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Dreamland

Jonathan Lamb: 18th-century seafaring, 20 March 2003

Voyages of Delusion: The Search for the Northwest Passage in the Age of Reason 
by Glyn Williams.
HarperCollins, 467 pp., £8.99, March 2003, 0 00 653213 6
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Voyage to Desolation Island 
by Jean-Paul Kauffmann, translated by Patricia Clancy.
Harvill, 177 pp., £14.99, October 2001, 1 86046 926 4
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... 18th century, and has recently enjoyed some popularity, not only in the work of writers such as Jonathan Raban and W.G. Sebald, but also in historical re-enactments such as Channel 4’s 1900 House and 1940s House, which have exposed their participants to the rigours of a previous age. BBC2 responded with The Trench, whose volunteers were subjected to ...

Paradise Syndrome

Sukhdev Sandhu: Hanif Kureishi, 18 May 2000

Midnight All Day 
by Hanif Kureishi.
Faber, 224 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 0 571 19456 7
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... aggregation and accumulation. He is essentially a metropolitan writer and the urban aesthetic, as Jonathan Raban has argued, is noun-orientated, always striving to catalogue the density of new information that the city spews out. Kureishi’s soft-porn rites-of-passage movies and novels involve multiple pile-ups of disparate characters and social ...

Wire him up to a toaster

Seamus Perry: Ordinary Carey, 7 January 2021

A Little History of Poetry 
by John Carey.
Yale, 303 pp., £14.99, March 2020, 978 0 300 23222 6
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... articulate much of what Auden called ‘nuance and scruple’, but then it never set out to. As Jonathan Raban once said, Carey was ‘the hatchetman’s hatchetman’. In his autobiography Carey recalls his early scholarly tasks of editing Milton and of compiling a student anthology of critical essays about Andrew Marvell, experiences that awoke him ...

His Own Prophet

Michael Hofmann: Read Robert Lowell!, 11 September 2003

Collected Poems 
by Robert Lowell, edited by Frank Bidart and David Gewanter.
Faber, 1186 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 571 16340 8
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... 2’ in History is a 14-line redaction of that, ending ‘my namesake, not the last Caligula’ (Jonathan Raban once suggested that Lowell’s idea of ‘revision’ was to throw on more negatives). As for ‘Caligula 1’ – that’s a revision of a translation of Baudelaire’s ‘Spleen’ that first appeared in Imitations. And so on, and so on, and ...

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