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Charles Hope: Luca Signorelli

20 December 2012
The Life and Art of Luca Signorelli 
by Tom Henry.
Yale, 456 pp., £50, 9780300179262
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... spread of his paintings is probably one reason why, in comparison with other leading Italian artists of his generation, Signorelli has been rather neglected by modern scholars. The publication of TomHenry’s book and the exhibition of his works this summer in Italy provide an unprecedented opportunity for evaluating his achievement as a whole. Many of Signorelli’s pictures are large ...

No Fear of Fanny

Marilyn Butler

20 November 1980
by Erica Jong.
Granada, 496 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 246 11427 4
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The Heroine’s Text 
by Nancy Miller.
Columbia, 185 pp., £10, July 1980, 0 231 04910 2
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... an 18th-century author instead of writing yet another academic paper on him. At the time, Ms Jong came up with a mock epic in heroic couplets in the manner of Pope, and a novella in the style of Henry Fielding. After several volumes of poetry and a runaway success with her bawdy modern picaresque, Fear of Flying, she still likes the challenge of the Clifford assignment. Fanny, being the True ...

Tom​ Phillips: An Interview

Tom​ Phillips, Adam Smyth and Gill Partington

4 October 2012
... Tom Phillips, who was born in 1937, is a painter, printmaker and collagist, and the creator of ‘A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel’, which was reviewed by Adam Smyth in the issue of 12 October ...
5 April 1990
Henry​ Fielding: A Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry​ Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry​ Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry​ Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry​ Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... strong. In return, Swift is said to have admired Fielding’s wit and to have confessed that one of the only two occasions in his life when he remembered having laughed was ‘at the circumstance of Tom Thumb’s killing the ghost’. That occurs, as it happens, in a play to which Fielding attached a mock-commentary by Scriblerus Secundus, modelled mainly on Pope’s Dunciad, not very long after his ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flashman

9 May 2002
... It’s hard to imagine anyone settling down to write the further adventures of that Harry Potter of the 1830s, Tom Brown; even harder to imagine anyone settling down to read them. (Thomas Hughes did in fact write a sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford, but it’s never done as well as Tom Brown’s Schooldays: ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry​ Fielding

20 November 2008
Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry​ Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry​ Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... power through bribery and electoral chicanery. If this was the nature of a prime minister’s trade, was that of a professional author any purer? Although Fielding’s most enduring work, and Tom Jones (1749) especially, were the result of a painstaking commitment to the craft of writing, he always wanted to disguise the vulgarities of effort, and nowhere more than in the comedies and farces ...
21 February 1991
Samuel Butler: A Biography 
by Peter Raby.
Hogarth, 334 pp., £25, February 1991, 0 7012 0890 2
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... Woolf’s praise was for what was to become – had already become – the Bloomsbury way of life. ‘Erewhon dinners’ were being held, at first under the auspices of Butler’s great friend Henry Festing Jones (the last dinner was in July 1914), and Forster was offered £25 by his publisher as an advance for a book about Butler. Lytton Strachey, who also found Butler immensely ‘cheering ...

Short Cuts

Elisabeth Ladenson: Autofriction

20 September 2007
... and Marie Darrieussecq, two authors who until now have shared a publisher (P.O.L.), began exchanging blows last month in the literary pages of all the major papers over Darrieussecq’s latest novel, Tom est mort, a first-person narrative of a mother’s attempt to come to terms with the death of her small child ten years earlier. In 1995 Laurens had published Philippe, an autobiographical work about ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Mission: Impossible – Fallout’

30 August 2018
... The film series, by contrast, was just ‘action’. The mind games continue in the movies, as I have suggested, but they do meet with heavy visual competition. There are always shoot-outs, and Tom Cruise does a lot of running. In the first film he hangs from a long wire to make a CD copy of a file from a computer inside CIA headquarters. In the new one there is a nearly failed parachute drop ...

Protestant Guilt

Tom​ Paulin

9 April 1992
Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 517 pp., £18.99, March 1992, 0 571 16604 0
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... wall’ in the context of Shakespeare’s Catholicism, it has to carry a historical memory of the dissolution of the monasteries, and the judicial murder of monks and abbots during the reign of Henry VIII (after the rebellion known as the Pilgrimage of Grace, for example, Henry ordered that the chief monks at Sawley Abbey were to be hanged ‘out of the steeple’). The consecrated wall is ...

The Wrong Stuff

Christopher Hitchens

1 April 1983
The Purple Decades 
by Tom​ Wolfe.
Cape, 396 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 224 02944 4
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... In the margin of the second: no it isn’t. After the third: no it wasn’t. But that would be much too literal. What those three paragraphs have in common are the three things that go to make up the Tom Wolfe effect. One, a glibness that is designed for speed-reading. Two, a facility with rapidly cross-cut images and references: a show of learning. Three, a strongly marked conservatism. It is the ...


Philip Davis: Thomas Arnold’s Apostasies

15 April 2004
A Victorian Wanderer: The Life of Thomas Arnold the Younger 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Oxford, 274 pp., £25, July 2003, 0 19 925741 8
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... religious quest of Pilgrim’s Progress. What Matthew Arnold detected in their friend the poet Clough, he also found in his younger brother Thomas: a want of ‘rest’. It had all started so well: Tom gained the first at Oxford that eluded both Matthew and Clough; he was Clough’s model for Philip, the radical poet, in his poem The Bothie. But a mixture of religious doubt and social concern led ...

A House and its Heads

Christopher Ricks

7 August 1980
Setting the World on Fire 
by Angus Wilson.
Secker, 296 pp., £6.50, July 1980, 9780436576041
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... An ambitious novel about ambition and ambitions, Setting the World on Fire is in two minds. It embodies the minds in two brothers, Piers Mosson and Tom Mosson: the one with his head in the clouds, fated to become a red-carpet knight of the theatre, sure of his direction and of his directing; the other, with his feet on the ground, ready, steady, and ...


John Sutherland

23 March 1995
Huxley: The Devil’s Disciple 
by Adrian Desmond.
Joseph, 474 pp., £20, November 1994, 0 7181 3641 1
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... The problem T.H. Huxley presents for the would-be popular biographer is evident in his entry in the Concise DNB: Huxley, Thomas Henry (1825-1895), man of science; studied at Charing Cross Hospital; announced, 1845, discovery of the layer of cells in root sheath of hair which now bears his name; MB London, 1845; made assistant ...


Richard Stern

15 August 1991
... five o’clock on Friday, 19 April, anniversary of the shot heard round the world, Jacques Derrida gave the first of the four annual Frederick Ives Carpenter Lectures at the University of Chicago.1 Tom Mitchell, chairman of the English Department and editor of Critical Inquiry, the English-language journal in which Derrida most often publishes, introduced him to a crowd that filled not only the ...

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