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18 December 1980
Seeds of Plenty, Seeds of Want 
by Andrew Pearse.
Oxford, 262 pp., £7.50, August 1980, 0 19 877150 9
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Food First 
by Francis Moore Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins.
Souvenir, 416 pp., £8.95, July 1980, 0 285 64896 9
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... livelihood without the props of Western agriculture. Sometimes these solutions turn out to be surprisingly efficient in terms of energy use, biological sustainability and other criteria. (Lappé and Collins point out, for example, that the equation of small-holdings with low productivity has as little global validity as the more conventional notion that ‘biggest is best.’) They are backed up, in ...

Paliography

John Sutherland

15 September 1988
The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie CollinsWomen, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... According to Gordon Ray, writing in 1956, all that posterity could reasonably expect to know about the elusive Wilkie Collins was his name and dates of birth and death. This has proved to be an exaggeration. Thanks to Kenneth Robinson (whose revised Wilkie Collins, A Biography came out in 1974) and now, preeminently, to ...

My Missus

John Sutherland

13 May 1993
Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph​ McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... through London bookstalls – that middle-class litterateurs like himself knew (and cared) less about working-class literature than about Lapland. In a much quoted essay twenty years later, Wilkie Collins, after a similar expedition, coined the phrase ‘the Unknown Public’. It was something of a misnomer since the public was well enough known. It was their ‘entertaining literature’ that was the ...

Angry ’Un

Terry Eagleton

8 July 1993
The Hand of the Arch-Sinner: Two Angrian Chronicles of Branwell Brontë 
edited by Robert Collins.
Oxford, 300 pp., £30, April 1993, 0 19 812258 6
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... a haughty, arch-revolutionary Übermensch who – like Branwell himself before he ran out of drink money – arrogantly refuses to serve. The Hand of the Arch-Sinner, lovingly reconstructed by Robert Collins from Branwell’s preternaturally minute handwriting, contains two of the Percy stories, ‘The Life of Northangerland’ and ‘Real Life in Verdopolis’. (‘Northangerland’ is Percy’s ...

Once a Syrian, always a Syrian

Maria Margaronis: Joseph​ O’Neill

8 March 2001
Blood-Dark Track: A Family History 
by Joseph​ O'Neill.
Granta, 338 pp., £16.99, February 2001, 1 86207 288 4
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... Joseph O’Neill’s grandfathers, one Irish, the other Turkish, were both imprisoned without trial during World War Two. Jim O’Neill was arrested in 1940, when Eamon de Valera’s Government, fearful ...

At Manchester Art Gallery

Inigo Thomas: Annie Swynnerton

27 September 2018
... the rewards. Life classes weren’t then available to women, and women weren’t allowed to exhibit at the Manchester Academy of Fine Art, which meant they had less chance to sell their work. Wilkie Collins described the taste and enthusiasms of the self-made industrialists of the mid-19th century: they wanted paintings, he said, with ‘interesting subjects, variety, resemblance to nature, genuineness ...

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 ...

When Ireland Became Divided

Garret FitzGerald: The Free State’s Fight for Recognition

21 January 1999
Documents on Irish Foreign Policy. Vol. I: 1919-22 
edited by Ronan Fanning.
Royal Irish Academy and Department of Foreign Affairs, 548 pp., £30, October 1998, 1 874045 63 1
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... funds. In his absence, Griffith led the Government, which was forced to go underground after Dáil Éireann was proscribed in September 1919. In the subsequent guerrilla warfare of 1919-21 Michael Collins, the Minister for Finance and Director of Intelligence of the Volunteers or Irish Republican Army, rose to prominence. In 1920 Britain established Home Rule states – one substantive, comprising the ...
26 September 1991
Joseph​ Conrad: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Murray, 320 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 7195 4910 8
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Joseph​ Conrad and the Modern Temper 
by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.
Oxford, 218 pp., £30, August 1991, 9780198117858
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... to impale her trusting spouse; even in the cupboard and bed at ‘The Inn of the Two Witches’, a far more haunting version – slight as it may be – of the prototype tales in Poe and Wilkie Collins. On the other hand, too ponderous a reliance on the procession of the factual can be a nemesis for Conrad’s method, as it is in the leaden apotheosis of Nostromo, the fatalistic adventure-epic of ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: James Cameron under Water

26 April 2012
... On 16 August 1960, a US air force captain called Joseph Kittinger stepped out of a balloon. The balloon was 102,800 feet above the Earth. It would be an exaggeration to say that Kittinger jumped out of a balloon in space, as he’s sometimes said to have ...

Fear among the Teacups

Dinah Birch: Ellen Wood

8 February 2001
East Lynne 
by Ellen Wood, edited by Andrew Maunder.
Broadview, 779 pp., £7.95, October 2000, 1 55111 234 5
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... that of most publishing sensations. Newly literate novel-readers in the mushrooming industrial cities consumed it with fervour; but the austere Harriet Martineau liked it too, as did General Gordon, Joseph Conrad and Edward VII. Its appeal spread far beyond British readers. R.K. Narayan dwells fondly on the ‘bitter tears’ he shed over East Lynne in his 1975 memoir, My Days: ‘Reading and rereading ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton

20 September 2001
Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... simplicity of The Ballad of Chevy Chase, the recovery of primitive genius had been the aim not only of philology but also of Gothic taste. The popularity of the ballads edited by Thomas Percy and Joseph Ritson – Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) and Ancient English Metrical Romances (1802) – and the patriotic cherishing of a largely speculative Cambro-British and Saxon past, meant that ...
28 September 1989
... is the absorption of venerable middle and small-sized publishing houses into conglomerates, often with non-publishing or foreign management at the highest level. Penguin, Hamish Hamilton, Michael Joseph, Frederick Warne and Longman – all once imprints with independent identities – now congregate within the Pearson group (best known for its ownership of the Financial Times). Random House UK ...

Our Muddy Vesture

Frank Kermode: Pacino’s Merchant of Venice

6 January 2005
William Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’ 
directed by Michael Radford.
December 2004
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... Irons is appallingly sad as Antonio, just as he promises to be in the opening line of the play. He cannot understand why he is so sad but the film all too insistently offers a complete explanation. Joseph Fiennes as Bassanio shows us why the Christians in this play are, on the whole, such an unlikeable lot. Lynn Collins as Portia looks as good as she ought to, and redeems some tiresome moments in the ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: Berry Bros

20 December 2018
... bags of coffee, tea and sugar sold at the shop. But it was also handy for weighing customers. In part of London society in the 18th century interest in weight became a measure of male hypochondria. Joseph Addison imagined a weight-obsessed man who spent all day checking his weight by sitting on a pair of scales: ‘I do not dine and sup by the Clock, but by my Chair; for when that informs me my Pound ...

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