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5 February 1981
... conventions of the 19th century and publishing alongside writers of ‘postmodernist’ pastiches of 18th-century novels. Naturalism is the common language of television – not the language we speak, but one we are accustomed to listen to. Simply by association it has become the language of the state, of an illusory consensus, and prone to all its contradictions. The centrality of ...

Made for TV

Jenny Diski

14 December 1995
Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter 
by W. Stephen Gilbert.
Hodder, 382 pp., £18.99, November 1995, 0 340 64047 2
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Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen 
by John Cook.
Manchester, 368 pp., £45, October 1995, 0 7190 4601 7
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... he didn’t fail to include a Dostoevskian eulogy to the nowness of now and the blossomest of blossom, and even managed to gain the disapproval of his old primary school teacher who, according to StephenGilbert, admired his final interview but was not pleased when ‘he said “God the old bugger” ... I didn’t like that.’ It was such a successful finale that I still expect the credits to roll ...

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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... brand-names. As the illustrations in Merlin Holland’s The Wilde Album demonstrate, this was as true in his fin de siècle as in ours. During Wilde’s lifetime, his celebrity was used to sell Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, Madame Fontaine’s Bosom Beautifier, Straiton and Storm’s cigars and, lastly and mostignominiously, copies of the Illustrated Police Budget. Today, his name is on ...

Funny Mummy

E.S. Turner

2 December 1982
The Penguin Stephen​ Leacock 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 527 pp., £2.95, October 1981, 0 14 005890 7
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Jerome K. Jerome: A Critical Biography 
by Joseph Connolly.
Orbis, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 85613 349 3
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Three Men in a Boat 
by Jerome K. Jerome, annotated and introduced by Christopher Matthew and Benny Green.
Joseph, 192 pp., £12.50, August 1982, 0 907516 08 4
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The Lost Stories of W.S. Gilbert 
edited by Peter Haining.
Robson, 255 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 86051 200 2
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... Stephen Leacock, the English-born, Canadian-reared humorist, has a single entry in the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations: ‘Lord Ronald ... flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions ...
16 December 1993
The Modern Language Association of America: Program for the 109th Convention, Vol. 108, No. 6 
November 1993Show More
The Modern Language Association: Job Information List 
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... a generally acceptable syllabus in a generally acceptable way. Presidents of the MLA hold office for a year. There are three appropriately distinguished candidates standing for the post this year: Stephen Greenblatt, Sandra Gilbert and Marjorie Perloff. Their policy declarations make interesting reading. Each accepts there is a crisis – although they disagree as to whether the crisis lies within or ...
11 March 1993
Churchill: The End of Glory 
by John Charmley.
Hodder, 648 pp., £30, January 1993, 9780340487952
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Churchill: A Major New Assessment of his Life in Peace and War 
edited by Robert Blake and Wm​ Roger Louis.
Oxford, 517 pp., £19.95, February 1993, 0 19 820317 9
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... 1991, amid the as yet unalloyed relishings of the Desert Storm victory, a meeting of the world’s leading Churchillists was convened in Austin, Texas, undoubtedly at the initiative of Professor Wm Roger Louis, whose Kerr Chair of English History and Culture at the University of Texas was one of the two principal sponsors (along with the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library), although the president ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine

3 December 1981
The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... Mr Stephen is editing a little dictionary,’ a friend explained to a clergyman foolhardy enough to ask whether Leslie ‘did any writing’. The enterprise in question was the DNB, one of those grandiosely ...

Diary

Stephen W.​ Smith: Sankarism

30 August 2018
... West Africa correspondent at the time for Radio France International and Libération, based in neighbouring Ivory Coast. The day before the assassination I got a call from Sankara. This was a first. We knew each other well but, until then, his aide had always called me before putting the president on the line. This time, his lively voice took me by surprise. Wewere of the same generation: he wa...

