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Old Grove and New Grovers

Denis Arnold, 16 October 1980

George Grove 
by Percy Young.
Macmillan, 344 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 0 333 19602 3
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... illustrations, over two thousand five hundred music-type examples – if the dust-cover of Percy Young’s biography of its founder is to be believed. The New Grove, as it is called, is not really the product of a machine (though rumours of its adventures with computer setting have sometimes made it seem so), but its editorial set-up has tended to ...

The Great Percy

C.H. Sisson, 18 November 1982

Stranger and Brother: A Portrait of C.P. Snow 
by Philip Snow.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £8.95, October 1982, 0 333 32680 6
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... to his brother throughout as ‘Charles’, and it is time to reveal that he was known at home as Percy, and Percy he remained for the first 45 years, ‘distant relatives’ so addressing him even after that. For the world in which he was rising ‘Snow’ was enough – surnames were, after all, then the common form of ...

Ink Blots, Pin Holes

Caroline Gonda: ‘Frankenstein’, 28 January 2010

The Original ‘Frankenstein’ 
by Mary Shelley, with Percy Shelley, edited by Charles Robinson.
Bodleian Library, 448 pp., £14.99, October 2009, 978 1 85124 396 9
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... at the start of 1833 to win the Great Doncaster St Leger, Mr Gully’s bay colt Frankenstein (by Young Phantom, out of My Lady) failed to live up to expectations. Beaten into fourth place at the York Spring Meeting by Muley Moloch, Satan and Lot, in October Frankenstein, by now renamed Deceiver, finished last but two in the worst St Leger the Sporting ...
A Matter of Justice: The Legal System in Ferment 
by Michael Zander.
Tauris, 323 pp., £16.50, February 1988, 1 85043 040 3
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The Coercive State: The Decline of Democracy in Britain 
by Paddy Hillyard and Janie Percy-Smith.
Fontana, 352 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 00 637083 7
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... not believe that Michael Zander was writing about the same society as Paddy Hillyard and Janie Percy-Smith, and at the same period of time. There is simply no space in Zander’s world-picture for the possibility that ours is a coercive state or that democracy is in decline here – while if Hillyard’s and ...

Severnside

David Cannadine, 21 March 1985

Elgar, the Man 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Allen Lane/Viking, 340 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 7139 1532 3
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Edward Elgar: A Creative Life 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Oxford, 841 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 315447 1
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Spirit of England: Edward Elgar in his World 
by Jerrold Northrop Moore.
Heinemann, 175 pp., £10.95, February 1984, 0 434 47541 6
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The Elgar-Atkins Friendship 
by E. Wulstan Atkins.
David and Charles, 510 pp., £15, April 1984, 0 7153 8583 6
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... and admitted that much of his output probably was as vulgar as his inter-war critics had claimed. Percy Young believed that the man and his music were inseparable, and presented Elgar as a ‘two-worldly character’, torn between the private poet of Worcestershire (who wrote great music), and the public poseur of London (who did not). In what remains ...

A Writer’s Fancy

D.J. Enright, 21 February 1980

Hackenfeller’s Ape 
by Brigid Brophy.
Allison and Busby, 125 pp., £5.50, October 1980, 0 85031 314 7
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Flesh 
by Brigid Brophy.
Allison and Busby, 124 pp., £1.95, October 1980, 9780850313185
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The Snow Ball 
by Brigid Brophy.
Allison and Busby, 143 pp., £1.95, October 1980, 0 85031 316 3
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... it takes in, besides much middle ground, the milder elements of both. According to the plan, Percy the male ape is to be sent into space as an experimental subject, which is a cause of distress to Professor Darrelhyde, patiently waiting to observe the strange mating ritual of this species, an event never witnessed hitherto by any white ...

Diary

Philip Horne: Common Assault, 2 March 1989

... In October 1922 a young man called Freddy Bywaters lurked in the dark front garden of a corner house in Ilford. When his mistress and her husband came along, he emerged from the garden and, with or without premeditation, stabbed Percy Thompson 16 times. Thompson died, and so, after being sent for trial at the Old Bailey, did Bywaters and Mrs Thompson, at the end of a rope ...

