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Forever Krystle

Nicholas Shakespeare, 20 February 1986

Watching ‘Dallas’: Soap Opera and the Melodramatic Imagination 
by Ien Ang, translated by Della Couling.
Methuen, 148 pp., £10.50, November 1985, 0 416 41630 6
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... Bobby J. Ewing, I don’t believe you.’ The first episode of Dallas began, in 1978, with Pamela’s stilted expression of incredulity. Within two years the city famous for hosting President Kennedy’s assassination was celebrated instead for the attempt on the life of Bobby’s brother, JR. A hundred and twenty million Americans tuned in to see who had shot him – more than had voted in the previous Presidential election ...

Shakespeare the Novelist

John Sutherland, 28 September 1989

The Vision of Elena Silves 
by Nicholas Shakespeare.
Collins, 263 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 00 271031 5
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Billy Bathgate 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Macmillan, £11.95, September 1989, 0 333 51376 2
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Buffalo Afternoon 
by Susan Fromberg Schaeffer.
Hamish Hamilton, 535 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12634 7
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The Message to the Planet 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 563 pp., £13.95, October 1989, 0 7011 3479 8
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... under Deng Xiaoping. The Senderistas own no allies, hold dialogue with no one. According to Nicholas Shakespeare, they accept no funds from abroad and their weapons of choice are stolen guns and hand-made beer-can bombs hurled from slings made of llama hair. Theirs will be one revolution without the AK-47. The elusive and wholly intransigent ...

Kindred Spirits

Chloe Hooper: To be Tasmanian, 18 August 2005

In Tasmania 
by Nicholas Shakespeare.
Harvill, 320 pp., £20, November 2004, 1 84343 157 2
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... gave one-fingered salutes, honking their horn until we were out of sight. One of the strengths of Nicholas Shakespeare’s In Tasmania is that he comes from an island far away. He can play the part of a baffled British visitor, asking awkward questions which land him right at the heart of the most sensitive issues. His outsider status ...

Elementary

John Sutherland, 8 July 1993

Air and Fire 
by Rupert Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £15.99, April 1993, 0 7475 1382 1
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Dreams of Leaving 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 435 pp., £6.99, April 1993, 0 14 017148 7
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The Five Gates of Hell 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 368 pp., £5.99, March 1992, 0 14 016537 1
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... enjoying a little golden age. Air and Fire, like recent novels by Louis de Bernières and Nicholas Shakespeare, conveys a powerful sense of faraway places. As with de Bernières and Shakespeare, Thomson’s traveller’s tale gravitates to the Hispanic New World and invokes the tricks of writers like Vargas ...

Father-Daughter Problems

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Bad Daughters, 8 May 2008

The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street 
by Charles Nicholl.
Allen Lane, 378 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 7139 9890 0
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... tragedies – Julius Caesar, Old Hamlet, Banquo – you never get very far from paternity in the Shakespeare canon. Nor is fatherhood presented solely as a matter between father and son, in the manner highlighted to the point of overdetermination in the battle scene near York in Act II of Henry VI Part 2, when the stage is simultaneously occupied by a ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... the Telegraph, where he was lead reviewer. Exactly how and why that paper’s literary editor, Nicholas Shakespeare, came to send Powell’s Miscellaneous Verdicts: Writings on Writers to Waugh remains obscure. As recently as January last year Shakespeare was still trying to explain the course of events in the ...

Mr Who He?

Stephen Orgel: Shakespeare’s Poems, 8 August 2002

The Complete Sonnets and Poems 
by William Shakespeare, edited by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 750 pp., £65, February 2002, 9780198184317
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... In his own time, Shakespeare was much better known to the reading public as a poet than as a playwright. Venus and Adonis went through ten editions before his death in 1616, and another six before 1640. His other long narrative poem, The Rape of Lucrece, was less popular, but it, too, circulated far more widely than any of the plays, appearing in six editions during his life, and in two more by 1640 ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting, 1 January 1998

Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... were – or became – mentally deranged. Most of the early fairy paintings are illustrations to Shakespeare (and it would have been desirable to have the relevant passages included in text panels), but what they bring to mind most often is Victorian poetry, and above all Tennyson with his predilection for close focus and precious metamorphosis (‘the ...

