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Danny Karlin, 11 January 1990

The Brownings’ Correspondence. Vol. VII: March-October 1843 
edited by Philip Kelley and Ronald Hudson.
Athlone, 429 pp., £60, December 1989, 0 485 30027 3
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... for example, Gertrude Reese Hudson’s exemplary Browning to His American Friends (1965) and Meredith Raymond and Mary Sullivan’s Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford (1983). It is this blurred, fragmented picture of the Brownings’ life-in-letters which Kelley and Hudson are slowly and methodically restoring. Browning ...

Bored Hero

Alan Bell, 22 January 1981

Raymond Asquith: Life and Letters 
by John Jolliffe.
Collins, 311 pp., £10.95, July 1980, 9780002167147
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... When Raymond Asquith died in the Battle of the Somme, Winston Churchill grieved for ‘the loss of my brilliant hero-friend’, and the Prime Minister’s son became a symbol of the talent of a whole generation. He is mentioned in countless memoirs, but until the publication of this volume Asquith has never possessed any definite literary personality to give documentary substance to the legend of tragically sacrificed brilliance ...

In a horizontal posture

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 5 July 1984

The Letters of Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Russell Mitford: 1836-1854 
edited by Meredith Raymond and Mary Rose Sullivan.
Baylor University, Browning Institute, Wedgestone Press and Wellesley College, 431 pp., March 1983, 0 911459 01 4
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Love and the Woman Question in Victorian Literature: The Art of Self-Postponement 
by Kathleen Blake.
Harvester, 254 pp., £25, November 1983, 0 7108 0560 8
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... Shut off from more immediate contact with others, the ailing Elizabeth Barrett Barrett was a prodigious correspondent – as these three heavy volumes amply testify. Like one of Richardson’s immured heroines, she boasts of her skill at writing ‘in a horizontal posture’. ‘I can write as well or as badly when I lie down, as at a desk,’ she announced soon after she began corresponding with Mary Russell Mitford, and more than once she urged the older writer to lessen the strain of fatigue or illness by adopting the practice ...

Sunday Mornings

Frank Kermode, 19 July 1984

Desmond MacCarthy: The Man and his Writings 
by David Cecil.
Constable, 313 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 9780094656109
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... editor of Life and Letters, and chief reviewer for the Sunday Times. Among his protégés were Raymond Mortimer and Cyril Connolly. Altogether he did as much as anybody to establish or maintain the tone, the interests and the values of weekly literary journalism in the first half of this century. As to whether we ought to be grateful, opinion is divided ...

Dangerous Girls

Dale Peck, 3 July 1997

American Pastoral 
by Philip Roth.
Cape, 423 pp., £15.99, June 1997, 0 224 05000 1
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... reader to bring his own version of the story to the events at hand; of the seemingly bland fare of Raymond Carver’s fiction, offered in full awareness that the reader will sit down at table with his own salt and pepper. It is not, however, a technique I associate with Philip Roth. Roth’s preferred method has been to bombard the reader with sensory and ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... excusing and exploiting well-worn anecdotes. Moorcock sketches his version of the late Derek Raymond (a.k.a. Robin Cook) as a Soho revenant: ‘Cookie was still alive in those days . . . and telling your stories back to you faster than you could recount them.’ Much of King of the City is like that, using the ‘twist’ to reconstitute chat ...

When the beam of light has gone

Peter Wollen: Godard Turns Over, 17 September 1998

The Films of Jean-Luc Godard 
by Wheeler Winston Dixon.
SUNY, 290 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 7914 3285 8
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Speaking about Godard 
by Kaja Silverman and Harun Farocki.
New York, 256 pp., $55, July 1998, 0 8147 8066 0
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... and his daughter walked off the set and Godard tore up the script, beginning again with Burgess Meredith and Molly Ringwald. Woody Allen did a walk-on as Mr Alien and Godard himself appeared as Professor Pluggy. Mailer’s vision of the film as a gangster movie in the tradition of The Godfather was systematically thrown to the winds. 7. Stabilisation. In ...

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