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Poetry is a horrible waste of time

Frances Wilson: Thomas Lovell Beddoes

28 October 1999
Thomas Lovell Beddoes: Selected Poetry 
edited by Judith Higgens and Michael Bradshaw.
Carcanet, 116 pp., £8.95, June 1999, 1 85754 408 0
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... he could find (friends discovered that the pages of their editions had been cut out and the hollowed books returned to the shelves). Beddoes would have been relieved to know that Judith Higgens and MichaelBradshaw have included none of The Improvisatore in their new and revised selection of his poetry. From The Brides’ Tragedy we get only highlights, but enough to see Beddoes’s developing skill as ...
3 March 1983
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
Parsifal 
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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Parsifal 
by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael​ Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... Parsifal and Lucy Beckett’s, are most illuminating. Beckett’s detailed, searching and provocative study can stand by Deryck Cooke’s magisterial I saw the world end (1979) and the long essay by Michael Tanner in the Faber Wagner Companion (1979). The other three recent books are built on shakier foundations. Ewans, the author of a fine study of Janáček’s operas, here traces the allegedly strong ...

Protestant Country

George Bernard

14 June 1990
Humanism, Reform and the Reformation: The Career of Bishop John Fisher 
edited by Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £27.50, January 1989, 0 521 34034 9
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The Blind Devotion of the People: Popular Religion and the English Reformation 
by Robert Whiting.
Cambridge, 302 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 521 35606 7
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The Reformation of Cathedrals: Cathedrals in English Society, 1485-1603 
by Stanford Lehmberg.
Princeton, 319 pp., £37.30, March 1989, 0 691 05539 4
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Bonfires and Bells: National Memory and the Protestant Calendar in Elizabethan and Stuart England 
by David Cressy.
Weidenfeld, 271 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 297 79343 8
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The Birthpangs of Protestant England: Religious and Cultural Change in the 16th and 17th Centuries 
by Patrick Collinson.
Macmillan, 188 pp., £29.50, February 1989, 0 333 43971 6
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Life’s Preservative against Self-Killing 
by John Sym, edited by Michael​ MacDonald.
Routledge, 342 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 415 00639 2
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Perfection Proclaimed: Language and Literature in English Radical Religion 1640-1660 
by Nigel Smith.
Oxford, 396 pp., £40, February 1989, 0 19 812879 7
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... swear against their conscience or to accept death. Such a man deserves to be studied in a broader context than is offered by the many biographies that approach Catholic hagiography. This was Brendan Bradshaw and Eamon Duffy’s purpose in organising a conference in 1985 to mark the 450th anniversary of Fisher’s execution. The proceedings of this are now published as Humanism, Reform and the Reformation ...

Show us the night

Michael​ Gorra: Michael Dibdin

26 November 1998
A Long Finish 
by Michael​ Dibdin.
Faber, 249 pp., £16.99, September 1998, 0 571 19341 2
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... feelings about detective fiction. With settings that have ranged from Perugia to Naples and now, in A Long Finish, to the wine and truffle country of the Piemonte, the sue tragicomic adventures of Michael Dibdin’s Venetian-born ‘supercop’ Aurelio Zen have offered many of the pleasures of tourism. Dibdin, however, skips over Italy’s ancient monuments to concentrate on its kidnappings and ...

More about Marilyn

Michael​ Church

20 February 1986
Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03641 9
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Norma Jeane: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe 
by Fred Lawrence Guiles.
Granada, 377 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 246 12307 9
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Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton 
by C. David Heymann.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 09 146010 7
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Deams that money can buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman 
by Jon Bradshaw.
Cape, 431 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 224 02846 4
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All Those Tomorrows 
by Mai Zetterling.
Cape, 230 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 01841 8
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King.
Joseph, 278 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7181 2611 4
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... still cold.’) As one might expect, the Hutton and Holman stories echo each other at many points. As one might fear, their authors’ weaknesses do so too. ‘She felt beautiful that night,’ says Bradshaw. How do these people know? Dreams that money can buy reads like a carefully researched gossip column, with mysterious chasms opening up whenever the records are sparse. No male narrator comes between ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw

21 April 1983
The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... be compositorial or scribal (although it would still be of its period). Thoroughgoing modernisation is one response to this dilemma, and is the response which the Oxford edition favours. But then, as Michael Warren argued in a 1977 article on ‘Repunctuation as Interpretation’, modern punctuation ‘has rhetorical implications, and its intrusion inevitably affects the phrasing and, especially for the ...

