland, 27 May 1999

... scandals associated with Paisley, East Ayrshire, sectarian Monklands (once the seat of the late John Smith); and, above all, Glasgow City Council and its limpet-like Lord Provost, Pat ‘Lazarus’ Lally – all these scandals led to a wave of unwelcome publicity for Scottish Labour. Nowhere is AMS needed more than in Scottish local government, as ...

All the girls said so

August Kleinzahler: John Berryman, 2 July 2015

The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 427 pp., £11.99, October 2014, 978 0 374 53455 4
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77 Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 84 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53452 3
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Berryman’s Sonnets 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 127 pp., £10, October 2014, 978 0 374 53454 7
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The Heart Is Strange 
by John Berryman.
Farrar, Straus, 179 pp., £17.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 22108 9
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Poets in their Youth 
by Eileen Simpson.
Farrar, Straus, 274 pp., £11.50, October 2014, 978 0 374 23559 8
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... As John Berryman​ tells it, in a Paris Review interview conducted in 1970, he was walking to a bar in Minneapolis one evening in the mid-1950s with his second wife, Anne, the two of them joking back and forth, when Berryman volunteered that he ‘hated the name Mabel more than any other female name’. Anne decided Henry was the name she found ‘unbearable ...

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