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Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... reflected that, while kind hearts and simple faith were excellent things in their way, a hint of Norman blood would do no harm. Like Joyce, writing obsessively about the Ireland he had quitted, he achieved fame as a chronicler of the family, the institution from which he fought a long campaign to escape. Slightly inconsistently, he married, after a long ...

Whapper

Norman Page, 8 January 1987

Beloved Emma: The Life of Emma, Lady Hamilton 
by Flora Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 410 pp., £14.95, September 1986, 0 297 78895 7
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Loving Emma 
by Nigel Foxell.
Harvester, 201 pp., £8.95, March 1986, 0 7108 1056 3
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... of home, family and childhood: but this cannot be done for Emma, and by the end of the third page of Ms Fraser’s narrative her heroine is already 12 years old. Even the place and date of her birth are uncertain; her father was perhaps a pit-worker, certainly illiterate, and died a few weeks after his daughter’s birth. The child began life as Emy ...

Cheeky

Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... encounter a personality that seems compounded of Mr Pooter and Jean-Jacques Rousseau. On the first page of Volume Six, in a letter to Sydney Cockerell, Hardy appears in the role of the Old Buffer: ‘I have kept all right so far this winter, but won’t brag.’ Three days later, in a note thanking John Middleton Murry for a presentation copy of one of his ...

Insupportable

John Bayley, 19 February 1987

A Choice of Kipling’s Prose 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 448 pp., £12.50, January 1987, 0 571 13735 0
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Kipling’s Kingdom: His Best Indian Stories 
by Charles Allen.
Joseph, 288 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 7181 2570 3
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... capsized by a Roman catapult shooting a bag of loose stones into the belly of the sail; or that a Norman at the fireside sits with one hand on his chin, while a Saxon rests his head in both hands. In one of the earlier Indian stories, ‘The Return of Imray’, we accept in the same way that a corpse has been lodged for a month or more in the ...

Raining

Donald Davie, 5 May 1983

Later Poems 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 333 34560 6
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Thomas Hardy Annual, No 1 
edited by Norman Page.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 333 32022 0
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Tess of the d’Urbervilles 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell.
Oxford, 636 pp., £50, March 1983, 0 19 812495 3
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Hardy’s Love Poems 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Carl Weber.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £3.95, February 1983, 0 333 34798 6
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. I: Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and the Present, Time’s Laughingstocks 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 403 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 19 812708 1
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... At the end of a recent and refreshingly untypical poem R.S. Thomas, recalling his sea-captain father, addresses him where he lies in his grave:               And I, can I accept your voyages are done; that there is no tide high enough to float you off this mean shoal of plastic and trash? We have heard something like this before, in more reverberant metre: But thrown upon this filthy modern tide And by its formless spawning fury wrecked ...

ODQ

Richard Usborne, 24 January 1980

The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 
Oxford, 908 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780192115607Show More
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... my non-location of which has now been irritating me for weeks. From a little blue book, about a Norman baron dying. I only remember bits, and probably misremember those: In his chamber, weak and dying, Was a Norman baron lying … I couldn’t find this in Scott (school prize), nor in Kipling’s Collected Verse. I have ...

Sacred Peter

Norman MacCaig, 19 June 1980

Sacred Keeper 
by Peter Kavanagh.
Goldsmith Press, 403 pp., £4.40, May 1979, 0 904984 48 6
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Dead as Doornails 
by Anthony Cronin.
Poolbeg Press, 201 pp., £1.75, May 1980, 9780905169316
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The Macmillan Dictionary of Irish Literature 
edited by Robert Hogan.
Macmillan, 815 pp., £2, February 1980, 0 333 27085 1
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... suffered for the cause, as evangelists frequently do) laboured over this almost four-hundred-page-long testament with admirable zeal and devotion. What his own voice has recorded is thickly interspersed with quotations from letters, essays, broadcast talks, lectures, and, of course, poems by the bard himself – and photographs. He doesn’t often make ...

Diary

Norman Buchan: In Defence of the Word, 1 October 1987

... me in the corridor as ‘a disgrace to the Scottish race’. It was not simple pornography or Page Three that worried the promoters of the Bill. Time after time the same example arose – the necessary copulation scene in The Singing Detective. What concerned them was not the casual and continual violence of Starsky and Hutch but the single act of ...

