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Je suis bizarre

Sarah LeFanu: Gwen John, 6 September 2001

Gwen JohnA Life 
by Sue Roe.
Chatto, 364 pp., £25, June 2001, 0 7011 6695 9
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... The self-portrait by Gwen John hanging in the National Portrait Gallery was painted in 1899 or 1900. She is dressed in the formal costume of the period: a tight-waisted blouse with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a big black bow at the neck. Her hair is tied back and her hands are on her hips. She is slightly turned away from us, so only one hand is visible ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ulysses vs. Ulysses, 13 December 2001

... A facsimile of the Rosenbach manuscript – a fair copy of the text of Ulysses which Joyce sent to John Quinn in instalments between 1920 and 1922 – came out in 1975. Having argued unsuccessfully that the ‘underlying materials’ were implicitly published with the first edition, the defence then said that the amount copied was little enough not to ...

Alphabetical

Daniel Soar: John McGahern, 21 February 2002

That They May Face the Rising Sun 
by John McGahern.
Faber, 298 pp., £16.99, January 2002, 0 571 21216 6
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... bridge over the river; until at last you get to Roscommon town, somewhere you might have heard of. John McGahern’s new novel demands a kind of triangulation if you’re to make sense of it. Carrick-on-Shannon is (perhaps) a short drive away; in the other direction you’ll get to Longford in a while. If you don’t try to make sense of it, the barely ...

About to be at Tate Britain, or Meanwhile in Cork Street

Peter Campbell: Gwen and Augustus John, 7 October 2004

... painter is entirely of one kind or the other, and fate clearly has a hand in the matter. Augustus John, who was generally of the first sort, had ambitions beyond the marketable portraits which sustained him and his reputation in the latter part of his life. His early drawings persuaded some critics that a great painter was about to emerge, but his figure ...

Lily and Lolly

Sarah Rigby, 18 July 1996

The Yeats Sisters: A Biography of Susan and Elizabeth Yeats 
by Joan Hardwick.
Pandora, 263 pp., £8.99, January 1996, 0 04 440924 9
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... Shortly before he died in 1922, John Butler Yeats wrote an angry, defensive letter to his eldest son William. W.B. Yeats had published a memoir in the Dial and his father objected to the almost parenthetical mention in one episode of an ‘enraged’ Yeats family. The remark unleashed in him a long-restrained irritation, prompting an impassioned defence of his daughters ...

A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?, 20 February 2003

Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W.B. Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... and she liked him as a man’. Now she oversaw the poet’s legacy with canniness and care. When John MacBride, Maud Gonne’s estranged husband, was executed after the 1916 Rising in Dublin, Yeats talked once more of marriage to Maud Gonne, and then became involved with her daughter Iseult, to whom he also proposed. Joseph Hone writes about this in his ...

How Molly Bloom Got Her Apostrophes

Lawrence Rainey, 19 June 1997

Ulysses 
by James Joyce, edited by Danis Rose.
Picador, 739 pp., £20, June 1997, 0 330 35229 6
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... came from what might be called indirect patronage, such as the sale of proofs and manuscripts to John Quinn, the New York lawyer and patron whose interest had been sparked by Pound. Even the advances and royalties that Joyce received from the Egoist and its book-publishing wing were not the result of profits: Weaver subsidised both operations, and when ...

I want to boom

Mark Ford: Pound Writes Home, 24 May 2012

Ezra Pound to His Parents: Letters 1895-1929 
edited by Mary de Rachewiltz, David Moody and Joanna Moody.
Oxford, 737 pp., £39, January 2011, 978 0 19 958439 0
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... annual stipend so he could concentrate on his poetry, only to commit suicide two years later; to John Quinn, a lawyer and collector to whom T.S. Eliot gave the manuscript of The Waste Land; to James Laughlin, founder and editor of New Directions (or Nude Erections as Pound liked to call it); to Alice Corbin Henderson of Poetry; to Scofield Thayer and ...

Anglo-America

Stephen Fender, 3 April 1980

The London Yankees: Portraits of American Writers and Artists in England, 1894-1914 
by Stanley Weintraub.
W.H. Allen, 408 pp., £7.95, November 1979, 0 491 02209 3
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The Americans: Fifty Letters from America on our Life and Times 
by Alistair Cooke.
Bodley Head, 323 pp., £5.95, October 1979, 0 370 30163 3
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... was to further his own work.’ But those who stayed behind were even more remote from reality. ‘John Sargent, painting in the Austrian Tyrol, continued undisturbed.’ Pound carried on fighting for T.S. Eliot. Jacob Epstein told his patron John Quinn: ‘My business as I see it is to get on with my work ... Everybody ...

Blueshirt

Seamus Deane, 4 June 1981

Yeats, Ireland and Fascism 
by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 251 pp., £15, February 1981, 0 333 26199 2
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... of the Thirties almost certainly leads to a distorted view of the poet’s politics. Since John Quinn sent him a volume of selections from Nietzsche in 1902, Yeats had been a fascinated admirer. The Nietzsche he aligned with Blake and Shelley in Ideas of Good and Evil, while acknowledged to be ‘violent’, was clearly on the side of the good ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... of his rage at intrusions into his privacy, and one remembers him forcing the withdrawal of John Peter’s article from Essays in Criticism because it suggested a homosexual element in his relationship with Jean Verdenal. Lyndall Gordon reports a conversation with Mary Trevelyan which makes him seem mildly amused about this imputation, but his first ...

Paint Run Amuck

Frank Kermode: Jack Yeats, 12 November 1998

Jack Yeats 
by Bruce Arnold.
Yale, 418 pp., £29.95, September 1998, 0 300 07549 9
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... perhaps, figured in the great American Armory show of 1913, probably at the instance of John Quinn, the New York lawyer to whose patronage the Yeats family, as well as T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, owed so much. Yeats mistrusted ‘the New’, although he knew well enough what was going on; and after what seems to have been a quite serious nervous ...

A Man of No Mind

Colm Tóibín: The Passion of Roger Casement, 13 September 2012

The Dream of the Celt 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman.
Faber, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 571 27571 7
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... we read it as a version of what happened. The value of Congo was at first its ivory. But in 1888, John Boyd Dunlop, an Ulster Scot living in Belfast, made a discovery which would make the Congo Basin one of the most lucrative places on earth. In The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber, John Tully describes the moment ...

The Sacred Cause of Idiom

Frank Kermode: Lady Gregory, 22 January 2004

Lady Gregory's Toothbrush 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 127 pp., £7.99, September 2003, 0 330 41993 5
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... Yeats was prematurely describing her as a woman stricken with age, she had a delirious affair with John Quinn, the American lawyer who was the great, almost indispensable, patron of the Yeats family. Foster, noting that her son, Robert, unlike Sir William, was short, allows himself (hiding the news in a note at the back of his huge book) to report local ...

The Playboy of West 29th Street

Colm Tóibín: Yeats’s Father in Exile, 25 January 2018

... half-whisper that someone called Colm Tóibín was in the library looking at the correspondence of John Butler Yeats, which had been transcribed, then typed, then donated to the library by William M. Murphy, John Butler Yeats’s biographer. And now I looked up from the Yeats letters to find a man looking at me. It struck me ...

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