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21 February 1980
My Life 
by George Sand, translated and adapted by Dan Hofstadter.
Gollancz, 246 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 0 575 02682 0
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George Sand in her Own Words 
edited and translated by Joseph Barry.
Quartet, 475 pp., £7.50, November 1980, 0 7043 2235 8
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... The 19th century loved George Sand: the Brownings, the Carlyles, Dostoevsky, Turgenev, Ruskin, Whitman all read her; Arnold preferred her to Dickens; George Eliot and Charlotte Brontë were influenced by her; G.H. Lewes in a rash moment called her the most remarkable writer of the century. Henry James, of all people, loved her ‘serene volubility’. It is not likely, he wrote, that posterity will ...
1 September 1983
by Barry​ Tuckwell.
Macdonald, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1983, 0 356 09096 5
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... creator saw further than the follower of Chatterton. However quaint the ‘slug-horn’ may seem in Chatterton’s ‘Battle of Hastings II’, it has a peculiar rightness in Browning’s poem. As Barry Tuckwell, its foremost living exponent, reminds us in his splendid new book, the horn began its history in utterance and has never shaken off its origins. The first horns sent signals across dark ...

Us and Them

Robert Taubman

4 September 1980
The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph​ Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry​ Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... and Agnes had walked through a time gate, back seventy-five years to the days when the Empire was built of solid dark mahogany and pictures of dead animals.’ A Secret Service chief disappears in Joseph Hone’s The Flowers of the Forest and ambiguous allegiances are disentangled in a quest across Europe, as well as back in time to the Cambridge of Philby – actually, to a stop on the Oxford to ...

A Smile at My Own Temerity

John Barrell: William Hogarth

16 February 2017
William Hogarth: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings 
by Elizabeth Einberg.
Yale, 432 pp., £95, November 2016, 978 0 300 22174 9
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... broadly comic, most boisterous, most fun. This, he claims, is ‘the vulgar notion respecting Hogarth’, exemplified in particular in a critique of his work by the Irish painter and critic James Barry. Acknowledging Hogarth’s merit – his ‘admirable fund of invention’, the moral quality of his satire, ‘seldom or never employed in a dishonest or unmanly way’ – Barry had nevertheless ...


Francis Wyndham: At the Theatre

10 November 1988
... sure. This element of doubt in their delight is typical of that teasing ambiguity which has always been inherent in the act of theatre-going – an ambiguity exploited to fullest effect by the art of Barry Humphries. Perhaps because I have spent so much time over so many years watching television at home, the act of theatregoing now strikes me as more than ever peculiar, almost a little crazy – an ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Malingering trolley dollies

8 February 2007
... with make-up and always knowing you were a million miles from Crapland, otherwise known as your mother’s front room and boring nights at the local disco. The matter is put rather well by Kathleen Barry, the author of a book called Femininity in Flight: A History of Flight Attendants (Duke, £13.99), as she tries to conjure with the vast investment of feeling that the job represented as early as ...

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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... Starting with Hogarth, the first major native-born painter, they can be roughly divided into those who followed academic precepts, often slavishly but sometimes imaginatively (Reynolds, Wilson, Barry and West), and those whose paintings were, in important ways, anti-academic, or ‘English’: Hogarth himself, Zoffany, Wright of Derby, Stubbs, Gainsborough, Rowlandson and Blake. The second group ...

Into the Gulf

Rosemary Hill

17 December 1992
A Sultry Month: Scenes of London Literary Life in 1846 
by Alethea Hayter.
Robin Clark, 224 pp., £6.95, June 1992, 0 86072 146 9
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Painting and the Politics of Culture: New Essays on British Art 1700-1850 
edited by John Barrell.
Oxford, 301 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198173922
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London: World City 1800-1840 
edited by Celina Fox.
Yale, 624 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 300 05284 7
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... than he might now seem in order to support the broader conclusion that Marcus Curtius symbolised the end not only of Haydon’s career, but of painting in ‘the tradition of Joshua Reynolds, James Barry and Benjamin West’. How convincing this argument is depends on how we view that ‘tradition’. Of the three artists only West, who found a royal patron with the necessary deep pockets and high ...

