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Democracy and Sectarianism: A Political and Social History of Liverpool 1868-1939 
by P.J. Waller.
Liverpool, 556 pp., £24.50, May 1981, 0 85223 074 5
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... special was the composition of the Liverpool electorate in its changing form. Religion, or, as Waller’s title has it, sectarianism, was a more influential factor than in any other great city of the 19th century. Liverpool had long been distinguished by its Protestantism, partly maybe in reaction to the Roman Catholicism which was still strong in the ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... two maids, a cook, a gardener, a houseman-cum-assistant gardener and eventually a chauffeur. As Philip Waller remarks in his extraordinary compendium of turn-of-the-century literary life in Britain, ‘Corelli’s sense of grandeur was the inverse of her sense of the absurd.’ He doesn’t stint his illustration of the point: A daily ritual was her ...

King of Razz

Alfred Appel Jr: Homage to Fats Waller, 9 May 2002

... On the eve of World War Two, Fats Waller was, after Louis Armstrong, the jazz musician and jazz entertainer best known and most loved by the American and English populations at large. In recent years, however, Waller’s reputation has declined, possibly because the jazz canon has room for only one cut-up: Armstrong ...

Why Do the Tories Always Have the Luck?

Peter Clarke, 23 February 1995

Conservative Century: The Conservative Party since 1900 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Stuart Ball.
Oxford, 842 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 19 820238 5
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... authorities on specialist topics to write essays which provide a synthesis of their research. Philip Norton (who made his name writing about dissident Conservative MPs long before nature imitated art and this became such a fashionable activity) proves a lucid and well-informed guide to the workings of the Parliamentary party. Richard Kelly usefully ...

Johnson’s Business

Keith Walker, 7 August 1980

A Dictionary of the English Language 
by Samuel Johnson.
Times, 2558 pp., £45, June 1980, 0 7230 0228 2
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Dictionary Johnson: Samuel Johnson’s Middle Years 
by James Clifford.
Heinemann, 372 pp., £10, February 1980, 0 434 13805 3
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... century, the Royal Society established a committee including Dryden, John Evelyn and Edmund Waller, ‘to improve the English tongue’. Nothing much came of this. In 1658, Milton’s nephew Edward Philips had published a New World of English Words which reached its seventh edition by 1720. Swift busied himself with the state of the language in his ...


Alastair Fowler, 9 November 1989

Melodious Guile: Fictive Pattern in Poetic Language 
by John Hollander.
Yale, 262 pp., £20, January 1989, 0 300 04293 0
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Second World and Green World: Studies in Renaissance Fiction-Making 
by Harry Berger.
California, 519 pp., $54, November 1988, 0 520 05826 7
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... of poet-critics is that they are crypto-specialists, and know the kind of poetry they want.) Is Waller always slant, or Crabbe, or Whitman? On the last of these Hollander writes convincingly, yet leaves a doubt whether indirection is, for him, quite the main thing. In some of the best passages, Hollander brings home afresh the sheer extraordinariness and ...

I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth: ‘Brief Lives’, 8 October 2015

‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ 
by John Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett.
Oxford, 1968 pp., £250, March 2015, 978 0 19 968953 8
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John Aubrey: My Own Life 
by Ruth Scurr.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 0 7011 7907 6
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... of John Aubrey’s 17th-century writing. ‘My great Uncle … remembred him,’ Aubrey wrote of Philip Sidney, dead for three generations, ‘and sayd that he was wont, as he was hunting on our pleasant plaines, to take his Table booke out … and write downe his notions as they came into his head when he was writing his Arcadia.’ Searching for memories ...

Horror like Thunder

Germaine Greer: Lucy Hutchinson, 21 June 2001

Order and Disorder 
by Lucy Hutchinson, edited by David Norbrook.
Blackwell, 272 pp., £55, January 2001, 0 631 22061 5
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... up of the trust of two of her grand-daughters, one of whom was married to Thomas Wharton, son of Philip, Baron Wharton, the Nonconformists’ champion in the House of Lords and John Owen’s patron. Her son, the poet Rochester, was a supporter of Buckingham, was listed by Shaftesbury as ‘worthy’, and despite repeated bouts of severe illness served on the ...

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