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Englamouring the humdrum

Rosemary Ashton, 23 November 1989

Arguing with the past: Essays in Narrative from Woolf to Sidney 
by Gillian Beer.
Routledge, 206 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 415 02607 5
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Samuel Richardson: Tercentenary Essays 
edited by Margaret Anne Doody and Peter Sabor.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £35, July 1989, 0 521 35383 1
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... or as liberation.’ Beer recognises the importance of German writers for Carlyle: not only Jean Paul Richter’s liberating (or vandalising) fantastic qualities, but also Kant’s more formidable ones. Beer suggests that Carlyle’s ‘balked reading’ of Kant made the latter ‘a vigorous figure within Carlyle’s intellectual dramas’. It is an ...

Outfits to die for

Gabriele Annan, 10 February 1994

A Woman’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women 1930-60 
by Jeanine Basinger.
Chatto, 528 pp., £14.99, January 1994, 0 7011 6093 4
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... women are not too beautiful, and range from sweet girls next door to more feisty types like Ginger Rogers and Jean Arthur, Myrna Loy, June Allyson and Jeanne Crain belong here, and their purpose is to reassure the women in the audience and reaffirm the goals of society. Exaggerated women is the category with the biggest stars: ‘ferocious women like Joan ...

A Long Silence

David A. Bell: ‘Englishness’, 14 December 2000

Englishness Identified: Manners and Character, 1650-1850 
by Paul Langford.
Oxford, 389 pp., £25, April 2000, 9780198206811
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... the assumption that visions of national character are by nature multiple, variable and competing. Paul Langford begs to differ. In Englishness Identified, he admits that stereotypes of the English have often contradicted each other. The island race has been seen as alternately lazy and industrious, honest and hypocritical, polite and uncouth, taciturn and ...

Sam, Sam, Mythological Man

David Jones, 2 May 1985

Motel Chronicles and Hawk Moon 
by Sam Shepard.
Faber, 188 pp., £3.95, February 1985, 0 571 13458 0
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Paris, Texas 
by Wim Wenders and Sam Shepard.
Ecco, 509 pp., £12.95, January 1985, 0 88001 077 0
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... appreciated the technique. Shepard even got to work on his own name. Junked the family name of Rogers and took his second name of Shepard in its place. Samuel Rogers became Sam Shepard. It’s important to understand that what Shepard was renaming was his own existence. He wasn’t coming up with a fancy nom de ...

Yesterday

Frank Kermode, 27 July 1989

The Pleasures of Peace: Art and Imagination in Post-War Britain 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 367 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 13722 9
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... study, that Appleyard chooses, or is compelled, to make some independent valuations. Speaking of Paul Scott, J.G. Farrell and V.S. Naipaul in relation to the death of Empire, he expresses a special enthusiasm for the last-named. Then come people for whom he has apparently no more than a cautious respect, but who are important because of their period ...

Down with Cosmopolitanism

Gillian Darley, 18 May 2000

Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... pages, showing Shell posters or School Prints, work by Graham Sutherland, Eric Ravilious and Paul Nash. As early as May 1930, another editor, Betjeman’s mentor Philip Morton Shand, part of whose enviable brief was to travel Europe in search of articles to translate and buildings to publish, but who also pursued his own parallel interests in wine and ...

Who wears hats now?

Jenny Diski: ‘Lost Worlds’, 3 March 2005

Lost Worlds: What Have We Lost and Where Did It Go? 
by Michael Bywater.
Granta, 296 pp., £12.99, October 2004, 1 86207 701 0
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... in Books, the Terrible Flammability of; he feels cheated by the loss of possibility caused by Paul Schliemann’s bogus artefacts purporting to come from Atlantis; more recently, but still, I think, before his time, he, like me, can’t help but long for the period when you could be assured of Throat, Cigarette Smoke that was Kind to Your (‘Unlike ...

The spirit in which things are said

Arnold Davidson, 20 December 1984

Themes out of School: Causes and Effects 
by Stanley Cavell.
Scolar/North Point, 288 pp., £16.95, January 1985, 0 86547 146 0
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... Ordinary as the Uneventful (A Note on the Annales Historians)’ originated as a response to Paul Ricoeur’s critique of the Annales historians’ attempt to produce what he called ‘eventless’ history. Ricoeur’s argument is that history cannot be eventless, since it is tied to narrative discourse which requires the concept of an event. Cavell’s ...

