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Chinaberry Pie

D.A.N. Jones, 1 March 1984

Modern Baptists 
by James Wilcox.
Secker, 239 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 9780436570988
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Speranza 
by Sven Delblanc, translated by Paul Britten Austin.
Secker, 153 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 9780436126802
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High Spirits 
by Robertson Davies.
Penguin, 198 pp., £2.50, January 1984, 0 14 006505 9
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Hanabeke 
by Dudley St John Magnus.
Angus and Robertson, 133 pp., £6.95, January 1984, 0 207 14565 2
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Train to Hell 
by Alexei Sayle.
Methuen, 152 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 413 52460 4
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The English Way of Doing Things 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 229 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 297 78345 9
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... Speranza is another foreign novel that may remind us of British genre-parody – especially William Golding’s Rites of Passage, that witty, near-sadistic parody of traditional seafaring yarns. Like Golding’s novel, Speranza begins with the journal of a healthy, self-satisfied, idealistic young gentleman enjoying an adventurous voyage and uttering ...

Root Books

Julie Davidson, 7 November 1985

Henry Root’s A-Z of Women 
by William Donaldson.
Weidenfeld, 180 pp., £7.95, July 1985, 0 297 78593 1
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... slightly outside the tradition of the English Man of Letters’ was unveiled as Willie Donaldson, playwright, soon-to-be-failed gossip columnist (he had a brief career on the Mail on Sunday) and self-proclaimed former brothel-keeper. From then on, it was clear that the spoof was not going to work again. There followed opus three, Henry Root’s ...

Dishonoured

Michael Wood, 5 May 1983

The Rapes of Lucretia: A Myth and Its Transformation 
by Ian Donaldson.
Oxford, 203 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 19 812638 7
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The Rape of Clarissa 
by Terry Eagleton.
Blackwell, 109 pp., £10, September 1982, 0 631 13031 4
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Samuel Richardson: A Man of Letters 
by Carol Houlihan Flynn.
Princeton, 342 pp., £17.70, May 1982, 0 691 06506 3
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... what heroines have to do? This is perhaps the most troubling of the questions canvassed in Ian Donaldson’s cool and lucid tracing of what his subtitle calls ‘a myth and its transformations’. The book, which looks at paintings and works of philosophy as well as works of literature, is interested in the relations between ‘art and argument’. At ...

Malvolio’s Story

Marilyn Butler, 8 February 1996

Dirt and Deity: A Life of Robert Burns 
by Ian McIntyre.
HarperCollins, 461 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 00 215964 3
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... For Scotland, there has been work of major significance in the past decade by, for example, William Donaldson, Murray Pittock, Robert Crawford and Andrew Noble. More general studies of emergent nationalism must be relevant to Burns. For while he may not have been a consistent Jacobite or even what in British terms passed for a Jacobin, his attitude ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... and the show opened with a huge nuclear explosion, following which, in the words of the producer William Donaldson, the audience was treated to a whole evening’s worth of ‘terrible gloomy stuff – the punchline of every sketch was people dying.’ Nonetheless, it was undoubtedly a strong influence on Peter Cook (one of the original cast ...

Norman Bread

Christopher Holdsworth, 16 October 1980

The Norman Conquest of the North 
by William Kapelle.
Croom Helm, 329 pp., £14.95, March 1980, 0 7099 0040 6
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Consul of God 
by Jeffrey Richards.
Routledge, 309 pp., £9.75, March 1980, 0 7100 0346 3
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Martin of Tours 
by Christopher Donaldson.
Routledge, 171 pp., £8.95, March 1980, 0 7100 0422 2
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Mistra 
by Steven Runciman.
Thames and Hudson, 160 pp., £9.50, March 1980, 0 500 25071 5
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... have features which make consideration of them together worthwhile. The earliest is Christopher Donaldson’s Martin of Tours, which concerns the life of a soldier who around the middle of the fourth century left his career in middle life to become a hermit and ultimately bishop of a see in north France. Consul of God by Jeffrey Richards is built around the ...

