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Tropical Storms

Blake Morrison, 6 September 1984

Poems of Science 
edited by John Heath-Stubbs and Phillips Salman.
Penguin, 328 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 14 042317 6
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The Kingfisher 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, April 1984, 0 571 13269 3
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The Ice Factory 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13217 0
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Venus and the Rain 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Oxford, 57 pp., £4.50, June 1984, 0 19 211962 1
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Saying hello at the station 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 48 pp., £2.95, June 1984, 0 7011 2788 0
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Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 159 pp., £2.95, May 1984, 0 904919 80 3
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News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of West Indian-British Poetry 
edited by James Berry.
Chatto, 212 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 9780701127978
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Human Rites: Selected Poems 1970-1982 
by E.A. Markham.
Anvil, 127 pp., £7.95, May 1984, 0 85646 112 1
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Midsummer 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 79 pp., £3.95, July 1984, 0 571 13180 8
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... verse (from Anon on the structure of the cosmos – ‘as appel the eorthe is round’ – to John Updike on cosmic gall), is therefore fighting a lost battle. The editors make out a brave case for the similarity of poet and scientist (‘the starting-point for both of their activities is the imagination’), dispute old distinctions between ...

Little More than an Extension of France

Hugo Young: The British Isles, 6 January 2000

The Isles: A History 
by Norman Davies.
Macmillan, 1222 pp., £30, November 1999, 9780333763704
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... freer than most of blindness to the Celts. But Henry Hallam, F.W. Maitland and, above all, William Stubbs are presented as the high priests of inveterate Englishism. ‘Despite their immense erudition and their enormous services to the subject, all these scholars positively crowed with nationalistic self-satisfaction.’ Moreover, the multicultural Davies ...

‘I love you, defiant witch!’

Michael Newton: Charles Williams, 8 September 2016

Charles Williams: The Third Inkling 
by Grevel Lindop.
Oxford, 493 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 19 928415 3
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... his intellectual commitment to incarnation, he was liable also to question material reality. John Heath-Stubbs quotes him as saying that ‘the most difficult thing in the world … is to realise that other people exist.’ He was capable of writing both an ode in praise of shitting and a poem in which such everyday ...

Cruelty to Animals

Brigid Brophy, 21 May 1981

Reckoning with the Beast 
by James Turner.
Johns Hopkins, 190 pp., £7.50, February 1981, 0 8018 2399 4
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The Social Life of Monkeys and Apes 
by S. Zuckerman.
Routledge, 511 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 7100 0691 8
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... jacket. Like the jacket of the recent reissue of a novel of my own, it reproduces the Liverpool Stubbs, ‘The Green Monkey’. But Mr Turner’s subtitle is ‘Animals, Pain, and Humanity in the Victorian Mind’ (in which the superfluous comma after ‘pain’ might pass, if one is being polite, for pastiche of Victorian punctuation). It sits ill on a ...

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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... Much better use could have been made of Robert Brentano’s amazing essay on ‘The Sound of Stubbs’, which gets an endnote. But such lists are unimpressively easy to compile and doing so is a sort of Actonian party game, though one encouraged by Kenyon’s general tone and approach. True, the discussion teeters on the edge of academic voyeurism. How ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... hitherto regarded as talentless, overrated, or simply wankers: Oasis, the Stones, Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Robbie Williams, Kingsley Amis, Martin Amis, Evelyn Waugh, Auberon Waugh, Salman Rushdie, Jeffrey Archer, Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, William Shakespeare (although to be fair they despise the comedies and some of the history plays only). ‘It is ...

In Port Sunlight

Peter Campbell: The art collection of a soap magnate, 20 January 2005

... by an unreality which can seem pernicious. A Constable sketch hanging nearby, and even Edward John Gregory’s jolly picture of boating on the Thames, Sargent’s picture of a boy by a river and Munnings’s Friesian Bull, all of which say more about the look of things and less about dream worlds, are not so embarrassing. Lever’s collecting was not ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945, 1 April 1999

The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... for instance, Burns Singer, one of the most original poets of the Fifties, or David Wright and John Heath-Stubbs. All three were friends of Graham, and their inclusion might have helped the Forties and Fifties out of their New Apocalypse v. Movement stand-off. Hamish Henderson, whose 1948 Elegies for the Dead in ...