Uncrownable King and Queen

Christopher Sykes, 7 February 1980

The Windsor Story 
by J. Bryan and Charles Murphy.
Granada, 602 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 0 246 11323 5
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... is here conveniently known, is essentially familiar. Whether it is seen as the tale of the fatuous young charmer and the intriguing, ambitious witch, or, as they themselves chose to present it, as the pathetic picture of two orphans of the storm, victimised by the hound Baldwin, the main facts on which it is based are widely known and the subject of little ...

Menagerie of Live Authors

Francesca Wade: Marys Shelley and Wollstonecraft, 8 October 2015

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley 
by Charlotte Gordon.
Hutchinson, 649 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 0 09 195894 7
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... There were​ high hopes for the son of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley, the grandson of William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft, but the boy told his mother that all he wanted was a quiet life and a sailing boat. She wasn’t wholly disappointed at his failure to distinguish himself. When it was suggested at school that he needed to learn to think for himself, Mary Shelley said: ‘Oh God, teach him to think like other people!’ Percy Florence was unusual in a uniformly cerebral family ...

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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... above all others, forced the early historians of English literature such as Thomas Warton, Thomas Percy and Samuel Johnson to review the grounds of their judgments. He is at the same time the lonely outsider commemorated by Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and (more cannily) Wordsworth. David Fairer maintains that their Wertherisation of Chatterton’s alleged ...

Looking for magic

Dinah Birch, 14 September 1989

Lewis Percy 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 261 pp., £11.95, August 1989, 0 224 02668 2
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Sexing the cherry 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Bloomsbury, 167 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0464 4
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Fludd 
by Hilary Mantel.
Viking, 186 pp., £11.95, September 1989, 0 670 82118 7
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... Her new novel is a searching study of innocence, and the limitations of innocence. Lewis Percy, an anxiously clever boy, has had a reclusive upbringing with his widowed mother. In an uncharacteristically adventurous move, he leaves her to pursue postgraduate research in Paris. He is working on images of the hero in French fiction – a topic he ...

A Tall Stranger in Hoxton

John Bossy, 3 July 1997

The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 347 pp., £20, August 1996, 9780297813484
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... Wintour. Three other men were invited: Jack Wright, a swordsman friend of Catesby’s; Thomas Percy, Wright’s brother-in-law and man of business to his kinsman, the magnate and Councillor the Earl of Northumberland; and Guido Fawkes, a phlegmatic and reliable soldier brought over from Catholic service in the Netherlands by Wintour. They all agreed to ...

A Very Smart Bedint

Frank Kermode: Harold Nicolson, 17 March 2005

Harold Nicolson 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 383 pp., £20, February 2005, 0 224 06218 2
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... about the book except its incidental allusions to Nicolson’s admired friend Lord Eustace Percy, a minor character, but of special interest to me because at the time he was my boss. I, too, admired this courteous scion of the great Northumberland dukedom, partly because of the divinatory powers that had enabled him to choose me, from a field of ...

Having it both ways

Peter Clarke, 27 January 1994

A.J.P. Taylor: A Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 468 pp., £18.99, January 1994, 1 85619 210 5
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A.J.P. Taylor: The Traitor within the Gates 
by Robert Cole.
Macmillan, 285 pp., £40, November 1993, 0 333 59273 5
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From Napoleon to the Second International: International Essays on the 19th Century 
by A.J.P. Taylor, edited by Chris Wrigley.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 241 13444 7
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... would conflate the industrial grime of Stockport with the sea breezes of genteel Southport, where young Alan was actually brought up. Grandfather Taylor had made his money in the cotton trade – he claimed to be a millionaire – and Alan’s father Percy worked in the family business, lighting his first havana as he was ...

Lord Fitzcricket

P.N. Furbank: The composer’s life, 21 May 1998

Lord Berners: The Last Eccentric 
by Mark Amory.
Chatto, 274 pp., £20, March 1998, 1 85619 234 2
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... on that sex had almost always just been a nuisance to him. However, in 1932, he got to know the young, beautiful and dotty Robert Heber Percy, otherwise known as ‘the Mad Boy’, for whom he fell and who became a fixture in his household, eventually inheriting Berners’s estate. ‘No one,’ Mark Amory ...

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