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Dreamland

Jonathan Lamb: 18th-century seafaring

20 March 2003
Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason 
by Glyn Williams.
HarperCollins, 467 pp., £8.99, March 2003, 0 00 653213 6
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Voyage to Desolation Island 
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, translated by Patricia​ Clancy.
Harvill, 177 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86046 926 4
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... by every kind of proof . . . except the living testimony of mariners who had made the voyage’. Why enlightened and rational people should have entertained such improbabilities is a question Glyn Williams asks with increasing wonder in his account of the five principal eras of Northwest navigations. He finds no simple answer. Obsession, greed, fame, public spirit, ambition, curiosity, even revenge ...

Sex on the Roof

Patricia​ Lockwood

6 December 2018
Evening in Paradise: More Stories 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8229 8
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Welcome Home: A Memoir with Selected Photographs 
by Lucia Berlin.
Picador, 160 pp., £12.99, November 2018, 978 1 5098 8234 2
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... cleaning woman,’ the protagonist says in ‘Mourning’. ‘It’s just like reading a book.’ It is worth noting​ how unerring Berlin’s taste was. She spoke of both Chekhov and William Carlos Williams as models. Her characters read Middlemarch the way other people read Flowers in the Attic: dangling from one hand. The editor of A Manual for Cleaning Women, Stephen Emerson, describes exchanging ...

Writing Absurdity

Adam Shatz: Chester Himes

25 April 2018
Chester B. Himes: A Biography 
by Lawrence P. Jackson.
Norton, 606 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 393 06389 9
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... problem but alleviate the meat shortage as well.’ With his scorn for liberal pieties, Himes won admirers among the black writers who emerged during the Black Power era, such as LeRoi Jones, John A. Williams and Ishmael Reed. And his legacy now? As Jackson writes, ‘history has borne out some of his vinegary judgments.’ Today, Himes’s belief in the implacable force of white supremacism – what is ...

Reading Cure

John Sutherland

10 November 1988
The Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals. Vol. IV: 1824-1900 
edited by Walter Houghton, Esther Rhoads Houghton and Jean Harris Slingerland.
Toronto/Routledge, 826 pp., £95, January 1988, 0 7102 1442 1
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Circulation: Defoe, Dickens and the Economies of the Novel 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 148 pp., £27.50, October 1988, 0 333 40542 0
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From Copyright to Copperfield 
by Alexander Welsh.
Harvard, 200 pp., £19.95, December 1987, 0 674 32342 4
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... Review and Nineteenth Century naturally find central places as founts of Victorian Liberalism. But Strahan’s Good Words and its stable of offshoot publications are missing from the Index. As Patricia Srebrnik’s recent biography of Strahan argues, Good Words was as formative a Victorian periodical as any. What the ingenious Strahan did was to package ‘entertaining’ material – notably ...

Puellilia

Pat Rogers

7 August 1986
Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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Cecilia 
by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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Marriage 
by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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Belinda 
by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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Self-Control 
by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... memorial tablet as ‘symptomatic of the “mistakes” in the documentation of women’s lives’. But is the matter remedied by calling Ellis Cornelia Knight ‘Cornelius’? Or Helen Maria Williams ‘Helena’? Or Lady Mary Wortley Montagu ‘Montague’? Or Cecilia ‘Cecelia’? Or Anne Ehrenpreis ‘Ehrenpries’? Or Patricia Köster ‘Koster’? Or Margarette Smith ‘Margaret’? Or ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe

27 September 2012
All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... dancer; the interior decorator Elsie de Wolfe and her Broadway-producer lover Bessie Marbury; the actresses Eva Le Gallienne, Katharine Cornell, Ona Munson, Teddie Gerard, Tallulah Bankhead and Hope Williams; the rakish lesbian salonnière Natalie Barney; Dolly Wilde (Oscar’s opium-addicted niece); Marie Laurencin, painter and friend of Picasso; the Ballets Russes dancer Tamara Karsavina; the ...

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