Rivonia Days

R.W. Johnson: Remembering the trial

16 August 2007
The State v. Nelson Mandela: The Trial That Changed South Africa 
by Joel Joffe.
Oneworld, 288 pp., £16.99, July 2007, 978 1 85168 500 4
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... and become their greatest propagandist. A better comparison might be with the weedy, club-footed intellectual (with a high-pitched voice) who became the stormtroopers’ greatest propagandist, Joseph Goebbels. Yet the trial was not completely unfair. Justice Quartus De Wet, who heard the case, had all the normal white South African prejudices, but Joffe believes he was his own man and not a ...


Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited

28 July 2011
... brothers who lived there: John, Brian and Anthony Reavey. (John and Brian died immediately; Anthony died a month later.) Twenty minutes later gunmen entered a house in Ballydougan and shot and killed Joseph O’Dowd and his nephews Barry and Declan, all of them members of the SDLP. In 1999 Ian Paisley, under parliamentary privilege, claimed that Eugene Reavey, another brother, had ‘set up the ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: ‘Inside the Dream Palace’

6 February 2014
... other. The Ansonia – which was turned into a condominium in the 1990s – boasted fewer legends. Musicians were said to like it because the walls were thick: Caruso, Toscanini, Stravinsky. Later Barry Manilow played piano in the basement (no wall thick enough). The building is beautifully described by Bellow in Seize the Day. The Chelsea makes many more star appearances, but it’s the denizens of ...

Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties

4 June 1998
Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... begins with her writer parents and the people she met in their living room in New York: Edmund Wilson, James Thurber, Walker Evans, James M. Cain, Nunnally Johnson, S.J. Perelman, Dawn Powell, Joseph Mitchell and John O’Hara. Many of these celebrated figures, artists and authors approaching fifty at the start of the decade or only lately past it, grew up in small provincial towns, emigrated to ...

Robin’s Hoods

Patrick Wormald

5 May 1983
Robin Hood 
by J.C. Holt.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 500 25081 2
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The Early History of Glastonbury: An Edition, Translation and Study of William of Malmesbury’s ‘De Antiquitate Glastonie Ecclesie’ 
by John Scott.
Boydell, 224 pp., £25, January 1982, 9780851151540
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by John Michell.
Thames and Hudson, 168 pp., £8.50, March 1982, 9780500012611
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... a sparkling (and remarkably good-humoured) debate in Past and Present, a splendid survey of The Outlaws of Medieval England by Maurice Keen, a delightful collection of Rymes of Robin Hood by Barry Dobson and John Taylor, and a constructive reassessment of ‘the birth and setting of the ballads of Robin Hood’ by John Maddicott, have not only cast a flood of light on the origins and ...


Nicholas Spice

6 July 1995
Repeated Takes: A Short History of Recording and its Effects on Music 
by Michael Chanan.
Verso, 204 pp., £39.95, May 1995, 1 85984 012 4
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Elevator Music: A Surreal History of Muzak Easy Listening and other Moodsong 
by Joseph​ Lanza.
Quartet, 280 pp., £10, January 1995, 0 7043 0226 8
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... reggae, have adapted themselves to the revolution they have been caught up in, and been changed by it. Chanan is an intellectual, and his ruminations on the meaning of his story are always sensible. Joseph Lanza despises intellectuals and has no more interest in being sensible than he has a talent for it. Elevator Music, subtitled ‘A Surreal History of Muzak Easy Listening and other Moodsong’, is a ...
5 March 1987
The Counterlife 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 336 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 224 02871 5
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... and roaring comedy at a good funeral – with his opening frieze of American-Jewish life. The mourners gather: from brave wife to Neanderthal uncle-in-law, from plain-speaking Cousin Essie to Barry Shuskin the cryonics bore. Cryonics: that is the tip-off. In one view of the world, Henry might die and go to heaven. In Barry Shuskin’s view of the world, Henry might ‘die’, spend a ...

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