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The Education of Philip French

Marilyn Butler, 16 October 1980

Three Honest Men: Edmund Wilson, F.R. Leavis, Lionel Trilling 
edited by Philip French.
Carcanet, 120 pp., £6.95, July 1980, 0 85635 299 3
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F.R. Leavis 
by William Walsh.
Chatto, 189 pp., £8.95, September 1980, 0 7011 2503 9
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... alluded to intermittently in the French book and passim in F.R. Leavis, a sympathetic monograph by William Walsh, who was one of Leavis’s Cambridge pupils of the 1930s. As seen by his admirers, Leavis was a reformer, even a crusader, tilting against an exclusive and moribund Establishment. He saw no point in research for research’s sake. He disliked ...

Let’s to billiards

Stephen Walsh: Constant Lambert, 22 January 2015

Constant Lambert: Beyond the Rio Grande 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 584 pp., £45, March 2014, 978 1 84383 898 2
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... reviews ‘while they were poring over the latest score from Lords or the Oval’. Later, when William Walton went to see Diaghilev about the possibility of a commission, Lambert went along too and played through his own ballet Adam and Eve, which Diaghilev liked but insisted on retitling Romeo and Juliet, on the grounds that one could hardly ‘expect ...

Fuentes the Memorious

John Sutherland, 19 June 1986

The Old Gringo 
translated by Margaret Sayers Peden and Carlos Fuentes, by Carlos Fuentes.
Deutsch, 199 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 233 97862 3
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Where the air is clear 
by Carlos Fuentes, translated by Sam Hileman.
Deutsch, 376 pp., £4.95, June 1986, 0 233 97937 9
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Farewell to the Sea 
by Reinaldo Arenas, translated by Andrew Hurley.
Viking, 412 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 670 52960 5
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Digging up the mountains 
by Neil Bissoondath.
Deutsch, 247 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 233 97851 8
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... the most satisfactory experience of his life.) Or Fuentes could have chosen the young Raoul Walsh. Walsh was sent to Mexico in 1914 as a cameraman and as the actor cast to play the hero as a young man in D.W. Griffiths’s The Life of Francisco Villa. Walsh persuaded Villa to ...

The Vice President’s Men

Seymour M. Hersh, 24 January 2019

... not listen. It would have been natural to turn instead to the director of the CIA, but this was William Casey, a former businessman and Nixon aide who had been controversially appointed by Reagan as the reward for managing his 1980 election campaign. As the intelligence professionals working with the executive saw it, Casey was reckless, uninformed, and ...

Absolute Modernity

Paul Driver, 26 September 1991

Gabriel Fauré: A Musical Life 
by Jean-Michel Nectoux, translated by Roger Nichols.
Cambridge, 646 pp., £45, April 1991, 0 521 23524 3
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Pierre Boulez 
by Dominique Jameux, translated by Susan Bradshaw.
Faber, 422 pp., £25, March 1991, 9780571137442
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Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship 
by Pierre Boulez, translated by Stephen Walsh.
Oxford, 316 pp., £40, August 1991, 0 19 311210 8
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... by the trumpetings of composer-theorists: a new translation – an impressive job by Stephen Walsh – of Boulez’s first (1966) gathering of manifestos and trenchant analyses, Stocktakings from an Apprenticeship has even now appeared, as if the dry controversies of yesteryear (‘Schoenberg is Dead!’) needed resuming. In the case both of Schoenberg ...


John Bayley: Serious Novels, 10 November 1994

... have become, too much aware of what might theoretically be made of contemporary social situations. William Trevor’s Felicia’s Journey should have been a very good novel but failed to be, because the author gave up his own involuntary and unconscious literary personality in favour of a plot that must have looked absolutely right – too right – for this ...

A Man with My Trouble

Colm Tóibín: Henry James leaves home, 3 January 2008

The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume I 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 391 pp., £57, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2584 8
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The Complete Letters of Henry James, 1855-72: Volume II 
edited by Pierre Walker and Greg Zacharias.
Nebraska, 524 pp., £60, January 2007, 978 0 8032 2607 4
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... After the death of Henry James’s father in 1882, his sister-in-law Catharine Walsh, better known as Aunt Kate, burned a large quantity of the family papers, including many letters between Henry James senior and his wife. Henry James himself in later life made a number of bonfires in which he destroyed a great quantity of the letters he had received ...

What Henry Knew

Michael Wood: Literature and the Taste of Knowledge, 18 December 2003

... literature and knowledge is a very old one, and it’s not getting any younger. When Dorothy Walsh, in an elegant book called Literature and Knowledge, published in 1969, said the worry was old, she meant it went back at least to Plato. When Stathis Gourgouris says it is old, in a book called Does Literature Think? published earlier this year,1 he means ...

