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Maybe he made it up

Terry Eagleton: Faking It

6 June 2002
The Forger’s Shadow: How Forgery Changed the Course of Literature 
by Nick Groom.
Picador, 351 pp., £20, April 2002, 9780330374323
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... Or is to raise such a question merely to confuse different language games, modelling a quantum field on a material entity? Plagiarism of a sort, then, is our normative condition, and self-parody, as NickGroom recognises in The Forger’s Shadow, is the closest we can come to authenticity. (When the dust jacket informs us that the author is a former rock musician and contributor to the Erotic Review ...

Two Sharp Teeth

Philip Ball: Dracula Studies

25 October 2018
Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote ‘Dracula’ 
by David J. Skal.
Norton, 672 pp., £15.99, October 2017, 978 1 63149 386 7
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The Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ 
edited by Roger Luckhurst.
Cambridge, 219 pp., £17.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 60708 4
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The Vampire: A New History 
by Nick Groom.
Yale, 287 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 0 300 23223 3
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... and screen seriously, but not too seriously. It becomes clear reading the Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ how difficult it is to find that balance. As the ‘new history’ of vampirology by NickGroom, ‘prof of goth’ at Exeter University, reveals, European folklore has always been full of the undead, although it’s not until the 18th century that tales of ghouls preying on the living ...

Proper Ghosts

Dinah Birch: ‘The Monk’

15 June 2016
The Monk 
by Matthew Lewis.
Oxford, 357 pp., £8.99, January 2016, 978 0 19 870445 4
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... relationships to which we look for support’. Critics are now less interested in reading fiction as explorations of ‘regions within ourselves’. In this excellent World’s Classics edition, NickGroom analyses the novel in much broader political and historical terms, seeing the book’s ‘extreme writing’ as a response to the shockwaves caused by the violence of the French Revolution. He ...

Bard of Tropes

Jonathan Lamb: Thomas Chatterton

20 September 2001
Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture 
by Nick Groom.
Palgrave, 300 pp., £55, September 1999, 0 333 72586 7
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... thing.’ Only when ‘steyned with Goere, the Harte of Warre is seen’. Learning and nature, forgery and originality, stand in paradoxical relation in Chatterton’s poems. This is the drift of NickGroom’s distinction between the philologist and the mock-learned poet: ‘For Percy, manuscripts were merely traces of minstrelsy . . . for Chatterton, however, manuscripts were the very matter of ...

The Stamp of One Defect

David Edgar: Jeremy Thorpe

29 July 2015
Jeremy Thorpe 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 606 pp., £25, December 2014, 978 0 316 85685 0
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Closet Queens: Some 20th-Century British Politicians 
by Michael Bloch.
Little, Brown, 320 pp., £25, May 2015, 978 1 4087 0412 7
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... that. On the day after Thorpe’s death on 4 December 2014, the BBC journalist Tom Mangold presented a half-hour radio documentary about the other side of Thorpe’s life, his affair with a stable groom called Norman Scott in the early 1960s, when homosexuality was still illegal, which eventually led Thorpe to the dock of the Old Bailey, charged with conspiracy to murder. For Mangold, the important ...

Tied to the Mast

Adam Mars-Jones: Alan Hollinghurst

18 October 2017
The Sparsholt Affair 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 454 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 4472 0821 1
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... domestic intimacy as well as pleasure-seeking was part of what the characters wanted for themselves. In The Line of Beauty (which won the Booker Prize in 2004), set in the 1980s, the protagonist, Nick, was invited to stay in a large house in Notting Hill by a Tory MP and his family. He stayed there for years. Nick’s last name, Guest, almost insists on this status of provisional privilege, the ...

Fly in the Soup

Paul Henley: Anthropology and cinema

21 June 2001
Anthropologie et cinéma: Passage à l'image, passage par l'image 
by Marc Henri Piault.
Nathan, frs 139, April 2000, 2 09 190790 1
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Transcultural Cinema 
by David MacDougall.
Princeton, 328 pp., £11.95, December 1998, 0 691 01234 2
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... became the house style of the documentary department there and has had a profound influence on the many British documentarists who passed through the School, including such well-known figures as Nick Broomfield and Molly Dineen. I also trained there, as did my principal colleague at the Granada Centre, Anna Grimshaw, and we continue to pass on its precepts to our own students, even if in a ...

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