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Neurotic Health

Michael Shepherd, 17 December 1981

Becoming Psychiatrists 
by Donald Light.
Norton, 429 pp., £10.95, June 1981, 0 393 01168 2
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... In April 1979 a cover-story in Time Magazine, always a sensitive indicator of American public opinion, was entitled ‘Psychiatry on the Couch’. The verdict was unequivocal, even though expressed in the form of a mock-clinical formulation:   History: European-born. After sickly youth in the US, travelled to Vienna and returned as Dr Freud’s Wunderkind ...

Madness and Method

Mark Philp, 3 April 1986

The Anatomy of Madness: Essays in the History of Psychiatry Vol. I: People and Ideas, Vol. II: Institutions and Society 
edited by W.F. Bynum, Roy Porter and Michael Shepherd.
Tavistock, 316 pp., £19.95, November 1985, 0 422 79430 9
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Madness, Morality and Medicine: A Study of the York Retreat 1796-1914 
by Anne Digby.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £27.50, October 1985, 0 521 26067 1
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... on the history of the York Retreat, and the two volumes of essays edited by Bynum, Porter and Shepherd, pay eloquent testimony to the transformation effected in the history of psychiatry over the last twenty or thirty years. The works of Foucault, Erving Goffman, Thomas Szasz and R.D. Laing, and more recently the contributions of Andrew Scull and a new ...

Jewish Blood

Michael Church, 7 February 1985

Moving Pictures: Memories of a Hollywood Prince 
by Budd Schulberg.
Penguin, 500 pp., £4.95, September 1984, 0 14 006769 8
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Baku to Baker Street: The Memoirs of Flora Solomon 
by Barnet Litvinoff.
Collins, 230 pp., £11.95, June 1984, 0 00 217094 9
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Wilfrid Israel: German Jewry’s Secret Ambassador 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Weidenfeld, 286 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 297 78308 4
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The Smiths of Moscow: A Story of Britons Abroad 
by Harvey Pitcher.
Swallow House Books, 176 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 905265 01 7
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Family Secrets 
by David Leitch.
Heinemann, 242 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 434 41345 3
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... swells to majestic grandeur in Wilfrid Israel: German Jewry’s Secret Ambassador. Naomi Shepherd’s biography labours under a severe handicap: while her subject is remembered by many with awe and gratitude, very little documentary evidence of his work remains. Einstein described him as ‘one of the finest and most noble individuals I have ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... likely that this autumn we will be shooting The Lady in the Van. This is the story of Miss Mary Shepherd, the elderly eccentric who took up residence in my garden in 1974, living there in a van until her death 15 years later. Maggie Smith played Miss Shepherd on the stage in 1999 and all being well will star in the film ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... is too easy. 24 October. In an interview for the Observer this morning Robert McCrum congratulates Michael Frayn on being more of a free spirit than others of his generation, ‘Michael Winner and Alan Bennett being prisoners of their own celebrity’. Prisoners possibly but I hope we’re not in the same cell. 14 ...

Muck

Nicholas Penny, 3 November 1983

Constable: The Painter and his Landscape 
by Michael Rosenthal.
Yale, 255 pp., £15.95, April 1983, 0 300 03014 2
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Constable’s England 
by Graham Reynolds.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £12.95, September 1983, 0 297 78359 9
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... A good pile of muck was a glad sight to the farmer. And Constable was careful to paint, as Michael Rosenthal points out, not only the way it is shovelled and carried off, but, in a delightful miniature scene in the middle distance, the way it is ploughed in. This was a surprising wedding present, we may suppose, to paint for the daughter of a local ...

Laertes has a daughter

Bee Wilson: The Redgraves, 6 June 2013

The Redgraves: A Family Epic 
by Donald Spoto.
Robson, 361 pp., £25, November 2012, 978 1 84954 394 1
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The House of Redgrave: The Lives of a Theatrical Dynasty 
by Tim Adler.
Aurum, 336 pp., £20, July 2012, 978 1 84513 623 9
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... In the National Theatre’s inaugural season in 1963 Michael Redgrave played Claudius to Peter O’Toole’s Hamlet. Apart from Olivier, the theatre’s first director, Redgrave, then aged 55, was its greatest star. Known to the public from his many film roles, and having just been named actor of the year by the Evening Standard for his Uncle Vanya at Chichester, which one critic called ‘the highest level of acting the contemporary theatre has to offer’, he was good box-office ...

