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A Dangerously Liquid World

John Sutherland: Alcoholics Anonymous, 30 November 2000

Bill W. and Mr Wilson: The Legend and Life of AA’s Co-Founder 
by Matthew Raphael.
Massachusetts, 206 pp., £18.50, June 2000, 1 55849 245 3
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... As much fun as drinking, as they like to say, but without the hangover and all for a dollar. Matthew J. Raphael (a coy pseudonym used to protect his alcoholic’s anonymity) investigates the life and personality of the flakier of the two men who created AA in 1935. Robert Smith (‘Dr Bob’) was a proctologist, stolid ...

Boys wearing wings

Nicholas Penny, 15 March 1984

Caravaggio 
by Howard Hibbard.
Thames and Hudson, 404 pp., £22.50, May 1983, 0 500 09161 7
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Circa 1600: A Revolution of Style in Italian Painting 
by S.J. Freedberg.
Harvard, 125 pp., £21.25, January 1983, 0 674 13156 8
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Domenichino 
by Richard Spear.
Yale, 382 pp., £75, November 1982, 0 300 02359 6
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... elevated level than was expected of high art. He avoided ideal beauty. Commissioned to paint St Matthew composing his Gospel, Caravaggio depicted him as an illiterate, stupefied by the Hebrew letters which his clumsy hand, held by the angel, traces. For another altarpiece he painted a handsome but not a divinely beautiful young woman standing in a ...

Enisled

John Sutherland: Matthew Arnold, 19 March 1998

A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matthew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... The last few decades have been good for Matthew Arnold. In 1977, R.H. Super completed the 11-volume Complete Prose Works, a venture that seemed quixotic (‘all those school reports!’) when he began it in 1960. The complete Poems, edited, tidied up and annotated by Kenneth and Miriam Allott, were revised and reissued in 1979 ...

Success

Marilyn Butler, 18 November 1982

The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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Byron 
by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... was what the vulgar nine-tenths of the population got up to, that silent majority which Matthew Arnold dubbed the philistines; Arnold’s articulate minority, the intellectuals, were supposed to live for culture and high seriousness. Byron’s approach to literature is as embarrassing in the 20th century as it was in the 19th because ...

Making it

Nicholas Penny, 5 November 1992

The Sculpture of Jacopo Sansovino 
by Bruce Boucher.
Yale, 304 pp., £95, November 1991, 0 300 04759 2
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Giambattista and Lorenzo Bregno: Venetian Sculpture in the High Renaissance 
by Anne Markham Schulz.
Cambridge, 564 pp., £85, November 1991, 0 521 38406 0
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... study sculpture, and the short step from drawing it to making it was irresistible. When the young Raphael arrived in Florence in 1504 – and he went there ‘to study’ – he paid as much attention to the sculpture of Donatello and Michelangelo as to the paintings by Leonardo and Fra Bartolommeo. By the time Raphael had ...

Cultivating Cultivation

John Mullan: English culture, 18 June 1998

The Pleasures of the Imagination: English Culture in the 18th Century 
by John Brewer.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £19.99, January 1997, 0 00 255537 9
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... in letters, puts alongside one another the reports of the splenetic but good-hearted hypochondriac Matthew Bramble, seeing wherever he looks in Georgian London the flotsam of ‘a tide of luxury’, and of his niece Lydia Melford, a frothy but virtuous ingénue who discovers, instead, ‘wealth and grandeur’ comparable only to ‘the Arabian Night’s ...

