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Dearest Papa

Richard Altick

1 September 1983
The Correspondence of Thomas Carlyle and John​ Ruskin 
edited by George Allan Cate.
Stanford, 251 pp., $28.50, August 1982, 0 8047 1114 3
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Ruskin Today 
by Kenneth Clark.
Penguin, 363 pp., £2.95, October 1982, 0 14 006326 9
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John​ Ruskin: Letters from the Continent 1858 
edited by John Hayman.
Toronto, 207 pp., £19.50, December 1982, 0 8020 5583 4
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... Toward the end of their correspondence, which spanned years 1851-79, John Ruskin, who hitherto had addressed Thomas Carlyle more or less in terms of deferential formality (‘Dear Mr Carlyle’), suddenly shifted to ‘Dearest Papa’, signing himself ‘Ever your loving ...

Crossed Palettes

Ronald Paulson

4 November 1993
Painting for Money: The Visual Arts and the Public Sphere in 18th-Century England 
by David Solkin.
Yale, 312 pp., £40, July 1993, 0 300 05741 5
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... or subsume them under the academic rubric as academics manqués. The latter was Reynolds’s view, laid out in the discourses he delivered as President of the Royal Academy. It was re-created by John Barrell in his influential Political Theory of Painting (1986). Drawing on J.G.A. Pocock’s politics of civic humanism, Barrell replaced the two traditions of painting with a tradition of academic ...

Brecht’s New Age

Margot Heinemann

1 March 1984
Brecht in Context: Comparative Approaches 
by John​ Willett.
Methuen, 274 pp., £12.50, February 1984, 0 413 50410 7
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Brecht: A Biography 
by Ronald Hayman.
Weidenfeld, 423 pp., £18.50, September 1983, 0 297 78198 7
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... is to sort it out, sift and select, so that it can help rather than distract the reader. The two books under review belong to very different genres, both of which are relevant to this task – John Willett’s a critical and historical study based on many years as reviewer, English editor and translator of Brecht, Ronald Hayman’s a lively, detailed biography – though the first turns out to ...

Cultivating Cultivation

John​ Mullan: English culture

18 June 1998
The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the 18th Century 
by John​ Brewer.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £19.99, January 1997, 0 00 255537 9
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... was publicly available and publicly pursued – pleasure heightened by being taken in public. And they were accessible to all who could pay the price of admission. One of the leading characters in John Brewer’s The Pleasure of the Imagination was a visitor to pleasure gardens. Anna Margaretta Larpent was a moderately prosperous lady living in London in the late 18th century, married to the state ...

All in the Family

Sylvia Lawson

3 December 1992
Letters to Sartre 
by Simone de Beauvoir and Quintin Hoare.
Radius, 531 pp., £20, December 1991, 0 09 174774 0
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Witness to My Life: The Letters of Jean-Paul Sartre to Simone de Beauvior, 1926-1939 
edited by Simone de Beauvior, translated by Lee Fahnestock and Norman MacAfee.
Hamish Hamilton, 448 pp., £20, November 1992, 9780241133361
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... of the Lettres à Sartre. But you could already tabulate the chronologies into a glorious, full-colour-coded spreadsheet jigsaw, mapping the stories from the Sartre biographies (Annie Cohen-Solal, John Gerassi, Ronald Hayman) over those from the Beauvoir biographies (Deirdre Bair – very much the best; Claude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Margaret Crosland). Check those against the crucial four ...
3 October 1985
Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John​ Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... morale. It was made, then aborted as subversive by the War Office; enough influential people had liked it, however, to ensure that a sequel was both made and shown. Ambler was then sent to help John Huston make a film about the liberation of Italy: his account of this collaboration, which took them into front-line fighting, is by turns funny, frightening and, in the miseries they witnessed ...
20 June 1996
... British tabloids, but now Tony Blair, sensitive to popular priorities after Labour’s four successive electoral defeats, also feels that Sun readers need courting. Not for nothing did he travel to Hayman Island, Australia to address News Corporation executives; and not for nothing is he keen frequently to publish articles in the Sun. Despite evidence of a small swing towards the Conservatives on the ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens

7 February 2013
Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... and music, as well as bear-baiting, to more unruly customers. But the observant would have noticed something rather different about the Spring Gardens, as they were originally known, at Vauxhall. John Evelyn, an early visitor, described the site in July 1661 as ‘a pretty contriv’d plantation’. The trees there were said to be a hundred years old in 1661. The gardens offered ‘a universal ...

Old Stragers

Pat Rogers

7 May 1981
The Garrick Stage: Theatres and Audience in the 18th Century 
by Allardyce Nicoll.
Manchester, 192 pp., £14.50, April 1980, 0 7190 0768 2
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The Kemble Era: John​ Philip Kemble, Sarah Siddons and the London Stage 
by Linda Kelly.
Bodley Head, 221 pp., £8.50, April 1980, 0 370 10466 8
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Early English Stages 1300 to 1660: Vol. 3: Plays and their Makers to 1576 
by Glynne Wickham.
Routledge, 357 pp., £14.50, April 1981, 0 7100 0218 1
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... created productions that the English stage witnessed in the century – and I do not exclude The Beggar’s Opera or The School for Scandal from this reckoning. The tone is likewise snooty towards John Rich: we must hope that the fuller knowledge of Covent Garden practice which is beginning to emerge will permit less condescending treatment. It should be said that Nicoll is good, though brief, on ...

Mirror Images

Jenny Diski: Piers Morgan

31 March 2005
The Insider: The Private Diaries of a Scandalous Decade 
by Piers Morgan.
Ebury, 484 pp., £17.99, March 2005, 0 09 190506 0
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... it very seriously indeed and so do the people whose lives were his raison d’être as an editor and maybe more than just as an editor. His narrative is entirely about being taken seriously by Elton John, Princess Diana, George Michael, Anthea Turner, Richard Branson, Paul McCartney, Patsy Kensit, Ian Botham, Jordan, Mohammed al Fayed, Cherie Blair, Alastair Campbell, Peter Mandelson and Tony Blair ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann

6 February 2003
The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... there is a fierce essay by Timothy Buck on the insufficiencies of Helen Lowe-Porter’s translations of Mann’s writing, and even of the recent versions of Buddenbrooks and The Magic Mountain by John Woods. The failings are apparently mostly lexical and syntactical: ‘Knopf have once again employed a translator whose knowledge of German appears inadequate to the task, and who is capable of ...

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