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Domestic Disaffection

Ruth Bernard Yeazell

10 June 1993
Dearest Beloved: The Hawthornes and the Making of the Middle-Class Family 
by Walter Herbert.
California, 351 pp., $28, April 1993, 0 520 07587 0
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... Second World War, most 20th-century commentators have preferred to echo Melville’s celebrated remarks on his contemporary’s ‘great power of blackness’. If we are to credit Dearest Beloved, T. WalterHerbert’s dramatic reinterpretation of life among the Hawthornes, James’s tribute to the ‘domestic affections’ falls equally wide of the mark. Herbert does not refuse to believe in the ...

Necrophiliac Striptease

Thomas Jones: Mummies

6 February 2014
The Mummy’s Curse: The True History of a Dark Fantasy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 321 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 19 969871 4
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... it I could and would take the thing and play with it. But there is a King of Egypt already and so I bring the body to his feet. The Englishman he was talking about, cursed and pulped, was Lieutenant WalterHerbert Ingram, who had fought in South Africa in the Anglo-Zulu War and travelled up the Nile to Khartoum in the hope of helping General Gordon’s forces. In Luxor, he bought a sarcophagus from the ...
7 March 1985
Montaigne’s Tower, and Other Poems 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 72 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 436 18806 6
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Collected Poems: 1963-1980 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 557 3
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The Faber Book of Reflective Verse 
edited by Geoffrey Grigson.
Faber, 238 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 571 13299 5
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 279 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 558 1
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 9780850315592
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Before the Romantics: An Anthology of the Enlightenment 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Salamander, 349 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 907540 59 7
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... sadly, but not sad’ is one of Grigson’s unfinical precisions. Having got it right, as if at the first attempt, he lets it alone. The poem seems to allude to the swans in the second stanza of Walter de la Mare’s ‘The Old Summerhouse’, also in the Faber book: Fall – fall: dark, garrulous rumour, Until I could listen no more. Could listen no more – for beauty with sorrow Is a burden ...

Monsieur Mangetout

Walter​ Nash

7 December 1989
The Guinness Book of Records 1990 
edited by Donald McFarlan.
Guinness, 320 pp., £10.95, October 1989, 0 85112 341 4
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The Chatto Book of Cabbages and Kings: Lists in Literature 
edited by Francis Spufford.
Chatto, 313 pp., £13.95, November 1989, 0 7011 3487 9
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... a list, here is Cole Porter taking it from the top (ah, nostalgia – ‘You’re the National Gall’ry,/ You’re Garbo’s sal’ry,/ You’re cellophane’), here is Homer at war, here is George Herbert at prayer, here are the irrepressible inventorial masters like Rabelais and Dickens and Edward Lear, here, indeed, is a collection with so many fine exhibits that Mr Spufford might give some ...

How the sanity of poets can be edited away

Arnold Rattenbury: The Sanity of Ivor Gurney

14 October 1999
‘Severn and Somme’ and ‘War’s Embers’ 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 152 pp., £7.95, September 1997, 1 85754 348 3
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80 Poems or So 
by Ivor Gurney, edited by George Walter and R.K.R. Thornton.
Carcanet, 148 pp., £9.95, January 1997, 1 85754 344 0
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... in verse, against his continuing incarceration. The world inside became increasingly the source of all creativity. Here he could chat happily with such companions as Beethoven about the music of Herbert Howells, his schoolboy friend and fellow music student; or could by turns become Schubert, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Traherne, Whitman, even Gurney – anyone, musician or author, whose work he understood to ...
18 September 1997
Selected Stories 
by Mavis Gallant.
Bloomsbury, 887 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 7475 3251 6
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... pass for Engels ... Grippes, pale trench coat over dark turtleneck, hands clenched in trench coat pockets, knew he was ageing, irreversibly, minute by minute. Some of the students thought he was Herbert Marcuse and tried to carry him on their shoulders to Le Figaro’s editorial offices, which they hoped he would set on fire. But it’s not enough for Gallant simply to offer us jokes at Grippes’s ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘British Folk Art’

2 July 2014
... to all this pride and positivity, there is wry, knowing banter – a satire on preachers, a saloon-wall scatology – passed around a more or less inclusive ‘us’. One such group, a group of two, Herbert Bellamy and Charlotte Springall, amused each other during the year before their marriage in 1891 by making a quilt loaded with in-jokes and fond mementos: another barrage destined to baffle. Britain ...

