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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

Poems 
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 ...

Pastiche

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 ...

Risky Business

Elaine Showalter, 22 September 1994

Telling Women’s Lives: The New Biography 
by Linda Wagner-Martin.
Rutgers, 201 pp., $22.95, July 1994, 0 8135 2092 4
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... Wagner-Martin, a highly respected scholar of American literature who teaches at the University of North Carolina, was bewildered by the hostile reception in Britain of her biography of Sylvia Plath, published in 1987. Not only had she run into major conflicts with the Plath estate, she explains in her preface to Telling Women’s Lives, but some critics saw ...

The Numinous Moose

Helen Vendler, 11 March 1993

Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It 
by Brett Millier.
California, 602 pp., £18.50, April 1993, 0 520 07978 7
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... thoughts against thoughts in groans grind. For too long, Bishop had lived these moral choices of life/death, right/wrong, male/female: but at last, the early happy years with Lota had made them seem irrelevant, and Bishop, longing for Paradise since her blighted childhood, felt she had found it at Santarém: That golden evening I really wanted to go no farther; more than anything else I wanted to stay awhile in that conflux of two great rivers ...

On Maureen McLane

Ange Mlinko, 10 May 2018

... literary criticism. In it are essays of varying degrees of rigour: a serious discussion of Marianne Moore, an illuminating passage on Wordsworth’s ‘thinking hart’, a goofy anecdote about Wallace Stevens. (Harvard asked her for a yearbook quote; she gave them ‘Let be be finale of seem.’ ‘Well what is that supposed to mean?’ they ...

On Douglas Crase

Matthew Bevis, 5 December 2019

... that must have come with the first books of Wallace Stevens (Harmonium) and Elizabeth Bishop (North and South).’ The book they were talking about was Douglas Crase’s The Revisionist. Out of print for almost forty years, it has now been reissued (Carcanet, £12.99) in a volume that also includes Crase’s only other collection of verse – a slim ...

Woman in Love

Brigid Brophy, 7 February 1985

The Life of Jane Austen 
by John Halperin.
Harvester, 400 pp., December 1984, 0 7108 0518 7
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... be an adverb unless it ends in -ly. There seems no other reason for him to write ‘overly’, a North American usage I always find overly ripe. Stylistically, he is at his most infuriating when his needle keeps jumping back a groove or gets stuck in one he can’t escape. He is subject to a nervous tic of writing ‘as we have seen’ when all he can ...

Visions

Charles Townshend, 19 April 1984

Theobald Wolfe Tone: Colonial Outsider 
by Tom Dunne.
Tower Books, 77 pp., $1.90, December 1982, 0 902568 07 8
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Partners in Revolution: The United Irishmen and France 
by Marianne Elliott.
Yale, 411 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 03 000270 2
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De Valera and the Ulster Question 1917-1973 
by John Bowman.
Oxford, 369 pp., £17.50, November 1982, 0 19 822681 0
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Sean Lemass and the Making of Modern Ireland 
by Paul Bew and Henry Patterson.
Gill, 224 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7171 1260 8
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... In fact the élitist refinement of the United Irish Society insulated it from such realities. Marianne Elliott does not mince words in saying that it had ‘an instinctive fear of the people’. Hence its main practical tenet: that Ireland’s liberty could only be achieved with French assistance. This belief produced the odd relationship which is ...

The Unwritten Fiction of Dead Brothers

Dinah Birch, 2 October 1997

Elizabeth Gaskell: The Early Years 
by John Chapple.
Manchester, 492 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 7190 2550 8
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... live in reasonable comfort as a single woman. There was a spirited daughter of this failed union, Marianne, who had been crippled as an infant: the story went that she had jumped from a window to greet her mother. Marianne was around twenty years old when her aunt died in London. ‘Poor little Elizabeth! what will become ...

The Strangely Inspired Hermit of Andover

Christine Stansell, 5 June 1997

Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns, 1915-31 
by Jack Selzer.
Wisconsin, 284 pp., £45, February 1997, 0 299 15184 0
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... 1916’, ‘The Second Coming’ and ‘The Emperor of Ice Cream’; and reviewed Ulysses, Marianne Moore (by T.S. Eliot), Charlie Chaplin, Gertrude Stein, Pirandello, Hemingway and Al Jolson. Just about the only body of avant-garde work that was missing was that of the Russians, from whom the Dial shied away because of the editors’ cautious ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism, 25 March 2010

The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... in 1908, is given as much consideration as Pound’s other early friend William Carlos Williams; Marianne Moore, who matriculated at Bryn Mawr in the same year as H.D., is barely mentioned. Snippets of truly mediocre poetry by Lowell, Flint, Fletcher et al sit cheek by jowl with the masterly experiments of Pound and H.D. For all the joie de vivre of these ...

Door Closing!

Mark Ford: Randall Jarrell, 21 October 2010

Pictures from an Institution: A Comedy 
by Randall Jarrell.
Chicago, 277 pp., £10.50, April 2010, 978 0 226 39375 9
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... his first job at Amherst College in 1917. Pound, Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore, Hart Crane all lived by other means; though it’s worth pointing out that the poetry and criticism of Eliot in particular, and to a lesser extent of Pound, played a significant role in shaping the curriculum and methodologies these expanding ...

Places Never Explained

Colm Tóibín: Anthony Hecht, 8 August 2013

The Selected Letters of Anthony Hecht 
edited by Jonathan Post.
Johns Hopkins, 365 pp., £18, November 2012, 978 1 4214 0730 2
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... In January 1945, as she was preparing her collection North & South for publication, Elizabeth Bishop wrote to her publishers to say she was worried that she had written nothing about the war: The fact that none of these poems deal directly with the war, at a time when so much war poetry is being published, will, I am afraid, leave me open to reproach ...

A Young Woman Who Was Meant to Kill Herself

Jeremy Harding: Charlotte Salomon, 8 March 2018

Life? Or Theatre? 
by Charlotte Salomon.
Duckworth, 840 pp., £125, September 2017, 978 1 715 65247 0
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Charlotte 
by David Foenkinos, translated by Sam Taylor.
Canongate, 224 pp., £8.99, January 2018, 978 1 78211 796 4
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Charlotte Salomon and the Theatre of Memory 
by Griselda Pollock.
Yale, 542 pp., £45, March 2018, 978 0 300 10072 3
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Charlotte Salomon: ‘Life? Or Theatre?’ A Selection of 450 Gouaches 
by Judith Belinfante and Evelyn Benesch.
Taschen, 599 pp., £30, November 2017, 978 3 8365 7077 0
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... a contralto who made her name in Berlin, becomes Paulinka Bimbam; her maternal grandparents, Marianne Benda and Ludwig Grunwald, are ‘Dr and Mrs Knarre … a couple’. Alfred Wolfsohn is ‘Amadeus Daberlohn … a voice teacher’. Charlotte Kann (left) and Barbara Petzel discuss Barbara’s love life Salomon’s parents were well-to-do. Her ...

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