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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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... in satellite exhibitions compensate to some degree, but the absence from the Royal Academy 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 ...

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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... Symphony: but he could hardly have recovered from ‘Life, Laundry and Ludwig: The Diaries of Frau 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 ...
11 April 2013
... lost her voice on the morning of the first performance after taking a ‘vapour bath’. Relations 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 ...

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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... with their tangled roots and wrinkled goblins, and in the misty lakes and moonlit forests which 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 ...
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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... innocence bank; we are rich on suspicion. In literature, contemporary examples abound. Martin Amis, 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 ...

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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... meditations on the subject. It is too simple to begin by listing artists whose late great achievements 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 ...

Cheeky

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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... his publisher. Sir Frederick Macmillan, the letters to him deal mainly with matters of business and 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 ...
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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... mental conflict feels like. In his monumental Freud Evaluated, Malcolm Macmillan refers to ‘the psychoanalytic 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 ...
7 March 1996
Shakespeare at Work 
by John Jones.
Oxford, 293 pp., £35, December 1995, 0 19 811966 6
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... in its transition from first thoughts to theatrical text. Everywhere else it is more a matter of tactful 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 ...

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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... agitation, while the city and its inhabitants were affected by Slovene influences and the cosmopolitanism 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 ...

Upstaging

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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... yet feeding easily into the minimalist machine of the score to be crunched and musically digested. 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 ...

Gobsmacked

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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... Lewis and his like, when the attempt to find Catholic allegory in the late romances was a recognised 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 ...

Empathy

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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... aesthetic already moribund even as he wrote – Julius Röntgen, the ‘Dutch Brahms’; the 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 ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms

6 September 2007
... his aim was to familiarise his audience not only with the great standards of the European repertory, 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 ...

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