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Clarety Clarity

Colin Burrow: Herrick and His Maidens

30 July 2014
The Complete Poetry of Robert Herrick 
edited by Tom Cain and Ruth Connolly.
Oxford, 504 pp. and 803 pp., £125, October 2013, 978 0 19 921284 2
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... the god responsible for the fire which had destroyed a number of his poems in November of that year, ‘confine him to the brew-houses,/The glass-house, dye-vats and their furnaces.’ Cain and Connolly don’t note this echo, but it does help date this poem, and is a good indicator of how rambunctiously Herrick could transform his master. He implicitly compares himself to the fiery element that had ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin

25 March 1993
Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... last night’. After Oxford Larkin’s homosexual feelings ‘evaporated’ (Motion’s word) and were hence-forth seemingly confined to his choice of socks. At Wellington he starts walking out with Ruth Bowman, ‘a 16-year-old schoolgirl and regular borrower from the library’. This period of Larkin’s life is quite touching and reads like a Fifties novel of provincial life, though not one ...
4 June 1981
The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... Lyttelton’s reputation for teaching English in an inspiring manner is in some degree supported by the subsequent careers of pupils, who included Aldous Huxley, J.B.S. Haldane, George Orwell, Cyril Connolly, Peter Fleming, John Bayley – a literary macédoine to which several other ingredients could be added. As it fell out, I had myself no dealings with Lyttelton at school, knowing him only by sight ...
22 January 1981
George Orwell: A Life 
by Bernard Crick.
Secker, 473 pp., £10, November 1980, 9780436114502
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Class, Culture and Social Change: A New View of the 1930s 
edited by Frank Gloversmith.
Harvester, 285 pp., £20, July 1980, 0 85527 938 9
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Culture and Crisis in Britain in the Thirties 
edited by Jon Clark, Margot Heinemann, David Margolies and Carole Snee.
Lawrence and Wishart, 279 pp., £3.50, March 1980, 0 85315 419 8
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... and youth of the hero make heavy reading, partly because Crick is obsessed with the question whether ‘Such, such were the joys’ is a fair account of the prep school Orwell attended with Cyril Connolly. No doubt Orwell would have said it was essentially true. He once praised Martin Chuzzlewit, with its mixture of travel book and fiction, as ‘a good example of Dickens’s habit of telling small ...
30 March 2016
... charged him and other followers of O’Donovan Rossa with treason. (The plan, it seems, had been to blow up the Houses of Parliament.) Sentenced to life imprisonment, he would eventually become what Ruth Dudley Edwards described as ‘the spider at the centre of the conspiratorial web’ that would lead to the 1916 Rebellion in Dublin more than thirty years later. He was, in her words, ‘able ...

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