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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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... a part of life too much taken for granted for the new novel to interest 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 ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... by which every drop of blood and every smidgen of originality was extracted from a script. Now John H. Richardson, a writer for Premiere magazine, has updated the Kael concept. When Richardson writes that ‘the only big-canvas film-maker of stature we have today is Oliver Stone,’ he ...

Selfie with ‘Sunflowers’

Julian Barnes, 30 July 2015

Ever Yours: The Essential Letters 
by Vincent van Gogh, edited by Leo Jansen, Hans Luijten and Nienke Bakker.
Yale, 777 pp., £30, December 2014, 978 0 300 20947 1
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Van Gogh: A Power Seething 
by Julian Bell.
Amazon, 171 pp., £6.99, January 2015, 978 1 4778 0129 1
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... clarity of seeing, an acknowledgment that this is what painting is. Just as the young John Richardson, visiting Braque’s studio for the first time, felt that he had arrived ‘at the very heart of painting’. But these apparently quiet artists often turn out to have been more far-sighted and more radical than we assume. Corot, for ...

No Sense of an Ending

Jane Eldridge Miller, 21 September 1995

Windows on Modernism: Selected Letters of Dorothy Richardson 
edited by Gloria Fromm.
Georgia, 696 pp., £58.50, February 1995, 0 8203 1659 8
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... To read the letters of Dorothy Richardson is to become exhausted, vicariously, by the ‘non-stop housewifery’ which consumed her days. From 1918 until 1939, Richardson and her husband moved three times a year. Every autumn, they settled in a primitive rented cottage in Cornwall, where Richardson was responsible for shopping, cooking and cleaning, as well as for her own and her husband’s sizeable correspondence ...

A Hideous Skeleton, with Cries and Dismal Howlings

Nina Auerbach: The haunting of the Hudson Valley, 24 June 2004

Possessions: The History and Uses of Haunting in the Hudson Valley 
by Judith Richardson.
Harvard, 296 pp., £19.95, October 2003, 0 674 01161 9
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... Judith Richardson begins Possessions by quoting a 1933 guidebook to the Hudson Valley: ‘How comes the Hudson to this unique heritage of myth, ghosts, goblins and other lore?’ By the end of her exhaustive chronicle of local history and legend the answer is self-evident: ‘Why is the Hudson Valley haunted? Perhaps a better question after all is: how on earth could it not be?’ Until I read this book, the Hudson Valley seemed remote from anguished, obviously possessed sites like ravaged towns in Mississippi and throughout the Deep South, the battlefield at Gettysburg, Hollywood or even the foggy menace of Seattle ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret, 4 January 2018

Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... think. He even tried to persuade his pet astrologer to discover favourable auguries for the match. John Fowles, typically, fantasised about seducing her and imprisoning her underground, not necessarily in that order. Pablo Picasso claimed that only the princess would be a suitable bride to be the châtelaine of his vast new villa, La Californie. At ...

Rogering in Merryland

Thomas Keymer: The Unspeakable Edmund Curll, 13 December 2007

Edmund Curll, Bookseller 
by Paul Baines and Pat Rogers.
Oxford, 388 pp., £30, January 2007, 978 0 19 927898 5
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... as The Case of Sodomy, in the Tryal of Mervin Lord Audley, Earl of Castlehaven and The Case of John Atherton, Bishop of Waterford in Ireland; who was Convicted of the Sin of Uncleanness with a Cow, and other Creatures (both 1710); Fielding also misses the transparent pose of righteous indignation that Curll typically adopted to veil, and at the same time ...

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... are the early years of the English Stage Company, started in 1955 by George Devine and Tony Richardson, although the theatre enjoyed at least as luminous a period from 1904 to 1907 when Harley Granville-Barker was its artistic director. The Royal Court is the perfect size for a playhouse; it seats about four hundred people (two hundred fewer than in ...

