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Rosemary Hill: Darwin​ and the Europeans

23 May 2019
Correspondence​ of Charles DarwinVol. 26, 1878 
edited by Frederick Burkhardt, James Secord and the editors​ of the Darwin Correspondence Project.
Cambridge, 814 pp., £94.99, October 2018, 978 1 108 47540 2
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... Victorian decades were different, more doubtful and more divided, than the vigorous High Victorian years. From the world of Landseer and Dickens to that of Henry James and Whistler, what Charles Darwin elsewhere called the ‘tone’ of mind had changed.Darwin turned 69 in February 1878. He felt that ‘large & difficult subjects’ were now beyond him and that ‘considering my age … it will be ...

Surplusage!

Elizabeth Prettejohn: Walter Pater

27 January 2020
The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. III: Imaginary Portraits 
edited by Lene Østermark-Johansen.
Oxford, 359 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 882343 8
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The Collected Works of Walter Pater, Vol. IV: Gaston de Latour 
edited by Gerald Monsman.
Oxford, 399 pp., £115, January 2019, 978 0 19 881616 4
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Walter Pater: Selected Essays 
edited by Alex Wong.
Carcanet, 445 pp., £18.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 626 3
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... to think his essays on ancient sculpture the least studied portion of his work, but a glance at the bibliographies to Volumes III and IV of the new Collected Works suggests other candidates. Their editors have found little to cite on Pater’s short fiction, and there seems to be no secondary literature to speak of on his unfinished experimental novel Gaston de Latour. Alex Wong’s intelligent ...

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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... to illegible ashes – ‘as a kind of sadism on posterity’, in the words of his biographer Leon Edel. James was fully alert to the power of letters, having paid close attention to the published correspondence of Balzac, Flaubert and George Sand, and alert to the power of editors. After reading Sidney Colvin’s edition of the letters of his friend Robert Louis Stevenson, he wrote: ‘One has the vague ...

Adulation or Eggs

Susan Eilenberg: At home with the Carlyles

7 October 2004
Thomas and Jane Carlyle: Portrait of a Marriage 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Pimlico, 560 pp., £15, February 2003, 0 7126 6634 6
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... to soulless rationalism and empiricism and an anodyne for despair. As he turned his literary efforts towards the Germans – writing a life of Schiller, translating Goethe (with whom he began a correspondence that would last until the poet’s death), beginning what would prove to be a lifetime of promoting German literature and culture (Bismarck was a late favourite) – his sense of who he was and what ...

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