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Ayer, Anscombe and Empiricism

Alasdair MacIntyre, 17 April 1980

Perception and Identity: Essays presented to A.J. Ayer with his replies to them 
edited by G.E. MacDonald.
Macmillan, 358 pp., £15, December 1979, 0 333 27182 3
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Intention and Intentionality: Essays in Honour of G.E.M. Anscombe 
edited by Cora Diamond and Jenny Teichmann.
Harvester, 205 pp., £16.95, December 1979, 0 85527 985 0
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... such remarkable properties as that of spin without mass, how can it also be really composed of green grass and round tables? Five of the 12 essayists – Michael Dummett, P.F. Strawson, David Pears, D.M. Armstrong and Charles Taylor – are concerned with these or with closely related questions. Collectively – taken together with those earlier writings ...

Paliography

John Sutherland, 15 September 1988

The Secret Life of Wilkie Collins 
by William Clarke.
Allison and Busby, 239 pp., £14.95, August 1988, 0 85031 960 9
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Wilkie Collins: Women, Property and Propriety 
by Philip O’Neill.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £27.50, September 1988, 9780333421994
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... 1963? My own appetite for writers’ secrets is an impure thing in which a prurient interest in Jeffrey Archer’s spotty back and T.S. Eliot’s rupture truss (to which Stephen Spender enigmatically refers) mingles with a pious desire to be as well-informed as possible. On the whole, I’m not entirely sorry to be led from temptation by Jones’s obedient ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... can only be suicidal to a wised-up, historical awareness like Muldoon’s. Neither General Jeffrey Amherst nor Colonel Henry Bouquet can stomach the willow-tobacco the Indians offer. And in return They gave us six fishhooks and two blankets embroidered with smallpox. The disorientations Muldoon stores up here, and unleashes in the poem’s final ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... society’. Reviewing Southey’s oriental romance, Thalaba the Destroyer, late in 1802, Francis Jeffrey in the first number of the Edinburgh Review brings up the Cottle connection for the first time. Recalling Southey’s earlier political notoriety and Wordsworth’s Preface, he turns the latter by selective quotation into the democratic manifesto of a ...

The Browse Function

John Sutherland, 27 November 1997

Webonomics: Nine Essential Principles for Growing Your Business on the World Wide Web 
by Evan Schwartz.
Penguin, 244 pp., £11.99, October 1997, 9780140264067
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... in a garage three years ago. The garage-owning founder (now chief executive officer), Jeff (now Jeffrey) Bezos, was just 30. Apparently, in the early days, he would drive down to the local post office to dispatch orders by hand. Bezos is no tweedy ‘bookman’. He originally had 20 product categories in mind, but settled on books as the most appropriate ...

Cockneyism

Gregory Dart: Leigh Hunt, 18 December 2003

The Selected Writings of Leigh Hunt 
edited by Robert Morrison and Michael Eberle-Sinatra.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, July 2003, 1 85196 714 1
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... to the work he did during the Examiner period. And the editors of these volumes, Greg Kucich and Jeffrey Cox, have done a superb job of setting it in context, offering a compelling re-evaluative essay by way of an introduction, and prefacing every article with a detailed explanatory note. These articles cover all the major issues of the Regency ...

After-Meditation

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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... just ahead. Windermere surpassed Keats’s expectations: ‘Beautiful water – shores and islands green to the marge – mountains all round up to the clouds’. But it wasn’t just the landscape he had come for. He longed to meet Wordsworth, the poet of liberty and humanity, the great philanthropic voice of the rural poor. He made the seven-mile pilgrimage ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... at Bafta. These sorry occasions have always been best forgotten; now their memory must be kept green against the possible arrival of the men in white coats. 19 January. Watch a video of Michael Powell’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946), the first time, I think, that I have watched it all the way through since I saw it as a child at a cinema in ...

Diary

Tom Paulin: Trimble’s virtues, 7 October 2004

... sunny day and we sit on the peak and look out over the country, cloud-shadows hanging still on the green bogs and fields. Below us is the isolated Altan Lough, then two other mountains, Aghla More and Muckish, the last named for the Irish for ‘pig’, muck (it looks like a pig’s back). We stare out along the coast to Tory Island, the home of the great ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... ideal situation, with the lavender bank just coming into bloom and the trees and grass fresh and green after a week or two of rain. It’s one of the perfect places of the earth, utterly silent and private, the twitter of a hawk the only sound. And it’s the last time we shall be able to come. It’s a warm afternoon and with no one around I swim dutifully ...

We shall not be moved

John Bayley, 2 February 1984

Come aboard and sail away 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 48 pp., £6, October 1983, 0 907540 37 6
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Children in Exile 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 24 pp., £5, October 1983, 0 907540 39 2
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‘The Memory of War’ and ‘Children in Exile’: Poems 1968-1983 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 110 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 14 006812 0
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Some Contemporary Poets of Britain and Ireland: An Anthology 
edited by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 184 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85635 469 4
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Nights in the Iron Hotel 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 48 pp., £4, November 1983, 0 571 13116 6
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The Irish Lights 
by Charles Johnston and Kyril Fitzlyon.
Bodley Head, 77 pp., £4.50, September 1983, 0 370 30557 4
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Fifteen to Infinity 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 62 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 09 152471 7
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Donald Davie and the Responsibilities of Literature 
edited by George Dekker.
Carcanet, 153 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 9780856354663
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... with many of the poets in Michael Schmidt’s anthology, for though Peter Scupham, Jeremy Hooker, Jeffrey Wainwright, Dick Davies and John Ash are all highly talented and painstaking artists, they seem to be fashioning their poems for themselves and each other. As Auden and Eliot showed, ‘difficult’ poetry can still be popular, but to secure the ordinary ...
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... reprinted. For this, the justly famous Bennett can have got no royalties, no curtain calls, no green-rooms cries of ‘Darling!’ His reward was the special, monkish sense of release that you get from embracing a discipline, from doing your bit to transcribe the codex. The paper’s monastic air of frugality would be called its bottom line if there were a ...

Shoe-Contemplative

David Bromwich: Hazlitt, 18 June 1998

The Day-Star of Liberty: William Hazlitt’s Radical Style 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 382 pp., £22.50, June 1998, 0 571 17421 3
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... you see his blindness, though his back is turned. Mists rise around him, and veil the sides of the green forests; earth is dank and fresh with dews, the ‘grey dawn and the Pleiades before him dance’’ and in the distance are seen the blue hills and sullen ocean. Nothing was ever more finely conceived or done. It breathes the spirit of the morning; its ...

Off-Beat

Iain Sinclair, 6 June 1996

... at the Whitney. Complex negotiations are entered into with minders and middlemen. I thought of Jeffrey Smalldon’s account of running across Corso in the Kettle of Fish, how the occasion rapidly degenerated into rows over lottery tickets and a chance meeting with a ‘tall, slender’ gent in a sinister ‘European-cut suit’. ‘Mafioso, man, heavy ...

Flat-Nose, Stocky and Beautugly

James Davidson: Greek Names, 23 September 2010

A Lexicon of Greek Personal Names. Vol. V.A Coastal Asia Minor: Pontos to Ionia 
edited by T. Corsten.
Oxford, 496 pp., £125, March 2010, 978 0 19 956743 0
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... Nellie, a name-form that peaked in the 1880s and 1890s. Orthography became important: Geoffrey or Jeffrey, Ann or Anne, Stephen or Steven. Girls’ names were especially given to whim and proliferation. In the 1930s, my mother was christened Doreen because a Russian acquaintance of my grandfather said that was the name of the nicest girl he had ever ...

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