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4 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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... Vanbrugh said); recipients were certainly eager for more from his little piece of Siluria: ‘My Lord Sommers loved Perry,’ Newcastle wrote with heavy underlining. Many​ of the letters in StephenBernard’s meticulous edition owe their survival to Tonson’s Victorian heirs, who began auctioning off the most saleable manuscripts in the 1870s, as the family fortune dwindled. The rump of the ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism

22 June 2006
The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... chose not to engage polemically with Elton, his mentor. The evidence, not least for the critical decisions and turning-points of the reign, is often scarce and open to interpretation. George Bernard’s argument frequently proceeds by assertion rather than argument and proof, but, knowing how difficult the record is to interpret, he always asserts what is, in his view, plausible, rather than ...

From Notre Dame to Cluny, via a Beehive Hut

John Bossy: Abelard’s Final Fling

2 July 1998
Abelard: A Medieval Life 
by M.T. Clanchy.
Blackwell, 416 pp., £45, January 1997, 0 631 20502 0
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... in his preface; but he does not bang on about it. He is telling a story; his mode, to borrow a phrase from Peter Burke, is thick narrative. First he sets up his characters: Abelard himself; his enemy Bernard of Clairvaux, saint and, on Clanchy’s showing, insufferable rhetorician; his lover, short-lived wife and long-lived correspondent Heloise, niece or daughter and ward of Canon Fulbert of Notre Dame ...

Doctors’ Orders

Ruth Bernard​ Yeazell

18 February 1982
‘All that summer she was mad’: Virginia Woolf and Her Doctors 
by Stephen​ Trombley.
Junction, 338 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 9780862450397
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... In the summer following the death of Leslie Stephen in 1904, his daughter Virginia lay in bed, listening to the birds singing in Greek and imagining King Edward lurking naked in the azaleas, shouting obscenities; that same summer she apparently ...

Plain English

Denis Donoghue

20 December 1984
Nineteen Eighty-Four: Facsimile Edition 
by George Orwell, edited by Peter Davison.
Secker, 291 pp., £25, July 1984, 9780436350221
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Nineteen Eighty-Four 
by George Orwell, edited by Bernard​ Crick.
Oxford, 460 pp., £17.50, March 1984, 0 19 818521 9
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Inside the Myth. Orwell: Views from the Left 
edited by Christopher Norris.
Lawrence and Wishart, 287 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 85315 599 2
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The Crystal Spirit: A Study of George Orwell 
by George Woodcock.
Fourth Estate, 287 pp., £5.95, November 1984, 0 947795 05 7
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Orwell’s London 
by John Thompson.
Fourth Estate, 119 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 947795 00 6
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... printed as an appendix in the Clarendon Press Nineteen Eighty-Four, which uses the text Davison has prepared for the new complete edition of Orwell, and has a critical Introduction and annotations by Bernard Crick. Davison reports that Orwell wrote about fifty pages of the book in the summer of 1946: the novel in its first form was typed in the summer of 1947 and completed by October. Between the middle ...

Opera Mundi

Michael Neve

1 December 1983
Out of Order 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 256 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 86051 190 1
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Frank Johnson’s Election Year 
by Frank Johnson.
Robson, 192 pp., £6.95, October 1983, 0 86051 254 1
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Enthusiasms 
by Bernard​ Levin.
Cape, 264 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 224 02114 1
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Poem of the Year 
by Clive James.
Cape, 79 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 224 02961 4
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The Original Michael Frayn 
by Michael Frayn.
Salamander, 203 pp., £8.50, October 1983, 0 907540 32 5
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... positions: a modest one, a way of liking opera, as Frank Johnson does, on the quiet, without shouting about it, and an orgiastic one, where one is cosmically-life-affirmingly-overwhelmed by it, as Bernard Levin is. What we are talking about when we talk about opera becomes an intriguing moral moment. People who talk about it well seem to do it very well, to be able to be large-minded and yet sceptical ...

An English Vice

Bernard​ Bergonzi

21 February 1985
The Turning Key: Autobiography and the Subjective Impulse since 1800 
by Jerome Hamilton Buckley.
Harvard, 191 pp., £12.75, April 1984, 0 674 91330 2
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The Art of Autobiography in 19th and 20th-Century England 
by A.O.J. Cockshut.
Yale, 222 pp., £10.95, September 1984, 0 300 03235 8
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... which deals with the autobiographies of W.H. Hudson, Forrest Reid, Eleanor Farjeon, Christopher Milne and Lord Berners, and ‘The Child at Home’, discussing Victor Gollancz, Augustus Hare, Stephen Spender, Winifred Foley and Neville Cardus. These categories are speculative instruments rather than immutable structures, and they might give way if pressed too hard: but they provide a genuinely ...

To the crows!

