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Angry ’Un

Terry Eagleton

8 July 1993
The Hand of the Arch-Sinner: Two Angrian Chronicles of Branwell Brontë 
edited by Robert Collins.
Oxford, 300 pp., £30, April 1993, 0 19 812258 6
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... a haughty, arch-revolutionary Übermensch who – like Branwell himself before he ran out of drink money – arrogantly refuses to serve. The Hand of the Arch-Sinner, lovingly reconstructed by RobertCollins from Branwell’s preternaturally minute handwriting, contains two of the Percy stories, ‘The Life of Northangerland’ and ‘Real Life in Verdopolis’. (‘Northangerland’ is Percy’s ...

Dictionaries

Randolph Quirk

25 October 1979
Collins​ Dictionary of the English Language 
by P. Hanks, T.H. Long and L. Urdang.
Collins, 1690 pp., £7.95
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... fedora. Over four hundred years, and going stronger than ever. Of course, in the 16th century the market was for ‘bilingual’ dictionaries (especially Latin-English). We had to wait upon Robert Cawdrey in 1604 for a ‘monolingual’ model – aimed at ‘Ladies … or other unskilfull persons’. But the principles and goals are essentially the same. We don’t look up door to find that it ...

Where’s Esther?

Robert​ Alter: The Dead Sea Scrolls

12 September 2013
The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography 
by John Collins.
Princeton, 272 pp., £16.95, October 2012, 978 0 691 14367 5
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The Essenes, the Scrolls and the Dead Sea 
by Joan Taylor.
Oxford, 418 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 19 955448 5
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... document making pronouncements on issues of Jewish law; apocalyptic poems and narratives, hymns and liturgical texts. One could scarcely imagine a better concise guide to the Scrolls than John Collins’s The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography. Collins, who teaches at Yale, writes with clarity and liveliness, and throughout his account exercises great judiciousness, a quality that has not always been ...

Diary

Conor Gearty: On Michael Collins

28 November 1996
... Wharf, Manchester and Lisburn, it should have been back to silence and material success. But a complication has emerged, which threatens to bar our family’s return to its amnesiac state. Michael Collins, Neil Jordan’s film, is not about us as a family, but we are part of its revolutionary story and provide much of its romance. In May 1917, Michael Collins came down for a few days to Longford, one ...

Making them think

J.I.M. Stewart

18 September 1986
G.K. Chesterton 
by Michael Ffinch.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £16, June 1986, 0 297 78858 2
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... must be the chief concern of any biography of Chesterton, for the expounding of it was the chief concern of his life.’ On the following page Mr Ffinch tells of being admitted by Miss Dorothy Collins, Chesterton’s literary executor, to archival material so rich that he ‘remained happily stranded in the attic for twelve hours a day for several weeks’. ‘As each chest, trunk, suitcase or box ...

Woman in Love

Brigid Brophy

7 February 1985
The Life of Jane Austen 
by John Halperin.
Harvester, 400 pp., December 1984, 0 7108 0518 7
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... a general readership, placed in apposition to his name on the title-page. The first voice is scarcely of the deep, but it utters some common sense. The other, which predominates, is the voice of Mr Collins. Long driven to that conclusion, I came upon Professor Halperin himself, some three hundred pages into his book, pronouncing that the Rev. James Stanier Clarke, the librarian to the Prince Regent who ...
7 January 1993
The Two Forgers: A Biography of Harry Buxton Forman and Thomas James Wise 
by John Collins.
Scolar, 317 pp., £27.50, May 1992, 0 85967 754 0
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Forgers and Critics: Creativity and Duplicity in Western Scholarship 
by Anthony Grafton.
Princeton, 157 pp., £10.75, May 1990, 0 691 05544 0
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... deathbed, in 1937, the old rogue was asked to confess and allegedly replied: ‘It’s all too complicated to go into now.’ Recent sleuthing has filled in some of the gaps. Nicholas Barker and John Collins’s A Sequel to ‘An Enquiry’ (1983) clarifies the role of Wise’s reluctant partner, Harry Buxton Forman. The forgers’ liaison is fleshed out further in the biographical The Two Forgers, which ...

