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Canterbury Tale

Charles Nicholl

8 December 1988
Christopher Marlowe and Canterbury 
by William Urry, edited by Andrew Butcher.
Faber, 184 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 571 14566 3
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John Weever 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 134 pp., £27.50, April 1987, 0 7190 2217 7
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Rare Sir William Davenant 
by Mary Edmond.
Manchester, 264 pp., £27.50, July 1987, 9780719022869
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... of John Marlowe, shoemaker, and Katherine née Arthur, a Dover woman. They had nine children, though only five survived childhood. Christopher was the eldest son, and after the death of his sister Mary in 1568, the eldest child in the family. His father was ‘rowdy, quarrelsome, awkward, improvident, busy, self-assertive and too clever by half’, in Urry’s estimate. He appears often in the ...

Picture in Little

Charles Nicholl: Hilliard’s Trajectory

9 December 2019
Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist 
by Elizabeth Goldring.
Yale, 337 pp., £40, February, 978 0 300 24142 6
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... was the first to earn fame outside the confines of the court.Hilliard had formative periods abroad, however. His family were staunchly Protestant, and during the turbulent Catholic ascendancy under Mary Tudor they sent him to the Continent. At the age of about ten he arrived in Calvinist Geneva, where he spent two years in the household of John Bodley, an Exeter merchant. From this experience he ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan

21 June 1984
Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... appealing, collapsed under scrutiny. Stanley Wells observed that Forman’s manuscript read ‘brave’ not ‘brown’, John Carey crisply noted that, if Emilia was Italian, Rosaline was French, and MaryEdmond established the true name of Lanier’s husband: Alfonso. In the new text only ‘Will in overplus’ has Burgess-like prominence: ‘will to boot’, confidently declared an allusion to ...
18 December 1980
Puritanism and Theatre 
by Margot Heinemann.
Cambridge, 300 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 521 22602 3
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John Webster: Citizen and Dramatist 
by M.C. Bradbrook.
Weidenfeld, 205 pp., £10, October 1980, 0 297 77813 7
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... her work on Renaissance drama has been moving away from purely literary study into the domain of social history. Nonetheless, it is striking how central the research done by Miss Heinemann – and by MaryEdmond, the genealogist who in 1976 uncovered the basic facts about Webster’s family and livery company connections – is to Professor Bradbrook’s latest book. The first half of John Webster ...

Not in a Box

Julian Barnes: Mary​ Cassatt as Herself

26 April 2018
Mary​ Cassatt, une impressioniste americaine a Paris 
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, until 23 July 2018Show More
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... had the freedom to place his focus anywhere in the theatre, the viewer’s nose and eye one moment butting up against a giant bassoon, the next swirling round a ballerina dans les coulisses. Whereas Mary Cassatt, in paint as in person, was restricted to the view from the loge. This is what her painting In the Loge shows: a woman in black sitting in a theatre box, holding a fan, leaning on the balcony ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton

20 September 2001
Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... in a garret. Henry Wallis’s picture, inevitably adorning the book’s dust-jacket, is a study in the waste of beauty and genius. The autodidact poets discussed by Bridget Keegan – Ann Yearsley, Mary Robinson, Henry Headley and later John Clare – were all of one mind about this. Chatterton, they thought, had died by his own hand in poverty and despair, neglected by the metropolitan world ...

Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors

11 March 2010
Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978 0 571 23576 6
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... and John Payne Collier in the 1830s and 1840s (which showed Shakespeare to have been a well-connected member of metropolitan literary circles from an early stage). But for Shapiro the real villain is Edmond Malone. The usual story is that Malone, as he himself claimed, swept away the accretion of anecdote and folklore around Shakespeare, and founded modern empirical scholarship, according to which all ...
6 March 1986
Trial by Impotence: Virility and Marriage in Pre-Revolutionary France 
by Pierre Darmon, translated by Paul Keegan.
Chatto, 234 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 9780701129149
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The Boundaries of Eros: Sex, Crime and Sexuality in Renaissance Venice 
by Guido Ruggiero.
Oxford, 223 pp., £25, March 1985, 0 19 503465 1
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The Tuscans and their Families: A Study of the Florentine Catasto of 1427 
by David Herlihy and Christiane Klapisch-Zuber.
Yale, 404 pp., £32, March 1985, 0 300 03056 8
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Women, Family and Ritual in Renaissance Italy 
by Christiane Klapisch-Zuber, translated by Lydia Cochrane.
Chicago, 338 pp., £25.50, September 1985, 0 226 43925 9
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French Women in the Age of Enlightenment 
edited by Samia Spencer.
Indiana, 429 pp., $35, November 1984, 0 253 32481 5
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... with women’. Darmon deals well with the tragic fate of the individual, but he seems to lack any sense of the problem posed for contemporaries by this kind of challenge to cultural boundaries. As Mary Douglas has observed of a similar case (Corbett v. Corbett, 1971), it is an example of a much more general process by which ‘physical nature is masticated and driven through the cognitive meshes to ...

