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The Purchas’d Wave

Bernard Rudden: The history of London’s water supply, 22 July 2004

London's New River 
by Robert Ward.
Historical Publications, 248 pp., £17.95, October 2003, 0 948667 84 2
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... on a garment’ form the main interest of this erudite, entertaining and well-illustrated book. Robert Ward has made painstaking and profitable use of the vast mass of archival material in the Public Record Office (because of the Stuart kings’ involvement), the London Metropolitan Archives (which hold a vast amount of material from all the old water ...

The Great Mary

Dinah Birch, 13 September 1990

Mrs Humphry WardEminent Victorian, Pre-Eminent Edwardian 
by John Sutherland.
Oxford, 432 pp., £16.99, August 1990, 0 19 818587 1
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... at fiction, Miss Bretherton, published in 1884. It can’t have been very encouraging. But Mary Ward was used to the magisterial arrogance of the Arnold men. Her father, Tom Arnold, had demolished the prosperity of his family and the happiness of his wife by his conversions and unconversions and reconversions to and from the Catholic faith. He took small ...

A Year upon the Sofa

Dinah Birch, 8 May 1997

Eve’s Renegades: Victorian Anti-Feminist Women Novelists 
by Valerie Sanders.
Macmillan, 249 pp., £42.50, September 1996, 0 333 59563 7
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... singled out here – Charlotte M. Yonge, Margaret Oliphant, Eliza Lynn Linton and Mary Augusta Ward (or Mrs Humphry Ward, as she characteristically called herself) – were all exceptionally productive, respected and widely read. Yonge’s The Heir of Redclyffe (1853) was a phenomenal bestseller, while ...

Noisomeness

Keith Thomas: Smells of Hell, 16 July 2020

Smells: A Cultural History of Odours in Early Modern Times 
by Robert Muchembled, translated by Susan Pickford.
Polity, 216 pp., £17.99, May, 978 1 5095 3677 1
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The Clean Body: A Modern History 
by Peter Ward.
McGill-Queen’s, 313 pp., £27.99, December 2019, 978 0 7735 5938 7
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... doe give most odorous smell,/but her sweet odour did them all excel.’None of this appears in Robert Muchembled’s Smells, whose lively account is much indebted to his compatriot Alain Corbin’s The Foul and the Fragrant (published in an English translation in 1986) and is almost entirely confined to the history of odours in France. He makes no ...

Britain’s Thermonuclear Bluff

Norman Dombey and Eric Grove, 22 October 1992

... Cook, scientific director of the Grapple test series; some recent disclosures on the part of John Ward, who was employed at the British nuclear weapons laboratory at Aldermaston for six months during 1955; and a group of declassified US documents obtained by Robert Norris of the Natural Resources Defence Council in ...

A Tall Stranger in Hoxton

John Bossy, 3 July 1997

The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 347 pp., £20, August 1996, 9780297813484
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... force. One of the Catholics, a rich gentleman from the Midlands and charismatic energumen called Robert Catesby, called a meeting on 20 May at the Duck and Drake, off the Strand, the lodgings of his cousin and the disciple, Thomas Wintour. Three other men were invited: Jack Wright, a swordsman friend of Catesby’s; Thomas Percy, Wright’s brother-in-law ...

Athenian View

Michael Brock, 12 March 1992

Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain, 1850-1930 
by Stefan Collini.
Oxford, 383 pp., £40, September 1991, 0 19 820173 7
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... This is an important insight: but in the area of loss of faith Dr Collini’s touch is not sure. Robert Elsmere rightly receives his attention. Mrs Humphry Ward was Matthew Arnold’s niece, her place in the circle being given posthumous confirmation by her husband’s History of the Athenaeum. ...

Was Ma Hump to blame?

John Sutherland: Aldous Huxley, 11 July 2002

Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual 
by Nicholas Murray.
Little, Brown, 496 pp., £20, April 2002, 0 316 85492 1
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The Cat's Meow 
directed by Peter Bogdanovich.
April 2002
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... was, I suspect, someone mentioned only parenthetically here: Aldous’s aunt, Mrs Humphry Ward. Aldous’s mother, Julia, was among the first generation of girls able to compete for the benefits of higher education. After attending Oxford High School she was a home student at Somerville. In 1882, she got a first-class degree in English, the first of ...

