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Glittering Fiend

Ian Hamilton: John Berryman, 9 December 1999

Berryman's Shakespeare 
edited by John Haffenden.
Farrar, Straus, 396 pp., $35, February 1999, 0 374 11205 3
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John Berryman’s Personal Library: A Catalogue 
by Richard Kelly.
Lang, 433 pp., £39, March 1999, 0 8204 3998 3
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... poets like Delmore Schwartz and Robert Lowell. Even the professors he saw most of – Van Doren, Richard Blackmur – published poems and were reckoned to be mildly cranky. Van Doren, for instance, would later advise Berryman that ‘scholarship’ was fit only ‘for those with shovels, whereas you’re a man of the pen, the wind, the flying horse, the ...

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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... activity) proves a lucid and well-informed guide to the workings of the Parliamentary party. Richard Kelly usefully distils his work on the party conference and James Kellas is able to deploy his wide knowledge of Scottish politics to chart the Conservatives’ failure north of the border. Richard Cockett draws on ...
A Traitor’s Kiss: The Life of Richard Brinsley Sheridan 
by Fintan O’Toole.
Granta, 516 pp., £20, October 1997, 1 86207 026 1
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Richard Brinsley Sheridan: A Life 
by Linda Kelly.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 366 pp., £25, April 1997, 1 85619 207 5
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Sheridan’s Nightingale: The Story of Elizabeth Linley 
by Alan Chedzoy.
Allison and Busby, 322 pp., £15.99, April 1997, 0 7490 0264 6
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... Fintan O’Toole’s publishers announce that Richard Brinsley Sheridan has been generally ill-served by biographers, ‘who rehash the familiar outlines of his story every decade or so without bringing any intelligent new insights to the task’. By contrast, O’Toole has written a ‘gripping, carefully composed exploration of Sheridan’s career ...

Two Americas and a Scotland

Nicholas Everett, 27 September 1990

Collected Poems, 1937-1971 
by John Berryman, edited by Charles Thornbury.
Faber, 348 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14317 2
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The Dream Songs 
by John Berryman.
Faber, 427 pp., £17.50, February 1990, 0 571 14318 0
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Poems 1959-1979 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 112 pp., $19.95, November 1989, 0 394 58021 4
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These Days 
by Frederick Seidel.
Knopf, 50 pp., $18.95, October 1989, 0 394 58022 2
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A Scottish Assembly 
by Robert Crawford.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.99, April 1990, 0 7011 3595 6
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... wrote his mother from Cambridge from 1936 to 1938. Ironically, the letters themselves (edited by Richard Kelly in We dream of honour, 1988) often have the bathetic tone, the self-mocking grandiosity, on which The Dream Songs thrives but which the simple lyrics in Love – Fame rarely achieve. Berryman’s ‘Afterword’ to the first British edition of ...

Gentlemen Did Not Dig

Rosemary Hill: 18th-Century Gap Years, 24 June 2010

The Society of Dilettanti: Archaeology and Identity in the British Enlightenment 
by Jason Kelly.
Yale, 366 pp., £40, January 2010, 978 0 300 15219 7
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... and Bread & Cheese to my friends the Garretteers in Grubstreet for these few days past.’ Jason Kelly, writing for a transatlantic audience, goes to greater lengths to account for this and other similar ‘moments of semiotic disjuncture’, as he calls them, than is perhaps necessary for a British readership whose ears still occasionally ring to the sound ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis, 4 April 2002

Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... were removed from the scene. Finally, on 9 November, the Whitechapel murderer killed Mary Jane Kelly, who is treated by Curtis as the final victim. The murderer was almost certainly male and probably right-handed. He possessed either some anatomical training or enough education to study surgical textbooks. Even if one discounts the xenophobia of ...