The Most Beautiful Icicle

Inigo Thomas: Apollo 11

15 August 2019
Reaching for the Moon: A Short History of the Space Race 
by Roger D. Launius.
Yale, 256 pp., £20, July, 978 0 300 23046 8
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The Moon: A History for the Future 
by Oliver Morton.
Economist Books, 334 pp., £20, May, 978 1 78816 254 8
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... what it had been just three years earlier. Nothing about the Apollo 11 mission went unrehearsed: even the photography was practised and programmed. ‘They would loan us a Hasselblad,’ said Michael Collins, the third member of the Apollo 11 mission, who stayed behind in the moon’s orbit in Columbia, the command module, while his companions descended to its surface. Mia Fineman, curator of an ...

What’s in the bottle?

Donald MacKenzie: The Science Wars Revisited

9 May 2002
The One Culture? A Conversation about Science 
edited by Jay Labinger and Harry Collins.
Chicago, 329 pp., £41, August 2001, 0 226 46722 8
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... do. Against this background, The One Culture? is a brave initiative. Its editors are a leading chemist and science administrator (Labinger), and a well-known, controversial sociologist of science (Collins). The volume brings together the science warriors – Sokal, the Nobel laureates Steven Weinberg and Kenneth Wilson, and their fellow physicists Jean Bricmont and David Mermin – with a selective ...

Wall Furniture

Nicholas Penny: Dickens and Anti-Art

24 May 2012
... which Dickens was attached. Art reviews weren’t a major feature of Household Words, but on 13 September 1856 the leading contribution was an anonymous article written by Dickens’s friend Wilkie Collins and entitled ‘To think, or be thought for’. The pretext for the piece was a controversy in the correspondence columns of the Times concerning a picture by ‘the old Venetian painter Bellini ...
30 October 1997
Dust-bowl Migrants in the American Imagination 
by Charles Shindo.
Kansas, 252 pp., £22.50, January 1997, 0 7006 0810 9
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In the Country of Country 
by Nicholas Dawidoff.
Faber, 365 pp., £12.99, June 1997, 0 571 19174 6
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... considered the migrants ‘backward and uneducated’, and in The Grapes of Wrath ‘supported reforms inconsistent with the migrants’ own desires’. Similarly, the folklorists Charles Todd and Robert Sonkin, sent west under the aegis of Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress to record what might be left of the migrants’ musical lore, paid no attention to what the Okies – by now into ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Ukip’s wrinkly glitz

4 November 2004
... So Robert Kilroy-Silk, the fallen idol of daytime TV, has failed to win the backing of a majority of the United Kingdom Independence Party’s local chairmen in his bid to replace Roger Knapman as Ukip’s ...

A Perfect Eel

Elaine Showalter: ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’

21 June 2012
Lady Audley’s Secret 
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Lyn Pykett.
Oxford, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2012, 978 0 19 957703 3
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... make a sensational novel of their own. Brought up and educated by her mother, she was ‘a keen, precocious and eclectic reader’ of Shakespeare, Scott, Byron, Dickens, Eliot, Thackeray and Wilkie Collins, but modelled her first literary efforts ‘chiefly upon Jane Eyre’ and believed that Charlotte Brontë was the most passionate Victorian novelist. Braddon also enjoyed the popular fiction in penny ...

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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... keeps saying: “When does the shooting start?”’) Fitzgerald also surely owed something to E.M. Delafield, whose Diary of a Provincial Lady appeared in Time and Tide in the 1930s and whose ‘Robert’ is similarly laconic, impassive and discouraging. This fairly benign fiction, created perhaps as much for herself as for her daughters, concealed the painful truth that Desmond drank too much ...

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