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Fellow Genius

Claude Rawson

5 January 1989
The Poems of John​ Oldham 
edited by Harold Brooks and Raman Selden.
Oxford, 592 pp., £60, February 1987, 0 19 812456 2
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... Farewel, too little and too lately known,’ Dryden wrote in a pompous, self-serving poem prefixed to JohnOldham’s Remains in Verse and Prose (1684). Oldham had died of smallpox the previous December, at the age of 30, at the house of the Earl of Kingston, a young nobleman who had recently become his patron. He left behind a large body of work, now ...

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 JohnOldham’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 ...

Most Himself

Matthew Reynolds: Dryden

19 July 2007
The Poems of John​ Dryden: Vol. V 1697-1700 
edited by Paul Hammond and David Hopkins.
Longman, 707 pp., £113.99, July 2005, 0 582 49214 9
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Dryden: Selected Poems 
edited by Paul Hammond and David Hopkins.
Longman, 856 pp., £19.99, February 2007, 978 1 4058 3545 9
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... qualities but because of the resurgent interest in translation among contemporary poets. Still, it is an odd and revealing fact about Dryden that his best-liked poems today – ‘To the Memory of Mr Oldham’ and ‘A Song for St Cecilia’s Day’ – are untypical of him, or at least untypical of his output, and not only because they are short. They are both uncharacteristically open: the one frankly ...
31 July 1997
The Roy Strong Diaries 1967-87 
Weidenfeld, 461 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 297 81841 4Show More
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... But what actually happened inside that famous V&A office? Here we find a startling contrast between Strong’s own account and the version given by his predecessor, the terrifying and not-much-loved John Pope-Hennessy, in his autobiography, Learning to Look. Both directors describe in some detail the office arrangement at the start of Strong’s appointment in 1974. Strong himself bemoans the ...
10 January 1991
Stone Alone 
by Bill Wyman and Ray Coleman.
Viking, 594 pp., £15.99, October 1990, 0 670 82894 7
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Blown away: The Rolling Stones and the Death of the Sixties 
by A.E. Hotchner.
Simon and Schuster, 377 pp., £15.95, October 1990, 0 671 69316 6
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Are you experienced? The Inside Story of the Jimi Hendrix Experience 
by Noel Redding and Carol Appleby.
Fourth Estate, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1990, 1 872180 36 1
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I was a teenage Sex Pistol 
by Glen Matlock and Pete Silverton.
Omnibus, 192 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 7119 2491 0
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Bare 
by George Michael and Tony Parsons.
Joseph, 242 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3435 4
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... account and the one with Chemical Bank – but his responses to musical acquaintances are less exacting. Of guitar pioneer Les Paul we learn that Bill ‘found him charming’. He and blues singer John Hammond ‘chatted for a while’. He ‘met’ Bob Dylan. Above all, what you miss from Wyman’s account – that word again – is any pride in, or even positive recognition of, the danger of the ...

Glittering Fiend

Ian Hamilton: John​ Berryman

9 December 1999
Berryman's Shakespeare 
edited by John​ Haffenden.
Farrar, Straus, 396 pp., $35, February 1999, 0 374 11205 3
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John​ Berryman’s Personal Library: A Catalogue 
by Richard Kelly.
Lang, 433 pp., £39, March 1999, 0 8204 3998 3
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... In one of John Berryman’s more lucid dream songs (No. 364), there is amusing reference to the reading habits of Henry, the song sequence’s screwed up protagonist: O Henry in his youth read many things he ...

Unwritten Masterpiece

Barbara Everett: Dryden’s ‘Hamlet’

4 January 2001
... known, even beyond the withdrawals of his own temperament, how many silences went into being so formidably articulate. Biographers don’t forget the history of himself that Dryden was to have given John Aubrey, but that he never gave. Dryden adapted Shakespeare, out of confidence and from a sense of necessity. I have chosen Hamlet as a point of comparison between them – a comparison, after all ...
5 April 1984
Home and Dry: Memoirs III 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 165 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 904388 47 6
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... a year: Fuller had a longer absence but got back for good and finished the war in domestic content at Blackheath, eating lunch at Schmidt’s or even the White Tower with the likes of Joe Ackerley, John Lehmann and, once, E.M. Forster. Though a virtual civilian, he remembers getting demobbed at Olympia, choosing from the millions of pinstriped suits and raincoats, one of which proved, in his thrifty ...