On the Salieri Express

John Sutherland, 24 September 1992

Doctor Criminale 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 343 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 436 20115 1
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The Promise of Light 
by Paul Watkins.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 571 16715 2
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The Absolution Game 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 204 pp., £13.99, June 1992, 0 09 471460 6
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The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman 
by Louis de Bernières.
Secker, 388 pp., £14.99, August 1992, 0 436 20114 3
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Written on the Body 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 190 pp., £13.99, September 1992, 0 224 03587 8
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... much detail, and walk-on cameos by ascertainably ‘real’ 1990 guests – John Major, Richard Rogers, Neil Kinnock and, of course, the richly despised Howard Jacobson. Francis Jay gives an impromptu television interview in which, with all the authority of one who has studied deconstruction at Sussex, he dismisses the shortlisted candidates as writers of ...

Mon Pays

Michael Rogin: Josephine Baker, 22 February 2001

The Josephine Baker Story 
by Ean Wood.
Sanctuary, 327 pp., £16.99, September 2000, 1 86074 286 6
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Negrophilia: Avant-Garde Paris and Black Culture in the 1920s 
by Petrine Archer-Straw.
Thames and Hudson, 200 pp., £14.95, September 2000, 0 500 28135 1
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... She was part kangaroo and part prizefighter. A woman made of rubber, a female Tarzan,’ wrote Paul Colin, who sketched her for La Revue nègre. Baker’s notorious horizontal movements were propelling her to the top of the world. Hers was the American dream, the assimilationist success story that (as Tylor Stovall argues in Paris Noir: African Americans ...

Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... Spanish Earth but includes much film noir, while finding its ultimate expression in Citizen Kane. Paul Robeson isn’t the only headline performer: he is supported by Billie Holliday and even Duke Ellington. Indeed, Denning argues that because ‘Pop Frontism’ was less a particular worldview than a set of emotional responses, Elia Kazan can be seen as ...

Homage to Tyndale

J.B. Trapp, 17 December 1992

Tyndale’s New Testament 
edited by David Daniell.
Yale, 429 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04419 4
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Tyndale’s Old Testament, being the Pentateuch of 1530, Joshua to II Chronicles of 1537 and Jonah 
edited by David Daniell.
Yale, 643 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 300 05211 1
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... light of the New Testament, beaming from a candle on a candle-stick round whose column cluster St Paul and St Peter, and whose base is supported by the symbols of the Evangelists. Groping their purblind way from the light, their backs turned to it, towards a pit, is a group of scholars and dignitaries, chiefly churchmen, headed by the Pope. Aristotle, the ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth, 5 April 2001

Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... heaven! I remember being woken to the rightness of their hyperbole when I found them misquoted in Paul Foot’s Red Shelley, where they become, even in ‘corrected’ editions, Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive And to be young was very heaven. Gone is the intoxicated youthful illogic, by which even ‘bliss’ can be trumped. That ‘And’ as we turn ...

Enlightenment Erotica

David Nokes, 4 August 1988

Eros Revived: Erotica of the Enlightenment in England and America 
by Peter Wagner.
Secker, 498 pp., £30, March 1988, 0 436 56051 8
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’Tis Nature’s Fault: Unauthorised Sexuality during the Enlightenment 
edited by Robert Purks Maccubin.
Cambridge, 260 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 34539 1
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The New Eighteenth Century: Theory, Politics, English Literature 
edited by Felicity Nussbaum and Laura Brown.
Methuen, 320 pp., £28, February 1988, 0 416 01631 6
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... parody of Pamela’s writing-to-the-moment technique as the pen drops in homage to the penis. Paul-Gabriel Boucé’s essay on ‘Chthonic and Pelagic Metaphorisation in Eighteenth-Century English Erotica’ is a virtuoso display of linguistic excarnation, turning the flesh into the word. For Boucé sex is lexis; a vagina is never merely a vagina, but a ...

Haig speaks back

Keith Kyle, 17 May 1984

Caveat 
by Alexander Haig.
Weidenfeld, 367 pp., £12.95, April 1984, 9780297783848
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... the latter. Haig was determined to block any repetition of the ruthless way he had seen Secretary Rogers cut out of the chain of command by Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger. Reagan claimed to have met the point by downgrading Allen’s post. But this only meant that Allen had to report to the President through his chief adviser Ed Meese, thus depriving the ...

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