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Diary

A.J.P. Taylor: What on earth should I talk about? , 4 March 1982

... to nuclear disarmament, perhaps something good is astir in the world after all. The death of Peter Opie on 5 February should not pass without commemoration. He and his wife Iona were our leading authorities on nursery rhymes and nursery lore. The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book † which they assembled has been my constant stand-by ever since it came out ...

The New Narrative

John Kerrigan, 16 February 1984

The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse 
edited by Iona Opie and Peter Opie.
Oxford, 407 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 19 214131 7
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Time’s Oriel 
by Kevin Crossley-Holland.
Hutchinson, 61 pp., £4.95, August 1983, 0 09 153291 4
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On Gender and Writing 
edited by Michelene Wandor.
Pandora, 166 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 86358 021 1
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Stone, Paper, Knife 
by Marge Piercy.
Pandora, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 9780863580222
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The Achievement of Ted Hughes 
edited by Keith Sagar.
Manchester, 377 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 7190 0939 1
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Ted Hughes and Paul Muldoon 
Faber, £6.95, June 1983, 0 571 13090 9Show More
River 
by Ted Hughes and Peter Keen.
Faber, 128 pp., £10, September 1983, 0 571 13088 7
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Quoof 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 64 pp., £4, September 1983, 0 571 13117 4
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... to read a collection like The Oxford Book of Narrative Verse, newly-edited by Iona and Peter Opie, is to be reminded of the powerful appeal that’s made in poetry by ‘the kind of story in which, you want to know what happens next’. The Opies’ choice is often cautious and occasionally perverse. In some respects, moreover, their book ...

Leaving it alone

R.G. Opie, 21 April 1983

Britain can work 
by Ian Gilmour.
Martin Robertson, 272 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 85520 571 7
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The Use of Public Power 
by Andrew Shonfield, edited by Zuzanna Shonfield.
Oxford, 140 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 215357 9
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... might not have mattered so much – even in Mrs Thatcher’s Cabinet there are some unbelievers, Peter Walker is an honourable example – but his style must have been insufferable. It is not only wickedly witty – better, perhaps, even than Galbraith. From a background of Eton, Balliol, the Guards and the Spectator it is the least some might expect (one ...

At the National Portrait Gallery

Peter Campbell: Painting the Century, 16 November 2000

... anyway, after the early 1900s when an easy handling of pose and paint which goes back at least to Opie was still keeping fashionable portraitists in rather good bread and butter. Diana of the Uplands, Furze’s portrait of his wife with greyhounds from 1903, Sargent’s portrait of Sir Frank Swettenham from 1904 and Boldini’s Duchess of Marlborough with Her ...

Royals in Oils

Peter Campbell, 13 November 1997

The Sweetness of Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
by Angelica Goodden.
Deutsch, 384 pp., £19.99, June 1997, 0 233 99021 6
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... which came to them by various routes from Caravaggio, would not have suited her. The painter John Opie is reported to have found Vigée Le Brun’s pictures good in ‘the imitation of particular things, velvet, silk etc’ but he also remarked that they gave him ‘no high pleasure as works of art’. Hoppner, more brutally, found even her way with stuffs ...

The Reptile Oculist

John Barrell, 1 April 2004

... on friendly terms with men such as William Godwin and the great satirical poet John Wolcot, ‘Peter Pindar’, whom Pitt’s government regarded as dangerously disloyal.Friendship was his true vocation and chief talent, and he worked at it tirelessly. The great majority of his numerous poems – he described them, without false modesty, as ...

Total Knowledge

Peter Campbell, 10 September 1992

Hypertext 
by George Landow.
Johns Hopkins, 242 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 8018 4281 6
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... you have created a record relating various items of information. While you have not altered the Opie-text, you have in a sense added to it, and the next user of the document will be able to draw on your contribution by taking note of the path you followed or by reading your note. The starting point of Landow’s book (subtitled ‘The Convergence of ...

Monetarism and History

Ian Gilmour, 21 January 1982

... and those of Eden and Macmillan. The new monetarism was brought to England from America by Mr Peter Jay, but politically the beginning of monetarism can be dated from Sir Keith Joseph’s Preston speech of 5 September 1974. The key sentence in that speech was: ‘it is the method that successive governments have used to reduce registered unemployment ...

Rodinsky’s Place

Patrick Wright, 29 October 1987

White Chappell: Scarlet Tracings 
by Iain Sinclair.
Goldmark, 210 pp., £12.50, October 1987, 1 870507 00 2
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... creed of a dismal little sect. But despite his growing reputation as the abracadabra man behind Peter Ackroyd’s Hawksmoor, Sinclair doesn’t write as a believer either here or in Lud Heat (1975). Placing his own necromancy closer to the tradition of Rimbaud than to that of Madame Blavatsky, he uses myth to cut through contemporary closures: to drag Brick ...

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