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Diary

Stephen W. Smith: Sankarism, 30 August 2018

... his lively voice took me by surprise. We were of the same generation: he was 37, I was 30. ‘Hey Stephen, how are you these days? You know it’s really getting very tense here in Ouaga. I think you should come, it’s urgent, don’t hang around.’ These were not his exact words. But the contrived levity, the hint of imminent danger and the discreet appeal ...

Ventures

Susannah Clapp, 10 November 1988

The Suzy Lamplugh Story 
by Andrew Stephen.
Faber, 198 pp., £10.95, October 1988, 0 571 15152 3
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... are probably (bar the Royals) one of the most well-known families in Britain.’ Andrew Stephen’s book has added to this celebrity. So have the newspaper stories about his story. For three long weeks the Observer carried huge chunks of this tiny book. Their estimate of the story which was most likely to attract readers was the same as that of the ...

Victorian Vocations

Frank Kermode, 6 December 1984

Frederic Harrison: The Vocations of a Positivist 
by Martha Vogeler.
Oxford, 493 pp., £27.50, September 1984, 0 19 824733 8
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Leslie StephenThe Godless Victorian 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 297 78369 6
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... Frederic Harrison once climbed Mont Blanc and found Leslie Stephen on the top. Not an improbable location for the encounter of two eminent Victorians: and they might equally have met in George Eliot’s drawing-room. Whereas Stephen was much the more distinguished mountaineer, Harrison probably knew George Eliot better: he helped her work out the legal plot of Felix Holt, a service for which she may have owed him more gratitude than we need to feel ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... who – he suggests – probably heard it from Reggie Turner. In her version, ‘a curious, very young, but hard-eyed creature appeared, looked at him, gave a sort of laugh, and passed on. He felt, he said, “as if an icy hand had clutched at his heart”. He had a sudden presentiment. He saw a vision of folly, misery and ruin.’ The sex of this ...

Mr Who He?

Stephen Orgel: Shakespeare’s Poems, 8 August 2002

The Complete Sonnets and Poems 
by William Shakespeare, edited by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 750 pp., £65, February 2002, 9780198184317
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... Spenser and Sidney. Both poems include fulsome dedications to the Earl of Southampton, a glamorous young aristocrat (he was 19 when Venus and Adonis appeared) who was also the ward of William Cecil, Lord Burghley. This is the way ambitious Elizabethan poets got on in the world: they found a generous aristocratic patron, whose taste, praised in a lavish ...

Baby Brothers

Dinah Birch, 18 April 1996

Love, Again 
by Doris Lessing.
HarperCollins, 345 pp., £15.99, April 1996, 0 00 223936 1
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Playing the Game 
by Doris Lessing, illustrated by Charlie Adlard.
HarperCollins, 64 pp., £6.99, December 1995, 0 586 21689 8
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... if body conspires with mind in refusing to retire gracefully. ‘Most men and more women – young women afraid for themselves – punish older women with derision, punish them with cruelty, when they show inappropriate signs of sexuality.’ Having scorned maiden timidities sixty years ago. Lessing finds the discretions of age just as ...
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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... 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 Boom (to give him ...

Diary

Blake Morrison: On the Independent on Sunday , 27 May 1993

... been not a moral crusade but a calculated move to exploit a ‘market gap’. Or so I learn from Stephen Glover, originally foreign editor of the daily and later editor of the Independent on Sunday, whose book Paper Dreams* is a cross between a company report and W.E. Johns, a venture-capital story for boys: three fellows have a terrific wheeze which earns ...

One Night in Maidenhead

Jean McNicol, 30 October 1997

Noel Coward and Radclyffe Hall: Kindred Spirits 
by Terry Castle.
Columbia, 150 pp., £15.95, November 1996, 0 231 10596 7
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Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall 
edited by Joanne Glasgow.
New York, 273 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 8147 3092 2
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Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 434 pp., £25, June 1997, 9780719554087
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... the heroine of her first novel, The Unlit Lamp, and the character to whom these words refer. The young women she had overheard, Ogden thought, were ‘aggressively intelligent ... not at all self-conscious in their tailor-made clothes, not ashamed of their cropped hair; women who did things well ... women who counted and who would go on counting ... They ...

His Spittin’ Image

Colm Tóibín: John Stanislaus Joyce, 22 February 2018

... A father​ is a necessary evil,’ Stephen Dedalus says in Ulysses. In Yeats: The Man and the Masks, Richard Ellmann quoted Ivan Karamazov: ‘Who doesn’t desire his father’s death?’ ‘From the Urals to Donegal,’ Ellmann writes,the theme recurs, in Turgenev, in Samuel Butler, in Gosse. It is especially prominent in Ireland ...

Walking like Swinburne

P.N. Furbank, 12 July 1990

Serious Pleasures: The Life of Stephen Tennant 
by Philip Hoare.
Hamish Hamilton, 463 pp., £20, June 1990, 0 241 12416 6
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... It is worth stating a few facts about Stephen Tennant, the subject of this excellent biography by Philip Hoare, in case some readers may not have heard of him. He was born in 1906, the son of a rich industrialist, Edward Tennant, who became Lord Glenconner in 1911, and of Pamela Wyndham, one of the Wyndham sisters immortalised by Sargent in his painting The Three Graces ...

Diary

Stephen Spender: Towards a Kind of Neo-Paganism, 21 April 1983

... funeral and to do all he could for the mother and stepfather of B, whom he regarded as a promising young artist and the most lively and intelligent boy he knew. I gathered that some of B’s school friends, when they were ‘high’ on ‘mushrooms’ (fungi which schoolchildren find growing all over the place in large quantities), had gone into the Tube at ...

Diary

Stephen Sackur: In Aswan, 24 June 1993

... had nowhere to hide. When the shooting stopped at least nine people – mostly adolescents or young men – were dead. Dozens more were injured. All were described by the security forces as ‘terrorists’. More than fifty others were arrested at the scene of the attack and are still being detained. This raid on the Rahman mosque was not an isolated ...

No Cleaning, No Cooking

Richard Beck: Nell Zink, 16 July 2015

‘The Wallcreeper’ and ‘Mislaid’ 
by Nell Zink.
Fourth Estate, 168 pp. and 288 pp., £20, June 2015, 978 0 00 813960 5
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... an MFA instructor proud, even as it seemed to parody MFA style: ‘I was looking at the map when Stephen swerved, hit the rock, and occasioned the miscarriage.’ The miscarriage is the product of a marriage that’s not built to last. This isn’t to say that Tiffany, the narrator, and Stephen, the husband, loathe each ...

Sweet Dreams

Christopher Reid, 17 November 1983

The Oxford Book of Dreams 
by Stephen Brook.
Oxford, 268 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 19 214130 9
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... dreams, and one rather dogmatic passage laying down the law on dream symbolism. It is a measure of Stephen Brook’s easy-going editorial attitude that Freud and his detractors are given equal house-room. His anthology is, deliberately, a miscellaneous compilation, containing, in addition to passages of the finest writing – the work of ...

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