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Sickness and Salvation

Sylvia Lawson, 31 August 1989

Aids and its Metaphors 
by Susan Sontag.
Allen Lane, 95 pp., £9.95, March 1989, 0 7139 9025 2
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The Whole Truth: The Myth of Alternative Health 
by Rosalind Coward.
Faber, 216 pp., £12.99, June 1989, 0 571 14114 5
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... Nietzsche, Defoe and Alessandro Manzoni. Other writers expand the damaging mythologies of plague: Thomas Mann’s works, she observes, form ‘a storehouse of early 20th-century disease myths’. She writes against the discourse of retribution, noting that the Emperor Maximillian, about five hundred years ago, declared syphilis a general punishment for ...

I live in my world

Barry Schwabsky: Willem de Kooning, 22 September 2016

Willem de Kooning Nonstop: Cherchez la femme 
by Rosalind Krauss.
Chicago, 154 pp., £22.50, March 2016, 978 0 226 26744 9
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... anything be more unexpected, in the world of art criticism, than the appearance of a book by Rosalind Krauss on Willem de Kooning? Krauss is a wide-ranging critic and historian of modernism, the author of an influential book on Picasso, but she has been associated above all with minimalist and post-minimalist sculptors of her own generation or slightly ...

Great Instructor

Charles Nicholl, 31 August 1989

Ben Jonson: A Life 
by David Riggs.
Harvard, 399 pp., £27.95, April 1989, 0 674 06625 1
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... from too much canary wine, and the warts and blemishes which more malicious caricaturists like Thomas Dekker dwell on: ‘a face full of pockey-holes and pimples ... a most ungodly face, like a rotten russet apple when ’tis bruised’. You can confirm that, as Aubrey noted, he had one eye bigger and lower than the other. And you can guess at what was by ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin, 30 October 1997

American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... and miniature blown-glass bimbos, as a not so grand finale. In between, we have everything from Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Cole to Thomas Eakins to Thomas Hart Benton; from Mary Cassatt to Georgia O’Keeffe to Eva Hesse; from the ...

Mingling Freely at the Mermaid

Blair Worden: 17th-century poets and politics, 6 November 2003

The Crisis of 1614 and the Addled Parliament: Literary and Historical Perspectives 
edited by Stephen Clucas and Rosalind Davies.
Ashgate, 213 pp., £45, November 2003, 0 7546 0681 3
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The Politics of Court Scandal in Early Modern England: News Culture and the Overbury Affair 1603-60 
by Alastair Bellany.
Cambridge, 312 pp., £45, January 2002, 0 521 78289 9
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... from literature than unites them. In the Renaissance they were barely separable. Writers – Sir Thomas More, Sir Walter Ralegh, Samuel Daniel, Ben Jonson, Thomas May, John Milton, Andrew Marvell and many more – moved between history and poetry or drama, finding in them complementary means of instilling virtue and wisdom ...

A Kind of Scandal

A.D. Nuttall, 19 August 1993

Shakespeare and Ovid 
by Jonathan Bate.
Oxford, 292 pp., £35, May 1993, 0 19 812954 8
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... nothing should be said about the line, ‘The sight of lovers feedeth those in love.’ Rosalind, disguised as a boy, asks Orlando to make love to her as if she were Rosalind. This multiplication of identities produces a faintly perverse excitement. Rosalind’s line momentarily ...


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

... been here for lunch. Turney wrote women’s pictures for Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Ida Lupino, Rosalind Russell and Ann Sheridan, and her script helped Crawford win the Oscar for Mildred Pierce (1945). She comes to the Library every day, which makes her, at 92, its oldest regular reader – and she’s better-looking than Stuart. Last week at lunch, much ...

Joining them

Conrad Russell, 24 January 1985

Goodwin Wharton 
by J. Kent Clark.
Oxford, 408 pp., £15, November 1984, 0 19 212234 7
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Witchcraft and Religion 
by Christina Larner.
Blackwell, 184 pp., October 1984, 0 631 13447 6
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Lordship to Patronage: Scotland 1603-1745 
by Rosalind Mitchison.
Arnold, 198 pp., £5.95, November 1983, 0 7131 6313 5
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... She was suspicious of ‘stress’ explanations of witchcraft cases, and rightly doubtful of the Thomas-Macfarlane thesis of the disappearance of a good-neighbourly ethic. This disappearance, like the rise of the middle classes, has been credited to so many periods that it cannot be right for them all. I read a piece, many years ago, which dated it to the ...

