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Under the Soles of His Feet

Stephen Alford: Henry’s Wars, 4 April 2019

The English People at War in the Age of Henry VIII 
by Steven Gunn.
Oxford, 297 pp., £35, January 2018, 978 0 19 880286 0
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... as the Lord spake unto David my father.This passage is very close indeed to the translation in the Matthew Bible of 1537 (by William Tyndale) and there are just two differences from the King James Bible of 1611 (‘evil occurrent’ in place of ‘any evil plague’; ‘purpose’ for ‘am determined’). But this version is from the Great Bible of ...

Saint John Henry

Richard Altick, 5 August 1982

John Henry Newman: His Life and Work 
by Brian Martin.
Chatto, 160 pp., £8.95, May 1982, 0 7011 2588 8
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Protestant versus Catholic in Mid-Victorian England 
by Walter Arnstein.
Missouri, 271 pp., £14, June 1982, 9780826203540
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... an Irishman bearing the exquisitely un-Protestant name of Murphy, which enliven the pages of Matthew Arnold’s Culture and Anarchy: but both belong to the same record of continual religious controversy in 19th-century England. (It was intramural contention, however, not the larger one between Protestant and Catholic, which ignited one of the most ...

Fairyland

Bruce Bawer, 2 May 1985

Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... St Paul as the humiliated son of a failed businessman (and as the inordinately proud descendant of Francis Scott Key, author of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’); the glorious salad days at Princeton University, which he left without a degree; the wartime courtship of Zelda Sayre, the belle of Montgomery, Alabama; the sudden fame – and the marriage to Zelda ...

Deleecious

Matthew Bevis: William Hazlitt, 6 November 2008

New Writings of William Hazlitt: Volume I 
edited by Duncan Wu.
Oxford, 507 pp., £120, September 2007, 978 0 19 923573 5
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New Writings of William Hazlitt: Volume II 
edited by Duncan Wu.
Oxford, 553 pp., £120, September 2007, 978 0 19 923574 2
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William Hazlitt: The First Modern Man 
by Duncan Wu.
Oxford, 557 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 19 954958 0
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... his style unannounced. Hazlitt himself was not above such things – Wu shows him recycling from Francis Jeffrey’s prose, for example – and sometimes the verbal evidence strains under the weight that Wu places on it. There is also a pick-and-mix approach to the value of biographical clues in the articles themselves. When attributing a piece on ‘The ...

Into Your Enemy’s Stomach

Alexander Murray: Louis IX, 8 April 2010

Saint Louis 
by Jacques Le Goff, translated by Gareth Evan Gollrad.
Notre Dame, 947 pp., £61.95, February 2009, 978 0 268 03381 1
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... jurisdiction. The reign’s biggest disaster – one which, according to the St Albans chronicler Matthew Paris, caused a crisis in belief throughout Christendom – was Louis’s capture by the Egyptian sultan in 1250; and there may have been a Spanish element to that too, since Louis’s underestimation of Muslim power may have been encouraged by the recent ...

Rabelais’s Box

Peter Burke, 3 April 1980

Rabelais 
by M.A. Screech.
Duckworth, 494 pp., £35, November 1979, 9780715609705
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... are the precise references to the text of the New Testament. Screech discusses 16 passages from Matthew and 34 from Paul, noting the allusions to contemporary disputes over the interpretation of Hebrews xi, 1 on the nature of faith, and Romans xiv, 5 on the nature of Christian freedom. Less obvious still are the references to Hebrew legend and to what ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... of society’. Reviewing Southey’s oriental romance, Thalaba the Destroyer, late in 1802, Francis Jeffrey in the first number of the Edinburgh Review brings up the Cottle connection for the first time. Recalling Southey’s earlier political notoriety and Wordsworth’s Preface, he turns the latter by selective quotation into the democratic manifesto ...

