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... Hamilton(Sunday Times)Tim Heald(Now)Thomas Hinde(Sunday Telegraph)Bernard Levin(Sunday Times)Blake Morrison(TLS)John Nicholson(Times)Richard Rayner(Time Out)Anthony Thwaite(Observer)MiddlingPaul Ableman(Spectator)Peter Conrad(Harpers & Queen)Alan Hollinghurst(New Statesman)Christopher Wordsworth(Guardian)UnfavourablePaul Ableman(Spectator)Robert ...

Heroes

Pat Rogers, 6 November 1986

Hume and the Heroic Portrait: Studies in 18th-Century Imagery 
by Edgar Wind, edited by Jaynie Anderson.
Oxford, 139 pp., £29.50, May 1986, 0 19 817371 7
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Augustan Studies: Essays in honour of Irvin Ehrenpreis 
edited by Douglas Lane Patey and Timothy Keegan.
University of Delaware Press, 270 pp., £24.50, May 1986, 9780874132724
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The 18th Century: The Intellectual and Cultural Context of English Literature 1700-1789 
by James Sambrook.
Longman, 290 pp., £15.95, April 1986, 0 582 49306 4
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... on the gossamer constructions of current art theory? You get ringing in your ears when you read Norman Bryson, and fear you have caught Ménière’s disease off the page? Do not despair. There is a remedy. The second posthumous volume of Edgar Wind’s essays outdoes even its sumptuous predecessor in intellectual glitter and academic burnishing. Only 120 ...

Millom

Alan Hollinghurst, 18 February 1982

Sea to the West 
by Norman Nicholson.
Faber, 64 pp., £3, June 1981, 0 571 11729 5
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Out for the Elements 
by Andrew Waterman.
Carcanet, 151 pp., £3.95, October 1981, 0 85635 377 9
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Between Here and Now 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 110 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 333 32186 3
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Poetry Introduction Five 
Faber, 121 pp., £5.25, January 1982, 0 571 11793 7Show More
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... simplicity itself as a disguise. What the wind blows away The wind blows back again is how Norman Nicholson ends a poem in his new collection, Sea to the West. The lines are perhaps low on witty morality, but their power is the greater for that: coming at the end of a description of weather over Black Combe (a recurrent point de repère of the ...

A Terrible Bad Cold

John Sutherland, 27 September 1990

Dickens 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 1195 pp., £19.95, September 1990, 1 85619 000 5
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... between Chatterton, Wilde, T.S. Eliot and Dickens – all Ackroydian subjects (‘William Blake will be joining us shortly,’ Chatterton says). The fifth interlude recounts a face-to-face meeting between Dickens and Ackroyd (‘Some of my best friends are biographers,’ Dickens says. It’s the wittiest line he has in the book). In the seventh and ...

How good is it?

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Inside the KJB, 3 February 2011

The Holy Bible: King James Version, 1611 Text 
edited by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 1552 pp., £50, October 2010, 978 0 19 955760 8
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Bible: The Story of the King James Version 1611-2011 
by Gordon Campbell.
Oxford, 354 pp., £16.99, October 2010, 978 0 19 955759 2
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The King James Bible: A Short History from Tyndale to Today 
by David Norton.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £14.99, January 2011, 978 0 521 61688 1
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The King James Bible after 400 Years: Literary, Linguistic and Cultural Influences 
edited by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones.
Cambridge, 364 pp., £25, December 2010, 978 0 521 76827 6
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Begat: The King James Bible and the English Language 
by David Crystal.
Oxford, 327 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 0 19 958585 4
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... England and Scotland is exhilaratingly explored by the essayists captained by Hannibal Hamlin and Norman Jones, who scrutinise it severally from linguistic, historical and literary perspectives. What emerges is the importance of the British Empire in cementing the KJB’s reputation. During the later 17th century, KJB language, already self-consciously ...

Jokes

Donald Davie, 11 June 1992

In the Circumstances: About Poems and Poets 
by Peter Robinson.
Oxford, 260 pp., £35, May 1992, 0 19 811248 3
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... But if we look for Wordsworth as a live presence in the poetry of this century, we come up with Norman Nicholson and Basil Bunting, and who else? In a tight spot Wall-ace Stevens appealed to the famous line from ‘Michael’, ‘And never lifted up a single stone’ (drawing from it unwarrantable inferences, as Robinson points out): but Stevens’s ...