Bodily Waste

David Trotter

2 November 1995
The Spectacular Body: Science, Method and Meaning in the Work of Degas 
by Anthea Callen.
Yale, 244 pp., £35, February 1995, 0 300 05443 2
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... The titles used for the two pastels, both of which depicted members of a brutal teenage gang, invited a physiognomic reading. In his 1876 essay ‘Sur la physionomie’, Degas’s friend and critic Edmond Duranty had argued for the systematisation of traditional ideas about the relation between identity and appearance, then still associated primarily with the Swiss pastor Johann Caspar Lavater (1741 ...

Pinned Down by a Beagle

Colin Burrow: ‘The Tragedy of Arthur’

1 December 2011
The Tragedy of Arthur 
by Arthur Phillips.
Duckworth, 368 pp., £16.99, September 2011, 978 0 7156 4137 8
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... Olde Englishe Tea Shoppe variety. This, he hoped, meant his dad would benefit from the publication and performance of Vortigern. But once heavyweight Shakespearean scholars, including the pitiless Edmond Malone, began to cast doubt on the authenticity of the manuscripts, Samuel came under suspicion. He wrote reproachful letters to his son asking for an explanation. When William Henry confessed that ...

My Dagger into Yow

Ian Donaldson: Sidney’s Letters

25 April 2013
The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney 
edited by Roger Kuin.
Oxford, 1381 pp., £250, July 2012, 978 0 19 955822 3
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... as Katherine Duncan-Jones has convincingly argued, Sidney seems always to have been most happy, productive and at ease. There are no surviving exchanges with his wife, Frances, or with his sister, Mary, and no letters relating to his time at Wilton House in Wiltshire, where his most important writing was done. Apart from a single letter from Philip to his young brother, Robert, in Oxford, urging ...

Hoarder of Malt

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare

7 January 1999
Shakespeare: A Life 
by Park Honan.
Oxford, 479 pp., £25, October 1998, 0 19 811792 2
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £11.99, December 1998, 0 7190 5425 7
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... but inescapable by the name of Shakespeare’s mother, and even as sober an account of his life as Honan’s sounds at times like a Victorian carol: ‘In early life he must have been the focus of Mary’s very urgently watchful, intense love.’) If Shakespeare’s birthday belongs to a priesthood it isn’t Holy Trinity’s but the threefold local clerisy made up of the Shakespeare Institute, the ...

You Have A Mother Don’t You?

Andrew O’Hagan: Cowboy Simplicities

11 September 2003
Searching for John Ford: A Life 
by Joseph McBride.
Faber, 838 pp., £25, May 2003, 0 571 20075 3
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... class dwellings torn down by corporate bulldozers in The Grapes of Wrath; the departing son is like those who have to leave their homeland in How Green Was My Valley or wander stateless like Ford’s Mary of Scotland and like every cowboy he put on the screen. The Quiet Man, a sentimental favourite with the Irish, promotes a central myth among tribes of that sort: the myth of the man returning home to ...

My Heroin Christmas

Terry Castle: Art Pepper and Me

18 December 2003
... piled-up copies of the TLS and World of Interiors; the computer and its many accoutrements; a space cult’s worth of junk food (it’s a ten-hour drive); the Goncourt brothers. I was hoping that Edmond and Jules would help me get somewhere with the Pompadour and all those ghastly Bouchers. I also threw in an unopened copy of Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section, picked up on a whim a few evenings ...

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