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Richard Luckett, 21 December 1989

I.A. Richards: His Life and Work 
by John Paul Russo.
Routledge, 843 pp., £40, May 1989, 0 415 03134 6
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... Bless you’ was Ivor Richards’s characteristic farewell in his last years, an envoi which never failed to convey the careful omission of ‘God’. Yet it also recalled, because what he said, though not what he wrote, was often highly allusive, his choice in life of                     Whatever most can bless The mind of man or elevate a rhyme ...

Bad Nights at ‘The Libertine’

Keith Walker, 8 October 1992

Handel’s ‘Messiah’: A Celebration 
by Richard Luckett.
Gollancz, 258 pp., £18.99, April 1992, 0 575 05286 4
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The Rise of Musical Classics in 18th-Century England: A Study in Canon, Ritual and Ideology 
by William Weber.
Oxford, 274 pp., £35, July 1992, 0 19 816287 1
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... the virtual extinction of original English music for more than a hundred years’. Richard Luckett will have no truck with cultural snobbery of this sort, even if he fastidiously forgets ‘Hallelujah’ when he writes that in ‘For now is Christ risen’ Christ is ‘named for the first time in Messiah’. His quirky, learned, acerbic ...

Pepys’s Place

Pat Rogers, 16 June 1983

The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Vol X: Companion and Vol XI: Index 
edited by Robert Latham.
Bell and Hyman, 626 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 7135 1993 2
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The Diary of John Evelyn 
edited by John Bowle.
Oxford, 476 pp., £19.50, April 1983, 0 19 251011 8
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The Brave Courtier: Sir William Temple 
by Richard Faber.
Faber, 187 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 571 11982 4
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... making’ of Sir Arthur Bryant’s three-volume life – that is, a sort of apprentice Pepys only. Richard Ollard’s Pepys (1974) is less strangely proportioned from this point of view, but again there is a deliberate attempt to set the familiar Pepys in a context of broader aspiration and achievement. Much of the new Companion volume rehearses the findings ...

Realty Meltdown

Geoff Dyer, 24 August 1995

Independence Day 
by Richard Ford.
Harvill, 451 pp., £14.99, July 1995, 1 86046 020 8
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... Richard Ford’s narrator, Frank Bascombe, quit serious writing to become a sports-writer. This was the making of Ford. It wasn’t until he became Bascombe, the sportswriter, that Ford turned himself into a major novelist. At odd moments in The Sportswriter, Frank looks back on his abandoned literary career. He had published a ‘promising’ collection of stories, Blue Autumn, and had then started on a novel which he never finished ...

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