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Action and Suffering

Marilyn Butler, 16 April 1981

Ideas and the Novel 
by Mary McCarthy.
Weidenfeld, 121 pp., £4.95, February 1981, 9780297778967
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... leading intellectuals, is just not very interesting about radicalism in Felix Holt the Radical. French novelists continue to mull over the French Revolution, English novelists do not. Recalling that Hegel once dubbed Napoleon ‘an idea on a horse’, Miss McCarthy suggests that the Continent’s advantage may be due to ...

The Sage of Polygon Road

Claire Tomalin, 28 September 1989

The Works of Mary Wollstonecraft, Vols I-VII 
edited by Janet Todd and Marilyn Butler.
Pickering & Chatto, 2530 pp., £245, August 1989, 1 85196 006 6
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... A bookseller friend got me a copy of the single edition of her Historical and Moral View of the French Revolution, and both editions of Godwin’s Memoir written after her death, which caused such a scandalous stir when they appeared one after another in 1798; none of these had ever been reprinted. Two out of the four volumes of the Posthumous Works edited ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: Andy Warhol at MoMA, 12 October 1989

... The pictures on the walls looked as familiar and predictable as the people. Surely that’s Marilyn. And look – there’s Jackie. There, reassuringly, is the Campbell’s soup can. In fact, there it is again – and again. It’s barely even a shock to see the late Andy Warhol himself, holding a small crowd in the angle of the staircase and sporting ...

Quite Nice

Diana Souhami: Fernande Olivier, 13 December 2001

Loving Picasso: The Private Journal of Fernande Olivier 
edited by Marilyn McCully, translated by Christine Baker.
Abrams, 296 pp., £24, May 2001, 0 8109 4251 8
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... epilogue, taken more or less verbatim from the second volume of his mammoth Life of Picasso. Marilyn McCully (who is working on the third volume with Richardson) provides a foreword and biographical notes. Letters from Olivier to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas are included, too. So Loving Picasso is more complicated than the ‘private journal’ it ...

Fiery Participles

D.A.N. Jones, 6 September 1984

Hazlitt: The Mind of a Critic 
by David Bromwich.
Oxford, 450 pp., £19.50, March 1984, 0 19 503343 4
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William Godwin: Philosopher, Novelist, Revolutionary 
by Peter Marshall.
Yale, 496 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy 
edited by Marilyn Butler.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £25, June 1984, 0 521 24386 6
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... her collection of ‘English Prose Texts’, Burke, Paine, Godwin and the Revolution Controversy, Marilyn Butler finds it useful to quote Hazlitt when she has to introduce the dull writings of Orator Thelwall. ‘The most dashing orator I ever heard is the flattest writer I have ever read,’ Hazlitt explains. When Thelwall orated, ‘he was the model of a ...

That Night at Farnham

Anne Barton, 18 August 1983

Homosexuality in Renaissance England 
by Alan Bray.
Gay Men’s Press, 149 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 907040 16 0
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Comic Women, Tragic Men: A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare 
by Linda Bamber.
Stanford, 211 pp., $18.50, June 1982, 0 8047 1126 7
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Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare 
by Lisa Jardine.
Harvester, 202 pp., £18.95, June 1983, 0 7108 0436 9
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... now call a ‘woman-hater’ – a view anticipated, in their own ways, by Leslie Fiedler and Marilyn French – it does at least have the merit of demonstrating just how far the misogynist line can be taken. If Jardine’s interpretations of plays by Shakespeare and other contemporary dramatists are correct, these works ought to be removed from all ...

Reviewers

Marilyn Butler, 22 January 1981

Three-Quarter Face 
by Penelope Gilliatt.
Secker, 295 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436179587
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Show People 
by Kenneth Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77842 0
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When the lights go down 
by Pauline Kael.
Boyars, 592 pp., £8.95, August 1980, 0 7145 2726 2
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... shoots a film in a Seville square at 2 a.m., Jeanne Moreau cooks rabbit in the kitchen of her French farmhouse, Woody Allen has been spreading glue on the parapet of his New York apartment to discourage the pigeons (though the glue served only to discourage them from leaving). Once the talk begins, the claims for its significance seem distinctly ...

Versatile Monster

Marilyn Butler, 5 May 1988

In Frankenstein’s Shadow: Myth, Monstrosity and 19th-century Writing 
by Chris Baldick.
Oxford, 207 pp., £22.50, December 1987, 0 19 811726 4
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... and obliges us to consider it as a collaborative popular invention. The idea of likening the French Revolution and particularly the Parisian mob to a parricidal monster may have occurred first to Edmund Burke. Already in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), Burke saw the fomentors of revolutions as sinister magicians, the Parisian ...

