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Penelope Fitzgerald, 3 December 1992

Letters from Margaret: Correspondence between Bernard Shaw and Margaret Wheeler 1944-50 
edited by Rebecca Swift.
Chatto, 279 pp., £13.99, November 1992, 0 7011 4783 0
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... Margaret (whom she thought of as her honorary aunt) pressed on relentlessly with her campaign. Rebecca Swift, who has edited this correspondence, says that Shaw’s interest was caught – a ‘score’, as he pointed out himself, for Margaret – because of his ‘life-long fascination with unconventional family set-ups, orphans, changelings’. She ...

Carry up your Coffee boldly

Thomas Keymer: Jonathan Swift, 17 April 2014

Jonathan SwiftHis Life and His World 
by Leo Damrosch.
Yale, 573 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 16499 2
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Parodies, Hoaxes, Mock Treatises: ‘Polite Conversation’, ‘Directions to Servants’ and Other Works 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Valerie Rumbold.
Cambridge, 821 pp., £85, July 2013, 978 0 521 84326 3
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Journal to Stella: Letters to Esther Johnson and Rebecca Dingley, 1710-13 
by Jonathan Swift, edited by Abigail Williams.
Cambridge, 800 pp., £85, December 2013, 978 0 521 84166 5
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... Swift once said​ his favourite writer was La Rochefoucauld, ‘because I found my whole character in him.’ But what did he mean? Not, surely, that he personally resembled a Grand Siècle courtier who prided himself on – among other incongruous attributes – mild passions, virtuous sentiments and flawless social polish ...

Imbued … with Exigence

Christopher Tayler: Rachel Cusk, 22 September 2005

In the Fold 
by Rachel Cusk.
Faber, 224 pp., £10.99, September 2005, 0 571 22813 5
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... a void into which I often fall’. And so does the novel, ‘surfacing from character for a swift second before plunging back into the drama’. Stella is often ‘assailed’ by a ‘strange symbolical sense of my own activities’. In The Temporary (1995) and The Lucky Ones (2003), on the other hand, the presence of more than one tortured ...


Nicholas Penny: At the races, 6 February 2003

... to that of the racecourse – and with similarly protracted foreplay before the few minutes of swift action. The Sport of Kings,* Rebecca Cassidy’s account of life as a ‘lad’ (the term is preferred by the many women who do the job) working for a Newmarket trainer and as a hand on a stud-farm is sometimes ...

Bought a gun, found the man

Anne Hollander: Eadweard Muybridge, 24 July 2003

Motion Studies: Time, Space and Eadweard Muybridge 
by Rebecca Solnit.
Bloomsbury, 305 pp., £16.99, February 2003, 0 7475 6220 2
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... birds and persons that have made him famous in camera history as a founding father of the movies. Rebecca Solnit’s striking introductory photograph shows what she wants us to see in Muybridge’s own pictures, and in him. Her subject is not just his life, but the unstable creative intensity of his relation to his world: the Wild West of the United ...

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