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Cad

Frank Kermode, 4 April 1996

Bertrand Russell: The Spirit of Solitude 
by Ray Monk.
Cape, 720 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 224 03026 4
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... and the extravagant letters, that kept her interested for so many years. With others, such as Katherine Mansfield, the spell worked only for a few moments, but it worked. To T.S. Eliot he was Mr Apollinax, devouring the afternoon with his dry, passionate talk; but apparently the afternoon wasn’t all he devoured with it. And considering that his lovers ...

Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl, 8 December 1988

Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... parish of St George, Canterbury, in February 1564. He was the son of John Marlowe, shoemaker, and Katherine née Arthur, a Dover woman. They had nine children, though only five survived childhood. Christopher was the eldest son, and after the death of his sister Mary in 1568, the eldest child in the family. His father was ...

Diary

Patrick Mauriès: Halfway between France and Britain, 3 November 1983

... for me, in my innocence, to read them. One must acknowledge, however, that Richard Cobb is not Frank Kermode, nor Angus Wilson D.P. Walker. I had come knowing what Britain’s preconceived ideas were: her pragmatism and refusal of abstraction, her solitary traditions and diehard taste for erudition and travail honnête, however ...

Are women nicer than men?

Michael Wood, 21 February 1985

The Dark Hole Days 
by Una Woods.
Blackstaff, 127 pp., £3.50, December 1984, 0 85640 316 4
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Superior Women 
by Alice Adams.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 434 00631 9
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The Collected Stories 
by Frank Tuohy.
Macmillan, 410 pp., £12.95, December 1984, 0 333 38534 9
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Virago, 361 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 86068 605 1
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Family Ties 
by Clarice Lispector and Giovanni Pontiero.
Carcanet, 140 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 85636 569 6
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... men and women, are nicer than most folks in fiction, or in fact. They are a lot nicer than Frank Tuohy’s characters. But then, niceness is not all. Some of Tuohy’s stories wander rather mournfully through Maugham country, highlighting various modes of English exile, and reminding us that failure is usually shoddy rather than spectacular, that life ...

Thick Description

Nicholas Spice, 24 June 1993

The Heather Blazing 
by Colm Tóibín.
Picador, 245 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 330 32124 2
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... all these sentences could have been written by the same person, the person who wrote ‘Frank drops me off outside the sisters’ flat,’ ‘You could hear the kids yelling in the pool,’ ‘I could hear kids on the waste ground behind me,’ ‘The travel-agent smoked in the empty church’ – first sentences, by different writers, from an ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... any scandal, allowing the writer to puff and genuflect and conceal his way to glory. Take Frank Kermode’s Not Entitled, a memoir typical of a generation of men who thought things were best said by not being said at all. Plante, however, is a throwback to the days of Barbara Skelton and the Comtesse de Boigne. In the years covered by his diary, he ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... not only confederates but enemies. Gosse, for example, hated him. Yeats, he fancied, disliked him. Katherine Mansfield was a thick-skinned toady. Of Middleton Murry, toward whom he had once felt quite warmly, he says: ‘I think something conclusive must be done about Murry.’ A month later he is thanking Murry for an exceptionally pleasant weekend, but, as ...

Another Mother

Frank Kermode, 13 May 1993

Morgan: A Biography of E.M. Forster 
by Nicola Beauman.
Hodder, 404 pp., £20, May 1993, 0 340 52530 4
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... before he found out exactly what occurred in sex between men and women. (This gives extra point to Katherine Mansfield’s joke about Howards End, written quite close to the time of the great discovery: ‘I can never be perfectly certain whether Helen was got with child by Leonard Bast or by his fatally forgotten umbrella.’) He had his first full homosexual ...

Schusterism

C.H. Sisson, 18 April 1985

Diaries: 1923-1925 
by Siegfried Sassoon, edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Faber, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 571 13322 3
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... footnotes, that this ‘critic, biographer and man of letters’, born in 1849, was knighted. Frank Schuster (1840-1928), ‘wealthy musiclover and giver of parties’, was still giving parties, and Sassoon spends a great deal of time in his radiance or under his shadow, making the most of the lavish facilities offered but carping to his diary. Butlers ...

Roaring Boy

Adam Phillips: Hart Crane, 30 September 1999

The Broken Tower: A Life of Hart Crane 
by Paul Mariani.
Norton, 492 pp., $35, April 1999, 0 393 04726 1
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O My Land, My Friends: The Selected Letters of Hart Crane 
edited by Langdon Hammer and Brom Weber.
Four Walls Eight Windows, 562 pp., $35, July 1997, 0 941423 18 2
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... a friend, ‘I admit to a taste for certain affectations and ornamental commissions.’ He was as frank as he could be about his artful concealments. His extensive correspondence with his family (just over 650 pages of letters to his mother, father and maternal grandmother), taken together with Mariani’s gruelling account of the parents’ marriage, makes ...

Not a Damn Thing

Nick Laird: In Yeats’s wake, 18 August 2005

Collected Poems 
by Patrick Kavanagh, edited by Antoinette Quinn.
Allen Lane, 299 pp., £25, September 2004, 0 7139 9599 8
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... In April 1959 Frank O’Connor wrote to his editor at the New Yorker to say that he had taken ‘the family up to Sligo to see how Yeats was getting on’. Since Yeats had been dead twenty years, he should have been getting on just fine. But: Even he seemed to be disgruntled. Kavanagh the ex-poet ran into me soon after I came home, and the following conversation took place exactly as recorded ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters, 25 April 2013

The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... obvious gaps in this plump epistolary corpus are letters to or from women, in whose company, as Katherine Duncan-Jones has convincingly argued, Sidney seems always to have been most happy, productive and at ease. There are no surviving exchanges with his wife, Frances, or with his sister, Mary, and no letters relating to his time at Wilton House in ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Giorgio Armani, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... at the Guggenheim. Designed by the Post-Modern artist Robert Wilson, who has draped the Frank Lloyd Wright spiral ramps with white gauze, bathed the museum in patchouli and musk, and created a Japanese soundtrack to accompany the show, the exhibition is a perfect example of the blend of fashion, art, commerce and academic analysis that marks the ...

The Art of Being Found Out

Colm Tóibín: The need to be revealed, 20 March 2008

... to note how few people knew about him, even those who were wise in other ways. In his preface to Frank Harris’s book on Wilde, Shaw made clear that neither he nor his associates, Harris included, knew of Wilde’s homosexuality until he was cross-examined. (This is confirmed by Ford, although he suggested that Wilde was unmasked not at the trial but some ...

King of Razz

Alfred Appel Jr: Homage to Fats Waller, 9 May 2002

... from the ensemble’s complicity and literal support of the song’s demeaning lyrics, sung by Katherine Handy (W.C. Handy’s daughter), which include ‘They [Harlemites] just live on dancin’/They never blue or forlorn!/And it ain’t no sin to guzzle down gin!/Now that’s just why darkies were born,’ the last line echoing ‘That’s Why Darkies ...

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