Take a bullet for the team

David Runciman: The Profumo Affair, 21 February 2013

An English Affair: Sex, Class and Power in the Age of Profumo 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Harper, 400 pp., £20, January 2013, 978 0 00 743584 5
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... feels most sorry for are Astor, and the other man on whom the scandal came to centre, Stephen Ward. In the case of Astor, this is understandable. It was at Astor’s house, Cliveden, in the summer of 1961, that Profumo met Keeler, who was there with Ward, who was in cahoots with the Russian naval attaché Ivanov. ...

Inspiration, Accident, Genius

Helen Vendler, 16 October 1997

Keats 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 612 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780571172276
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... three scholarly biographies of Keats appeared within a short time: W.J. Bate’s and Aileen Ward’s in 1963, Robert Gittings’s in 1968. Each is still very useful; all were admirable, if in different ways. W.J. Bate, who had been interested in Keats ever since he wrote his undergraduate thesis on the poet in ...

Fish out of water

Robert Dawidoff, 4 February 1988

The Works of George Santayana. Vol. I: Persons and Places 
edited by William Holzberger and Herman Saatkamp.
MIT, 761 pp., £24.95, March 1987, 0 262 19238 1
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George Santayana: A Biography 
by John McCormick.
Knopf, 612 pp., $30, August 1988, 0 394 51037 2
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... This paradox is condensed and rhetorical: to get at the truth in it we must expand it a little and ward off certain misunderstandings. It is not love simply, but only perfect love, that includes despair. Love in itself includes hope, or at least the desire to preserve the object of it, to enshrine and defend it. And in regard to the object even perfect love ...

Were I a cloud

Patricia Beer, 28 January 1993

Robert Bridges: A Biography 
by Catherine Phillips.
Oxford, 363 pp., £25, August 1992, 0 19 212251 7
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... Thwaite’s of Edmund Gosse and, of course, the two recent books on Gerard Manley Hopkins, one by Robert Martin and one by Norman White, but there has been nothing comprehensive. There is now. In Robert Bridges Catherine Phillips tells us everything we could reasonably wish to know about his life. About his poetry there is ...

Diary

David Thomson: Alcatraz, 26 March 2009

... been here far longer than I have: how did people look at the prison without feeling dismay? David Ward and Gene Kassebaum have compiled an immense study of the prison in what they call the gangster years, from its foundation in 1933 to 1948.* Drawing on interviews with inmates and guards that the government gathered decades ago, they have reconstructed the ...

Ladies and Gentlemen

Patricia Beer, 6 May 1982

The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-17 
by Jane Marcus.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 333 25589 5
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The Harsh Voice 
by Rebecca West, introduced by Alexandra Pringle.
Virago, 250 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 0 86068 249 8
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The Meaning of Treason 
by Rebecca West.
Virago, 439 pp., £3.95, February 1982, 0 86068 256 0
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1990 
by Rebecca West.
Weidenfeld, 190 pp., £10, February 1982, 9780297779636
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... she already had one in mind. She was 19. She was young enough to bounce and snap at Mrs Humphry Ward. Three months after that first article and now as Rebecca West, she published another one in the Freewoman, the feminist paper financed by Harriet Weaver and edited by Dora Marsden. It is a good thwacking piece, cheerfully serious, in which she accuses Mrs ...

At the Wellcome

Will Self: Bedlam, The Asylum and Beyond, 17 November 2016

... Ive​ never been voluntarily committed, or sectioned, either to an asylum or a locked psychiatric ward, but I’ve visited a fair few in my life: it goes with the odd profession of drug addiction – as do weeks and months closeted in rehabilitation centres and private clinics. My regular visits to the locked ward at the Royal Free Hospital in London, when I was still in my teens, made such a vivid impression on me that I’ve gone on trying to imagine these singular – yet synecdochic – spaces throughout my writing career ...

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