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Shakespeares

David Norbrook, 18 July 1985

Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... Shakespeare and his contemporaries which deserve this more permanent format; and in the essay on Richard II he does present a Shakespeare with a sharper political and historical consciousness than the more genial stereotype allows. Recent scholarship has in fact been questioning the traditional image of Shakespeare in a number of ways. In his Shakespeare’s ...

Physicke from Another Body

Michael Neill: Cannibal Tinctures, 1 December 2011

Medicinal Cannibalism in Early Modern English Literature and Culture 
by Louise Noble.
Palgrave Macmillan, 241 pp., £52, March 2011, 978 0 230 11027 4
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Mummies, Cannibals and Vampires: The History of Corpse Medicine from the Renaissance to the Victorians 
by Richard Sugg.
Routledge, 374 pp., £24.99, June 2011, 978 0 415 67417 1
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... is to the investigation of such demonic remedies that the groundbreaking work of Louise Noble and Richard Sugg is devoted. The belief that a wide range of maladies could be cured by the consumption of human remains – principally in the form of so-called ‘mummy’ – persisted in Europe for at least six centuries. Although the administration of such ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... had known as The First Part of the Contention of the Two Famous Houses of York and Lancaster, Richard Duke of York and All Is True, for example, reappeared as, respectively, Henry VI Parts 2 and 3 and Henry VIII.) Pre-Christian British kings, however, though just as solemnly vouched for by Holinshed’s Chronicles, weren’t seen to count as ...

You are a milksop

Ferdinand Mount, 7 May 2020

Providence Lost: The Rise and Fall of Cromwell’s Protectorate 
by Paul Lay.
Head of Zeus, 352 pp., £30, January 2020, 978 1 78185 256 9
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... sister of the Thomas Cromwell who went on to become Henry VIII’s great minister. Morgan’s son Richard entered his uncle’s service and changed his name to Cromwell in 1529. (Occasionally Oliver referred to himself as ‘Cromwell alias Williams’ – even on his funeral effigy he is described as ‘Of the name Williams, of Glamorgan, and by King Henry ...

Losers

Conrad Russell, 4 October 1984

The Experience of Defeat: Milton and Some Contemporaries 
by Christopher Hill.
Faber, 342 pp., £12.50, July 1984, 0 571 13237 5
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... is easy to come by: the author of ‘Last Instructions to a Painter’ is also the author of ‘To Richard Lovelace’, and of the vitriolic assault on the literary reputation of Tom May. Even by itself, the Horatian Ode is not easy to read: why, for example, did he hope Cromwell would be ‘to Italy an Hannibal’? Hannibal was on the wrong side, and ...

And That Rug!

Michael Dobson: Images of Shakespeare, 6 November 2003

Shakespeare’s Face: The Story behind the Newly Discovered Portrait 
by Stephanie Nolen.
Piatkus, 365 pp., £18.99, March 2003, 0 7499 2391 1
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Imagining Shakespeare: A History of Texts and Visions 
by Stephen Orgel.
Palgrave, 172 pp., £25, August 2003, 1 4039 1177 0
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Shakespeare in Art 
by Jane Martineau et al.
Merrell, 256 pp., £29.95, September 2003, 1 85894 229 2
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In Search of Shakespeare 
by Michael Wood.
BBC, 352 pp., £20, May 2003, 9780563534778
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... In the end Bate decides he wants the portrait to be of Shakespeare’s junior colleague John Fletcher – here again the book simply succumbs to the kinds of desire it intermittently purports to analyse. It is very striking that nearly all the contributors who argue that the painting is a genuine likeness of Shakespeare are Canadian, thrilled that this ...

Old Dad dead?

Michael Neill: Thomas Middleton, 4 December 2008

Thomas Middleton: The Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 2016 pp., £85, November 2007, 978 0 19 818569 7
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Thomas Middleton and Early Modern Textual Culture: A Companion to the Collected Works 
edited by Gary Taylor and John Lavagnino.
Oxford, 1183 pp., £100, November 2007, 978 0 19 818570 3
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... Shakespeare’s heir than his official successor as principal dramatist for the King’s Men, John Fletcher, the sentimental doyen of romantic tragicomedy. After Marlowe, Middleton had perhaps the most arrestingly individual voice among Shakespeare’s contemporaries; yet whether it is just (or even helpful) to claim for him the title of ‘our other ...