More like a Cemetery

Michael Wood: The Part about Bolaño, 26 February 2009

Nazi Literature in the Americas 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Chris Andrews.
New Directions, 227 pp., £17.95, May 2008, 978 0 8112 1705 7
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2666 
by Roberto Bolaño, translated by Natasha Wimmer.
Picador, 898 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 330 44742 3
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... drawn to one figure in Zach Sodenstern’s Gunther O’Connell saga, ‘a mutant, stray German Shepherd with telepathic powers and Nazi tendencies’. ‘He tried desperately to make friends,’ we hear of a literary editor, ‘but enemies were all he ever had.’ The Duchess of Bahamontes was ‘a fine gardener in her old age’. The last work of an ...

The Shoreham Gang

Seamus Perry: Samuel Palmer, 5 April 2012

Mysterious Wisdom: The Life and Work of Samuel Palmer 
by Rachel Campbell-Johnston.
Bloomsbury, 382 pp., £25, June 2011, 978 0 7475 9587 8
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... their way through the corn just over his left shoulder – and undisturbed, too, by an insomniac shepherd who pipes to his sheep in a nearby field of standing sheaves, sitting beneath a tree shaped like a lollipop. ‘The Valley Thick with Corn’ (1825). Altogether these might not sound like the ingredients of a very satisfactory work of art; but the ...

At Dulwich

T.J. Clark: Poussin and Twombly, 25 August 2011

... It sulks under discoloured varnish, but its theatrics – the naive scholarliness of the shepherd tracing the inscription – are irresistible. Death is displaced in the painting to a figure in the foreground whom at first we barely notice: a typical Poussin figure, half-asleep on the ground, white-haired and a little overweight: as if death, if ...

On Fanny Howe

Ange Mlinko: Fanny Howe, 5 October 2017

... taught at UC San Diego alongside Rae Armantrout) or others in her generational cohort, like Michael Palmer or her sister Susan Howe. But one senses that the intention is different. She never rejected first-person experience as a basis of her lyrics; Robert Lowell’s Notebook poems were an early influence (‘When Lowell relaxed into the sonnet form, he ...

Biographical Materials

Alan Hollinghurst, 15 October 1981

Remembering Britten 
edited by Alan Blyth.
Hutchinson, 181 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 09 144950 2
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Britten and Auden in the Thirties: The Year 1936 
by Donald Mitchell.
Faber, 176 pp., £7.50, February 1981, 0 571 11715 5
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... of personality by paraphrasing the recollections in his own words. Only Imogen Holst and Sir Michael Tippett have escaped this platitudinous reworking since their contributions had appeared previously elsewhere, and the effect of their words is of a far higher intensity than that of the others’. The absurd though sympathetic grandeur of Tippett’s ...

Earls’ Sons

E.S. Turner, 20 October 1983

The Man who was Greenmantle: A Biography of Aubrey Herbert 
by Margaret FitzHerbert.
Murray, 250 pp., £15, September 1983, 0 7195 4067 4
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A Classic Connection 
by Michael Seth-Smith.
Secker, 184 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 436 44705 3
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... machine, working independently of electricity, oil, water or coal, made of wood by an Albanian shepherd. Describing Herbert’s marriage to Mary Vesey, at which the bride had the support of 14 adult bridesmaids, all daughters of peers, she resists any temptation to say that it must have been funny as well as vulgar. It seems we could have had a life of ...

Posthumous Gentleman

Michael Dobson: Kit Marlowe’s Schooldays, 19 August 2004

The World of Christopher Marlowe 
by David Riggs.
Faber, 411 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 571 22159 9
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Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground 
by Roy Kendall.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 453 pp., $75, January 2004, 0 8386 3974 7
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Tamburlaine Must Die 
by Louise Welsh.
Canongate, 149 pp., £9.99, July 2004, 1 84195 532 9
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History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe 
by Rodney Bolt.
HarperCollins, 388 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 00 712123 7
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... was believed to be a descendant of Genghis Khan, but Tamburlaine makes him into a ‘Scythian shepherd’: as remote from ruling elites as a Canterbury shoemaker, but capable of defeating all the feudal despots who attempt to destroy him by virtù alone. Marlowe’s blank-verse Conan the Barbarian remakes himself into a conqueror of the world in the image ...

In the Shady Wood

Michael Neill: Staging the Forest, 22 March 2018

TheShakespearean Forest 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 185 pp., £75, August 2017, 978 0 521 57344 3
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... in the topic had first been excited by her reading of Ben Jonson’s Robin Hood play, The Sad Shepherd, for her monograph on Shakespeare’s great rival. Given this history, it may seem surprising that The Shakespearean Forest is not a longer book, but Barton became almost blind as a result of macular degeneration and was forced to abandon her work. When ...

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