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Let’s get the hell out of here

Patrick Parrinder, 29 September 1988

The Satanic Verses 
by Salman Rushdie.
Viking, 547 pp., £12.95, September 1988, 0 670 82537 9
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The Lost Father 
by Marina Warner.
Chatto, 277 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3220 5
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Nice Work 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 277 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 436 25667 3
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... incident in the life of the Prophet. Mohammed used to meet and converse with the angel Gabriel on a mountain near Mecca, and the verses of the Koran were dictated to him on these occasions. But one day, as a ninth-century historian tells us, while Mohammed was negotiating with the rulers of Mecca, the Devil ‘threw upon his tongue’ verses ...

At the Foundling Museum

Joanne O’Leary: ‘Portraying Pregnancy’, 2 April 2020

... Annunciation (1876-79) shows the Virgin receiving news of her pregnancy from the Angel Gabriel. This (the First Joyful Mystery) preoccupied me from the age of nine or ten. I may not have got my period, I may have been years from letting any of the lads from school put a hand up my skirt in the handball alley, but the anxiety persisted. ...

Great Instructor

Charles Nicholl, 31 August 1989

Ben Jonson: A Life 
by David Riggs.
Harvard, 399 pp., £27.95, April 1989, 0 674 06625 1
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... in Kyd’s evergreen Spanish Tragedy was a plum part. His first mention in the accounts of Philip Henslowe, manager of the Rose theatre, is the loan of £4 in ‘redey mony’ to ‘Bengemen Iohnson, player’. I wish he was here to pass comment on latest developments at the Rose. He would hardly be surprised: this smothering of the theatre in an ...

Cameron’s Crank

Jonathan Raban: ‘Red Tory’, 22 April 2010

Red Tory: How Left and Right Have Broken Britain and How We Can Fix it 
by Phillip Blond.
Faber, 309 pp., £12.99, April 2010, 978 0 571 25167 4
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... died recently, but is Jill still around? Where’s Shula? What’s with Eddie Grundy? Old Walter Gabriel must be long gone, but what happened to his scapegrace son, Nelson? Are the village shop and post office still open, or does everyone in Ambridge have to drive to Borchester to shop at Tesco? Is The Bull now part of the portfolio of Punch Taverns plc? I ...

Caretaker/Pallbearer

James Wolcott: Updike should stay at home, 1 January 2009

The Widows of Eastwick 
by John Updike.
Hamish Hamilton, 308 pp., £18.99, October 2008, 978 0 241 14427 5
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... later, Wallace is no longer with us, but two of the Great Male Narcissists he cited, Updike and Philip Roth, are still displaying their self-absorbency and depriving tender young empaths of valuable column inches. With an almost audible sigh, Updike concedes that the pups have a point. ‘He or she may feel, as the grey-haired scribes of the day continue to ...

Scribblers and Assassins

Charles Nicholl: The Crimes of Thomas Drury, 31 October 2002

... air at this time. Hints had appeared in print, in the loquacious pamphlets of Robert Greene and Gabriel Harvey and Thomas Nashe, but more damagingly precise were the reports of Government informers – a flourishing trade in the police-state atmosphere of late Elizabethan London. There are two key documents, generally referred to as the ‘Baines ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... at Newgate in 1824. The central male figure in Lucretia is an artist, murderer and forger called Gabriel Varney, who was reworked from elements in the life of the forger-poisoner Thomas Griffiths Wainewright. Bulwer-Lytton was the most distinguished of the sensationally popular Newgate novelists. His closest rival, Harrison Ainsworth, managed nothing more ...

Born to Network

Anthony Grafton, 22 August 1996

The Fortunes of ‘The Courtier’: The European Reception of Castiglione’s ‘Cortegiano’ 
by Peter Burke.
Polity, 209 pp., £39.50, October 1995, 0 7456 1150 8
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... as to his definition of the artless art of conversation. Others understood it more pragmatically. Gabriel Harvey, an ambitious Elizabethan policy wonk whose beautifully written marginalia offer some of the richest information we have about Early Modern ways of reading, annotated The Courtier in minute detail (his copy is now in the Newberry Library in that ...

