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James Paradis, 18 June 1981

Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... amateur art and natural history were in many respects happily wedded in the paintings of Marianne North, certainly one of the most remarkable voyagers and botanical artists of the century. A Vision of Eden: The Life and Work of Marianne North brings together for the first time portions of Miss ...

Two Poems

Marianne Boruch, 13 September 2012

... hover, any number of saints alone. Or a murder of them, those martyrs, their gorgeous flight north reward for fire, for stones, hot breath in the ear. Tooth and claw, human style, down centuries like a drip. Night trains now, one from Milano to Roma, blue blanket, blue sheets in the sleeping car, a sink, a shelf, all racketing, lurching over ...

The Big Store

Norman Hampson, 21 January 1982

The Bon Marché: Bourgeois Culture and the Department Store 1869-1920 
by Michael Miller.
Allen and Unwin, 266 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 04 330316 1
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Ladies of the Leisure Class: The Bourgeoises of Northern France in the 19th Century 
by Bonnie Smith.
Princeton, 303 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 691 05330 8
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Marianne into Battle: Republican Imagery and Symbolism in France 1789-1880 
by Maurice Agulhon, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Cambridge, 235 pp., £18.50, June 1981, 0 521 28224 1
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... When she regretfully consigned the old world to the dustbin of history in North and South, Mrs Gaskell had no illusions about the nastiness of the new, but still saw it as conferring an unprecedented independence on the working man. Dickens put the emphasis on the dehumanised pursuit and efficient accumulation of material wealth, as an end in itself: the replacement of Squire Allworthy by Mr Bounderby ...

The South

Colm Tóibín, 4 August 1994

One Art: The Selected Letters of Elizabeth Bishop 
Chatto, 668 pp., £25, April 1994, 0 7011 6195 7Show More
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... of Bishop’s poems survived. She conjured up what Robert Lowell in 1947, in his review of her North – South, called ‘something in motion, weary but persisting’, and then moved to something exact and specific, something human and fragile, what Lowell identified as ‘rest, sleep, fulfilment or death’. She delighted in the exotic, in the ...

Awful but Cheerful

Gillian White: The Tentativeness of Elizabeth Bishop, 25 May 2006

Edgar Allan Poe & the Juke-Box: Uncollected Poems, Drafts and Fragments 
by Elizabeth Bishop, edited by Alice Quinn.
Farrar, Straus, 367 pp., £22.50, March 2006, 0 374 14645 4
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... In 1940, after she’d gained the admiration of Marianne Moore and William Carlos Williams, and had had nearly thirty of her poems published in literary journals or book collections, Elizabeth Bishop, then 28, admitted in a letter to Moore: ‘I scarcely know why I persist at all. It is really fantastic to place so much on the fact that I have written a half-dozen phrases that I can still bear to reread without too much embarrassment ...

The Red Card of Chaos

Jeremy Harding, 8 June 1995

... me at a comfortable distance from haemorrhagic fever – a few days in Kinshasa, but mostly way north in Kisangani, where V.S. Naipaul set his cruel little book, A Bend in the River – and away from Britain long enough to miss the arrival of Outbreak, the Dustin Hoffman film. Helping out on a documentary about Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, I could carry my ...

Mostly Middle

Michael Hofmann: Elizabeth Bishop, 8 September 2011

by Elizabeth Bishop.
Chatto, 352 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 7011 8628 9
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... really, but where else have the culture vultures not been, with their guides and follow-me signs?Marianne Moore and her mother finished her in Brooklyn (decorum studies?) after she left Vassar. James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, publisher and friend of Ezra Pound, was so desperate to publish her that even after he accepted he wasn’t going to be ...


Christopher Driver, 19 May 1983

Fools of Fortune 
by William Trevor.
Bodley Head, 239 pp., £7.50, April 1983, 0 370 30953 7
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What a beautiful Sunday! 
by Jorge Semprun, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Secker, 429 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 9780436446603
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An Innocent Millionaire 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 388 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 241 10929 9
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The Papers of Tony Veitch 
by William McIlvanney.
Hodder, 254 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 340 22907 1
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In the Shadow of the Paradise Tree 
by Sasha Moorsom.
Routledge, 247 pp., £6.95, April 1983, 0 7100 9408 6
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The Bride 
by Bapsi Sidhwa.
Cape, 248 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 224 02047 1
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... and the Quintons have already intermarried twice in the space of a century, and his cousin Marianne is about to become the third English girl to visit Kilneagh and fall in love. In Anglo-Irish relationships, Trevor observes, history tends to repeat itself. Intermarriage never entailed mutual understanding. The first English Mrs Quinton alienated her ...