Godmother of the Salmon

John Bayley, 9 July 1992

‘Rain-Charm for the Duchy’ and other Laureate Poems 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 64 pp., £12.99, June 1992, 0 571 16605 9
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... the Red Dragon of Britain and the White Dragon of Anglo-Saxon Wessex both bowing before the Norman Red Lion. When there was a plan to erect a 25-foot bronze unicorn fountain in Parliament Square, a project postponed for want of money, the Poet Laureate ‘thought of filling the gap, provisionally, with a unicorn in verse’, and the result duly appeared ...

Six French Frizeurs

David A. Bell, 10 December 1998

The Perfidy of Albion: French Perceptions of England during the French Revolution 
by Norman Hampson.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £40, June 1998, 0 333 73148 4
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Poisoning the Minds of the Lower Orders 
by Don Herzog.
Princeton, 472 pp., £18, September 1998, 0 691 04831 2
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... or Hanoverian prisoners alive. Fortunately, the commanders mostly ignored the order, although Norman Hampson, in his valuable new book, has found a couple of unfortunate instances where they followed it to the letter. Not a date to recall at official functions of the European Union, you would think. Yet, in a twisted way, Barère’s motion was actually ...

Social Arrangements

John Bayley, 30 December 1982

The Penguin Book of Contemporary British Poetry 
edited by Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 208 pp., £1.95, October 1982, 0 14 042283 8
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The Rattle Bag 
edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes.
Faber, 498 pp., £10, October 1982, 0 571 11966 2
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... only by the previous Penguin of 1962, The New Poetry, selected and introduced by A. Alvarez. Blake Morrison and Andrew Motion are well aware that there is something comically factitious about the stance that has to be adopted by each new spokesman on the poetry scene – ‘we are not,’ they say, ‘the first anthologists this century to have made such ...

Persons Aggrieved

Stephen Sedley, 22 May 1997

... but more instructive. English law, which recognised and enforced slavery until well after the Norman Conquest, no longer did by the 16th century, when a lucrative slave trade developed between West Africa and the American and Caribbean colonies. The courts of England, however, gave their sanction to slave trading during the 17th century, in part by ...

I am Prince Mishkin

Mark Ford, 23 April 1987

‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... increase its underground following. It was Ginsberg’s old Columbia colleagues, John Hollander, Norman Podhoretz and Louis Simpson, all cutting their teeth in the New York literary scene under the approving auspices of Lionel and Diana Trilling, who led the charge against the Beats. ‘It is only fair to Allen Ginsberg to remark on the utter lack of decorum ...

Museums of Melancholy

Iain Sinclair: Silence on the Euston Road, 18 August 2005

... is the true architect of this warped vision. Here is a proper symbol for the corporate city, Blake’s Jerusalem reimagined by a committee determined to cover every cultural shift and marker. The giant’s compasses make their terrible calculations in the dirt of building works. In his prophetic poem, Europe, ...

His Generation

Keith Gessen: A Sad Old Literary Man, 19 June 2008

Alfred Kazin: A Biography 
by Richard Cook.
Yale, 452 pp., £25, March 2008, 978 0 300 11505 5
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... walked around for days exhilarated by the change in the literary weather.’ He was encouraging of Norman Mailer without puffing him up, and he was also worried for him: ‘Mailer’s performance here’ – in Advertisements for Myself – ‘reminds me of the brilliant talker who impresses the hell out of you at a cocktail party but who, when he turns his ...

Who is Stewart Home?

Iain Sinclair, 23 June 1994

... term for this stranglehold on the mike. It is more like a willed act of occult possession: William Blake becoming Milton so that he can recompose the older poet’s faults. Home, over-age, is an envenomed revenger, fast as flame, burning up the feeble avatars of Allen’s formulaic prose – letting the ghosts through, the instigators of riot.Single button ...

On the Rant

E.P. Thompson, 9 July 1987

Fear, Myth and History: The Ranters and the Historians 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 208 pp., £22.50, September 1986, 0 521 26243 7
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... wished to find precursors for the anti-hegemonic ‘hippy’ culture of the late 1960s, and Norman Cohn (whose membership of the CP Historians Group has gone unrecorded) wished to clobber that culture, and to show the way in which millenial Ranting led on to totalitarianism. So the old bugaboo was dug up and dressed in modern jeans. What is silly about ...

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