Did Harold really get it in the eye?

Patrick Wormald: The Normans, 3 June 2004

The Battle of Hastings, 1066 
by M.K. Lawson.
Tempus, 288 pp., £16.99, October 2003, 0 7524 1998 6
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The Normans: The History of a Dynasty 
by David Crouch.
Hambledon, 345 pp., £25, July 2002, 1 85285 387 5
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Domesday Book: A Complete Translation 
edited by Ann Williams and G.H. Martin.
Penguin, 1436 pp., £18.99, October 2003, 0 14 143994 7
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... counterpart. The ruling class of England, and much of the rest of Britain, was re-created by the Norman Conquest. Most of the nobly born have at one time or another sought to find progenitors among the Companions of the Conqueror, and the words ‘noble’, ‘gentle’ and ‘aristocrat’ themselves come from French. Within two decades, the Conquest had ...

Hitler and History

Hans Keller, 5 February 1981

Hitler 
by Norman Stone.
Hodder, 195 pp., £6.95, August 1980, 0 340 24980 3
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Hitler’s ‘Mein Kampf’ in Britain and America: A Publishing History 1930-39 
by James Barnes and Patience Barnes.
Cambridge, 158 pp., £8.50, September 1980, 0 521 22691 0
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The Berlin Secession: Modernism and Its Enemies in Imperial Germany 
by Peter Paret.
Harvard, 262 pp., £10.50, December 1980, 0 674 06773 8
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German Romantic Painting 
by William Vaughan.
Yale, 260 pp., £19.95, October 1980, 0 300 02387 1
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... to reinvent: his The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. has been reviewed in these pages, nor are Norman Stone, James J. Barnes and Patience P. Barnes always less fanciful. And if Hitler’s personality remains an unanswered question, so too, does the history of National Socialism – which a book like Robert Harbison’s recent Deliberate Regression: The ...

The Reviewer’s Song

Andrew O’Hagan: Mailer’s Last Punch, 7 November 2013

Norman Mailer: A Double Life 
by J. Michael Lennon.
Simon and Schuster, 947 pp., £30, November 2013, 978 1 84737 672 5
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... stuff on the public record. Let’s take the spirit of J. Michael Lennon’s ‘double life’ of Norman Mailer and offer that doubleness back as subjective criticism. Mailer, after all, gave us the non-fiction novel, Lennon gives us the pseudo-objective biography, so why can’t I offer the confessional review? On the afternoon of 10 April 2007 I was on a ...

Halls and Hovels

Colin Richmond, 19 December 1991

The Architecture of Medieval Britain 
by Colin Platt, with photographs by Anthony Kersting.
Yale, 325 pp., £29.95, November 1990, 0 300 04953 6
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... 372 photographs (between a third and a half of them coloured, a large number of them full-page), a densely written, authoritative and properly referenced text, close on 1200 informative footnotes. As one has come to expect from Yale, the volume is value for money. Despite the quality of the text, this is first and foremost a picture book. And what ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... There is a story that when William F. Buckley Jr sent a copy of his essays to Norman Mailer, he pencilled a welcoming ‘Hi, Norman!’ in the Index, next to Mailer’s name. A similar tactic might happily have been ventured by the publishers of Philip Larkin’s Letters: the book’s back pages are going to be well-thumbed ...

Diary

Edward Mendelson: Three Joyces, 27 October 1988

... is now focused on the question of whether Joyce copied the Christian name of a certain Conolly Norman from a page in Thom’s Directory on which it was spelled with one ‘n’ or from a perhaps more significant page on which it was spelled with two. But the differences between the ...

In Cambridge

Peter Campbell: The Cambridge Illuminations: Ten Centuries of Book Production in the Medieval West, 18 August 2005

... hairlines to letters and to thicken the ends of strokes with serifs. The architecture of the page balances words and pictures with absolute assurance. The contrast between the two – between the functional and the decorative, the utilitarian and the demonstrative, the more than adequately fluent and the highly finished – is just one which the depth ...

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