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Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... from 1931 to the year of his death, 1963: mostly reviews of Yeats, Eliot, Auden, Dylan Thomas, Robert Frost, a few cultural pronouncements, comments on translations of Greek tragedies – he was happy schoolmastering Gilbert Murray, R.C. Trevelyan, Robert Fitzgerald, and Christopher Logue – and some lively words ...

Homer and Virgil and Broch

George Steiner, 12 July 1990

Oxford Readings in Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’ 
edited by S.J. Harrison.
Oxford, 488 pp., £45, April 1990, 0 19 814389 3
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... immersed in Homer, the other in the Georgics, Eclogues and Aeneid. If the turn of spirit in, say, Robert Graves and Saint-Jean Perse is radically Homeric, that in T.S. Eliot and Valéry is unmistakably Virgilian. The equations become non-linear, as it were, by virtue of the several presences of Dante. Recalling early childhood, Proust sees himself trailing ...

The Numinous Moose

Helen Vendler, 11 March 1993

Elizabeth Bishop: Life and the Memory of It 
by Brett Millier.
California, 602 pp., £18.50, April 1993, 0 520 07978 7
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... many devoted friends at Harvard (as Millier notes), ranging from Octavio Paz to William Alfred and Robert Fitzgerald, and in her writing courses found students whom she admired and liked, both male and female. She also found a new person to love, Alice Methfessel, the administrative assistant at Kirkland House (the student residence where Bishop was first ...

Knives, Wounds, Bows

John Bayley, 2 April 1987

Randall Jarrell’s Letters 
edited by Mary Jarrell.
Faber, 540 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 571 13829 2
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The Complete Prose of Marianne Moore 
edited by Patricia Willis.
Faber, 723 pp., £30, January 1987, 0 571 14788 7
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... Barzun, R.P. Blackmur, Alfred Kazin, Lionel Trilling, Delmore Schwartz, Allen Tate, Kenneth Burke, Robert Fitzgerald, Leslie Fiedler and John Crowe Ransom – this last its founder as a school of literary criticism ‘to teach those who teach it’. Marianne Moore, in Brooklyn, had a quieter time, but was just as much in touch with them all through ...

Power Systems

John Bayley, 15 March 1984

Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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Dante: Purgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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Dante: Paradiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... will wish to have this edition. By contrast, Mark Musa’s rendering has something in common with Robert Fitzgerald’s new version of the Aeneid, following his similar productions of the Iliad and Odyssey. Here again the achievement is to involve the common reader in the whole scope and meaning of a poem which has usually been presented to him through ...

Not in My House

Mark Ford: Flannery O’Connor, 23 July 2009

Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor 
by Brad Gooch.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 316 00066 6
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... the summer of 1952, shortly after the publication of her first novel, Wise Blood. Her friend Sally Fitzgerald, the wife of the poet and translator Robert Fitzgerald, broke the news, which effectively terminated all dreams of escaping Andalusia, the farm outside Milledgeville run by her mother. There O’Connor spent the ...

Agamemnon, Smith and Thomson

Claude Rawson, 9 April 1992

Homer: The ‘Iliad’ 
translated by Robert Fagles.
Viking, 683 pp., £17.95, September 1990, 0 670 83510 2
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Kings 
by Christopher Logue.
Faber, 86 pp., £4.99, March 1991, 0 571 16141 3
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... economically in the words ‘uncouth of speech’. The relentlessly reader-friendly translation by Robert Fitzgerald departs from the usual reading to say the Carians were led by their chief ‘in their own tongue’. Robert Fagles, whose version aims at an idiomatic directness lacking in Lattimore, without the ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee, 7 September 2006

‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... things he wished he could do – ‘a dozen Chekhov-Shakespeare novels’, as one of his editors, Robert Phelps, summarised a characteristic resolution; a life of Jesus; a novel about the atom bomb – were to become an almost public constituent of his writing life. His criticism is marked by the same mixture of yearning and disappointed hopes. Agee’s ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... In 1997, three years before her death, Penelope Fitzgerald asked her American publisher, Chris Carduff, who had offered to send her any books she wanted, for a copy of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. An account of a 30,000-mile journey around the continent by two naturalists, it was originally published in 1955 and was being reissued in memory of Peterson, who had recently died ...

