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Cold Front in Arden

Michael Dobson, 31 October 1996

Reading Shakespeare Historically 
by Lisa Jardine.
Routledge, 207 pp., £40, April 1996, 0 415 13490 0
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Purpose of Playing: Shakespeare and the Cultural Politics of the Elizabethan Theatre 
by Louis Montrose.
Chicago, 228 pp., £39.95, May 1996, 0 226 53482 0
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Shakespeare from the Margins: Language, Culture, Context 
by Patricia Parker.
Chicago, 392 pp., £41.50, April 1996, 0 226 64584 3
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Impersonations: Gender and Performance in Shakespear’s England 
by Stephen Orgel.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 521 56842 0
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... 1989 ... The occasion is probably remembered by participants in the session more by the fact that Peter Stallybrass and I enacted stage cross-dressing there and then by exchanging jackets before delivering our papers, than for what we either of us had to say.’ The surreptitiously tape-recorded row which followed Jardine’s paper on Othello when it was ...

Blowing over the top of a bottle of San Pellegrino

Adam Mars-Jones: Protest Dance Pop, 15 December 2005

Plat du Jour 
by Matthew Herbert.
Accidental
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... as the underlying phrase ‘Because I say so.’ He’s not keeping bad company. It’s clear that Peter Greenaway makes films in the same sort of way, imposing sets of rules on himself before he constructs a narrative or creates character (if he ever gets round to that). Peter Reading has taken a similar tack in his ...

A Better Life

Peter Campbell, 2 April 1981

Homes fit for Heroes 
by Mark Swenarton.
Heinemann, 216 pp., £14.50, February 1981, 0 435 32994 4
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The Shell Book of the Home in Britain 
by James Ayres.
Faber, 253 pp., £8.95, March 1981, 0 571 11625 6
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... much more about how people made themselves at home than the quoted speculations of politicians. Parker and Unwin’s 1902 designs for cottages for Rowntrees at New Earswick are illustrated in Homes fit for Heroes. The logical deployment of space had the tenants going out the front door every time they visited the lavatory. This result of rational ...

Suiting yourself

Peter Campbell, 27 July 1989

I Modi. The Sixteen Pleasures: An Erotic Album of Renaissance Italy 
by Lynne Lawner.
Northwestern, 132 pp., $35.95, February 1989, 0 8101 0803 8
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The Dress of the Venetians 1495-1525 
by Stella Mary Newton.
Scolar, 196 pp., £28.50, December 1988, 0 85967 735 4
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Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: René Bouët-Willamez and Fashion Drawings in ‘Vogue’: Carl Erickson 
by William Parker.
Joseph, 128 pp., £14.95, March 1989, 0 86350 198 2
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Women and Fashion 
by Caroline Evans and Minna Thornton.
Quartet, 184 pp., £15, March 1989, 0 7043 2691 4
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... No complete set survives of I Modi, the famous engravings showing positions for copulation, made by Marcantonio from drawings by Giulio Romano: it is said that both copper plates and prints were destroyed by the order of Pope Clement VII. The engraver was imprisoned, and the second edition, which included 16 sonnets written by Pietro Aretino to accompany the pictures, was also supressed ...

Mozart’s Rascal

Roger Parker, 23 May 1991

Mozart in Vienna 1781-1791 
by Volkmar Braunbehrens.
Deutsch, 481 pp., £17.95, June 1990, 9780233985596
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The Mozart Compendium 
edited by H.C. Robbins Landon.
Thames and Hudson, 452 pp., £24.95, September 1990, 0 500 01481 7
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Mozart and Vienna 
by H.C. Robbins Landon.
Thames and Hudson, 208 pp., £16.95, February 1991, 0 500 01506 6
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Mozart’s Thematic Catalogue: A Facsimile 
introduced and transcribed by Albi Rosenthal and Alan Tyson.
British Library, 57 pp., £25, November 1990, 0 7123 0202 6
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The Compleat Mozart: A Guide to the Musical Works of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart 
edited by Neal Zaslaw and William Cowdery.
Norton, 351 pp., £19.95, April 1991, 0 393 02886 0
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... this picture has of late been injected with new life and massively disseminated by the success of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, whose veneer of shocking realism and occasional flights of pure fancy hardly conceal its basic reinscription of the romantic image. It was time for scholars to hit back, and Amadeus was cited by H.C. Robbins Landon as a main reason for ...

London Review of Crooks

Robert Marshall-Andrews, 15 July 1982

Rough Justice: The Extraordinary Truth about Charles Richardson and his Gang 
by Robert Parker.
Fontana, 352 pp., £1.95, October 1981, 0 00 636354 7
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Web of Corruption: The Story of John Poulson and T. Dan Smith 
by Raymond Fitzwalter and David Taylor.
Granada, 282 pp., £12.50, October 1981, 0 246 10915 7
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Inside Boss: South Africa’s Secret Police 
by Gordon Winter.
Penguin, 640 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 9780140057515
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Crime in Wartime: A Social History of Crime in World War II 
by Edward Smithies.
Allen and Unwin, 219 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 04 364020 6
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... pains to underline their culpability and to scorn their protestations of innocence, which Mr Parker certainly does, there is no doubt that this type of highly personalised saga (it is ‘Charlie’ and ‘Eddy’ throughout) invites a substantial degree of sympathy with the villains and dignifies their lives with attention they ill ...

That’s Liquor!