In a Dry Place

Nicolas Tredell, 11 October 1990

On the Look-Out: A Partial Autobiography 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1989, 0 85635 758 8
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In Two Minds: Guesses at Other Writers 
by C.H. Sisson.
Carcanet, 296 pp., £18.95, September 1990, 0 85635 877 0
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... historians should consult his remarks on X, Catacomb, and the New English Weekly edited by Philip Mairet, a man of integrity and enthusiasm whom Sisson affectionately evokes: ‘his eyes would light up as visibly as the bulbs on a pin-table, as the ideas rattled round.’ The bohemian world of poets, painters and little magazines, the ‘natural ...

Francine-Machine

Jonathan Rée: Automata, 9 May 2002

Devices of Wonder: From the World in a Box to Images on a Screen 
by Barbara Maria Stafford and Frances Terpak.
Getty, 416 pp., £30, February 2002, 0 89236 590 0
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The Secret Life of Puppets 
by Victoria Nelson.
Harvard, 350 pp., £20.50, February 2002, 0 674 00630 5
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Living Dolls: A Magical History of the Quest for Mechanical Life 
by Gaby Wood.
Faber, 278 pp., £12.99, March 2002, 0 571 17879 0
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... Self and Lars von Trier with Carrington and Anna Kavan, as well as St Augustine, Giordano Bruno, Philip K. Dick, Walt Disney and J.R.R. Tolkien. Her cast of ‘imagined puppets’ ranges from the entertainers in Ben Jonson’s Bartholemew Fair, through E.T.A. Hoffmann’s weird Olympia to Karel Capek’s robots, and such lower forms of life as ...

Tennyson’s Text

Danny Karlin, 12 November 1987

The Poems of Tennyson 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Longman, 662 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 582 49239 4
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Tennyson’s ‘Maud’: A Definitive Edition 
edited by Susan Shatto.
Athlone, 296 pp., £28, August 1986, 0 485 11294 9
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The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Vol.2: 1851-1870 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 585 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 19 812691 3
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The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 654 pp., £15.95, June 1987, 0 19 214154 6
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... Tennyson knew this particular story. Do you read through every book given to you as a present? Philip Larkin, reviewing Ricks’s 1969 edition, singled out the lines ‘O why have they not buried me deep enough’ as shapeless and unrhythmical; he managed to find a Larkinesque side of Tennyson to admire (‘Northern Farmer, New Style’), but the general ...

The Cadaver Club

Iain Sinclair, 22 December 1994

Original Sin 
by P.D. James.
Faber, 426 pp., £14.99, October 1994, 0 571 17253 9
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Dan Leno and the Limehouse Golem 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 282 pp., £14.99, September 1994, 1 85619 507 4
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The Hidden Files: An Autobiography 
by Derek Raymond.
Warner, 342 pp., £5.99, December 1994, 0 7515 1184 6
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Not till the Red Fog Rises 
by Derek Raymond.
Little, Brown, 248 pp., £15.99, December 1994, 0 316 91014 7
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... fretting to escape the inconvenience of some vulgar stiff and get at those rough flint churches. Philip Larkin (sans bicycle clips) with a Byronic makeover. Larkin reimagined by Barbara Cartland, all scowls and flashing coattails, piercing glances. This wholesome, outdoorsy Englishness, bracing weather and privatised mayhem between consenting adults, has a ...

Which play was performed at the Globe Theatre on 7 February 1601?

Blair Worden: A Play for Plotters, 10 July 2003

... Yet Daniel – whose account of Bolingbroke’s usurpation, according to the Elizabethan writer Gabriel Harvey, was admired by Mountjoy – represents the coup as a ‘sin’. In words recalling Hayward’s assessment of its consequences, he explains that he wrote the poem ‘to show the deformities of civil dissension, and the miserable events of ...

Wilderness of Tigers

Michael Neill: Shakespeare’s Latin, 19 March 2015

Shakespeare and Classical Antiquity 
by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 281 pp., £16.99, September 2013, 978 0 19 968479 3
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... satire and romantic tragedy. It was such violations of classical decorum that so affronted Philip Sidney and caused him to rail against his contemporaries’ taste for ‘mongrel tragi-comedy’. Shakespeare liked nothing better than to tease or confound his audience’s expectations: he renders the tragic effect of Othello even more cruel by means of ...

Growing

Barbara Everett, 31 March 1988

... and Roman Catholics went to the university earlier; sometimes much earlier; only eccentrics like Gabriel Harvey stayed for ever. These are the norms, and Hamlet’s intellectual youth, high in nuisance value, indicates that he adhered to these norms. Even the black of his mourning garments must have helped suggestively to support the point of his youth ...

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