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Beltz’s Beaux

D.A.N. Jones, 3 March 1983

Marienbad 
by Sholom Aleichem, translated by Aliza Shevrin.
Weidenfeld, 222 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 297 78200 2
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A Coin in Nine Hands 
by Marguerite Yourcenar, translated by Dori Katz.
Aidan Ellis, 192 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 85628 123 9
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Entry into Jerusalem 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 172 pp., £7.50, January 1983, 0 09 150950 5
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People Who Knock on the Door 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 306 pp., £7.95, January 1983, 0 434 33521 5
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A Visit from the Footbinder 
by Emily Prager.
Chatto, 174 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 7011 2675 2
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Dusklands 
by J.M. Coetzee.
Secker, 125 pp., £6.95, January 1983, 9780436102967
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... Southsea’ – and hears him speak ‘Movie English, one of the secret slangs of love’. With Stanley Middleton we must expect to be confined to a city in the English Midlands. A firm hand at the reins prevents his readers and himself from galloping away from this tranquil place. Entry into Jerusalem is about an admired landscape painter, just before ...

Short Cuts

Deborah Friedell: First Impressions, 16 August 2007

... year, when the Sunday Times sent 20 literary agents chapters from old novels by V.S. Naipaul and Stanley Middleton. Cue outrage, embarrassment, ‘we receive 50 manuscripts a day – we do our best.’ Are publishers less perspicacious than they used to be? The first time a version of Pride and Prejudice, called ‘First Impressions’, was offered to a ...

Night-Flights

D.A.N. Jones, 18 September 1986

Search Sweet Country 
by B. Kojo Laing.
Heinemann, 256 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 0 434 40216 8
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The Jewel Maker 
by Tom Gallagher.
Hamish Hamilton, 180 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 241 11866 2
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The Pianoplayers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 208 pp., £8.95, August 1986, 0 09 165190 5
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An After-Dinner’s Sleep 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 224 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 09 163620 5
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Coming Home 
by Mervyn Jones.
Piatkus, 263 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 86188 525 2
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... sound like a virtuoso. After this pleasant absurdity, Anthony Burgess’s 29th novel, we turn to Stanley Middleton’s 25th and Mervyn Jones’s 22nd, both of them rather dour books concerned with an ‘older’ man renewing acquaintance with his first love. ‘Older’ is by no means a precise term; the hero of An After-Dinner’s Sleep was born in ...

Fiction and Failure

Adrian Poole, 15 April 1982

Blind Understanding 
by Stanley Middleton.
Hutchinson, 159 pp., £7.50, March 1982, 0 09 146990 2
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Fifty Stories 
by Kay Boyle.
Penguin, 648 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 0 14 005922 9
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Unsolicited Gift 
by Jacqueline Simms.
Chatto, 151 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 7011 2616 7
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Nellie without Hugo 
by Janet Hobhouse.
Cape, 192 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 224 01969 4
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Levitation: Five Fictions 
by Cynthia Ozick.
Secker, 157 pp., £6.95, March 1982, 0 436 25482 4
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... There is a point in Stanley Middleton’s Blind Understanding at which a man does not eat a dry biscuit. Listening to the sound of the nine o’clock television news from the distance of his kitchen, a 70-year-old retired solicitor remarks his immunity to the sad record of violent death, industrial disorder and foreign famine in worlds elsewhere ...

Questionably Virtuous

Stuart Middleton: Harold Wilson, 7 September 2016

Harold Wilson: The Unprincipled Prime Minister? Reappraising Harold Wilson 
edited by Andrew Crines and Kevin Hickson.
Biteback, 319 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78590 031 0
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... wit and moral exhortation. After leaving office for the last time, he was more widely compared to Stanley Baldwin, a national conciliator and broker of industrial peace. In 1957 his chief ally in the Labour Party, Richard Crossman, complained in his diary that Wilson ‘grows fatter, more complacent and more evasive each time you meet him’ – and then ...

Comprehending Gaddis

D.A.N. Jones, 6 March 1986

The Recognitions 
by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 956 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 007768 5
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JR 
by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 726 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 008039 2
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Carpenter’s Gothic 
by William Gaddis.
Deutsch, 262 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 233 97932 8
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... of ignorance leads up to the climax of The Recognitions, where his most admirable character – Stanley, the musician – meets his death playing a gigantic organ in an Italian church, all because he did not understand the Italian notice, warning that the instrument was too powerful for the edifice. The unpatriotic William Gaddis is keen to remind us that ...

Austward Ho

Patrick Parrinder, 18 May 1989

Moon Palace 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 307 pp., £11.99, April 1989, 0 571 15404 2
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Prisoner’s Dilemma 
by Richard Powers.
Weidenfeld, 348 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 297 79482 5
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A Prayer for Owen Meany 
by John Irving.
Bloomsbury, 543 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 7475 0334 6
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... more introspective and involuted than we are meant to anticipate. Auster’s narrator is Marco Stanley Fogg. According to his Uncle Victor, these names mean that he has travel in his blood. Victor, his guardian, sends him to Columbia University and bequeaths him a library of 1492 volumes. He also takes the young Marco to a showing of Around the World in 80 ...

