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The Right to Murder

Gaby Wood: ‘In a Lonely Place’, 22 March 2018

In a Lonely Place 
by Dorothy B. Hughes.
NYRB, 224 pp., $14.95, August 2017, 978 1 68137 147 4
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In a Lonely Place 
directed by Nicholas Ray.
Criterion Collection, £14.99
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... have been better, but I don’t see why the rest should worry you.’ Enter his alibi: Laurel Gray, a neighbour who saw him come home with Atkinson. At the threshold of the captain’s office she raises an eyebrow, just slightly, and over the next few moments it becomes clear that, for the purposes of irascible romance, Dix and she are the same ...

Beauty + Terror

Kevin Kopelson: Robert Mapplethorpe, 30 June 2016

Robert Mapplethorpe: The Archive 
by Frances Terpak and Michelle Brunnick.
Getty Research Institute, 240 pp., £32.50, March 2016, 978 1 60606 470 2
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Robert Mapplethorpe: The Photographs 
by Paul Martineau and Britt Salvesen.
Getty Museum, 340 pp., £40, March 2016, 978 1 60606 469 6
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... on the page. Self-portrait for the ‘Don’t Touch Here’ exhibition announcement by Robert Mapplethorpe (1973) If you were also very shy, as Robert Mapplethorpe was (born in 1946, he was in the 1960s still a very young artist making jewellery, collages and assemblages inspired by Joseph ...

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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... apparent timelessness, and depends on the reassurance of anachronism for its populist impact. When Gray observed that ‘the language of the age is never the language of poetry’ he was noting something that the common reader usually takes for granted. Tennyson achieved wide popularity by making poetry sound old-fashioned in a new way. The idiom of The ...

Descent into Oddness

Dinah Birch: Peter Rushforth’s long-awaited second novel, 6 January 2005

Pinkerton’s Sister 
by Peter Rushforth.
Scribner, 729 pp., £18.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5235 7
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... sense. There isn’t much she hasn’t read, or doesn’t remember. Oscar Wilde, the Brontës, Robert Louis Stevenson, Tennyson, George MacDonald, Charles Reade, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Louisa May Alcott, Wilkie Collins, Mary Braddon, Conan Doyle, Du Maurier, and plenty more. Her literary memory is a compendium of every syllabus in Victorian literature ...

Mr and Mrs Hopper

Gail Levin: How the Tate gets Edward Hopper wrong, 24 June 2004

Edward Hopper 
edited by Sheena Wagstaff.
Tate Gallery, 256 pp., £29.99, May 2004, 1 85437 533 4
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... reads: ‘According to Jo’s diary Hopper suffers from depression and frequently reads poems of Robert Frost.’ The audio tour claims that Two Comedians (1966), Hopper’s last canvas, is ‘unusually autobiographical’ and demonstrates ‘the extent to which Hopper’s work was a collaborative process with his wife as model, muse and ...

Kurt Waldheim’s Past

Gitta Sereny, 21 April 1988

Waldheim 
by Luc Rosenzweig and Bernard Cohen.
Robson, 192 pp., £12.95, March 1988, 0 86051 506 0
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Waldheim: The Missing Years 
by Robert Edwin Herzstein.
Grafton, 303 pp., £12.95, April 1988, 0 246 13381 3
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... history to advance their dangerous ideologies, and, at the other end of the scale, men like Martin Gray (For those I loved), who use these appalling events for self-aggrandisement. Interestingly, nobody minds much about Irving, but attacking Gray causes wrathful indignation among Holocaust dogmatists. I sought to learn from ...

Lawful Charm

Donald Davie, 6 July 1995

Selected Poems 
by William Barnes, edited by Andrew Motion.
Penguin, 171 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 0 14 042379 6
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Selected Poems 
by William Barnes, read by Alan Chedzoy.
Canto, £6.99
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... in English. One who made the comparison with Burns was Gerard Manley Hopkins, writing in 1879 to Robert Bridges. Of Barnes’s dialect poems Hopkins says: ‘A proof of their excellence is that you may translate them and they are nearly as good – I say nearly, because if the dialect plays any lawful part in the effect they ought to lose something in losing ...

On the Coalition

LRB Contributors, 10 June 2010

... system? In a time of continuous upheaval, coalition rule may seem like a kind of safety. John Gray Its customary hyperbole notwithstanding, the media chorus has correctly identified the novelty of the Conservative-Liberal coalition government at Westminster. What the media have not done, alas, is to address the largely invisible fact that in ...

Tennyson’s Nerves

Frank Kermode, 6 November 1980

Tennyson: The Unqulet Heart 
by Robert Bernard Martin.
Oxford/Faber, 656 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 812072 9
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Thro’ the Vision of the Night: A Study of Source, Evolution and Structure in Tennyson’s ‘Idylls of the King’ 
by J.M. Gray.
Edinburgh, 179 pp., £10, August 1980, 0 85224 382 0
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... Robert Martin’s book is not one of those literary biographies that reshuffle a familiar narrative and perhaps add a few bits of new information or conjecture. It is a full-scale life, founded on primary sources, many of them previously unpublished. As the first major biography since Hallam Tennyson’s pious memoir of 1897, it has obvious importance ...

Diary

Stephen Spender: Towards a Kind of Neo-Paganism, 21 April 1983

... of pop groups. We crowded into a small chapel with a Greek temple façade and an interior of dirty gray stone. At the far end – which was not very far – there was a hideous cough-lozenge-amber-coloured stained-glass window. The chapel seemed to have its own special cold clamminess, intenser than that of the cemetery. Some of the congregation were carrying ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... a pantheon. So the nation took its atavism elsewhere: to places like Stoke Poges, where Thomas Gray was buried in the churchyard he’d made legendary, and especially to Stratford, sanctified by the grave of Shakespeare. This argument about nationalism isn’t watertight, since it was London that spoke for the nation, and London never got Shakespeare ...

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 friends and ...

Diary

Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... have a large collection of Monets (say) than that Buffalo University should have a collection of Robert Graves manuscripts (say). I view with unconcern the drift of British manuscripts to America, where our language is spoken and our literature studied. So one must travel to California to read, for example, Amis’s several unpublished novels: the ...

I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth: ‘Brief Lives’, 8 October 2015

‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ 
by John Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett.
Oxford, 1968 pp., £250, March 2015, 978 0 19 968953 8
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John Aubrey: My Own Life 
by Ruth Scurr.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 0 7011 7907 6
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... round … wears boots of Spanish leather, laced or tied along the side with black ribbons’. That Robert Hooke is ‘melancholy and giddy … and … has strange dreams of riding and eating cream’. That Mary Sidney, countess of Pembroke, with her lovers, peered through a ‘vidette’ or peephole to gaze on mating horses at Wilton House. That William Harvey ...

Peeping Tam

Karl Miller, 6 August 1981

... Robert Burns wrote about art, friendship, religion, animals, drink, marriage and love. The First two and the last of these themes – poetry, sociability and sexual adventure, to call them by other names – commemorate activities which enabled him in youth, as did his drinking, to face the prospect of a lifetime’s hard labour on the land ...

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