Call it magnificence

Michael​ Hofmann: Antonio Muñoz Molina

20 December 2018
Like a Fading Shadow 
by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Camilo A. Ramirez.
Serpent’s Tail, 310 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78125 894 1
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... feelings, without what they nowadays call ‘virtue signalling’; if the man can write it (he says ‘man’, he doesn’t mean it that way), can endow it with fascination, it might be one verse of Bradshaw, one verse of hymn book, one verse of music hall joke. Whereas the other thing – ‘polystrophic rhymed gush to loved ones’ is Benn’s description – not even the layman thinks that’s poetry ...
19 November 1981
... over. It seemed for a time at Llandudno as if the whole debate on the Alliance, given the realisation that the outcome was a foregone conclusion, was being taken over by competitive repudiations of Michael O’Halloran, the much put-down Member for North Islington who had come over to the Social Democrats in the company of a considerable contingent of councillors. The timing of the Islington cross-over ...

Masses and Classes

Ferdinand Mount: Gladstone

17 February 2005
The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics 
by David Bebbington.
Oxford, 331 pp., £55, March 2004, 0 19 926765 0
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... political struggle. Roy Jenkins’s life gives us an entrancing account of the life of Victorian politicians: when they went to bed and got up, what they drank, what trains they took (Jenkins was a Bradshaw buff). But about what went on in Gladstone’s head Jenkins leaves us not much the wiser. Here was a marvellous character, a great man, no doubt of that. But what precisely was he on about? Gladstone ...

I am a cactus

John Sutherland: Christopher Isherwood and his boys

3 June 2004
Isherwood 
by Peter Parker.
Picador, 914 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 330 48699 3
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... to assert, thinking, in a comradely way, of himself, Wystan and Christopher – ‘Us Three’. But, as Parker insists, ‘of the writers who came to be associated with the 1930s, Christopher William Bradshaw-Isherwood was by far the grandest.’ His life-work would be a serial severance of everything that connected him to Marple Hall, his family and his country. When in the 1940s he took out American ...

Diary

Patrick McGuinness: Railway Poetry

2 November 2017
... Honecker’s East Germany, Kádár’s Hungary. In Britain we have made our own disappointment, and the fear Apollinaire warned us of feels both distant and European. It’s a tidy irony that Michael Portillo, a former privatisation-randy Tory ideologue, is now making a living from nostalgic TV shows about the days when British trains weren’t crap, crowded, costly and late. If there isn’t a ...

Liberation Music

Richard Gott: In Memory of Cornelius Cardew

12 March 2009
Cornelius Cardew: A Life Unfinished 
by John Tilbury.
Copula, 1069 pp., £45, October 2008, 978 0 9525492 3 9
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... What do we remember about Cornelius Cardew? That he was a brilliant avant-garde composer who pioneered free improvisation and led a Scratch Orchestra of musicians and artists; that his father was Michael Cardew, the potter; that he wrote a polemical tract alleging that Stockhausen ‘serves imperialism’; and that, after spending a decade as a prominent Maoist, he was killed by a hit-and-run driver ...

Museums of Melancholy

Iain Sinclair: Silence on the Euston Road

18 August 2005
... to wander, free to examine whatever takes our fancy among the shrouded and unwitnessed exhibits, the preserved fragments of an earlier London. There are bucolic, Metroland lithographs by Lawrence Bradshaw and John Mansbridge. A black and white photograph of passengers on the upper deck of a bus: all white, women with tightly permed hair, men with white shirts and ties, no luggage, no burdens. Another ...

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