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Vibrating to the Chord of Queer

Elaine Showalter: Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, 6 March 2003

Touching Feeling: Affect, Pedagogy, Performativity 
by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick.
Duke, 216 pp., £14.95, March 2003, 0 8223 3015 6
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Regarding Sedgwick: Essays on Queer Culture and Critical Theory 
edited by Stephen Barber and David Clark.
Routledge, 285 pp., £55, September 2002, 0 415 92818 4
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... had scanned computer images of her body, an X-ray and CAT-scan images of her spine. Interviewed by Stephen Barber and David Clark, the editors of Regarding Sedgwick, she said that she was finding it hard to ‘take pleasure in writing’, and was much more drawn to the visual than the verbal, to texture rather than texts. In her introduction to Touching ...

Jours de Fête

Mark Thornton Burnett, 9 January 1992

Shakespeare’s Festive World: Elizabethan Seasonal Entertainment and the Professional Stage 
by François Laroque, translated by Janet Lloyd.
Cambridge, 423 pp., £45, September 1991, 0 521 37549 5
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... fête appeared in 1988, it was building upon approaches already established in the studies of C.L. Barber, E.K. Chambers and Enid Welsford which related Shakespeare’s plays to Elizabethan calendrical customs. What distinguished Laroque’s book, however, was the breadth of its documentation and discussion, which spanned the entire corpus of Shakespeare’s ...

Mastering the Art of Understating Your Wealth

Thomas Keymer: The Tonsons, 5 May 2016

The Literary Correspondences of the Tonsons 
edited by Stephen Bernard.
Oxford, 386 pp., £95, March 2015, 978 0 19 870085 2
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... command of Latin implies a good education, but his origins were humdrum. His father was a barber surgeon in Cromwellian London, and he himself was apprenticed at 14 to a master stationer, following a family tradition on his mother’s side. By 1678 he was in business on his own, publishing everything from the high-minded Contemplations upon the ...

In Finest Fig

E.S. Turner: The Ocean Greyhounds, 20 October 2005

The Liner: Retrospective and Renaissance 
by Philip Dawson, foreword by Stephen Payne.
Conway Maritime, 256 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 85177 938 7
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... adultery in the whirlwind, dare not trust himself to use a safety razor, so sends for the ship’s barber, a man with the agility of a swordsman in a ballet, who shaves him in bed with an open razor; meanwhile the crew are being hospitalised as they fight with cables to anchor two swinging bronze doors which threaten to crunch any passing prey. There used to ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... and mass killings. Yet it still gives me an eerie feeling to read about people like George Orwell, Stephen Spender and Raymond Aron, to say nothing of less admirable characters of the Melvin Lasky stripe, taking part in surreptitiously subsidised anti-Communist ventures – magazines, symphony orchestras, art exhibitions – or in the setting up of foundations ...

At the Hop

Sukhdev Sandhu, 20 February 1997

Black England: Life before Emancipation 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 244 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 7195 5251 6
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Reconstructing the Black Past: Blacks in Britain 1780-1830 
by Norma Myers.
Cass, 162 pp., £27.50, July 1996, 0 7146 4576 1
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... assertion that the Government was motivated by ‘racism and a certain amount of xenophobia’. As Stephen Braidwood has pointed out in Black Poor and White Philanthropists, it was a voluntary scheme. If London’s black poor were as canny and had community networks as well-established as Gerzina claims, why did they opt for the ‘deadly trap’ of Sierra ...


Denis Arnold, 19 September 1985

Interpreting Bach’s ‘Well-Tempered Clavier’: A Performer’s Discourse of Method 
by Ralph Kirkpatrick.
Yale, 132 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 300 03058 4
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Bach, Handel, Scarlatti: Tercentenary Essays 
edited by Peter Williams.
Cambridge, 363 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 25217 2
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Handel: The Man and his Music 
by Jonathan Keates.
Gollancz, 346 pp., £12.95, February 1985, 0 575 03573 0
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Sensibility and English Song: Critical Studies of the Early 20th Century: Vols I and II 
by Stephen Banfield.
Cambridge, 619 pp., £27.50, April 1985, 0 521 23085 3
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... the penny has dropped, largely due to the enthusiasms of Englishmen, with Anthony Lewis at the Barber Institute in Birmingham and the devotees of the Handel Opera Society in London providing the chance to see as well as to hear – a necessary test for any kind of opera. It is the miracle of Handel’s operatic genius which has allowed these ventures to ...