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 a home student at Somerville. In 1882, she got a first-class degree in English, the first of Thomas Arnold’s female grandchildren so to distinguish herself. At Oxford she met another offspring of a famous dynasty, T.H. Huxley’s son, Leonard. The young man had been a brilliant undergraduate. Should he marry, he would forfeit a career in law, politics ...

Posthumous Gentleman

Michael Dobson: Kit Marlowe’s Schooldays, 19 August 2004

The World of Christopher Marlowe 
by David Riggs.
Faber, 411 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 571 22159 9
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Christopher Marlowe and Richard Baines: Journeys through the Elizabethan Underground 
by Roy Kendall.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 453 pp., $75, January 2004, 0 8386 3974 7
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Tamburlaine Must Die 
by Louise Welsh.
Canongate, 149 pp., £9.99, July 2004, 1 84195 532 9
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History Play: The Lives and Afterlife of Christopher Marlowe 
by Rodney Bolt.
HarperCollins, 388 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 00 712123 7
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... Marlowe had obtained more substantial patronage than he received from the Countess of Pembroke and Thomas Walsingham, these stories might not have been told very differently. The exciting instability about Marlovian drama, our uncertainty as to whether Dr Faustus is a morality play or a parody of one, whether The Massacre at Paris is a tragedy or a black ...

I’ll be back

Marjorie Garber: Sequels, 19 August 1999

Part Two: Reflections on the Sequel 
edited by Paul Budra and Betty Schellenberg.
Toronto, 217 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 8020 0915 8
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... Heroines, which offered the Victorian reader a chance to make the acquaintance of the infant Rosalind, Portia the toddler and the pre-pubescent Lady Macbeth. But extensive as the ‘improvements’ and revisions and adaptations of Shakespeare have been, from Tate to Aimé Césaire and Tom Stoppard, they have not been carried out in recent years with the ...

Angering and Agitating

Christopher Turner: Freud’s fan club, 30 November 2006

Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones 
by Brenda Maddox.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 7195 6792 0
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... took charge of the psychoanalytic movement. Jones saw himself in the same relationship to Freud as Thomas Huxley had been to Darwin; both he and Huxley, Jones wrote, were ‘bonny fighters’. Huxley described himself as ‘Darwin’s bulldog’ and Maddox’s title refers to Jones as ‘Freud’s wizard’, but he was more commonly known as ‘Freud’s ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... in my uncertainty. Go down to the National Gallery for a meeting of the trustees, where Keith Thomas tells me that his polling booth in Oxford is next door to a pub in Merton Street and that, it being May morning, he had to fight his way in through crowds of drunken revellers, an ordeal he feels might deter tamer spirits. As a historian he speculates ...

The money’s still out there

Neal Ascherson: The Scottish Empire, 6 October 2011

To the Ends of the Earth: Scotland’s Global Diaspora, 1750-2010 
by T.M. Devine.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £25, August 2011, 978 0 7139 9744 6
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The Inner Life of Empires: An 18th-Century History 
by Emma Rothschild.
Princeton, 483 pp., £24.95, June 2011, 978 0 691 14895 3
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... already underway. Synoptic histories, serious but highly readable, were reappearing as Ash wrote: Rosalind Mitchison, T.C. Smout and Christopher Harvie were among the most successful authors. They wrote mostly narrative or social history, revealing unknown territory to generations who had learned almost nothing of Scotland’s past at school. Now, though, the ...

The Monster in the Milk Bowl

Richard Poirier, 3 October 1996

Pierre, or The Ambiguities 
by Herman Melville, edited by Hershel Parker.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 06 118009 2
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... edition of The Writings of Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker and G. Thomas Tanselle. Now, in 1996, this same Hershel Parker, a professor of English at the University of Delaware, has constructed an alternative version meant to approximate the originally completed novel Melville delivered to Harpers. In the absence of any ...

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