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Conrad’s Complaint

Frank Kermode, 17 November 1983

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. I: 1861-1897 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 446 pp., £19.50, September 1983, 0 521 24216 9
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... however, there can’t be many of them. This first volume, which has a sprightly introduction by Laurence Davies, opens with a letter written to his father when Conrad was three, his hand guided by his mother, and ends four hundred pages later when the author was 40 and very pleased with the recently published Nigger of the ‘Narcissus’. The early ...


John Sutherland: Conrad’s letters, 4 December 2003

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. VI: 1917-19 
edited by Laurence Davies, Frederick R. Karl and Owen Knowles.
Cambridge, 570 pp., £80, December 2002, 0 521 56195 7
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... every aspect of his writing life. The first volume of the Collected Letters, edited by Karl and Laurence Davies (who has assumed first billing in the sixth volume), came out four years later. If one compares the contents of this sixth volume with the corresponding section of Karl’s Life it is clear that any ‘divulgations’ these letters contain ...

In the Golfo Placido

P.N. Furbank, 9 October 1986

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. II: 1898-1902 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 483 pp., £27.50, August 1986, 0 521 25748 4
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... inspiration and the deepest source of his power. Thus I’m not sure that we need go along with Laurence Davies’s reference in his Introduction to these Letters to ‘the curse of a manic-depressive temperament’. For one gets the impression that Conrad needed his writer’s block: it was a necessary ritual of his psyche as a writer to re-experience ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... well-known letter, used by Frank Harris in his biography and now given in its original form by Dan Laurence, Shaw claims to have no scruples in matters of sex, but at once goes on to admit he has two: he will take care not to get women into trouble, and he will refrain from cuckolding his friends. Here as elsewhere – in money matters, for instance – he ...

Their Mad Gallopade

Patrick McGuinness: Nancy Cunard, 25 January 2018

Selected Poems 
by Nancy Cunard.
Carcanet, 304 pp., £12.99, October 2016, 978 1 78410 236 4
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... the Augustan Books of Modern Poetry series, which published, among others, Walter de la Mare, W.H. Davies and Laurence Binyon. Thompson was editing Cunard’s Selected Poems, and the two worked closely on its composition. His sudden death in 1946 put an end to the project, and it was never revived. It would have helped ...

Quite a Night!

Michael Wood: Eyes Wide Shut, 30 September 1999

Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrik and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ 
by Frederic Raphael.
Orion, 186 pp., £12.99, July 1999, 0 7528 1868 6
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Dream Story 
by Arthur Schnitzler, translated by J.M.Q. Davies.
Penguin, 99 pp., £5.99, July 1999, 0 14 118224 5
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... shots through the French trenches of World War One, an elegant ball on the eve of an execution; Laurence Olivier as a Roman patrician in the bathtub suggesting the joys of sex and power to the slave Tony Curtis; a cowboy riding a hydrogen bomb as if in a rodeo, an American strategy expert whose artificial arm keeps offering a Hitlerian salute; a large bone ...

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