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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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... period in which Berryman began to spend most of his off-campus time in the company of mad or near-mad 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 ...
27 November 1997
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 ...

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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... Spanco’ Spence in Oxford, ‘it has been the talk of the Town and the Country and small beer 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 ...
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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... about dissident Conservative MPs long before nature imitated art and this became such a fashionable activity) proves a lucid and well-informed guide to the workings of the Parliamentary party. RichardKelly 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 ...

Wrong Again

Bruce Cumings: Korean War Games

4 December 2003
... in the 1990s about North Korean weaponry, however questionable and flawed, seem both careful and modest 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 ...

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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... the case that a neocolonial war has been fought to please neo-conservative friends in an administration 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 ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Darwinians & Creationists

1 November 2001
... They are listed ‘by doctoral degree or current position’, all the way from ‘Henry F. Schaefer, 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 ...

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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... Stride, and then nearly a mile way, in Mitre Square, Catharine Eddowes, whose left kidney and womb 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 ...
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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... mainly in quatrains, and prayers. Part Two of Love – Fame makes liberal use of the letters Berryman wrote his mother from Cambridge from 1936 to 1938. Ironically, the letters themselves (edited by RichardKelly 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 ...

Diary

Andrew Brighton: On Peter Fuller

7 November 1991
... great asset with its world-wide distribution of art coverage in this country was guided into unnoticed 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 ...

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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... unique remains and treasures from Roman Britain. Find out about how Britain became part of Rome 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 ...
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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... be Mr Harris’s invention – and the subject of an earlier book – Thomas Robbins the Elder. By 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 ...

Malice! Malice!

Stephen Sedley: Thomas More’s Trial

5 April 2012
Thomas More’s Trial by Jury 
edited by Henry Ansgar Kelly, Louis Karlin and Gerard Wegemer.
Boydell, 240 pp., £55, September 2011, 978 1 84383 629 2
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... yielded little about their contents. The indictment also, however, asserted that More, in the course of an interrogation about the lost letters, had incriminated himself to the solicitor-general, Richard Rich. Urged by Rich to accept the new law, More had allegedly replied: ‘Your conscience will save you, and my conscience will save me.’ Rich had then, it seems, played the classic stool pigeon ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum

18 September 1997
Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... star consciousness. The pulse points that most fascinate me are relations between Hepburn and other female luminaries, including Colette, Edith Head, Deborah Kerr, Leslie Caron, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Judy Garland, Elizabeth Taylor, Marni Nixon, Julie Andrews, Mia Farrow, Jeanne Moreau, Merle Oberon, Capucine and Cher. I could advance a lesbian interpretation of Audrey Hepburn’s oeuvre, though ...

You are the we of me

Joyce Carol Oates: The Autobiography of Carson McCullers

2 September 1999
Illumination and Night Glare: The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers 
edited by Carlos Dews.
Wisconsin, 256 pp., £19.95, September 1999, 0 299 16440 3
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... novel, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, McCullers was indeed an overnight success who looked even younger than she was: at the age of 23, she bore a distinct resemblance to the novel’s epicene Mick Kelly, a ‘gangling, towheaded youngster, a girl of about twelve’. Yet McCullers was more of a prodigy than most people knew: her first published story, appropriately titled ‘Wunderkind’, was ...

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