Teeth of Mouldy Blue

Laura Quinney: Percy Bysshe Shelley, 21 September 2000

The Complete Poetry of Percy Bysshe Shelley: Volume I 
edited by Donald Reiman and Neil Fraisat.
Johns Hopkins, 494 pp., £58, March 2000, 0 8018 6119 5
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... amateurish lyrics, or ‘songs’, and Gothic fragments, as well as one wholesale plagiarism from Matthew ‘Monk’ Lewis. The presence of the plagiarised poem, probably added to fill out the volume, makes Shelley’s yearning to establish himself as an author clear. A similar desperation is evident in the various adolescent displays of ‘genius’ that he ...

A Joke Too Far

Colin Burrow: My Favourite Elizabethan, 22 August 2002

Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift 
by Jason Scott-Warren.
Oxford, 273 pp., £45, August 2001, 0 19 924445 6
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... from the period. When Harington’s lesser efforts are also taken into account – a supplement to Francis Godwin’s Catalogue of Bishops, the short relation of his time in Ireland (which he wrote as part of an audacious but failed attempt to be made Chancellor of Ireland and Archbishop of Dublin in 1605), his translation of the School of Salerne (a popular ...

Look me in the eye

James Hall: Self-portraiture, 25 January 2001

The Artist's Body 
edited by Tracey Warr and Amelia Jones.
Phaidon, 304 pp., £39.95, July 2000, 0 7148 3502 1
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Five Hundred Self-Portraits 
edited by Julian Bell.
Phaidon, 528 pp., £19.95, November 2000, 0 7148 3959 0
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Renaissance Self-Portraiture 
by Joanna Woods-Marsden.
Yale, 285 pp., £45, October 1998, 0 300 07596 0
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... John Coplans; the sculptors Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn; the painters Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville; the performance and video artists Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Bruce Nauman, Arnulf Rainer and Matthew Barney. Their work commonly involves the display of the artists themselves in ...

Lachrymatics

Ferdinand Mount: British Weeping, 17 December 2015

Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears 
by Thomas Dixon.
Oxford, 438 pp., £25, September 2015, 978 0 19 967605 7
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... for the souls of the penitent on earth as well as for the wept-for departed.’ Thomas Becket and Francis of Assisi were both noted for their tears. St Francis was reputed to have gone blind with his weeping for the sufferings of Christ. On his deathbed, he remembered to thank his donkey for carrying him through his arduous ...

One Enormous Room

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Council of Trent, 9 May 2013

Trent: What Happened at the Council 
by John O’Malley.
Harvard, 335 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 674 06697 7
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... from the pope, successor of Peter, chosen by Christ to be the rock on which he built his church (Matthew 16.18), rather than that every bishop directly represented Christ’s authority. Prince-bishops in the Holy Roman Empire were not the only prominent members of the episcopate to feel unenthusiastic about an affirmation of the pope’s exclusive ...

Learned Insane

Simon Schaffer: The Lunar Men, 17 April 2003

The Lunar Men: The Friends who Made the Future 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 588 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 571 19647 0
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... descendants of old Josiah’. The sinister Victorian expert on intellectual and racial heredity Francis Galton made serious work of theories of descent: both of his grandfathers were also Lunar men. Despite impoverished beginnings, the prestige and capital of the leading clans of the Victorian intellectual aristocracy evolved from the startling achievements ...

Land of Pure Delight

Dinah Birch: Anglicising the Holy Land, 20 April 2006

The Holy Land in English Culture 1799-1917: Palestine and the Question of Orientalism 
by Eitan Bar-Yosef.
Oxford, 319 pp., £50, October 2005, 0 19 926116 4
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... invested biblical landscapes with the elegiac force of childhood experience. The Hellenist Matthew Arnold pointed out in his contemptuous analysis of Nonconformist Hebraism that the fervours of chapel-goers were often rooted in provincial experience. He was not wrong, though he failed to see that this might be part of the point. Despite the ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens, 7 February 2013

Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... design. Exhibiting modern art was another way to increase cultural cachet. Tyers commissioned Francis Hayman and Hubert-François Gravelot, who illustrated Richardson’s Pamela, to create fifty large genre paintings to be hung in the supper boxes that surrounded the grove (the punishment the pictures took from weather and food was severe). Vauxhall’s ...

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