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The Señor and the Celtic Cross

John Murray, 17 February 1983

... One summer in the Scottish Hebrides young and mysterious Mr Stone meets up with middle-aged, forceful occultist Mr Dukes. Mr Dukes is sexually attracted to Mr Stone but Mr Stone is attracted more by flighty, playful barmaid Kate. Dukes reacts by subjecting Stone to aggressive Tarotist analysis. Stone is mortified and flees from Muile (Mull) to I (Iona ...

The Señor and the Celtic Cross

John Murray, 3 February 1983

... Qabbala, or even claim to have inspected and made sense of the symbolism of the Revelations of St John of Patmos. Dukes was also sexually attracted to Stone – or Stone had been born yesterday if Dukes was not. Dukes had terribly vulnerable eyes which when they were hurt would fade over and grow misted with an affecting desolation. It takes a desperate man ...

Natural Learning

John Murray, 20 September 1984

... Logan stood outside the shop which looked like an English funeral parlour, black-painted and all its contents invisible. On the window was inscribed in English in impressive calligraphy LEGAL OPIUM AND GANJA SHOP FOR HOLY MEN. It lay along one of those relatively deserted back streets of central Calcutta, the only wayfarers being the trams and the cadaverous dogs who roamed like wolves in their desperate packs ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... family, after the takeover of the firm by Smith, Elder & Co (itself soon to be taken over by John Murray). A descendant – loyally named Richard Bentley – had lovingly conserved and catalogued them for posterity. In 1967, the BL acquired a tranche of early Macmillan papers: Harold Macmillan, it seems, was keen that the family firm’s archive ...

Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... Some things​ in the relations between authors and publishers never change. Dear Mr Murray, edited by David McClay (John Murray, £16.99), a collection of letters written to six generations of the Murray family, is full of familiar complaints ...

John Betjeman: A Life in Pictures’

Gavin Ewart, 6 December 1984

... When I see yet another work of hagiography concerning Sir John Betjeman, it makes me want to vomit! Show me, I want to say, please, the ‘geography’ of the house!1 But Betjeman wasn’t nasty, in fact very far from it. It’s probably the Murrays who are such penny-turners (Byron’s one was a Philistine). John’s an important asset, one of the few real genuine poetic earners,2 man not mouse, in many a crowd-pulling, wide, populist facet ...

Settling accounts

Keith Walker, 15 May 1980

‘A heart for every fate’: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. 10, 1822-1823 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 239 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 7195 3670 7
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... June 1823) Byron was settling his accounts with his creditors, with his public, with his publisher John Murray, with his mistress, and making arrangements to settle his accounts with life and fame. Late in this volume we see Byron discussing a collected edition of his poems with J.W. Lake. Elsewhere Byron says he wants to amass enough money to be able to ...

You Have Never Written Better

Benjamin Markovits: Byron’s Editor, 20 March 2008

The Letters of John Murray to Lord Byron 
edited by Andrew Nicholson.
Liverpool, 576 pp., £25, June 2007, 978 1 84631 069 0
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... The relationship between Byron and his editor John Murray lasted a little over ten years. It began in March 1812 with the publication of Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, which made Byron’s name. (‘I awoke one morning and found myself famous,’ he famously wrote, or is said to have written.) It ended twice: first, in the winter of 1822, when, after a number of disagreements and misunderstandings, Byron transferred his business to the publisher John Hunt; and finally in the spring of 1824, when Murray presided over the destruction of Byron’s memoirs, which he had not read, in his rooms at 50 Albemarle Street ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... John Murray’s fiction has always seemed to arise directly from the circumstances of his own life. At first, his work concentrated on his childhood and adolescence among the tiny, depressed communities that straggle along the English side of the Solway Firth. He then broke with his working-class background and read Sanskrit and Avestan at Oxford, later studying classical Indian medicine ...

Short Cuts

John Sturrock: On Bullshit, 17 April 2003

... the Messenger, a title rich in ‘poor me’ implications; this one is called The Wages of Spin (John Murray, 261pp., £18.99, March, 0 7195 6481 6), the implication of which is that Sir Bernard wants to impose a buffer zone between himself and those who now do the bullshitting job he once did: they being headed, it seems, not for a knighthood but for ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bo yakasha., 4 January 2001

... enjoy?) the condition are known – include Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Kandinsky, Nabokov and Hockney. John Harrison’s Synaesthesia: The Strangest Thing, a scientific and historical study, is due from Oxford in March. The condition has been dismissed by at least one anonymous ‘notable scientist’ as ‘romantic neurology’, but in the foreword to ...

That sh—te Creech

James Buchan: The Scottish Enlightenment, 5 April 2007

The Enlightenment and the Book: Scottish Authors and Their Publishers in 18th-Century Britain, Ireland and America 
by Richard Sher.
Chicago, 815 pp., £25.50, February 2007, 978 0 226 75252 5
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... Strahan, Thomas Cadell (father and son) and George Robinson in London, and Alexander Kincaid, John Balfour, John Bell and William Creech in Edinburgh, were not ‘mechanicks’ as Strahan once complained, but collaborators in a London-Edinburgh publishing enterprise that put Scotland on the literary map. For ...

Carrying on with a foreign woman

John Sutherland, 7 November 1985

Galapagos 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 269 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 224 02847 2
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A Family Madness 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 315 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 340 38449 2
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A Storm from Paradise 
by Stuart Hood.
Carcanet, 188 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 85635 582 8
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Samarkand 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 0 85628 151 4
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The Sicilian 
by Mario Puzo.
Bantam, 410 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 593 01001 9
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Putting the boot in 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 192 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 224 02332 2
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... is what we call progress.’ Social and personal progress, the novel implies, is a hard-won thing. John Scott comes as new headmaster to Slateford, a village in Kincardineshire. There he is involved with two women. One is a local girl, May, the mill-owner’s daughter. She is trained in the domestic virtues and will, as she promises, make ...

Out of Bounds

Ian Gilmour: Why Wordsworth sold a lot less than Byron, 20 January 2005

The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period 
by William St Clair.
Cambridge, 765 pp., £90, July 2004, 9780521810067
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... and Censor’. St Clair quotes Eldon in 1793, when he was only attorney general and called Sir John Scott, telling an author that he could continue to publish his reply to Burke in ‘an octavo form so as to confine it probably to that class of readers who may consider it coolly’ (that is, people who would be unlikely to approve of it), but that as soon ...

Handbooks

Valerie Pearl, 4 February 1982

The Shell Guide to the History of London 
by W.R. Dalzell.
Joseph, 496 pp., £12.50, July 1981, 0 7181 2015 9
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... history. Part of that history can be traced back to the first historian of London to be published. John Stow arranged his pioneering Survey on a topographical system, ward by ward, conducting the reader on a perambulation of the city, providing him with much historical, architectural and biographical information and pausing here and there, as our latterday ...

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