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Peter Howarth: Robert Frost’s Prose

6 November 2008
The Collected Prose of Robert Frost 
edited by Mark Richardson.
Harvard, 375 pp., £25.95, January 2008, 978 0 674 02463 2
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The Notebooks of Robert Frost 
edited by Robert Faggen.
Harvard, 809 pp., £25.95, January 2007, 978 0 674 02311 6
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... includes for the first time all 11 of the stories he wrote between 1903 and 1905 for The Eastern Poultryman and Farm-Poultry as emergency sources of income when his farm was doing badly. They are, as MarkRichardson drily observes, ‘surely the best poultry-stories written by a modern American poet’, but they are less about the hens than the reputations of their owners. This is not the moralist’s ...

Jousting for Peace

Thomas Penn: Henry VIII meets Francis I

16 July 2014
The Field of Cloth of Gold 
by Glenn Richardson.
Yale, 288 pp., £35, November 2013, 978 0 300 14886 2
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... good reasons why both these exceptionally ambitious kings should have turned their encounter, in the Anglo-French borderlands south of Calais, into an apotheosis of conspicuous consumption. As Glenn Richardson notes in his minutely detailed book, relatively abundant surviving sources – documenting everything from the designs for the sprawling tent complexes to the provisioning of food and drink for 12 ...

Understanding Forwards

Michael Wood: William James

20 September 2007
William James: In the Maelstrom of American Modernism 
by Robert Richardson.
Mariner, 622 pp., £15, September 2007, 978 0 618 43325 4
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... and a firm bet on what hasn’t happened yet. Many of the virtues as well as the limitations of James’s philosophical practice are caught in this swift picture. I take these quotations from Robert Richardson’s William James, the most recent in a long run of biographies. Its predecessors were by Ralph Barton Perry (1935), Gay Wilson Allen (1967) and Linda Simon (1998). There are also fine portraits in ...

Porringers and Pitkins

Keith Thomas: The Early Modern Household

5 July 2018
A Day at Home in Early Modern England: Material Culture and Domestic Life, 1500-1700 
by Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson.
Yale, 311 pp., £40, October 2017, 978 0 300 19501 9
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... as long ago as 1914. Its original concern was with the history of furniture and its first curator none other than Marjorie Quennell. This is the intellectual background to Tara Hamling and Catherine Richardson’s ambitious A Day at Home in Early Modern England. Although they are firmly empirical in their approach and never cite Bourdieu or Lefebvre, they are strongly committed to the study of what they ...
7 November 1985
Clarissa, or the History of a Young Lady 
by Samuel Richardson, edited with an introduction by Angus Ross.
Viking, 1533 pp., £19.95, August 1985, 0 670 80829 6
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Memoire of Frances, Lady Douglas 
by Lady Louisa Stuart, edited by Jill Rubenstein.
Scottish Academic Press, 106 pp., £9.50, August 1985, 0 7073 0358 3
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... is often investigated for its affinity to fact; while the other records the facts and feelings and constructions of the biographer of a friend. The first is the more than a million words of Samuel Richardson’s novel Clarissa, whose first edition has been issued by Penguin in the guise of a slab of gold bullion. The second is by an admirer of Richardson’s novels, two generations later – Lady Louisa ...

Unreasoning Vigour

Stefan Collini: Ian Watt

9 May 2019
Ian Watt: The Novel and the Wartime Critic 
by Marina MacKay.
Oxford, 228 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 0 19 882499 2
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... of an experience that could scarcely be approached directly is the subject matter of Marina MacKay’s deft and thoughtful study. In 1957 Watt published The Rise of the Novel: Studies in Defoe, Richardson and Fielding. Few works of criticism from the second half of the 20th century have been more influential. The Rise of the Novel, MacKay reports, ‘continues to be amplified, supplemented or attacked ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves

6 June 2013
The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... humiliation, Olivier announced that he would be taking over his part. Redgrave told his wife that it was ‘agony for me’ when Larry ‘thinks I’m no good’. Such a public breakdown might well mark the end of an actor’s career, but while Redgrave never quite recovered the shine of his glory days, he continued to work. In 1965 he directed and acted in Turgenev’s A Month in the Country in ...

