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His Own Prophet

Michael Hofmann: Read Robert Lowell!, 11 September 2003

Collected Poems 
by Robert Lowell, edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter.
Faber, 1186 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 571 16340 8
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... borrowed from Thomas Mann’s novella ‘Tonio Kröger’. Other poems work over passages of Melville, Jonathan Edwards, Cobbett, Thiebault and others. A good many of the autobiographical poems in Life Studies are cannibalised from Lowell’s 1950s prose memoir, fragments of which survive in the Collected Prose as ‘91 Revere Street’, ‘Antebellum ...

More than ever, and for ever

Michael Rogin: Beauvoir and Nelson Algren, 17 September 1998

Beloved Chicago Man: Letters to Nelson Algren 1947-64 
by Simone de Beauvoir, edited by Sylvie Le Bon de Beauvoir.
Gollancz, 624 pp., £25, August 1998, 0 575 06590 7
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America Day by Day 
by Simone de Beauvoir, translated by Carol Cosman.
California, 355 pp., $27.50, January 1999, 0 520 20979 6
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... exploration; she was witnessing the formation of the American Studies canon – Hawthorne, Melville, Thoreau, Henry James and Faulkner. The New York intellectuals, they told Beauvoir, sought ‘a civilised literature that aims at both formal perfection and a deeper grasp of the world’. She was looking for something else, ‘the effort of writers to ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... that many or most of the figures who recreated modern writing were gay, or Irish, or Jewish: Melville, Whitman, Hopkins, James, Yeats, Kafka, Woolf, Joyce, Stein, Beckett, Mann, Proust, Gide, Firbank, Lorca, Cocteau, Auden, Forster, Cavafy. But he would have been slightly unsettled, I think, by the thought of the gay element in this list, and by the idea ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester, 5 July 2001

... the idealism to choose a more distinguished field: philately. He got a job in the Strand with Fred Melville, one of the two or three most reputable of London stamp dealers. He loved the work, and indeed remained a stamp collector all his life. Melville gave him every encouragement and he had no desire to leave, but he had to ...

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