In Pursuit of an Heiress

Nicholas Penny: Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, 16 June 2016

Letters of a Dead Man 
by Hermann von Pückler-Muskau, edited and translated by Linda Parshall.
Dumbarton Oaks, 753 pp., £55.95, May 2016, 978 0 88402 411 8
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... may be most valuable to students of the theatre and of spectacle. They describe in detail how Shakespeare was performed by Kean and Kemble, the sweetness and the tragic power of Giuditta Pasta’s voice, the marvellous imitation of morning mist in a London pantomime, a performance by Billy the rat-killing dog. The high art is not always easy to ...

Ecolalia

Nicholas Penny, 4 September 1986

Faith in Fakes 
by Umberto Eco, translated by William Weaver.
Secker, 307 pp., £15, August 1986, 0 436 14088 8
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Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages 
by Umberto Eco, translated by Hugh Bredin.
Yale, 131 pp., £6.95, September 1986, 0 300 03676 0
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... the crusaders of Tasso, the irony of Cervantes, and, most remarkable of all, the fact that ‘Shakespeare borrowed and reshaped a lot from medieval narrative.’ We turn the page again and find that Eco is concerned to distinguish the different dreams of the Middle Ages entertained by modern man. No 7 reads as follows: ‘The Middle Ages of ...

Brave as hell

John Kerrigan, 21 June 1984

Enderby’s Dark Lady, or No End to Enderby 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 160 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 09 156050 0
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Shakespeare’s Sonnets: A Modern Edition 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Macmillan, 311 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 36386 8
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... In 1964, the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s birth, two very different books appeared. Anthony Burgess’s tribute to the poet, Nothing Like the Sun, was a boisterous biographical novel full of sugared sack and bawdry, with sombre undertones of decay. Taking literally the references in Shakespeare’s sonnets to a mistress ‘black as hell’, Burgess made the Dark Lady of his story a voluptuous East Indian who, after seducing the dramatist, inspired the tragic plays of his maturity by giving him a dose of syphilis ...

Who wouldn’t buy it?

Colin Burrow: Speculating about Shakespeare, 20 January 2005

Will in the World: How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare 
by Stephen Greenblatt.
Cape, 430 pp., £20, October 2004, 9780224062763
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... As I was reading Stephen Greenblatt’s biography of Shakespeare on the train there was a woman sitting near me doing a deal on the phone. She was getting agitated. ‘But I have to transfer the money to Mr Shakespeare himself,’ she said. ‘No … Listen, I really need to speak to Mr Shakespeare ...

The Old Corrector

Richard Altick, 4 November 1982

Fortune and Men’s Eyes: The Career of John Payne Collier 
by Dewey Ganzel.
Oxford, 454 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 19 212231 2
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... Bristol monk, and the equally immature William Henry Ireland, who forged manuscripts by Shakespeare before which Boswell knelt in adoration, apologists have found a degree of extenuation in claiming that theirs were the follies of ambitious but misguided youth. Still, their guilt remains unquestioned, as does that of the monarch of them all, the ...

A heart with testicles

D.J. Enright, 9 May 1991

Goethe: The Poet and the Age. Vol. I: The Poetry of Desire, 1749-1790 
by Nicholas Boyle.
Oxford, 827 pp., £25, May 1991, 0 19 815866 1
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... Not to know Goethe,’ A.W. Schlegel wrote poetically, ‘is to be a Goth.’ Nicholas Boyle begins the preface to Volume One of his biography of the great man by stating, altogether correctly alas, that more must be known, ‘or at any rate there must be more to know’, about him than about almost any other human being ...

Bonfire in Merrie England

Richard Wilson: Shakespeare’s Burning, 4 May 2017

... On Saturday​ , 6 March 1926, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre at Stratford-on-Avon was closed. But around 11 a.m. a girl called Eileen White noticed ‘an awful lot of smoke’ pouring from the back of the building. When she told her aunt she was reassured that it was only ‘Mr Gisbourne’s bonfire’. An hour later, the theatre manageress, Alice Rainbow, was finally warned that the building was on fire ...

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