Nick James, 7 March 1996

Leaving Las Vegas 
directed by Mike Figgis.
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... magnifier for all that 30-foot-tall emoting. As Alan Rudolph’s lugubrious 1995 biopic of Dorothy Parker, Mrs Parker and the Vicious Circle, illustrates, it was Prohibition that made boozing an essential act of transgression among the Hollywood crowd of the Twenties and Thirties, matching the literary hard drinking of the ...

Peter Wright, Judges and Journalists

R.W. Johnson, 3 September 1987

... The Police threatened and blackmailed witnesses into lying on a grand scale; Lord Chief Justice Parker went through extraordinary antics in order to try to prejudice the result of the trial. According to Knightley and Kennedy’s An Affair of State, the judge in the case, Mr Justice Marshall, was overheard in conversation with ‘a person very high up in ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht, 3 July 2014

Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... as an émigré, and returned to Berlin only to clash with the East German apparatchiks. Stephen Parker’s superb biography of a great iconoclastic writer is impressively sourced, rich in detail, well-paced, highly readable yet serious. His Brecht was chastened by the dark times, but remained what his friend and stage designer Caspar Neher called him in his ...

Puffed up, Slapped down

Rosemary Hill: Charles and Camilla, 7 September 2017

Prince Charles: The Passions and Paradoxes of an Improbable Life 
by Sally Bedell Smith.
Michael Joseph, 624 pp., £25, April 2017, 978 0 7181 8780 4
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The Duchess: The Untold Story 
by Penny Junor.
William Collins, 320 pp., £20, June 2017, 978 0 00 821100 4
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... her present subject since 1987, when her first biography of Charles resulted in a writ from Andrew Parker Bowles. She assures us that they laugh about it now. It would be easier to feel sorry for Charles if he didn’t feel so intensely and publicly sorry for himself. One of the British words Smith has to explain to her American readers is ‘whingeing’. Yet ...

Shapeshifter

Ian Penman: Elvis looks for meaning, 25 September 2014

Elvis Has Left the Building: The Day the King Died 
by Dylan Jones.
Duckworth, 307 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 7156 4856 8
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Elvis Presley: A Southern Life 
by Joel Williamson.
Oxford, 384 pp., £25, November 2014, 978 0 19 986317 4
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... a government pension, he wrote: ‘I depend upon myself and do the best I can, which is bad.’ As Peter Whitmer puts it in The Inner Elvis (1996), ‘there was a history to the emptiness that flawed Vernon’s character and created the subsequent psychological hole in Elvis’s personality. Both the lack of and the need for a father figure seemed to be a ...

Kinsella in His Hole

Hilary Mantel, 19 May 2016

... the teachers ate. Not the nuns – they went home to their own dinner in the convent – but Mrs Parker and Mrs Bacup, and Miss Dowd who taught the babies’ class. In privacy, they set into big pies, like Desperate Dan: at least, we thought so. But our teacher brought sandwiches in greaseproof paper. When she first arrived she had given scandal by fetching ...

Battle of Britain

Patrick O’Brian, 7 July 1988

The Spanish Armada 
by Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker.
Hamish Hamilton, 296 pp., £15, April 1988, 0 241 12125 6
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Armada 1588-1988 
by M.J. Rodriguez-Salgado.
Penguin and the National Maritime Museum, 295 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 14 010301 5
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Armada: A Celebration of the 400th Anniversary of the Defeat of the Spanish Armada 1588-1988 
by Peter Padfield.
Gollancz, 208 pp., £14.95, April 1988, 0 575 03729 6
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Froude’s ‘Spanish Story of the Armada’, and Other Essays 
edited by A.L. Rowse.
Sutton, 262 pp., £5.95, May 1988, 0 86299 500 0
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Ireland’s Armada Legacy 
by Laurence Flanagan.
Sutton, 210 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 9780862994730
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The Armada in the Public Records 
by N.A.M. Rodger.
HMSO, 76 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 11 440215 9
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The Spanish Armada: The Experience of War in 1588 
by Felipe Fernandez-Armesto.
Oxford, 300 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 19 822926 7
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... to plunge into the middle or just beyond and then work back and forth as Colin Martin and Geoffrey Parker do in The Spanish Armada. The first page shows Sir John Hawkins writing a dispatch to Walsingham dated from on board the Victory in the North Sea on 10 August 1588. Somewhere to leeward, in spite of the fierce running battle of Gravelines two ...

Bin the bric-à-brac

Joanne O’Leary: Sara Baume, 4 January 2018

A Line Made by Walking 
by Sara Baume.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.99, February 2017, 978 1 78515 041 8
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... framed by snippets in which she ‘tests’ her recollection of works by Marco Evaristti, Cornelia Parker, Vito Acconci (this is a book to be read with Wikipedia open beside you); it has a list of artworks at the back – a glossary of the mental museum Frankie carries around. ‘Now that I am no longer a student of any kind,’ she tells us, ‘I must take ...

Utopian about the Present

Christopher Turner: The Brutalist Ethic, 4 July 2019

Alison and Peter Smithson 
by Mark Crinson.
Historic England, 150 pp., £30, June 2018, 978 1 84802 352 9
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Municipal Dreams: The Rise and Fall of Council Housing 
by John Boughton.
Verso, 330 pp., £9.99, April 2019, 978 1 78478 740 0
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... In​ 1972, the architects Alison and Peter Smithson completed Robin Hood Gardens, their only council estate. The couple were famous for projects such as the Mies van der Rohe-inspired Hunstanton School (1954) in Norfolk; the three chamfered, stone-clad towers of the Economist Building (1959-65) in Piccadilly; and the timber-screened Garden Building (1967-70) at St Hilda’s College, Oxford ...

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