It is still mañana

Matthew Bevis: Robert Frost’s Letters

19 February 2015
The Letters of Robert Frost, Vol. 1: 1886-1920 
edited by Donald Sheehy, Mark Richardson and Robert Faggen.
Harvard, 811 pp., £33.95, March 2014, 978 0 674 05760 9
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... introduced Frost’s Selected Letters by noting his ‘manner of seeming to be so natural, direct and confiding in all forms of communication; but he was never as natural as he seemed.’ Sheehy, Richardson and Faggen are keen to set the record straight. Thompson, they write, ‘thought he found the poison of calculation tainting all the letters Frost addressed to editors, anthologists and critics ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: Aubergines are no longer merely aubergines

21 April 2016
...  ...

Fat is a manifest tissue

Steven Shapin: George Cheyne

10 August 2000
Obesity and Depression in the Enlightenment: The Life and Times of George Cheyne 
by Anita Guerrini.
Oklahoma, 304 pp., $25.95, February 2000, 0 585 28344 3
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... could calculate corpuscular interactions, you could, of course, cure sick bodies. The great Dr Mead applauded Cheyne’s effort, saying that soon ‘Mathematical Learning will be the Distinguishing Mark of a Physician from a Quack.’ But other philosophically advanced physicians confessed themselves befuddled by Cheyne’s science. Dr Martin Lister admitted that ‘for want of Mathematicks, I could ...

Rinse it in dead champagne

Colm Tóibín: The women who invented beauty

5 February 2004
War Paint: Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden: Their Lives, Their Times, Their Rivalry 
by Lindy Woodhead.
Virago, 498 pp., £20, April 2003, 1 86049 974 0
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Diana Vreeland 
by Eleanor Dwight.
HarperCollins, 308 pp., £30, December 2002, 0 688 16738 1
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... For the moment, there was nothing the more conservative guests could do about their older faces. As late as 1912 the editor of the Ladies’ Home Journal said that ‘men continued to see rouge as a mark of sex and sin.’ That same year, however, twenty thousand women, watched by half a million onlookers, marched in New York City for the right to vote: the leaders, who included some society ladies ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... disbelief; later, the news confirmed and the cuts from London in my hands, I spent a long time pondering the implications. For almost fifteen years Paul Hill, Gerry Conlon, Paddy Armstrong and Carole Richardson had insisted they were innocent and had been framed by the police. I recalled that Sir Michael Havers, who led for the Crown in the 1975 trial, had reasoned to the jury that if the Four were innocent ...

Mansions in Bloom

Ruth Richardson

23 May 1991
A Paradise out of a Common Field: The Pleasures and Plenty of the Victorian Garden 
by Joan Morgan and Alison Richards.
Century, 256 pp., £16.95, May 1990, 0 7126 2209 8
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Private Gardens of London 
by Arabella Lennox-Boyd.
Weidenfeld, 224 pp., £25, September 1990, 0 297 83025 2
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The Greatest Glasshouse: The Rainforest Recreated 
edited by Sue Minter.
HMSO, 216 pp., £25, July 1990, 0 11 250035 8
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Religion and Society in a Cotswold Vale: Nailsworth, Gloucestershire, 1780-1865 
by Albion Urdank.
California, 448 pp., $47.50, May 1990, 0 520 06670 7
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... multiple plants for flowerbeds. The volume begins and ends with the Victorian country house. It is beautifully produced, but falls short of the scholarship of works in this area by F.M.L. Thompson, Mark Girouard and Brent Elliott, to which it owes a great deal. The text represents an extensive trawl of material, which is presented in the form of a verbal scrapbook covering a range of topics, under ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement

29 November 2001
The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... Forties quickly became one of the wordiest decades on record. Not content with being novelists, Dickens and Thackeray became journalists as well. Bored with running newspapers, G.W.M. Reynolds and Mark Lemon turned their hand to penny dreadfuls and comedies. The deregulation of the London stage in 1843 meant that actors, managers and playwrights competed for ever-growing theatrical audiences. And ...
7 April 1994
Hogarth. Vol. I: The ‘Modern Moral Subject’, 1697-1732 
by Ronald Paulson.
Lutterworth, 411 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 7188 2854 2
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... at least) matched his actual paintings rather well, but was entirely out of line with what we can think of as the ‘official’ tradition of 18th-century theory, as produced by Shaftesbury, Jonathan Richardson and Sir Joshua Reynolds. He can also be argued to have challenged, more directly than anyone else, the supremacy of history painting in the hierarchy of genres adhered to by that official theory. He ...

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