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Power Systems

John Bayley, 15 March 1984

Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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Dante: Purgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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Dante: Paradiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... are Dante’s, but in more far-reaching and more subtle ways. These are analysed by Steve Ellis with great sympathy and penetration, and his book is one of the most interesting for all lovers of poetry to have appeared for some time. In La Poesia de Dante Croce made a distinction between Dante the poet and ...

Confounding the Apes

P.N. Furbank, 22 August 1996

The Divine Comedy 
by Dante Alighieri, translated by Allen Mandelbaum.
Everyman, 798 pp., £14.99, May 1995, 1 85715 183 6
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The Inferno of Dante. A New Verse Translation 
by Robert Pinsky, illustrated by Michael Mazur.
Dent, 427 pp., £20, February 1996, 9780460877640
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Dante’s Hell 
translated by Steve Ellis.
Chatto, 208 pp., £15.99, March 1994, 0 7011 6127 2
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... ten years or so ago), Mandelbaum’s and Pinsky’s belong firmly in the second class, whilst Ellis’s, which makes a point of the modernity of its idiom, aspires perhaps a little to the first class. The 20th century has been awash with Dante translations: Laurence Binyon’s in the Thirties, Dorothy Sayers’s in 1949, John Ciardi’s in 1955, Mark ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... got you too.The blankness has descended where you lieDeep in that building you already knew ...Or Steve Ellis:Hull was the global meridianall poetry was measured from;and now you’re gone, a flat blank gapempty as East Yorkshire, sits on the map ...The worst of these Larkin elegies have the authentic plangency of E.J. Thribb. The best, as yet ...

Jamming up the Flax Machine

Matthew Reynolds: Ciaran Carson’s Dante, 8 May 2003

The ‘Inferno’ of Dante Alighieri 
a new translation by Ciaran Carson.
Granta, 296 pp., £14.99, October 2002, 1 86207 525 5
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... that a translation has succeeded when it has expunged all trace of linguistic foreignness. Even Steve Ellis, whose Hell of 1993 drew attention to Dante’s regional identity by employing the speech patterns of Yorkshire, caught the vigour of his language at the cost of its variety. Before this new translation by Ciaran Carson, perhaps only Peter ...

Mandela: Death of a Politician

Stephen W. Smith: Mandela, the Politician, 9 January 2014

... as a Kumbaya invitation to join hands for a moral-historical promenade. In reality, as Stephen Ellis was able to show in 2011, Mandela joined the Central Committee of the South African Communist Party in 1960 to help impose the SACP’s strategic choice of armed struggle on a reluctant ANC leadership. Mandela was the first leader of the ANC’s armed ...

The Wickedest Woman in Paris

Colm Tóibín, 6 September 2007

Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins 
by Rupert Everett.
Abacus, 406 pp., £7.99, July 2007, 978 0 349 12058 4
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... who wanted Rupert to do a bit of work for the role of David Blakely, the guy killed by Ruth Ellis, the last woman to be hanged in England. Newell wanted to see Rupert’s pain. But, as Rupert himself admits, he was ‘a riddle as an actor. On screen, I had a lot of “feeling” but I couldn’t really act. On stage I could act, but people said I had no ...

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