Burying Scott

Marilyn Butler, 7 September 1995

The Life of Walter Scott: A Critical Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Blackwell, 386 pp., £19.99, January 1995, 1 55786 231 1
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... jester and the fool. At about the same time he published a scholarly article on the late medieval French tradition, the annual Feast of Fools, when (as if in anticipation of the French Revolution) the populace invaded the Church and performed obscene, blasphemous rituals there. Scott describes just such rites in The Abbot ...

East Hoathly makes a night of it

Marilyn Butler, 6 December 1984

The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754-1765 
edited by David Vaisey.
Oxford, 386 pp., £17.50, November 1984, 0 19 211782 3
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John Clare’s Autobiographical Writings 
edited by Eric Robinson.
Oxford, 185 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 19 211774 2
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John Clare: The Journals, Essays, and the Journey from Essex 
edited by Anne Tibble.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85635 344 2
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The Natural History Prose Writings of John Clare 
edited by Margaret Grainger.
Oxford, 397 pp., £35, January 1984, 0 19 818517 0
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John Clare and the Folk Tradition 
by George Deacon.
Sinclair Browne, 397 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 86300 008 8
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... accompanied by two colleagues from East Hoathly, one of whom, a prosperous farmer called Jeremiah French, was known to Turner as a scourge of paupers and a depresser of wages – though Vaisey goes further, and shows that for several years French had been systematically evading payment of the poor rate. The delegation from ...

Death in Greece

Marilyn Butler, 17 September 1981

Byron’s Letter and Journals. Vol. XI: For Freedom’s Battle 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 243 pp., £11.50, April 1981, 0 7195 3792 4
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Byron: The Complete Poetical Works 
edited by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 464 pp., £35, October 1980, 0 19 811890 2
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Red Shelley 
by Paul Foot.
Sidgwick, 293 pp., £12.95, May 1981, 0 283 98679 4
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Ugo Foscolo, Poet of Exile 
by Glauco Cambon.
Princeton, 360 pp., £15, September 1980, 0 691 06424 5
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... the Spanish peninsula, the most recent theatre of the long war against France which followed the French Revolution. As the Vietnam War demonstrated in modern times, nothing so divides and demoralises the Western intellectual as a war against a left-wing enemy. Even with its military dictator dressed up in imperial robes, France displayed a more radical ...

Boom and Bust

Margaret Anne Doody, 19 June 1997

A History of the Breast 
by Marilyn Yalom.
HarperCollins, 331 pp., £15.99, March 1997, 0 04 440913 3
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... The sexualised view of the breast,’ Marilyn Yalom asserts, is a Western phenomenon. Non-Western cultures, she assures us, ‘have their own fetishes’. This seems dismissive, running the risk of a National Geographic style of condescension, other cultures representing the (scorned) site of an (inferior) idyll in which everything hangs out, and there are no hang-ups ...

The Case for Negative Thinking

V.S. Pritchett, 20 March 1980

Peacock Displayed: A Satirist in his Context 
by Marilyn Butler.
Routledge, 361 pp., £10.95, October 1979, 0 7100 0293 9
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... Aldous Huxley, who, however, fatally lacked Peacock’s tenderness for women and his poetic grace. Marilyn Butler speaks, at one point, of his Mozartian sparkle. Mozart is indeed a source, The Marriage of Figaro especially, for Peacock’s mischievous spell: but she has far more to say about the formation of Peacock’s mind in a book which is ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... them as political too. Smith’s main topic is the rhetoric developed by English radicals in the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic war period. McGann, more literary, discusses a number of highbrow poets from Crabbe to Christina Rossetti. They both write accessibly, and with a noticeable openness to the wider world, in the early 19th century and now. Half ...

The Verity of Verity

Marilyn Butler, 1 August 1996

Essays in Appreciation 
by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 363 pp., £25, March 1996, 0 19 818344 5
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... in – natch – Marx, Freud, structuralism, post-structuralism, Lacanianism, and feminism French and American), and then added, not deigning now to specify: ‘plus a couple of weeks for the old verities’.   Is this all that everything from Aristotle to Trilling, from Horace and Sidney to Eliot and Empson, amounts to? The old verities? I find ...

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