Good Girl, Bad Girl

Elaine Showalter, 5 June 1997

Feminist Accused of Sexual Harassment 
by Jane Gallop.
Duke, 104 pp., £28.50, June 1997, 0 8223 1918 7
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A Life in School: What the Teacher Learned 
by Jane Tompkins.
Addison-Wesley, 256 pp., $22, January 1997, 0 201 91212 0
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Bequest and Betrayal: Memoirs of a Parent’s Death 
by Nancy Miller.
Oxford, 208 pp., £19.50, February 1997, 0 19 509130 2
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... and Rights: Diary of a Law Professor (1991), Alice Kaplan’s French Lessons: A Memoir (1993) and Marianne Hirsch’s Family Frames (1997), a generation of American feminist university teachers use their own experience to shed light on literary, linguistic, artistic, professional, pedagogic and academic issues; and use these categories to shed light on their ...

Clairvoyant, Rich and Lucky

Chloë Daniel: Berlin 1904-2014, 30 November 2017

Hannah’s Dress: Berlin 1904-2014 
by Pascale Hugues, translated by C. Jon Delogu and Nick Somers.
Polity, 250 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 5095 0981 2
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... Lilli said, ‘to show the whole world how well the Nazis treated their Jews’) in Wedding in the north-west of Berlin. Their only child, Harry, whose bar mitzvah Lilli referred to as his ‘confirmation’, spent the last two years of the war hiding in the cellar of his former governess’s house, going upstairs in the evenings to teach her daughters the ...

The Clothed Life

Joanna Biggs: Linda Grant, 31 March 2011

We Had It So Good 
by Linda Grant.
Virago, 344 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 1 84408 637 5
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... was published because it took her a long time to find a voice for fiction: she couldn’t have a North London Jewish one because she’s Liverpudlian, and she couldn’t be Liverpudlian because she’s middle-class, she couldn’t be middle-class because it’s too much like ‘ventriloquism’ and she couldn’t do British-Jewish because the British don’t ...

Broadening Ocean

Brad Leithauser, 3 March 1988

Natural Causes 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 57 pp., £4.95, August 1987, 9780701132712
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A Short History of the Island of Butterflies 
by Nicholas Christopher.
Viking, 81 pp., $17.95, January 1986, 0 670 80899 7
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... In England, the situation seems no less dire. When a house like Faber and Faber makes available Marianne Moore’s Complete Prose, as they did last year, one applauds their discernment, for this surely is a volume that belongs in the library of every English as well as American poet. But when one realises that the book retails at £30 – and that ...


Norman Stone, 21 July 1983

The Invention of Tradition 
edited by Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger.
Cambridge, 320 pp., £17.50, March 1983, 0 521 24645 8
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... a century before, and partly because it was being practised locally, in the Industrial Revolution North, or Scotland, or the colonies, where the money was made. No one in England carried out the standard practices of Enlightenment or French Revolution. Horses were not stabled in churches and in university colleges; bizarrely-named officials were not ...

Fresh, Generous, Colourful, Idyllic

Tim Parks: ‘Graziella’, 21 February 2019

by Alphonse de Lamartine, translated by Raymond MacKenzie.
Minnesota, 168 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 5179 0247 6
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... de Prat de Lamartine was born in 1790 to aristocratic parents in Mâcon in Burgundy, fifty miles north of Lyon. An only son with five younger sisters, he was a bright, restless adolescent, running away from one school and fathering a child by a servant at the Jesuit college he went to next. He was often intensely bored and discovered early that ...

From the Inside out

Jacqueline Rose: Eimear McBride, 22 September 2016

The Lesser Bohemians 
by Eimear McBride.
Faber, 313 pp., £16.99, September 2016, 978 0 571 32785 0
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... by its great space.’ Specifically we are in the streets, pubs, clubs and letting houses of North-West London – Camden, Kentish Town – in the 1990s (with occasional references to the IRA, ‘Pakis’ and the poor of the East End). One way of reading The Lesser Bohemians would be as girl given a second chance. The allusion is clear: the female ...

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