Hare’s Blood

Peter Wollen: John Berger

4 April 2002
The Selected Essays of John Berger 
edited by Geoff Dyer.
Bloomsbury, 599 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 7475 5419 6
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... was, for example, less than welcoming to Gear, a painter who already enjoyed an international reputation. In 1948, Gear, then based in Paris, had exhibited with Réalités Nouvelles and, along with StephenGilbert, had also become one of only two British founding members of the CoBrA group, whose significance has been aptly characterised by Chris van der Heijden: ‘in the midst of the darkness of the ...
10 September 1992
‘Sons and Lovers’: The Unexpurgated Text 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by Helen Baron and Carl Baron.
Cambridge, 675 pp., £70, September 1992, 0 521 24276 2
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D.H. Lawrence: The Early Years, 1885-1912 
by John Worthen.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £14.95, September 1992, 0 521 43221 9
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‘Sons and Lovers’ 
by Michael Black.
Cambridge, 126 pp., £19.95, September 1992, 0 521 36074 9
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... conclave with her family, by writing some pieces round the incident for the Westminster Gazette. ‘How a spy is arrested’ was set up in type but never printed: the Westminster’s editor, Stephen Spender’s uncle, was mildly pro-German in 1912, and he also turned down a piece called ‘In Fortified Germany’. But the third and fourth articles made it – Lawrence’s debut as a travel ...

At Tate Britain

Brian Dillon: Queer British Art

6 September 2017
... boy’. There are considerably fewer female artists, and women’s bodies, in this show than there are men – a fact the Tate curators acknowledge, along with the infrequency of non-white faces: ‘We have been constantly frustrated by the comparative scarcity of material.’ In a section somewhat dutifully titled ‘Defying Convention’, we find John Singer Sargent’s 1881 portrait of an ...

Red silk is the best blood

David Thomson: Sondheim

16 December 2010
Finishing the Hat: Collected Lyrics (1954-81), with Attendant Comments, Principles, Heresies, Grudges, Whines and Anecdotes 
by Stephen​ Sondheim.
Virgin, 445 pp., £30, October 2010, 978 0 7535 2258 5
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... Stephen Sondheim is America’s master of musical theatre, as long as we are prepared for the work to be brilliant but not relaxed. His is a voice of solitude struggling to believe in company, and that of a lifelong game-player, so be careful about taking this book at ...
19 November 1992
Epstein: Artist against the Establishment 
by Stephen​ Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... years earlier over the BMA sculptures. (This was the old BMA building – now Zimbabwe House – in the Strand.) Conceptually and iconographically, his later big bronzes have much more in common with Gilbert or even Frampton (arch anti-Epsteinian and a major figure in Gardiner’s demonology) than with the Modernism of Henry Moore Epstein’s work was made for public places and the liking and loathing it ...

Identity Parade

Linda Colley

25 February 1993
People and Places: Country House Donors and the National Trust 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 232 pp., £19.99, October 1992, 0 7195 5145 5
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The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769 
by Michael Dobson.
Oxford, 266 pp., £30, October 1992, 0 19 811233 5
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Myths of the English 
edited by Roy Porter.
Polity, 280 pp., £39.50, October 1992, 0 7456 0844 2
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Fields of Vision: Landscape Imagery and National Identity in England and the United States 
by Stephen​ Daniels.
Polity, 257 pp., £39.50, November 1992, 0 7456 0450 1
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... long since fled, and so have the triumphs of our Industrial Revolution. The recent surge in sympathy for the coal miners and the current outcry over the dismantling of British Rail suggest how deeply we still feel the loss of this last distinction. Out-of-work miners appear somehow more deserving than the rest of the unemployed, and trains command more affection than any other machines in this ...

Victorian Piles

David Cannadine

18 March 1982
The Albert Memorial: The Monument in its Social and Architectural Context 
by Stephen​ Bayley.
Scholar Press, 160 pp., £18.50, September 1981, 0 85967 594 7
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Victorian and Edwardian Town​ Halls 
by Colin Cunningham.
Routledge, 315 pp., £25, July 1981, 9780710007230
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... abandoned, and a limited competition was mounted, with seven invited entrants. Six resulted in Classical designs, festooned with pedestals, arches, fountains, domes and columns. The seventh came from Gilbert Scott, still smarting from the snub administered to his Foreign Office designs by Palmerston, and was a Gothic extravaganza, loosely based on 13th-century market crosses, and lavishly coated with ...

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