Tang and Tone

Stephen Fender: The Federal Writer’s Project’s American epic, 18 March 2004

Portrait of America: A Cultural History of the Federal Writers’ Project 
by Jerrold Hirsch.
North Carolina, 293 pp., £16.50, November 2003, 0 8078 5489 1
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... history. Most striking was the impetus given to the careers of black authors: Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright and Ralph Ellison were given their first chance by the FWP. Its ambition was to create – or rather to discover – a great American epic in the acts and words of ordinary men and women: to draw from the disregarded speech and customs of the ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre, 20 December 2018

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... Peterloo, framed by a Radical conspiracy devised by Hunt, Samuel Bamford and the newspaper editor Richard Carlile, a ‘free-thinker’. The TLS published an acerbic review of Walmsley’s book whose anonymous author was later revealed to be E.P. Thompson. In The Making of the English Working Class, the second edition of which was published in 1968, Thompson ...

Bastard Foreigners

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare v. the English, 2 July 2020

Shakespeare’s Englishes: Against Englishness 
by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton.
Cambridge, 245 pp., £75, October 2019, 978 1 108 49373 4
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... as an idyllic apogee of national self-definition. By the time Shakespeare and his apprentice John Fletcher co-wrote All Is True (printed as Henry VIII) in 1613, wistfulness for the previous reign was already growing, despite what the playwrights and others may have recalled about Tudor rule: agricultural depression, enclosure, the plague, the poor law and the ...

The Power of Sunshine

Alexander Cockburn, 10 January 1991

City of Quartz: Excavating the Future of Los Angeles 
by Mike Davis.
Verso, 462 pp., £18.95, November 1990, 0 86091 303 1
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... Hills under eyelids heavy with disillusion there’s been a booster, starting with Charles Fletcher Lummis, who in 1884 took 143 days to walk from Ohio to Los Angeles and was hired on arrival by the patron of the Los Angeles Times, Colonel (later General) Harrison Gray Otis. Lummis helped to forge the booster image described by Kevin Starr in his book ...

That Night at Farnham

Anne Barton, 18 August 1983

Homosexuality in Renaissance England 
by Alan Bray.
Gay Men’s Press, 149 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 907040 16 0
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Comic Women, Tragic Men: A Study of Gender and Genre in Shakespeare 
by Linda Bamber.
Stanford, 211 pp., $18.50, June 1982, 0 8047 1126 7
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Still Harping on Daughters: Women and Drama in the Age of Shakespeare 
by Lisa Jardine.
Harvester, 202 pp., £18.95, June 1983, 0 7108 0436 9
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... in defence of execrable and horrible sinnes of forbidden – unlawful fleshlinesse ... ’ Richard Barnfield, after allowing a lovesick Arcadian to pour out his passion for ‘Ganymede’ in The Affectionate Shepherd, took refuge somewhat disingenuously in the explanation that the poem was ‘nothing else but an imitation of Vergil in the second ...

In the Hyacinth Garden

Richard Poirier: ‘But oh – Vivienne!’, 3 April 2003

Painted Shadow: A Life of Vivienne Eliot 
by Carole Seymour-Jones.
Constable, 702 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 84119 636 3
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... outside her marriage; no evidence, either, that Eliot, until his second marriage, to Valerie Fletcher in 1957, when he was 68 and she 30, ever in his life had sexual relations with anyone other than Vivienne. Seymour-Jones wants desperately to prove that Eliot was homosexual before the marriage and that in large part the marriage failed because of his ...

Against Michelangelo

Rosemary Hill: ‘The Pinecone’, 11 October 2012

The Pinecone 
by Jenny Uglow.
Faber, 332 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 571 26950 1
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... Losh when they took part in an inquiry into the mutiny on the Bounty in an attempt to exonerate Fletcher Christian, whom both men had known as a boy in Cockermouth. James, who became a Unitarian and a republican while at Cambridge and consequently gave up his original plan of a career in the Church, also knew William Godwin and Coleridge. George, the only ...

Out of the East

Blair Worden, 11 October 1990

The King’s Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Thomas Wolsey 
by Peter Gwyn.
Barrie and Jenkins, 666 pp., £20, May 1990, 0 7126 2190 3
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Oliver Cromwell and the English Revolution 
by John Morrill.
Longman, 300 pp., £17.95, May 1990, 0 582 06064 8
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The Writings of William Walwyn 
edited by Jack McMichael and Barbara Taft.
Georgia, 584 pp., $45, July 1989, 0 8203 1017 4
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... have disliked anyone holding power. The episode of 1521, when Wolsey is alleged to have packed Richard Pace off to Rome, has been misunderstood, for Pace was glad to go on his embassy, and his subsequent breakdown, normally blamed on the cardinal’s ruthlessness, merely shows how unreliable are the charges Pace brought against him. The Duke of Norfolk ...

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