Overloaded with Wasps

James Wood: Tales from Michigan, 17 March 2005

The Secret Goldfish 
by David Means.
Fourth Estate, 211 pp., £14.99, February 2005, 0 00 716487 4
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... bowl and a ‘please sir, I want some more.’ ‘Lightning Man’, whose last page is set in a barber-shop, also dares the nice hazard of this phrase: ‘the concise irreversible nature of cutting hair’, words nicer in sound than meaning, for if haircutting were indeed irreversible there would presumably be no need of barbers. But there are plenty of ...

‘A Naughty House’

Charles Nicholl: Shakespeare’s Landlord, 24 June 2010

... in the engagement, or ‘troth-plighting’, of their daughter Mary to one of their apprentices, Stephen Belott. Some years later Belott sued Mountjoy for an unpaid dowry of £60, and Shakespeare was among those called to give evidence at the Court of Requests in Westminster. He did so on 11 May 1612, though – somewhat conveniently for Mountjoy – he ...

I am an irregular verb

Margaret Anne Doody: Laetitia Pilkington, 22 January 1998

Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington 
edited by A.C. Elias.
Georgia, 348497 pp., £84.95, May 1997, 0 8203 1719 5
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... According to Mrs Pilkington, when her husband was fortunate enough to be made chaplain to Alderman Barber, he went to London, abandoning Laetitia, and lived openly with his mistress. When she came to England, he went back to Ireland, repudiating her. He divorced her in the consistory court, and married again, claiming that her children were illegitimate. She ...

‘I’m coming, my Tetsie!’

Freya Johnston: Samuel Johnson’s Shoes, 9 May 2019

Samuel Johnson 
edited by David Womersley.
Oxford, 1344 pp., £95, May 2018, 978 0 19 960951 2
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... man. Most readers assume she was praising Johnson’s sober, rational side; Leslie Stephen, writing in 1878, went so far as to commend Tetty’s penetrative ‘good sense’ for discerning the same quality in Johnson, despite his ‘grotesque appearance’. But if we take Tetty’s ‘sensible’ to mean – as in this period it certainly could ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004, 6 January 2005

... hardly cosy is consoling, too, both of us happiest reading what we know already. 11 October. Stephen Page (Faber) and Andrew Franklin (Profile Books) come round to take delivery of the MS of Untold Stories, a collection of diaries and other memoirs which they are to publish jointly next September. It’s in a big box file with some of the stuff in ...

Why Pigs Don’t Have Wings

Jerry Fodor: The Case against Natural Selection, 18 October 2007

... But for once Nietzsche is nowhere in sight and nobody dies; the territory is closer to The Barber of Seville than to The Ring. Yet, in the first scene of Act 3, the avuncular Hans Sachs, whose benevolent interventions smooth the lovers’ course, delivers an aria of bitter reflection on the human condition. It comes as rather a ...

Slashed, Red and Dead

Michael Hofmann: Rilke, To Me, 21 January 2021

... wrong time: ‘Naples too, as indeed everything Italian, is more beautiful in the summer.’ His barber warns him of an impending change of weather: ‘Pioggia, scirocco, eh –’ He haunts the museum, takes refuge in the book he has brought with him from Munich, The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh. In his dedication to the first volume of New Poems, he writes ...

Paradise Syndrome

Sukhdev Sandhu: Hanif Kureishi, 18 May 2000

Midnight All Day 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 224 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 0 571 19456 7
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... was shown on TV. The film, written by the Anglo-Pakistani Hanif Kureishi and directed by Stephen Frears, told the story of Anglo-Pakistani Omar (played by Gordon Warnecke) who, tired of being patronised and bullied by his family, decides to get ahead by opening a gleaming new laundrette in South London. Having acquired the necessary start-up cash by ...

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