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The Wives of Herr Bear

Julia Briggs: Jane Harrison, 21 September 2000

The Invention of Jane Harrison 
by Mary Beard.
Harvard, 229 pp., £23.50, July 2000, 0 674 00212 1
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... In Donna Tartt’s novel The Secret History, a group of clever, fastidious preppies in a small liberal arts college on the East Coast reinvent the cult of Dionysus. They brew a concoction of ivy leaves, and embark on the ritual frenzy that culminates in the ‘omophagy’, a feast of raw flesh to be eaten by initiates. Their experiment is informed by Jane Harrison’s researches into the figure of Bacchus and the ‘thiasos’, his band of ecstatic worshippers ...


Susannah Clapp, 18 February 1988

A Woman of Passion: The Life of E. Nesbit, 1858-1924 
by Julia Briggs.
Hutchinson, 473 pp., £16.95, November 1987, 9780091682101
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Narratives of Love and Loss: Studies in Modern Children’s Fiction 
by Margaret Rustin and Michael Rustin.
Verso, 268 pp., £22.95, November 1987, 9780860911876
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... Doris Langley Moore’s biography did not pussyfoot. But there were some things she could not say. Julia Briggs says them. When Edith Nesbit married Hubert Bland in 1880 she was 21, and seven months pregnant. She had spent her childhood shuttling across Europe with her tubercular sister and widowed mother: a series of autobiographical sketches – more ...

On Hope Mirrlees

Clair Wills, 10 September 2020

... from inside the world that is outside me.Great claims have been made for this little read poem. Julia Briggs, who produced a set of exhaustive and illuminating glosses reproduced in Faber’s centenary edition, described it as a ‘lost modernist masterpiece’. It has been called a precursor to and possible model for The Waste Land (in Paris the dead ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... of Henry IV Part I with his original name of Oldcastle. In the Middleton collection, the late Julia Briggs edits the dubiously titled Second Maiden’s Tragedy as The Lady’s Tragedy, Paul Mulholland turns the lively Honest Whore into the didactic-sounding The Patient Man and the Honest Whore, while Valerie Wayne in her otherwise excellent text of A ...

Ripping Yarns

John Sutherland, 8 April 1993

by Michael Thorn.
Little, Brown, 566 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 316 90299 3
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by Peter Levi.
Macmillan, 370 pp., £20, March 1993, 0 333 52205 2
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... that Tennyson may have had an extramarital affair with the legendarily unaphrodisiac photographer, Julia Cameron. His evidence for this, incredibly, is ‘vulgar speculation’ that he has chanced to pick up still circulating in pubs on the Isle of Wight. ‘Such gossip,’ he tells us, ‘because of its vulgarity, can be too easily swept aside.’ And, he ...

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