Englamouring the humdrum

Rosemary Ashton, 23 November 1989

Arguing with the past: Essays in Narrative from Woolf to Sidney 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 206 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 415 02607 5
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Samuel RichardsonTercentenary Essays 
edited by Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £35, July 1989, 0 521 35383 1
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... Beer’s Arguing with the past, a collection of essays published in recent years (with one, on Richardson and Milton, dating from as long ago as 1968), is richly written, contains many sharp critical insights, and shows the author to have a good ear for nuances of language in the literary works she chooses to discuss. At the same time, she reveals some ...

‘Someone you had to be a bit careful with’

David Sylvester: Gallery Rogues, 30 March 2000

Groovy Bob: The Life and Times of Robert Fraser 
by Harriet Vyner.
Faber, 317 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 571 19627 6
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... aristo to his friends in the pop music world, but his nobbier chums looked down on him a bit. John Richardson says: One of the odd things about Robert was that he always dressed up. The rest of us were in blue jeans and leather jackets and up to no good in the Village, but Robert always had an impeccable blazer, very Old Etonian, consciously so. I ...

Uppish

W.B. Carnochan, 23 February 1995

Satire and Sentiment, 1660-1830 
by Claude Rawson.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £40, March 1994, 0 521 38395 1
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... Item: in 1684, there appeared John Oldham’s posthumous Remains in Verse and Prose, with a prefatory elegy by John Dryden, ‘Farewell, too little and too lately known’. Dryden’s poem has been much admired and praised – but not by Claude Rawson, who calls it variously ‘pompous’, ‘self-serving’, ‘overrated’, ‘unctuously self-exalting’, ‘self-promoting’, ‘pontifical’ and ‘patronising’ Item: in a chapter on Richardson (wittily called ‘Richardson, alas’ after ‘Hugo, hélas’), Rawson quotes a curious letter in which the novelist asks a friend to come to Tunbridge Wells, where she will be able to see a figure more ‘grotesque’ even than Beau Nash or Colley Cibber, ‘a sly sinner, creeping along the very edges of the walks, getting behind benches ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... reading. Archer and Jockers are interested in the pumpkin plants – writers like Stephen King, John Grisham and Danielle Steel, perennial presences on the New York Times bestseller list – and what makes them sell so well. By looking only at textual features their machine has isolated the essence of the bestseller, Archer and Jockers believe, and can now ...

Vibrations of Madame de V***

John Mullan: Malcolm Bradbury, 20 July 2000

To the Hermitage 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Picador, 498 pp., £16, May 2000, 0 330 37662 4
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... give the Novel its generic power was psychological exactitude, especially in the hands of Samuel Richardson. Before Pamela and Clarissa, the term roman referred, he wrote, to ‘a tissue of fantastic and frivolous events which presented a threat to the taste and morals of its readers. I should like another name to be found for the works of ...

London Review of Crooks

Robert Marshall-Andrews, 15 July 1982

Rough Justice: The Extraordinary Truth about Charles Richardson and his Gang 
by Robert Parker.
Fontana, 352 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 00 636354 7
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Web of Corruption: The Story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith 
by Raymond Fitzwalter and David Taylor.
Granada, 282 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 246 10915 7
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Inside Boss: South Africa’s Secret Police 
by Gordon Winter.
Penguin, 640 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 9780140057515
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Crime in Wartime: A Social History of Crime in World War II 
by Edward Smithies.
Allen and Unwin, 219 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 04 364020 6
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... books, Rough Justice, is 350 pages of documentary journalism on the rise and fall of the notorious Richardson gang, which operated a reign of terror, extortion and fraud in parts of London from the late 1950s to the famous torture trial of 1967. These operations were restored to topicality after Charles Richardson’s escape ...

Bransonism

Paul Davis: Networking in 18th-century London, 17 March 2005

Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector 1685-1750 
by Christine Gerrard.
Oxford, 267 pp., £50, August 2003, 0 19 818388 7
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... stands in the autumn of 1743, making The New Dunciad old hat after barely eighteen months, Samuel Richardson grumbled in a letter to his friend and sometime client of his printing house, the poet and cultural factotum Aaron Hill, that ‘I have bought Mr Pope over so often, and his Dunciad so lately before his last new-vampt one, that I am tir’d of the ...

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