Mrs Bowdenhood

C.K. Stead, 26 November 1987

Katherine Mansfield: A Secret Life 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 292 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 670 81392 3
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... until ill-health restrained her, in going after it. Even Tomalin’s description of John Middleton Murry’s role in Mansfield’s life as ‘crucial and largely unfortunate’ seems to me glib. Is it right to ignore, as Tomalin does, that farewell letter in which Mansfield wrote: ‘I think no two lovers ever walked the earth more joyfully – in ...

Diary

Elaine Showalter: At the Modern Language Association , 9 February 1995

... plagiarism in the year 2000, Brazilian literature, Victorian myth-making, lesbian studies, Byron, Middleton, Melville, Stevens, Conrad, Woolf and Dante. In a sobering session on ‘Free Speech and Hate Speech in the Classroom’, a professor at New York’s LaGuardia Community College explained how she handles such student editorialising as ‘Jews are ...

Feast of St Thomas

Frank Kermode, 29 September 1988

Eliot’s New Life 
by Lyndall Gordon.
Oxford, 356 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 19 811727 2
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The Letters of T.S. Eliot 
edited by Valerie Eliot.
Faber, 618 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 571 13621 4
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The Poetics of Impersonality 
by Maud Ellmann.
Harvester, 207 pp., £32.50, January 1988, 0 7108 0463 6
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T.S. Eliot and the Philosophy of Criticism 
by Richard Shusterman.
Duckworth, 236 pp., £19.95, February 1988, 0 7156 2187 4
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‘The Men of 1914’: T.S. Eliot and Early Modernism 
by Erik Svarny.
Open University, 268 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 335 09019 2
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Eliot, Joyce and Company 
by Stanley Sultan.
Oxford, 326 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 19 504880 6
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The Savage and the City in the Work of T.S. Eliot 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 251 pp., £25, December 1987, 9780198128694
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T.S. Eliot: The Poems 
by Martin Scofield.
Cambridge, 264 pp., £25, March 1988, 0 521 30147 5
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... fashionable philosophy: but he soon changed his mind, as is clear from the satirical assault on Middleton Murry, a Bergsonian surrogate, in ‘The Function of Criticism’ (1923). And of course he was well aware that impersonal poetry was produced by persons: but this doesn’t make the impersonality argument bogus, as Ellmann supposes, or entitle us to ...

Unsluggardised

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Shakespeare Circle’, 18 May 2016

The Shakespeare Circle: An Alternative Biography 
edited by Paul Edmondson and Stanley Wells.
Cambridge, 358 pp., £18.99, October 2015, 978 1 107 69909 0
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... and rather unexpectedly it goes a good way towards providing one. Edited by the unflagging team of Stanley Wells and Paul Edmondson, the book is a remarkable collection of 25 essays, each focusing on a person or group of people known to Shakespeare, on the ways they related to him and influenced him, and, in some cases, on the ways they perceived and reported ...

Condy’s Fluid

P.N. Furbank, 25 October 1990

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bodley Head, 514 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 370 30451 9
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Killing in Verse and Prose, and Other Essays 
by Paul Fussell.
Bellew, 294 pp., £9.95, October 1990, 0 947792 55 4
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... narrative: Edmund Gosse’s (mind-bogglingly pontifical and complacent), Clive Bell’s (cheap), Middleton Murry’s (intelligent, trendy and dishonest). Or again – a fine effect – the way he uses Stanley Spencer’s great Resurrection of the Soldiers as a final rescue from this agonising, enervating, treadmill-like ...

Father-Daughter Problems

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Bad Daughters, 8 May 2008

The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street 
by Charles Nicholl.
Allen Lane, 378 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 7139 9890 0
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... as Mary’s dowry, and how much he promised to bequeath to her and her husband at his death. As Stanley Wells summarises the affair in the general introduction to the Oxford edition of Shakespeare, ‘in 1604 Shakespeare was lodging in north London with a Huguenot family called Mountjoy; in 1612 he was to testify in a court case relating to a marriage ...

Fathers Who Live Too Long

John Kerrigan: Shakespeare’s Property, 12 September 2013

Being and Having in Shakespeare 
by Katharine Eisaman Maus.
Oxford, 141 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 19 969800 4
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... invites adaptation because it is already a collaboration – it was partly written by Thomas Middleton, who composed its city comedy-like scenes – and because the text we have is unfinished. Hytner drew in popular unrest of the sort shown in the Jack Cade scenes of Henry VI Part II and by the mob in Julius Caesar. To make Timon of Athens a play for ...

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