James Davidson

27 January 1994
The Oldest Dead White European Males, and Other Reflections on the Classics 
by Bernard​ Knox.
Norton, 144 pp., £12.95, September 1993, 0 393 03492 5
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... to deliver the Jefferson Lecture in Washington DC, he chose to speak about something of more immediate concern – campus politics. Taking as his title ‘The Oldest Dead White European Males’, Bernard Knox addressed the impact made on a conservative discipline of new methods and concerns: the anthropology-influenced work of the Paris circle of Pierre Vidal-Naquet and J.-P. Vernant, ‘militant ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB

20 January 2005
The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... directly, a stay against oblivion, a giant memorial slab designed to stir thoughts on fame and obscurity, on mortality and immortality. And then there’s the respectable nerdiness of it all. Leslie Stephen, founding editor in the 1880s of the original DNB, hoped that it would turn out to be one of the ‘most amusing’ of books. This remark may have to be interpreted in the light of the fact that ...
20 September 1984
Ulysses: A Critical and Synoptic Edition 
by James Joyce, edited by Hans Walter Gabler, Wolfhard Steppe and Claus Melchior.
Garland, 1919 pp., $200, May 1984, 0 8240 4375 8
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James Joyce 
by Richard Ellmann.
Oxford, 900 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 19 281465 6
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... sides bunched together. Each person too. Insert, between the second and third phrases, this new one: ‘Each street different smell.’ Now ‘too’ has its force justified. On 568/648 Bloom and Stephen are reading the Evening Telegraph, Stephen the letter on page two from Mr Deasy about foot-and-mouth disease, Bloom an account of the third race at Ascot: While the other was reading it on page two ...

ODQ

Richard Usborne

24 January 1980
The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations 
Oxford, 908 pp., £12.50, November 1980, 9780192115607Show More
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... and in her walk it showed, she was in truth a goddess.’ ‘Et vera incessu patuit dea.’ You remember that from Rep in the Sixth, surely. There are 90 items from Virgil, Latin followed by English. Bernard Darwin, a great quotesman, who larded his golf reports in the Times with Dickens and supplied all the Dickens quotes for the 1941 ODQ, wrote an introduction to that edition, and they repeat it in the ...

This Charming Man

Frank Kermode

24 February 1994
The Collected and Recollected Marc 
Fourth Estate, 51 pp., £25, November 1993, 1 85702 164 9Show More
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... are lots of them here. Marc occasionally offers little emblematic hints on interpretation, a camera for Cecil Beaton, and, for Margaret Thatcher, a ‘No Milk Today’ tag hanging from her nipple. Bernard Levin, who alone appears twice in the book, is once parked under the bosom of Arianna Stassinopoulos. Marcia Falkender holds the PM, a ventriloquist’s dummy, on her knee. Tom Driberg is adjacent to ...

Morality in the Oxygen

E.S. Turner: Tobogganing

14 December 2000
How the English Made the Alps 
by Jim Ring.
Murray, 287 pp., £19.99, September 2000, 0 7195 5689 9
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Killing Dragons: The Conquest of the Alps 
by Fergus Fleming.
Granta, 398 pp., £20, November 2000, 1 86207 379 1
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... to find moral and mystical edification in high places: ‘There is assuredly morality in the oxygen of the mountains, as there is immorality in the miasma of a marsh.’ His great rival, Leslie Stephen, future editor of the Dictionary of National Biography, put in a word for the morals of Fen dwellers (would he have defended the goings-on at Sodom, a thousand feet below marsh level?) but he, too ...

Who was the enemy?

Bernard​ Porter: Gallipoli

20 May 2015
Gallipoli 
by Alan Moorehead.
Aurum, 384 pp., £25, April 2015, 978 1 78131 406 7
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Gallipoli: A Soldier’s Story 
by Arthur Beecroft.
Robert Hale, 176 pp., £12.99, March 2015, 978 0 7198 1654 3
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Gallipoli 1915 
by Joseph Murray.
Silvertail, 210 pp., £12.99, April 2015, 978 1 909269 11 8
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Gallipoli: The Dardanelles Disaster in Soldiers’ Words and Photographs 
by Richard van Emden and Stephen​ Chambers.
Bloomsbury, 344 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 4088 5615 4
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... contains a flinch-making description of him amputating his mate’s thumb with a jack-knife (‘Tubby thanked me a thousand times’). Then there is the splendid book edited by Richard van Emden and Stephen Chambers, which consists mainly of soldiers’ and sailors’ letters and diaries, British, Anzac and Turkish – no French or Indian, apart from a couple of Indian officers in the British army – ...

Ah, la vie!

Ruth Bernard​ Yeazell: Lytton Strachey’s letters

1 December 2005
The Letters of Lytton Strachey 
edited by Paul Levy.
Viking, 698 pp., £30, March 2005, 0 670 89112 6
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... painter Mark Gertler; but ‘luckily’ she ‘immediately refused’, he reported to Mary Hutchinson. The manifest ambivalence of the proposal recalls his well-known offer of marriage to Virginia Stephen some seven years before: an offer no sooner made, he told Leonard Woolf, than ‘I saw that it would be death if she accepted.’ On that occasion, he had immediately followed up his abortive ...

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