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16 August 1990
The Don Giovanni Book: Myths of Seduction and Betrayal 
edited by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 127 pp., £6.99, July 1990, 0 571 14542 6
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... to save both Faust and Don Juan, or to arrange for some form of mitigation, an outcome easier for us squeamish art-lovers to accept, but much less potent. Speaking of trapdoors and false fire, LawrenceLipking regrets that Mozart should have ‘spent his genius on an outmoded moral relic, thrilling but not serious’, yet old myths are serious, and they die hard. To get his Faust off the hook, it ...

Self-Hugging

Andrew O’Hagan: A Paean to Boswell

5 October 2000
Boswell's Presumptuous Task 
by Adam Sisman.
Hamish Hamilton, 352 pp., £17.99, November 2000, 0 241 13637 7
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James Boswell’s ‘Life of Johnson’: Research Edition: Vol. II 
edited by Bruce Redford and Elizabeth Goldring.
Edinburgh, 303 pp., £50, February 2000, 0 7486 0606 8
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Samuel Johnson: The Life of an Author 
by Lawrence Lipking.
Harvard, 372 pp., £11.50, March 2000, 0 674 00198 2
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Dr Johnson's London 
by Liza Picard.
Weidenfeld, 362 pp., £20, July 2000, 0 297 84218 8
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... too well how to draw the moral character out of people. His style has been greatly castigated but the results have too infrequently been matched. If you don’t believe me you should take a look at LawrenceLipking’s dreary ‘Life of an Author’, which deploys a frenetic academic semaphore in order to say things that Boswell says by noticing a cough or a sniff. Lipking’s book is more in the ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland

5 November 1992
Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... the ambitious undergraduate pass his/her examinations. Hamilton discusses the emergence of the idea of the English poetic career (in his chapter on Marvell, Milton and Dryden) without reference to LawrenceLipking or Richard Helgerson. The Forster-Dickens chapter makes no mention of the alternative line of Dickens biography that descends through Thomas Wright and Katherine Longley to our contemporaries ...
1 March 1984
A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. I: The First Thousand Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by David Chibbett.
Macmillan, 319 pp., £20, September 1979, 0 333 19882 4
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. II: The Years of Isolation 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 22088 9
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A History of Japanese Literature. Vol. III: The Modern Years 
by Shuichi Kato, translated by Don Sanderson.
Macmillan, 307 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 34133 3
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World within Walls 
by Donald Keene.
Secker, 624 pp., £15, January 1977, 0 436 23266 9
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Modern Japanese Poets and the Nature of Literature 
by Makoto Ueda.
Stanford, 451 pp., $28.50, September 1983, 0 8047 1166 6
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Low City, High City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake 
by Edward Seidensticker.
Allen Lane, 302 pp., £16.95, September 1983, 0 7139 1597 8
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... its practitioners were not all explicit about what they were doing or why. René Wellek is no doubt correct in holding that European literary-historical criticism begins in the 18th century, and LawrenceLipking right that the arts were historically ordered in England at that time. It seems not to have been noticed that Dryden (‘Essay of Dramatic Poesy’ and much following) gave us our conception ...
7 August 1980
A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... Ephraim Chambers’s Cyclopaedia (1728), a work which Johnson drew on for the Dictionary, the French Encyclopédie, Gibbon’s Decline and Fall (1776), and the more specialised works studied by LawrenceLipking in his important book, The Ordering of the Arts in 18th-Century England – Charles Burney’s History of Music, for example, Joshua Reynolds’s Discourses on Art and Johnson’s own Lives ...

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