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20 April 1989
William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 525 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 19 812828 2
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... and in the notes dictated late in life, he offered different interpretations. The problem of aligning biography with autobiography is often sidestepped by biographers less equal to their task than StephenGill, either by equating the ‘truth’ about a writer’s life with what that writer has specifically chosen not to reveal, or by accepting what he has revealed too literally. The first alternative ...

One Bit of Rock or Moor

Susan Eilenberg: Wordsworth and the Victorians

3 September 1998
Wordsworth and the Victorians 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 300 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 19 811965 8
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The Five-Book Prelude 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Duncan Wu.
Blackwell, 214 pp., £40, April 1997, 0 631 20548 9
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... what a reader chose to believe or what an editor wished him to believe. In his rich, engrossing account of Wordsworth’s commercial and cultural absorption into diverse aspects of Victorian culture, StephenGill reveals the currency throughout the 19th century of more varieties – and more incompatible ones – of Wordsworth than a modern reader can comfortably keep track of. Nor is the instability all ...

Regrets, Vexations, Lassitudes

Seamus Perry: Wordsworth’s Trouble

18 December 2008
William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’: A Casebook 
edited by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 406 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 0 19 518092 5
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... to mind scattered memories of childhood – playing alone in the river and meadow and climbing alarming rock-faces. But was it for what, exactly? In his edition of the early Prelude manuscripts, Stephen Parrish suggested that ‘this’ is ‘the powerful disturbance of mind occasioned by a superabundant flow of inspiration’, which would be a confirmation of the powers expected of Wordsworth. But ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London

19 June 2008
... has ploughed into a wood yard, replaced a long-standing cold-store operation. ‘With its 147 units (prices up to £395,000), this is a tremendous example of aspiration coming to fruition,’ says Stephen Oakes, area director for English Partnerships. Inch by inch, the working canal between Limehouse Basin and the Islington tunnel has become a ladder of glass, connecting Docklands with the northern ...
6 June 1996
Revision and Romantic Authorship 
by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 354 pp., £40, March 1996, 0 19 812264 0
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... but Leader is not interested, here at any rate, in their new-historical bullying; his point is simply that there is something false in the cult of the original unrevised version. He takes issue with StephenGill, whose Oxford Authors edition of Wordsworth prints the poems ‘in texts in which their original identity is restored’. Thus all the ‘secondary’ work that resulted in the final authorised ...
6 August 1992
The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... essay introducing the poems. The high-risk decision to cut corners on the poets’ collaboration could expose Mason to comparison, not only with two serious recent biographies, of Wordsworth by StephenGill and of Coleridge by Richard Holmes, but with Susan Eilenberg’s persuasive book-length treatment of this very subject. Mason underplays the psychological interest of Wordsworth’s ...
7 December 1989
Coleridge: Early Visions 
by Richard Holmes.
Hodder, 409 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 340 28335 1
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Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics 
by John Williams.
Manchester, 203 pp., £29.95, November 1989, 0 7190 3168 0
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Sara Coleridge, A Victorian Daughter: Her Life and Essays 
by Bradford Keyes Mudge.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04443 7
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... silver in the sun, – its shadows running down in the water like a column.’ Coleridge became a fell-walker on a scale more heroic even than Wordsworth and Wordsworth’s sailor brother John. As StephenGill acutely points out in his recent Wordsworth biography, an excellent companion piece to Holmes on Coleridge, ‘Coleridge actually needed action, not the tranquillity of a domestic cot but ...
12 January 1995
Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 
by Mark Rose.
Harvard, 176 pp., £21.95, October 1993, 0 674 05308 7
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Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation 
by Susan Stewart.
Duke, 353 pp., £15.95, November 1994, 0 8223 1545 9
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature 
edited by Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi.
Duke, 562 pp., £42.75, January 1994, 0 8223 1412 6
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... in classic reprints. World’s Classics, for instance, have invested heavily in an annotated Ulysses and have an annotated Lawrence (the unclean texts) coming out under the general editorship of StephenGill. They have Woolf titles in their catalogue. Even their full range of Thomas Hardy novels will return to copyright protection for a couple of years. Although the legislation will not be ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth

5 April 2001
Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... could only answer that they felt in their bones that this was all very unlikely. In a footnote, Juliet Barker finds the idea ‘ludicrous’, but says no more. Wordsworth éminence grise StephenGill thought that a verdict on Johnston’s claims would only be possible after ‘years’ of ‘rigorous scholarly assessment’. It was about a year and a half before the speculation was scotched ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames

25 June 2009
Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... The current bridge, on which you can stand, keeping your head down, while you watch Swiss Air jets banking steeply to avoid the pyramidal summit of the Canary Wharf tower, is named in honour of Sir Stephen Redgrave. After hacking through brambles, picking a path around Magellan Boulevard, Atlantis Avenue and a boarded-up missionary hut, I found myself outside the perimeter fence of the steel-grey block ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell

15 March 1984
Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... In Elizabeth Taylor’s novel The Wedding Group, published in 1968, there is a grand old painter called Harry Bretton. He is modelled, I would guess, on Eric Gill, for the Life, and Stanley Spencer, for the Work. Musing by the studio window, he considers his place in history: Turner was the greatest English painter, and was safely dead, did not encroach or ...
6 December 1979
... do, although the professional poster designer McKnight Kauffer did the best of the lot. By the Thirties the achievements of Arts and Crafts revivalism were petering out: Edward Johnston and Eric Gill look good, calligraphy after Johnston aimless, laboured and weak. Craft pottery and commercial pottery both stand up very well. Furniture, either in the Gimson tradition, of beautifully-finished ...

Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa

5 July 2007
China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen​ Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen​ Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... to African nations, would be more willing to help them acquire the technology and skills they need to develop, and to earn some of the wealth that industrialised nations now possess. Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks’s book, the first attempt in recent years to examine African views of China, makes clear that there is hunger in Africa for a new partner. Though they are cautious about the negative impact ...

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 – ...

Footpaths

Tom Shippey

26 July 1990
England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900 
by John Lucas.
Hogarth, 227 pp., £18, February 1990, 0 7012 0892 9
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The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism 
by Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £45, February 1990, 0 521 37374 3
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Fleeting Things: English Poets and Poems, 1616-1660 
by Gerald Hammond.
Harvard, 394 pp., £24.95, March 1990, 0 674 30625 2
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... and ‘citizens of the world’ (Swift, Goldsmith), or in some way or other spokesmen for a deep commonalty (or maybe a depressed commonalty) surviving below the Hanoverian consensus (Blake, Stephen Duck, the poet-labourer, who drowned himself in a fit of despondency). In a way, Lucas is most interesting about the poets in between these groups, the traitors or defeatists like Wordsworth or ...

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