Members’ Memorial

G.R. Elton, 20 May 1982

The History of Parliament: The Commons 1558-1603 
edited by P.W. Hasler.
HMSO, 1940 pp., £95, February 1982, 0 11 887501 9
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... the history of the country itself: history equalled politics, and politics equalled Parliament. Stubbs structured the 14th and 15th centuries around what were, after all, intermittent and occasional meetings of this supposedly representative body; the Tudor century received blame for not having a true parliament, one worthy of the name, since the monarchs ...

1086, 1886, 1986 and all that

John Dodgson, 22 May 1986

Domesday: 900 Years of England’s Norman Heritage 
edited by Kate Allen.
Millbank in association with the National Domesday Committee, 192 pp., £3, March 1986, 0 946171 49 1
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The Normans and the Norman Conquest 
by R. Allen Brown.
Boydell, 259 pp., £19.50, January 1985, 0 85115 427 1
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The Domesday Book: England’s Heritage, Then and Now 
edited by Thomas Hinde.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 09 161830 4
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Domesday Heritage 
edited by Elizabeth Hallam.
Arrow, 95 pp., £3.95, February 1986, 0 09 945800 4
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Domesday Book through Nine Centuries 
by Elizabeth Hallam.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.50, March 1986, 0 500 25097 9
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Domesday Book: A Reassessment 
edited by Peter Sawyer.
Arnold, 182 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 7131 6440 9
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... Farley’s 1783 edition of Domesday Book published by Phillimore under the general editorship of John Morris, as part of their ‘History from the Sources’ series. This was put in hand in 1969 and the first parts were published in 1975; the work was delayed by Dr Morris’s death in 1977. This now-completed edition, which includes a supplementary-volume ...

The Thrill of It All

Michael Newton: Zombies, 18 February 2016

Zombies: A Cultural History 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Reaktion, 224 pp., £16, August 2015, 978 1 78023 528 8
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... for – not least because the post-apocalyptic world may yet seem to them more all-American, more John Wayne, than the current state of the nation. The zombie genre immerses you in a world of unending threat, where the only human contact is collaboration without closeness, where random cruelty is the rule, and life closes down on you as an experience not only ...

Angelic Porcupine

Jonathan Parry: Adams’s Education, 3 June 2021

The Last American Aristocrat: The Brilliant Life and Improbable Education of Henry Adams 
by David S. Brown.
Scribner, 464 pp., £21.20, November 2020, 978 1 9821 2823 4
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... up to regard the Washington political stage as his natural domain – his great-grandfather John Adams was the first president to live in the White House; his grandfather was John Quincy Adams – and he could never keep away from the city and its gossip for long. But his early political heroes soon revealed feet of ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: Van Gogh, 1 August 2019

... the ‘deeper thinkers’ of the 1870s, carrying forward the social conscience of Dickens, while John Everett Millais, no less than his French homonym, possessed a manner affectingly and ‘personally intimate’.In chasing the works that Van Gogh looked at in London, the Tate exhibition takes us on some journeys in taste. It is easy enough to be stirred by ...

Unction and Slaughter

Simon Walker: Edward IV, 10 July 2003

Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV 
by Jonathan Hughes.
Sutton, 354 pp., £30, October 2002, 0 7509 1994 9
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... Edward’s reputation darkened during the Enlightenment, and the great Victorian historian William Stubbs condemned him as unsurpassed in vice and cruelty. More recent writing has brought Edward a partial rehabilitation, noting the administrative innovation and shrewd political management that characterised the later years of his reign. For ...

Complete Internal Collapse

Malcolm Vale: Agincourt, 19 May 2016

The Hundred Years War, Vol. IV: Cursed Kings 
by Jonathan Sumption.
Faber, 909 pp., £40, August 2015, 978 0 571 27454 3
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Agincourt 
by Anne Curry.
Oxford, 272 pp., £18.99, August 2015, 978 0 19 968101 3
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The Battle of Agincourt 
edited by Anne Curry and Malcolm Mercer.
Yale, 344 pp., £30, October 2015, 978 0 300 21430 7
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24 Hours at Agincourt: 25 October 1415 
by Michael Jones.
W.H. Allen, 352 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 0 7535 5545 3
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Agincourt: Henry V, the Man-at-Arms and the Archer 
by W.B. Bartlett.
Amberley, 447 pp., £20, September 2015, 978 1 4456 3949 9
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... Henry IV of England is ‘impulsive, changeable, irascible … unwilling to listen to advice’. John the Fearless, duke of Burgundy is ‘graceless, awkward and taciturn’, ‘brutal, cunning and duplicitous’, while his son, Philip the Good, is a playboy prince, given to ‘dancing, feasting, jousting, hunting and fornication’. Philip is admitted to be ...

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