One Stock and Nation

Christopher Kelly: Roman Britain, 11 February 2010

The Recovery of Roman Britain 1586-1906: A Colony so Fertile 
by Richard Hingley.
Oxford, 389 pp., £83, June 2008, 978 0 19 923702 9
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... but developed its own distinct identity as a province of its empire.’ Virgil would be delighted. Richard Hingley’s book deals with the troublesome process of uncovering Roman Britain. This is difficult territory. He explores how, between 1586 (the date of William Camden’s Britannia) and 1906 (when Francis Haverfield’s lecture on ‘The Romanisation of ...

A Misreading of the Law

Conor Gearty: Why didn’t Campbell sue?, 19 February 2004

Report of the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Dr David Kelly CMG 
by Lord Hutton.
Stationery Office, 740 pp., £70, January 2004, 0 10 292715 4
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... despised abroad and at home, this crowing may prove not to have been the wisest of moves. David Kelly’s decision to take his own life on 17 July 2003 produced a wave of public revulsion against the government, and against the prime minister in particular. It could have seemed a relatively minor event – the sad death of an eminent public servant who had ...

Wrong Again

Bruce Cumings: Korean War Games, 4 December 2003

... compared to the exaggerations of the Bush Administration and its emissary to Pyongyang, James Kelly. Coming into office when the CIA’s ‘one or two devices’ estimate was nearly a decade old, Bush contrived to hype the threat, while at the same time downplaying the idea that its size made a difference: the North might have two or six or eight atomic ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Darwinians & Creationists, 1 November 2001

... Nobel Nominee, Director of Center for Computational Quantum Chemistry, U. of Georgia’ down to ‘Richard Sternberg, Invertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution’ (would he be higher up the list if he were studying vertebrates?). Their assertion that ‘careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be ...

Insurrectionary Hopes

Matthew Kelly: Myths of 1916, 1 December 2005

Easter 1916: The Irish Rebellion 
by Charles Townshend.
Allen Lane, 442 pp., £20, September 2005, 0 7139 9690 0
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... trenchant than they at first appear. In this way, Townshend has done for the rebels of 1916 what Richard English did for the IRA in Armed Struggle (2003) – neither provides succour for the keepers of their respective flames. In other ways, too, this history is very much of its time. It ends on a conciliatory note, comparing the battle of Dublin with the ...

Englishmen’s Castles

Gavin Stamp, 7 February 1980

The Victorian Country House 
by Mark Girouard.
Yale, 470 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 300 02390 1
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The Artist and the Country House 
by John Harris.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 376 pp., £37.50, November 1980, 0 85667 053 7
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National Trust Studies 1980 
edited by Gervase Jackson-Stops.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, 175 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 85667 065 0
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... the end of the 18th century topography is firmly part of English landscape painting in the work of Richard Wilson, Gainsborough, Constable and Turner, all of whom are represented. The value of this book to architectural historians is immense, since many of the houses illustrated have since been altered or rebuilt, or have altogether disappeared, like the ...


Andrew Brighton: On Peter Fuller, 7 November 1991

... extinction. Back in 1975, Spens replaced Peter Townsend as editor of Studio International with Richard Cork. Townsend went on to found Art Monthly in 1976 with Jack and Nell Wendler. Under Townsend, James Faure-Walker had been a contributor to Studio International. Cork made his copy less welcome and Faure-Walker and others set up Artscribe. Eventually ...

Four Funerals and a Wedding

Andrew O’Hagan: If something happens to me…, 5 May 2005

... and cover a few boos, with a rendition of ‘Congratulations’, a song once sung by Cliff Richard to remind people that happiness is a feeling constantly under threat from the songs that celebrate it. ‘Beautiful white dress,’ the woman from the BBC said. ‘Hardly white,’ the person beside me said. ‘She’s got two huge children.’ ‘It ...


Peter Wollen: In the Tunnel, 28 April 1994

... foot of the falls. Marilyn Monroe wears them in the movie, Niagara, and you can see them on Gene Kelly and the gang in the pre-credit sequence of Singin’ in the Rain. Once we were kitted out against quakes and floods, we gave up our passports for inspection and were taken by bus to a security office at the head of the gigantic well which had been sunk at ...

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