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Malcolm Bull, 23 March 1995

Nicolas Poussin, 1594-1665 
by Pierre Rosenberg and Louis-Antoine Prat.
Réunion des Musées Nationaux, 560 pp., frs 350, September 1994, 2 7118 3027 6
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Nicolas Poussin 
by Anthony Blunt.
Pallas Athene, 690 pp., £24.95, January 1995, 1 873429 64 9
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Nicolas Poussin 1594-1665 
by Richard Verdi, with an essay by Pierre Rosenberg.
Zwemmer, 336 pp., £39.50, January 1995, 0 302 00647 8
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Roma 1630: Il trionfo del pennello 
edited by Olivier Bonfait.
Electa, 260 pp., July 1994, 88 435 5047 0
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Poussin before Rome 1594-1624 
by Jacques Thuillier.
Feigen, 119 pp., £40, January 1995, 1 873232 03 9
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The Expression of the Passions 
by Jennifer Montagu.
Yale, 256 pp., £35, October 1994, 0 300 05891 8
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L’Ecole du silence 
by Marc Fumaroli.
Flammarion, 512 pp., frs 295, May 1994, 2 08 012618 0
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To Destroy Painting 
by Louis Marin, translated by Mette Hjort.
Chicago, 196 pp., £31.95, April 1995, 0 226 50535 9
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... of any of the possible works from the first thirty years of Poussin’s life (some were on view at Richard Feigen till 3 March and will be at Yale from 23 May), all the highly commercial erotica of the 1620s (there are a couple of examples in the National Gallery’s little room of ‘Poussin Problems’), and every one of the major allegorical and religious ...

Cad’s Cadenzas

Christopher Driver, 15 September 1988

William Walton: Behind the Façade 
by Susana Walton.
Oxford, 255 pp., £12.95, February 1988, 0 19 315156 1
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Façade: Edith Sitwell Interpreted 
by Pamela Hunter.
Duckworth, 106 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 9780715621844
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... van Beethoven’. At the same time, the composer myth is woefully inaccurate. Haydn, Telemann, Verdi reached their eighties. Anna Magdalena Bach, Constanze Mozart, Clara Schumann and Alma Mahler did more for their husbands’ posthumous fame than a gaggle of critics and sycophants. As for musical cipherdom, the unmistakable rages and affections of Frau ...

Is Wagner bad for us?

Nicholas Spice, 11 April 2013

... between the orchestra and the conductor, Hans von Bülow, grew strained: Franz Strauss, father of Richard and the brilliant first horn of the Munich orchestra, had a blazing row with von Bülow, stomped out of the pit and had to be coaxed back. Ludwig Schnorr von Carolsfeld, who sang Tristan to his wife’s Isolde, caught a chill on stage and subsequently ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting, 1 January 1998

Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... were the essential settings for so many pantomimes and ballets. The key figures in the 1840s – Richard Dadd, Joseph Noël Paton and Daniel Maclise – were not merely concerned to delight. They contaminated their sweet melodies with grotesque comedy, transformed the domestic and familiar – the bird’s nest and the woodland glade – into the furniture ...

Improving the Plays

Frank Kermode, 7 March 1996

Shakespeare at Work 
by John Jones.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, December 1995, 0 19 811966 6
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... conjecture. Sometimes one can be fairly sure what has happened; for example, in the Quarto of Richard II we read the line ‘Cry woe, destruction, ruin and decay,’ which though perfectly serviceable, is replaced in the Folio by ‘Cry woe, destruction, ruin, loss, decay’, and Jones feels sure that the change, by which ‘the line’s rhythm grows more ...

Going Against

Frank Kermode: Is There a Late Style?, 5 October 2006

On Late Style: Music and Literature Against the Grain 
by Edward Said.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £16.99, April 2006, 9780747583653
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Late Thoughts: Reflections on Artists and Composers at Work 
edited by Karen Painter and Thomas Crow.
Getty, 235 pp., $40, August 2006, 0 89236 813 6
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... crowned a lifetime of ‘aesthetic endeavour’ – Rembrandt, Matisse, Bach, Wagner and Verdi, for instance. Said prefers to contemplate instances of lateness that speak less of achievement than of ‘intransigence, difficulty and unresolved contradiction . . . nonharmonious, nonserene tension and, above all, a sort of deliberately unproductive ...