Drinking and Spewing

Sally Mapstone: The Variousness of Robert Fergusson

25 September 2003
‘Heaven-Taught Fergusson’: Robert Burns’s Favourite Scottish Poet 
edited by Robert Crawford.
Tuckwell, 240 pp., £14.99, August 2002, 1 86232 201 5
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... 1765 and the year of his death he had written more than a hundred poems, many published in Edinburgh’s Weekly Magazine, and a collection of nearly forty of them had been brought out in 1773 by Walter Ruddiman, the magazine’s publisher. Fergusson was never able to complete the long works he envisaged: he apparently had it in mind to translate Virgil’s Eclogues and Georgics. He abandoned a (now ...
12 May 1994
The Frankfurt School 
by Rolf Wiggershaus, translated by Michael Robertson.
Polity, 787 pp., £45, January 1994, 0 7456 0534 6
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... holistic political theory indebted as much to Hegel as to Marx. In the brief period before Hitler came to power, Horkheimer assembled around him a brilliant coterie of younger intellectuals, of whom Herbert Marcuse and Theodor Adorno were to become the most eminent. In 1934, the Institute, many of whose members were Jews, transplanted itself to the United States and, still under Horkheimer’s mandarin ...

Dwarf-Basher

Michael Dobson

8 June 1995
Edmond Malone, Shakespearean Scholar: A Literary Biography 
by Peter Martin.
Cambridge, 298 pp., £40, April 1995, 0 521 46030 1
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... not only the papers of the theatrical entrepreneur Philip Henslowe, on which most of our knowledge of the working practices of the Elizabethan theatre is based, but the records of Sir Henry Herbert, Master of the Revels from 1622 to 1642, a complementary treasure-trove on Jacobean and Caroline court entertainments and dramatic censorship; Malone who first trawled systematically through the ...
17 July 1980
... would find her place in Poets’ Corner, near the grave of Charles Dickens and the bust of Thackeray. Why has it taken a century to bring this about? In giving notice of her death her husband, John Walter Cross, who had married her in St George’s, Hanover Square, scarcely eight months before, alluded to her wish to be buried here. Of her many famous friends, Tennyson, Browning and Trollope would ...

All the Sad Sages

Ferdinand Mount: Bagehot

6 February 2014
Memoirs of Walter​ Bagehot 
by Frank Prochaska.
Yale, 207 pp., £18.99, August 2013, 978 0 300 19554 5
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... Huxley and Lyall, each whiskered too but each with an unmistakable half-smile playing about his lips. There’s not much doubt which is the winning side. Nowhere on either wall is space found for Walter Bagehot (1826-77). Yet G.M. Young, that hallowed chronicler of the Victorian age, came quite firmly to the conclusion that if you were looking for the Greatest Victorian, Bagehot was your man. There ...

Floating Islands

J.I.M. Stewart

21 October 1982
Of This and Other Worlds 
by C.S. Lewis, edited by Walter​ Hooper.
Collins, 192 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 00 215608 3
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George Orwell: A Personal Memoir 
by T.R. Fyvel.
Weidenfeld, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 0 297 78012 3
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... Ransom – and also perhaps the spiritual world as set against the natural. In the USA, however, the same collection has been published under the title On Stories. This is equally valid, since what Walter Hooper has usefully brought together is a score of essays and reviews in which Lewis outlines his theory of fiction and affords commentaries both on his own individual romances and on related ...

He speaks too loud

David Blackbourn: Brecht

2 July 2014
Bertolt Brecht: A Literary Life 
by Stephen Parker.
Bloomsbury, 704 pp., £30, February 2014, 978 1 4081 5562 2
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... sacrifice, and the first money he earned from his writing came from patriotic verse. But idealism turned to disillusion and his anti-militarism caused a rift with his father and strait-laced brother Walter. He now immersed himself in British and American literature: Robert Louis Stevenson, Melville, above all Kipling. He became the leading figure in a bohemian gang who wrote and sang songs together ...
17 November 2016
My Darling Mr Asquith: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Venetia Stanley 
by Stefan Buczacki.
Cato and Clarke, 464 pp., £28.99, April 2016, 978 0 9934186 0 0
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... expressed by different salutations at the start of letters between very posh associates in Edwardian and post-Edwardian times. In the letters of love and friendship exchanged between the members of Herbert Asquith’s circle – he was the Liberal prime minister from 1908 to 1916 – ‘dearest’ meant something different from ‘darling’ and ‘my darling’ was something else again. As Stefan ...

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