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Love is always young and happy

David Coward: Molière, 5 April 2001

Molière: A Theatrical Life 
by Virginia Scott.
Cambridge, 333 pp., £35, October 2000, 0 521 78281 3
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... Molière, rebels with a subversive one and theatre historians with a man of the theatre. Virginia Scott’s biography, the first in English for seventy years, belongs with the latter tendency; its purpose is to provide an accessible portrait of a playwright who, after Shakespeare, ‘represents classical theatre to American audiences’. She ...

I, too, write a little

Lorna Sage: Katherine Mansfield, 18 June 1998

The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol I 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 310 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 48 4
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The Katherine Mansfield Notebooks: Vol II 
edited by Margaret Scott.
Lincoln University Press, 355 pp., NZ $79.95, September 1997, 0 908896 49 2
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... and the Scrapbook, though it’s long been known that there was no such distinction. Margaret Scott, who is also co-editor of the five-volume Mansfield Collected Letters, has worked for years on these Mansfield papers at the Turnbull Library in Wellington, New Zealand, where most of them are kept (the rest are in Chicago), and where she was a ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back numbers of Reader’s Digest. It’s been out of favour since at least the 1750s. The Reverend Francis Gastrell, who owned ...

Snouty

John Bayley, 4 June 1987

The Faber Book of Diaries 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 498 pp., £12.95, March 1987, 0 571 13806 3
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A Lasting Relationship: Parents and Children over Three Centuries 
by Linda Pollock.
Fourth Estate, 319 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 947795 25 1
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... practising the articulation of a very real gratitude. It would have been well understood by Walter Scott: Some things of the black dog hanging about me but I will shake him off. I generally affect good spirits in company of my family whether I am enjoying them or not. It is too severe to sadden the harmless mirth of others by suffering your causeless ...

Superchild

John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... To read Virginia Woolf when young is, or was, to have the feeling of entering a new world, to realise with sudden ecstasy that this was true being, where words and consciousness and the solitary self melted into one. ‘She gave me eyes, she gave me ears,’ wrote Wordsworth of his sister Dorothy. Virginia Woolf gave more than that: she gave, or seemed to give, the pure Private Life, quite separate from the contingent miseries, anxieties and rivalries of adolescence, a free-floating poetic awareness, an otherness wholly and excitingly up-to-date ...

Vita Longa

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 1 December 1983

Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 297 78306 8
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... Vita was 40: Christopher, Mrs Glendinning writes, was ‘very ugly and in her late fifties’. (Virginia Woolf, called upon to intercede with Vita on Christopher’s behalf, described her as ‘that mule-faced harridan of yours’.) Vita didn’t drop Christopher: she liked people to go on loving her, provided they didn’t expect much in return, and ...

A Little ‘Foreign’

P.N. Furbank: Iris Origo, 27 June 2002

Iris Origo: Marchesa of Val d’Orcia 
by Caroline Moorehead.
Murray, 351 pp., £22, October 2000, 0 7195 5672 4
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... by a previous marriage on a motor-tour of Tuscany. The choice fell on Maynard Keynes and Geoffrey Scott, who proved to be ‘nice, intellectual boys’ who did not lead the girls into any ‘nonsense’. Scott was recently down from Oxford, with a reputation as a brilliant conversationalist but no obvious vocation, and Mary ...

The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust, 6 January 2005

In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... of Guermantes, the narrator says, ‘appeared to me to be a paradise I would never enter’. Scott Moncrieff, the earlier and best-known translator of Proust, is in this case quite literal about the famous sentence, and gives us ‘the true paradises are the paradises that we have lost,’ although even here there is a little slither, since in the ...

Her Anti-Aircraft Guns

Lorna Scott Fox: Clarice Lispector, 8 April 2010

Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector 
by Benjamin Moser.
Haus, 479 pp., £20, September 2009, 978 1 906598 42 6
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Haus, 445 pp., £12.99, September 2009, 978 1 906598 45 7
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... and the tedium of diplomatic society is transformed and magnified in the violent subjection of Virginia in The Chandelier (1946), one of her most difficult books in its search for an originary language, stripped of accretions. As Moser puts it, ‘she identifies the point at which a thing is named as the point where that thing comes to exist.’ It is one ...

Just William

Doris Grumbach, 25 June 1987

Willa Cather: The Emerging Voice 
by Sharon O’Brien.
Oxford, 544 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 19 504132 1
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... it took her forty years to do so. Born in 1873 among the lush hills and greenery of Winchester, Virginia, to a feckless gentleman farmer and his beautiful Southern belle wife, she was removed from the landscape she loved at the age of nine, when the family moved to the harsh, flat, frozen prairie town of Red Cloud, Nebraska. This, the first rude trauma of ...

An Agreement with Hell

Eric Foner, 20 February 1997

Original Meanings: Politics and Ideas in the Making of the Constitution 
by Jack Rakove.
Knopf, 439 pp., $35, April 1996, 0 394 57858 9
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... it ‘a covenant with death, an agreement with hell’. Three years later, in the case of Dred Scott, Chief Justice Roger Taney vindicated Calhoun (and Garrison) by declaring that blacks formed no part of the ‘people’ who had formed the Constitution. They could never be citizens of the nation and ‘had no rights which the white man was bound to ...

During the war and after the war

J.R. Pole, 11 January 1990

Oxford History of the United States. Vol. VI: Battle Cry of Freedom, The Civil War Era 
by James McPherson.
Oxford, 904 pp., $35, June 1988, 0 19 503863 0
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Reconstruction: America’s Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 
by Eric Foner.
Harper and Row, 690 pp., $21.95, April 1988, 0 06 015851 4
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... the summer of 1862, when a seemingly imminent Union victory was arrested both in the West and in Virginia. It may be remarked here, hardly parenthetically, that the prolongation of the war by these Southern successes ensured that the war would turn into a crusade against slavery. An early victory would have restored the Union without any immediate prospect ...

Noovs’ hoovs in the trough

Angela Carter, 24 January 1985

The Official Foodie Handbook 
by Ann Barr and Paul Levy.
Ebury, 144 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 85223 348 5
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An Omelette and a Glass of Wine 
by Elizabeth David.
Hale, 318 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7090 2047 3
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Chez Panisse Menu Cookbook 
by Alice Waters, foreword by Jane Grigson .
Chatto, 340 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2820 8
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... books, like her journalism, are larded with quotations, from recherché antique cookery books to Virginia Woolf, Montaigne, Walter Scott. Her approach is not in the least like the gastronomic dandyism of the ‘food-for-food’s sake’ crowd: she is holistic about it. She is obviously a truly civilised person and, for ...

Diary

David Denby: Deaths on Camera, 7 September 2016

... World and Me, his essay on race and violence. Coates’s close friend Prince Jones was killed in Virginia in 2000. ‘When Prince Jones died, there were no cameras. There was nobody looking. The officer that killed him was not prosecuted. He was not even disciplined by the police force.’ In the Cincinnati video, today’s compulsion to take pictures of ...

No Clapping

Rosemary Hill: The Bloomsbury Memoir Club, 16 July 2014

The Bloomsbury Group Memoir Club 
by S.P. Rosenbaum, edited by James Haule.
Palgrave, 203 pp., £20, January 2014, 978 1 137 36035 9
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... domestic and sexual permutations would have caused no consternation among listeners who included Virginia and Leonard Woolf and Clive Bell. Nor, perhaps, would Forster’s own discomfort with the question of Sex, which played a large, complicated part in his own life: ‘You work it out,’ his essay goes on: ‘I can’t so well.’ Increasingly anguished ...

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