Saved by the Ant’s Fore-Foot

David Trotter: Pound’s Martyrology, 7 July 2005

The Pisan Cantos 
by Ezra Pound, edited by Richard Sieburth.
New Directions, 159 pp., $13.95, October 2003, 9780811215589
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Poems and Translations 
by Ezra Pound, edited by Richard Sieburth.
Library of America, 1363 pp., $45, October 2003, 1 931082 41 3
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... of this kind was the conviction that Pound had undergone a fundamental change of heart in Pisa. Robert Fitzgerald, reviewing the Pisan Cantos in the New Republic in August 1948, was glad to find the poet ‘for the first time expressing a personal desolation and a kind of repentance’. The trick was to imagine a desolation so extreme that, whatever ...

Fitz

John Bayley, 4 April 1985

With Friends Possessed: A Life of Edward FitzGerald 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Faber, 313 pp., £17.50, February 1985, 0 571 13462 9
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... of The Shropshire Lad was quaint in its time but became the more modern the more it caught on. FitzGerald’s version of Omar Khayyam, which became the most popular poem of the century, is sui generis in the same way. It also seems to stand outside its author. Although Professor Martin does the best that can be done with him, ...

The Greeter

Sean Wilsey: With Cantor Fitzgerald, 19 September 2002

... A few days after the World Trade Center was destroyed I heard on the radio that Cantor Fitzgerald, which had traded bonds on its 101st, 103rd, 104th and 105th floors, had six hundred missing employees, and needed volunteers to help run a support centre for their families. I put my name on a list. They asked me to come to the ballroom of the Plaza Hotel on Monday, 17 September, by which time ‘missing’ had changed, in everyone’s minds, to ‘presumed dead ...

In the Potato Patch

Jenny Turner: Penelope Fitzgerald, 19 December 2013

Penelope FitzgeraldA Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 508 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 7011 8495 7
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... Nobody expected Penelope Fitzgerald to win the Booker Prize in 1979 for her novel Offshore. Keneally was also on the shortlist, with Naipaul’s A Bend in the River the clear frontrunner. Julian Barnes remembers Paul Theroux, who was judging, saying he would ‘skim out into the pampas’ the candidates he considered non-starters; back from Patagonia, there he sat at the Booker dinner, ‘a polite smile on his face ...

Swinging it

Mark Ford, 7 July 1988

S.J. Perelman: A Life 
by Dorothy Herrmann.
Simon and Schuster, 337 pp., £14.95, November 1987, 0 671 65460 8
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Don’t tread on me: The Selected Letters of S.J. Perelman 
edited by Prudence Crowther.
Viking, 372 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 670 81759 7
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... Hollywood was the obvious solution to anyone struggling to make a living out of writing. Scott Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Robert Benchley, Dorothy Parker, Nathanael West, all did their time on studio payrolls, and West and Fitzgerald in their respective last works, The Day of the Locust and ...

Little Nips

Penelope Fitzgerald, 26 May 1994

The Moment between the Past and the Future 
by Grigorij Baklanov, translated by Catherine Porter.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 571 16444 7
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The Soul of a Patriot 
by Evgeny Popov, translated by Robert Porter.
Harvill, 194 pp., £8.99, April 1994, 0 00 271124 9
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... most of these details from the helpful introduction to The Soul of a Patriot by its translator, Robert Porter. The manuscript had to wait ‘in the desk-drawer’ until 1989 before it was published in Russia, and it is the first of Popov’s novels to be published in English. Porter tells us that in an interview Popov named his own favourite writers as ...

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