The Tribe of Ben

Blair Worden: Ben Jonson, 11 October 2012

Ben Jonson: A Life 
by Ian Donaldson.
Oxford, 533 pp., £25, October 2011, 978 0 19 812976 9
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TheCambridge Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson 
edited by David Bevington, Martin Butler and Ian Donaldson.
Cambridge, 5224 pp., £650, July 2012, 978 0 521 78246 3
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... appearance of a major biography and a major edition is no accident, for the writing of Ian Donaldson’s Life became entwined with the seven-volume collection of Jonson’s writings, of which Donaldson has been one of the triumvirate of general editors. Frequently, the two enterprises echo each other’s claims. The ...

Nothing nasty in the woodshed

John Bayley, 25 October 1990

Yours, Plum: The Letters of P.G. Wodehouse 
edited by Frances Donaldson.
Hutchinson, 269 pp., £16.99, September 1990, 0 09 174639 6
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... just as they are absent in the novels. He knew nothing of their source, or how they operated. William Connor, the Daily Mirror’s Cassandra, notoriously attacked him in the war for broadcasting ‘on behalf of the Germans’ when he was interned after the French debacle: a particularly malicious lie, because Wodehouse was obviously sending no more than ...

Benson’s Pleasure

Noël Annan, 4 March 1982

Edwardian Excursions: From the Diaries of A.C. Benson 1898-1904 
edited by A.C. Benson and David Newsome.
Murray, 200 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 9780719537691
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Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks 
edited by John Gere and John Sparrow.
Oxford, 144 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 19 215870 8
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... still less, as he hoped when Austen-Leigh died, to elect him Provost. When his old friend Stuart Donaldson used his influence as Master of Magdalene to offer Benson a fellowship there, kind friends took as much of the pleasure out of it as they could by congratulating him on the skill with which Donaldson had done a ...

Mastering the Art of Understating Your Wealth

Thomas Keymer: The Tonsons, 5 May 2016

The Literary Correspondences of the Tonsons 
edited by Stephen Bernard.
Oxford, 386 pp., £95, March 2015, 978 0 19 870085 2
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... were book-trade entrepreneurs whose huge poetry anthologies cashed in on the landmark case of Donaldson v. Becket, which more or less destroyed copyright law; there were the pioneering academics of Enlightenment Scotland, among them Adam Smith, who made ‘rhetoric and belles lettres’ a university discipline and exported it to North America. As good a ...

Marching Orders

Ronan Bennett: The new future of Northern Ireland, 30 July 1998

... was the VUPP, a faintly Mosleyite organisation, formed after the collapse of Stormont in 1972 by William Craig, a hard-line former minister of home affairs, whose principal lieutenant was the young David Trimble. By 1976 the VUPP’s leader had softened to the extent of advocating a coalition with the Nationalist SDLP. This was too much for his deputy ...

Diary

Stephen Sedley: At the Courtroom, 5 March 1987

... evidence unusually convincing for a man of his background. I know not.’ Kee quotes Mr Justice Donaldson (now Master of the Rolls) as repeatedly suggesting to the jury in the Guildford trial that if the accused had really been knocked about by the Surrey Constabulary they would have reported it to Metropolitan Police officers when they appeared on the ...

Out of Bounds

Ian Gilmour: Why Wordsworth sold a lot less than Byron, 20 January 2005

The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period 
by William St Clair.
Cambridge, 765 pp., £90, July 2004, 9780521810067
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... of which British poets should be honoured by inclusion in the book. Such behaviour, as William St Clair amply demonstrates in his magnificent, original and compelling study, was characteristic of the London publishers. His book stretches far wider than its title suggests. He has a mass of new and fascinating things to say about the centuries that ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl, 3 May 1984

The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... are excluded, is attested by many contemporary witnesses, among them foreign travellers. If William Harrison, from whose Description of England of 1587 much in this book is drawn, can be believed, one visiting Spaniard thought that the cottagers of England enjoyed a diet unparalleled in Spain or France – the equal of that of a monarch. A member of ...

The dogs in the street know that

Nick Laird: A Week in Mid-Ulster, 5 May 2005

... of them the party’s chief administrator at Stormont, the former IRA prisoner Denis Donaldson) had been arrested for allegedly stealing and copying hundreds of official documents ‘useful to terrorists in carrying out acts of violence’. The incident had made the Assembly unworkable, and on 14 October it was suspended, for the fourth time in ...

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