Lever-Arch Inquisitor

John Barrell, 29 October 1998

Theatres of Memory. Vol. II. Island Stories: Unravelling Britain 
by Raphael Samuel, edited by Alison Light.
Verso, 391 pp., £20, June 1998, 1 85984 965 2
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... When Raphael Samuel died, the second volume of his projected trilogy Theatres of Memory was left unfinished. Some of the longer essays it was intended to contain were unwritten or unannotated or barely begun. The list of contents was still provisional, and the editors have assembled this book mainly by reconstructing Samuel’s shifting intentions, partly by guessing at them ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Caravaggio’s final years, 31 March 2005

... faces and bodies selectively. His most powerful and coherent compositions – the Calling of St Matthew in the Contarelli Chapel in S. Luigi dei Francesi in Rome, for example – use light to dramatise essentials. In that picture it streams past Christ to highlight the faces of the saint and his companions who are gathered round a table. Bodies overlap. The ...

Making It Up

Raphael Samuel, 4 July 1996

Raymond Williams 
by Fred Inglis.
Routledge, 333 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 415 08960 3
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... his intelligence was preeminently a historicising one, and it is perhaps symptomatic of this that Matthew, the fictional self he created in his trilogy, is a university lecturer ‘working on population movements into the Welsh mining valleys in the middle decades of the 19th century’. Whereas the ‘close reading’ of a limited number of texts was the ...

Human Stuff

Lawrence Gowing, 2 February 1984

... the evening sky. A dream was the natural medium of Venetian imagining. A print entitled A Dream of Raphael (apparently because the engraver later worked for him) is the opposite of rational Classicism. Baby monsters out of Bosch, just such monsters as infest Giorgione’s Sunset Landscape in the National Gallery, crawl from a canal into a catastrophic ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... progressed, followed similar lines, with a newly-militant Nonconformity rampant in the North (Matthew Arnold takes up arms against it in Culture and Anarchy), while Anglicanism cultivated the Barsetshire parishes. Politically, as students of electoral geography have shown, the North-South divide was almost as apparent in Mid-Victorian times as it was to ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Grief and the Cameras, 3 December 2009

... writing this diary, the channel is showing an episode of the American problems-show Sally Jessy Raphael about reckless teenagers. Jenny is 14 and is telling the audience to shut the fuck up. ‘Do you think you are someone who does the right thing in this world?’ asks Sally Jessy, the flame-haired talk-show host who spent her teenage years in ...

Daisy packs her bags

Zachary Leader: The Road to West Egg, 21 September 2000

Trimalchio: An Early Version of ‘The Great Gatsby’ 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald, edited by James L.W. West III.
Cambridge, 192 pp., £30, April 2000, 0 521 40237 9
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... not a fair copy, survives in the Princeton University Library (and in a 1973 facsimile, edited by Matthew J. Bruccoli). According to James West, editor of Trimalchio, the typescript of 27 October constitutes a completed version: ‘Naturally he expected to see proofs, and surely he planned to do some revising on them, but there is no evidence that, on ...

Models and Props

Nicholas Penny: Caravaggio in the Studio, 10 August 2000

Caravaggio 
by Catherine Puglisi.
Phaidon, 448 pp., £24.95, May 2000, 0 7148 3966 3
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Caravaggio’s Secrets 
by Leo Bersani and Ulysse Dutoit.
MIT, 118 pp., £18.50, September 1998, 0 262 02449 7
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by Peter Robb.
Bloomsbury, 567 pp., £25, January 2000, 0 7475 4599 5
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Quoting Caravaggio: Contemporary Art, Preposterous History 
by Mieke Bal.
Chicago, 305 pp., £28.50, October 1999, 0 226 03556 5
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Doubting Thomas: A Novel About Caravaggio 
by Atle Naess, translated by Anne Born.
Owen, 159 pp., £14.95, June 2000, 0 7206 1082 6
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Caravaggio: A Life 
by Helen Langdon.
Pimlico, 447 pp., £15, November 1999, 9780712665827
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... or patches, and the heavy cloak worn by the most prominent man has the broad folds favoured by Raphael for the dress of the Apostles. These people are fervently devout but conduct themselves in conventional attitudes and with perfect decorum, not touching Saint Dominic (although the gentleman beside them clutches his habit) and not presuming to address the ...

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