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Thinking Persons

John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... Othello in Addressing Frank Kermode is a particularly bad case. The books by Jackson, Harrison and Turner exemplify in various ways the kinds of problems which occur in a field where theory is so distant from practical reality. Jackson’s starting-point is his conviction that modern literary theory is founded on the work of Marx, Saussure and Freud, and The ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Turner's Rigi watercolours, 8 March 2007

... Three of Turner’s greatest late watercolours have been brought together for the first time: The Red Rigi (borrowed from Melbourne), The Blue Rigi and The Dark Rigi (both in private hands). By 20 March, when the exhibition ends, it will be clear whether or not the Art Fund has raised the £4.95 million needed to buy The Blue Rigi (shown here) for the Tate ...

Solus lodges at the Tate

Peter Campbell, 4 June 1987

J.M.W. Turner‘A Wonderful Range of Mind’ 
by John Gage.
Yale, 262 pp., £19.95, March 1987, 0 300 03779 1
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Turner in his Time 
by Andrew Wilton.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 500 09178 1
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Turner in the South: Rome, Naples, Florence 
by Cecilia Powell.
Yale, 216 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 300 03870 4
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The Paintings of J.M.W. Turner 
by Martin Butlin and Evelyn Joll.
Yale, 944 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 300 03361 3
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The Turner Collection in the Clore Gallery 
Tate Gallery, 128 pp., £9.95, April 1987, 0 946590 69 9Show More
Turner Watercolours 
by Andrew Wilton.
Tate Gallery, 148 pp., £17.95, April 1987, 0 946590 67 2
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... It was wet on the night of the opening of the new Turner galleries. The fireworks celebrating the occasion made the clouds of misty rain substantial. Reflections in the windows of the dismal wall of offices which faces the Tate across the Thames mixed with car lights and street lamps. A crowd from the party inside gathered on the steps under umbrellas ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... neither exhibition has addressed the artist as economic agent, their money or their debts. When Mark Carney announced that Turner would be on the next £20 note, he didn’t mention that Turner was a stock holder in the the Bank of England. Thomas Rowlandson was once a rake; in The ...

Dark Corners

Terence Ranger, 9 July 1987

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written By Herself 
by Harriet Jacobs, edited by Jean Fagan Yellin.
Harvard, 306 pp., £29.95, July 1987, 9780674447455
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The Spirit and the Drum: A Memoir of Africa 
by Edith Turner.
University of Arizona Press, 165 pp., £15.95, July 1987, 0 8165 1009 1
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Kaffir Boy: Growing out of Apartheid 
by Mark Mathabane.
Bodley Head, 354 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 370 31058 6
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... both as a true life-story and as a classic expression of ‘the Afro-American experience’. Edith Turner’s The Spirit and the Drum, which recounts her visits to western Zambia with her husband Victor a century later than Jacobs’s misadventures in America, is described as ‘a highly personal memoir’ which ‘re-creates the ritual and ceremonial life of ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis, 24 May 2018

... his own description, a ‘freelance dropout’, in thrall to the new avant-garde. A decade later, Mark Glazebrook, the disorganised but incisive new director of the Whitechapel Art Gallery, was wandering around the Central School of Art when he came across Hollis, then a tutor in the graphic design department. Hollis, who had learned typography from a student ...

Gilded Drainpipes

E.S. Turner: London, 10 June 1999

The London Rich: The Creation of a Great City from 1666 to the Present 
by Peter Thorold.
Viking, 374 pp., £25, June 1999, 0 670 87480 9
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The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture 
by Mordaunt Crook.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 7195 6040 3
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... on the mob in the Gordon Riots, had another claim to notice. As a sheriff of London, Sir Barnard Turner was instrumental in abolishing Tyburn as a place of execution. In so doing he ended the tumultuous turnout of ruffians, whores and honest citizens who cheered, or execrated, the deathcart on its way from Newgate along Tyburn Road, now Oxford Street, to the ...

Unmuscular Legs

E.S. Turner, 22 August 1996

The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990 
edited by C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 607 pp., £50, June 1996, 0 19 865212 7
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... all lives revised and the text sprinkled with ten thousand pictures. A DNB newsletter issued to mark this transition lists some of the odder occupations, or claims to distinction, recorded in earlier volumes. The distinctions include cowardice, sottishness, corpulence, self-identification with the deity and a failure to rise from the dead after an ...

Convictions

C.H. Sisson, 9 November 1989

Edgell Rickword: A Poet at War 
by Charles Hobday.
Carcanet, 337 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 85635 883 5
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... still in training with the Artists’ Rifles in 1916-17 Rickword had become acquainted with W.J. Turner, whose name was known to him as the music critic of, and occasionally a poet in, the New Statesman. A published poet! In the months before he went up to Oxford he renewed his acquaintance with Turner, who naturally knew ...

Diary

Jenny Turner: ‘T2 Trainspotting’, 16 February 2017

... the Muirhouse-based purveyor of inferior opiate products, the one who sold the suppositories Mark Renton shat out in the bookies’ toilet. And he was delightful at it, smirking and giggling in his Wattie Buchan T-shirt, like the total amateur he was. He’s back as Forrester again in the sequel, fencing stolen goods from one of the many underworldly ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Thomas Girtin, 22 August 2002

... Turner’s remark ‘Had Tom Girtin lived, I should have starved’ is as good a posthumous puff as any artist ever gave another. It’s printed on the back of Tate Britain’s Girtin catalogue.* There it reads as a challenge. It puts you on your mettle as you walk past the many pictures whose original effect must be reconstructed from sheets that time has rendered curiously rusty or unnaturally blue ...

At the V&A

Rosemary Hill: Constable , 22 October 2014

... The Making of a Master is at the V&A until 11 January.) While his contemporary Turner bestrides the history of European art, Constable remains a largely domestic taste. There was a time when almost every home had a reproduction of The Hay Wain. Tours of ‘Constable country’ on the Essex-Suffolk border were popular by 1893 and are still ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: ‘Ruin Lust’, 2 April 2014

... is cosily brown and crumbly, accoutred with cows. Cotman’s Crowland hangs in watery mist. Like Turner in his detail of a massive Norman column from Holy Island suspended in a tiny sketch, Cotman could conjure up the poignant synecdoche of mighty fragments imbued as much with power as with loss. ‘Crowland Abbey’ by John Sell Cotman (1804). The ...

A New Twist in the Long Tradition of the Grotesque

Marina Warner: The monstrousness of Britart, 13 April 2000

High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s 
by Julian Stallabrass.
Verso, 342 pp., £22, December 1999, 1 85984 721 8
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This is Modern Art 
by Matthew Collings.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 297 84292 7
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... pictures of his family escape Stallabrass’s everlasting fire. Concurrently with last year’s Turner Prize show at the Tate, Ana Maria Pacheco, a Brazilian artist long resident in this country, showed the works resulting from her year’s residency at the National Gallery. Dark Night of the Soul is a monumental piece, consisting of 19 massive figures ...

Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts, 9 May 2019

k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... Mark Fisher​ killed himself on 13 January 2017, at the house in Felixstowe he shared with his wife and young son. His mental health had been deteriorating, according to the Ipswich Star’s report of the inquest, since the previous May. His wife, Zoe, told the inquest that they had been seeking help for him, but the local NHS trust hadn’t been able to offer anything beyond a telephone chat with a GP ...

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