Buckets of Empathy

James Wood, 30 March 2000

On Trust: Art and the Temptations of Suspicion 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Yale, 294 pp., £18.95, October 1999, 0 300 07991 5
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... for instance, offers his own brief allegory of the writer’s modern suspicion in The Information. Richard Tull, a novelist, hears birds singing in his garden, and thinks, mournfully: ‘say birds were just parrots and learned their songs from what they heard: those trills and twitters were imitations of mountain rivulets, of dew simpering downwards through ...


Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy: Vol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas Hardy: The Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... are not very informative about that ‘amazing old man’ (to use the phrase that Hardy applied to Verdi), the author of such very late poems as ‘He never expected much’. What they do show is that Hardy never lost the habit, formed early, of keeping a watchful eye on the small print of his dealings as a professional writer. Within a few weeks of his death ...

Through the Psychoanalytoscope

Frank Cioffi, 25 January 1996

Wittgenstein Reads Freud: The Myth of the Unconscious 
by Jacques Bouveresse, translated by Carol Cosman.
Princeton, 143 pp., £15.95, June 1995, 0 691 03425 7
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... tradition of directly translating subjective impressions into economic terms’. Even Richard Wollheim, who rarely rises above an abject appreciativeness in his dealings with Freud, concedes that Freud ‘sometimes treated propositions about energy and its liberation as though they were descriptions of introspectible phenomena’. This ...

tarry easty

Roy Foster: Joyce in Trieste, 30 November 2000

The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-20 
by John McCourt.
Lilliput, 306 pp., £25, June 2000, 1 901866 45 9
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... of a great seaport. Previous literary exiles had included Stendhal, Charles Lever and Richard Burton. In addition, Trieste had its own literary world: Futurism flourished there, Marinetti visited frequently and contributed to local papers, and Joyce’s pupil and friend Ettore Schmitz would later – encouraged by his teacher – become famous as ...

You can have it for a penny

Malcolm Gaskill: ‘Agent Sonya’, 6 January 2022

Agent Sonya: Lover, Mother, Soldier, Spy 
by Ben Macintyre.
Viking, 377 pp., £25, September 2021, 978 0 241 40850 6
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... a Soviet spy, and with her support, Kuczynski was recruited by Moscow and received a visit from Richard Sorge, a charismatic German described by Macintyre as ‘a strange mixture of bibliophile and brawler, pedantic scholar and hard-nosed functionary … a dissolute warrior-priest’.* The Hamburger home became a rendezvous, and domesticity a ...


Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... Though he served the lyric stage conscientiously, Hofmannsthal also found in his partnership with Richard Strauss release from an artistic impasse of the kind described in his Letter to Lord Chandos: instead of being constrained to devise drama that was like ‘a tone-poem lacking music’, he now had music itself at his disposal. Auden may have ordered ...


Michael Dobson: Shakespeare, 16 July 1998

Lyric Wonder: Rhetoric and Wit in Renaissance English Poetry 
by James Biester.
Cornell, 226 pp., £31.50, May 1997, 0 8014 3313 4
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Reason Diminished: Shakespeare and the Marvellous 
by Peter Platt.
Nebraska, 271 pp., £42.75, January 1998, 0 8032 3714 6
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Shakespeare and the Theatre of Wonder 
by T.G. Bishop.
Cambridge, 222 pp., £32.50, January 1996, 0 521 55086 6
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The Genius of Shakespeare 
by Jonathan Bate.
Picador, 386 pp., £20, September 1997, 0 330 35317 9
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... minority sport, but in the late Nineties it suddenly looks like the critical craze of the moment. Richard Wilson, for example, published an article in the TLS a few months ago reviving the claim that the young William Shakespeare can be identified with the actor William Shakeshafte who is named in the will of one of Edmund Campion’s Lancashire Catholic ...


Robin Holloway: Donald Francis Tovey, 8 August 2002

The Classics of Music: Talks, Essays and Other Writings Previously Uncollected 
by Donald Francis Tovey, edited by Michael Tilmouth.
Oxford, 821 pp., £60, September 2001, 0 19 816214 6
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... repressive figure of Joachim – though it does help one to understand the shock-waves caused by Richard Strauss, rocking the boat with solecisms, crudities, reckless infringements of instrumental propriety, general vulgarity and callowness, and troubling Tovey the chaste grammarian and self-appointed guardian of the sacred Teutonic flame. (But he doesn’t ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms, 6 September 2007

... but also to educate them in new musical trends, and major works by Stravinsky, Schoenberg and Richard Strauss were premiered at the Proms before the First World War. But in the beginning, Wood’s programmes were much less demanding, often consisting of many short items, so as not to bore the audience. This was especially true of the early final ...

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