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1086, 1886, 1986 and all that

John Dodgson, 22 May 1986

Domesday: 900 Years of England’s Norman Heritage 
edited by Kate Allen.
Millbank in association with the National Domesday Committee, 192 pp., £3, March 1986, 0 946171 49 1
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The Normans and the Norman Conquest 
by R. Allen Brown.
Boydell, 259 pp., £19.50, January 1985, 0 85115 427 1
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The Domesday Book: England’s Heritage, Then and Now 
edited by Thomas Hinde.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £14.95, October 1985, 0 09 161830 4
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Domesday Heritage 
edited by Elizabeth Hallam.
Arrow, 95 pp., £3.95, February 1986, 0 09 945800 4
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Domesday Book through Nine Centuries 
by Elizabeth Hallam.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £12.50, March 1986, 0 500 25097 9
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Domesday Book: A Reassessment 
edited by Peter Sawyer.
Arnold, 182 pp., £25, October 1985, 0 7131 6440 9
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... The impending 1986 celebrations might well have prompted the publication of the second edition of Allen Brown’s The Normans and the Norman Conquest. Originally published in 1969, this book presents the Conquest of England as a part of the Norman ‘expansion’ which also colonised Sicily and Antioch. It is corrective of the Anglo-Saxon ...

Eastern Promises

J.L. Nelson: The Christian Holy War, 29 November 2007

God’s War: A New History of the Crusades 
by Christopher Tyerman.
Penguin, 1024 pp., £12.99, October 2007, 978 0 14 026980 2
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... and economic interests gave new priority to the Near East, young men like T.E. Lawrence and R. Allen Brown, whose university history had included the crusades by happenstance, fought in crusader territory and then went on to write the crusades into medieval history. The dismemberment of the Ottoman Empire brought the creation of new states with new ...

Petal by Petal

C.K. Stead, 27 May 1993

E.E. Cummings: Complete Poems 1904-1962 
edited by George Firmage.
Liveright, 1102 pp., £33, January 1993, 0 87140 145 2
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... In the Woody Allen movie Hannah and Her Sisters Eliot (Michael Caine) contrives to cross paths on a Manhattan street with his sister-in-law. Lee (Barbara Hershey), with whom he has fallen in love. He pretends to be hunting for a bookshop: she shows him the way to it and there he finds, as if by chance, E.E. Cummings’s Collected Poems, which he insists on buying for her ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... who of Nashville, Austin and Bakersfield turned out for Burns’s camera, 85 strong. They’re a pleasure to watch, and if they’re dishonest, they’re disarming about it. ‘Truth-telling,’ Ketch Secor says in the first episode, ‘which country music at its best ...

Big Pod

Richard Poirier: How Podhoretz Dumped His Friends, 2 September 1999

Ex-Friends 
by Norman Podhoretz.
Free Press, 256 pp., $25, February 1999, 0 684 85594 1
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... of Commentary, was closely involved from the early Fifties until the early Seventies: Allen Ginsberg, Lionel and Diana Trilling, Hannah Arendt, Lillian Hellman and Norman Mailer. It was in the early years of this same period, the first five years of the Sixties, that what was often called the Family, a closely allied group of mostly New York ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... a narrative medium originally developed for one kind of story (superhero adventures) and now being re-adapted for another kind (the cartoonist’s autobiography). In the process, we see that these two types of material are not so different as they may at first seem. The most striking similarity between the superhero comic and the memoir-in-comics is the motif ...

The Leopard

James Meek: A Leopard in the Family, 19 June 2014

... By the time I met the leopard the gold had faded to beige and the black spots to donkey-brown. Once I took the photos into primary school, thinking to impress the girls with the exoticism of my family history. It didn’t go as I’d hoped. It wasn’t that they mocked the notion of an undersized ten-year-old in grey flannel shorts and National ...
... the feminist movement. Only a few lesbian novelists – Jeanette Winterson in Britain, Rita Mae Brown in the States – have become ‘crossover’ writers with a mass-market audience including, presumably, many straight readers. Perhaps a few more gay male writers – Paul Monette, David Leavitt and Armistead Maupin in the US, Alan Hollinghurst, Paul ...

Malfunctioning Sex Robot

Patricia Lockwood: Updike Redux, 10 October 2019

Novels, 1959-65: ‘The Poorhouse Fair’; ‘Rabbit, Run’; ‘The Centaur’; ‘Of the Farm’ 
by John Updike.
Library of America, 850 pp., £36, November 2018, 978 1 59853 581 5
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... bring in a 37-year-old woman to review John Updike in the year of our Lord 2019 unless you’re hoping to see blood on the ceiling. ‘Absolutely not,’ I said when first approached, because I knew I would try to read everything, and fail, and spend days trying to write an adequate description of his nostrils, and all I would be left with after months ...

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