I whine for her like a babe

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: The Other Alice James, 25 June 2009

Alice in Jamesland: The Story of Alice Howe Gibbens James 
by Susan Gunter.
Nebraska, 422 pp., £38, March 2009, 978 0 8032 1569 6
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... woman called Alice Howe Gibbens at the Radical Club in Boston and immediately concluded that William James should marry her. In one version of the story, Henry James Sr returned from a meeting and announced to those at home that he had seen William’s future bride. Another version attributes the discovery to the ...

Belfast Book

Patricia Craig, 5 June 1986

Lonely the man without heroes 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 434 59960 3
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The Pearlkillers 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 571 13795 4
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The Girls 
by John Bowen.
Hamish Hamilton, 182 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 241 11867 0
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To have and to hold 
by Deborah Moggach.
Viking, 320 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 670 80812 1
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Vacant Possession 
by Hilary Mantel.
Chatto, 239 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7011 3047 4
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Breaking the rules 
by Caroline Lassalle.
Hamish Hamilton, 280 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 241 11837 9
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The Bay of Silence 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 163 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 224 02345 4
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... an apparently felicitous marriage is up against, and also a madwoman-in-the-attic story. Rosalind Walsh, an ex-film actress, is a cured schizophrenic who, it turns out, is subject to relapses. In the course of one relapse she goes on holiday, leaving behind her husband William but taking every other family accoutrement down ...

Grass Green Stockings

Eleanor Hubbard: A Spinster’s Accounts, 21 March 2013

The Business and Household Accounts of Joyce Jeffreys, Spinster of Hereford, 1638-48 
edited by Judith Spicksley.
Oxford, 413 pp., £90, March 2012, 978 0 19 726432 4
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... midwives and nurses. When her niece produced twins, Jeffreys stood as godmother to ‘little Joyse Walsh’, giving the baby an expensive silver tankard. She also gave money to the nurse who cared for the other baby, a boy, noting sadly in the margin of her account book his death at only ‘nine weecks ould’. Jeffreys was particularly attached to Beatrice ...


Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... now cheerfully knocking out loyal odes in his role as poet laureate. Southey was consistent, as William Hazlitt neatly observed, only in that he was always an extremist and always wrong: then, he had been an ‘Ultra-Jacobin’ and ‘frantic demagogue’ who ‘did not stop short of general anarchy’; now, he was an ‘Ultra-Royalist’ and ‘servile ...

Public Enemy

R.W. Johnson, 26 November 1987

Secrecy and Power: The Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Richard Gid Powers.
Hutchinson, 624 pp., £16.95, August 1987, 0 02 925060 9
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... FDR won the election it seemed clear that Edgar Hoover was finished: the new Attorney-General, Tom Walsh, had loathed Hoover ever since the Palmer raids and was determined to sack him. But on the way to FDR’s inauguration, Walsh had a heart attack and died. The new Attorney-General, Homer Cummings, was a very different ...

All My Truth

Richard Poirier: Henry James Memoirs, 25 April 2002

A Small Boy and Others: Memoirs 
by Henry James.
Gibson Square, 217 pp., £9.99, August 2001, 1 903933 00 5
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... the fatal heart attack of his youngest brother, Robertson – of his ‘ideal Elder brother’, William. William died at his summer home in Chocorua, New Hampshire with Henry at his bedside. Only a week earlier Henry had arrived from England with William and his wife, Alice, along with ...

Still Reeling from My Loss

Andrew O’Hagan: Lulu & Co, 2 January 2003

I Don't Want to Fight 
by Lulu.
Time Warner, 326 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 0 316 86169 3
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by Pamela Stephenson.
HarperCollins, 400 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 00 711092 8
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Just for the Record 
by Geri Halliwell.
Ebury, 221 pp., £17.99, September 2002, 0 09 188655 4
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Learning to Fly 
by Victoria Beckham.
Penguin, 528 pp., £6.99, July 2002, 0 14 100394 4
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Right from the Start 
by Gareth Gates.
Virgin, 80 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 1 85227 914 1
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by Ulrika Jonsson.
Sidgwick, 417 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 283 07367 5
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... speak every day for a Britain that is perfectly in love with its cellphone democracy. This is William Cobbett’s country no more, so let us sling a troubled thought among the Christmas books. The sufferings of a celebrity, despite the enjoyments, despite the privilege, are supposed to embody the sufferings of us all. They remind us how we are all the ...

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