I am the Watchman

Linda Colley: William Cobbett, forerunner of the Sun

20 November 2003
William Cobbett: Selected Writings 
edited by Leonora Nattrass.
Pickering & Chatto, 2312 pp., £495, December 1998, 1 85196 375 8
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Rural rides 
by William Cobbett, edited by Ian Dyck.
Penguin, 576 pp., £9.99, September 2001, 0 14 043579 4
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... work. Over six feet tall, physically tough, and with a face he described as florid, but which others saw as ‘dull and heavy’, Cobbett could seem to an almost eerie degree a living embodiment of John Bull. This was how James Gillray represented him at the time; and it was also how he enjoyed representing himself. He was ‘an Englishman’, he boasted in 1795, ‘a calf of John Bull’, and the ...

Counter-Factuals

Linda Colley

1 November 1984
The Origins of Anglo-American Radicalism 
edited by Margaret Jacob and James Jacob.
Allen and Unwin, 333 pp., £18.50, February 1984, 0 04 909015 1
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Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803 
by Roger Wells.
Alan Sutton, 312 pp., £16, May 1983, 9780862990190
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Radicalism and Freethought in 19th-Century Britain 
by Joel Wiener.
Greenwood, 285 pp., $29.95, March 1983, 0 313 23532 5
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For King, Constitution and Country: The English Loyalists and the French Revolution 
by Robert Dozier.
Kentucky, 213 pp., £20.90, February 1984, 9780813114903
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... Tories and some capitalists to a share in virtu. Christopher Hill supplies an engaging and suggestive piece on radical pirates after the Restoration; Wilson Hays offers an interesting study of John Everard; and there is some predictably tough and valuable political analysis from David Underdown and Nicholas Rogers. What emerges from most of these essays, however, is not so much the undoubted ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre

20 December 2018
Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... representation. The American Revolution, in which an economic argument that there should be ‘no taxation without representation’ became a political demand for liberty, changed everything. Major John Cartwright (who was later to advise the Manchester radicals) and Thomas Paine were influenced by the American programme in their arguments for domestic reform, Take Your Choice! and Common Sense. Yet ...

Cad’s Cadenzas

Christopher Driver

15 September 1988
William Walton: Behind the Façade 
by Susana Walton.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 19 315156 1
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Façade: Edith Sitwell Interpreted 
by Pamela Hunter.
Duckworth, 106 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 9780715621844
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... It is hard to imagine how the 17-year-old Christ Church music scholar might or might have not developed had Sacheverell Sitwell not met him and decided that his ‘very clever-shaped head’ recalled John Wesley. Of William’s Sitwell friends, Sachie was the intimate, however exhausting: ‘one weekend at Sachie’s house in Weston, he had sacked all the servants, rearranged the furniture, and jumped ...
3 March 2016
... vulnerable in our society pay for the banking crisis rather than those that caused it. How could any Labour MP disagree with that? What they really hated was his questioning of the private sector. John Prescott had been allowed to pledge the renationalisation of the railways at the 1996 Labour Party Conference, but after Blair’s victory the following year the subject was never raised again. Until ...

Bring some Madeira

Thomas Keymer: Thomas Love Peacock

8 February 2018
Nightmare Abbey 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Nicholas A. Joukovsky.
Cambridge, 297 pp., £84.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03186 9
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Crotchet Castle 
by Thomas Love Peacock, edited by Freya Johnston and Matthew Bevis.
Cambridge, 328 pp., £79.99, December 2016, 978 1 107 03072 5
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... was, his cousin remembered, ‘a sort of universal lover, making half-declarations to half the young women he knew’; sometimes these were outright proposals, but none came good. There was Lucretia Oldham, the recipient of his early love poems; Fanny Falkner, who accepted a proposal of marriage but changed her mind; Jane Gryffydh, ‘the Caernarvonshire nymph’ of his first tour to Wales, and hot on ...
18 September 1980
The Machinery Question and the Making of Political Economy 1815-1848 
by Maxine Berg.
Cambridge, 379 pp., £16, April 1980, 0 521 22782 8
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Masters, Unions and Men 
by Richard Price.
Cambridge, 355 pp., £18.50, June 1980, 0 521 22882 4
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Work, Society and Politics 
by Patrick Joyce.
Harvester, 356 pp., £24, July 1980, 0 85527 680 0
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... at least, that a common language can be drawn upon. The second concept to be rejected is that of the labour aristocracy. This is the more significant because it forms the core of the thesis of John Foster’s justly celebrated book on Oldham, Class Struggle and the Industrial Revolution. In Oldham, it was held, the move from political radicalism to class stability depended essentially upon the ...

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