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Seamus Perry: Dylan Thomas’s Moment, 20 November 2014

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas: The New Centenary Edition 
edited by John Goodby.
Weidenfeld, 416 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 0 297 86569 8
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Under Milk Wood: The Definitive Edition 
edited by Walford Davies and Ralph Maud.
Phoenix, 208 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 724 5
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Collected Stories 
by Dylan Thomas.
Phoenix, 384 pp., £8.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 730 6
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A Dylan Thomas Treasury: Poems, Stories and Broadcasts 
Phoenix, 186 pp., £7.99, May 2014, 978 1 78022 726 9Show More
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... shape of a boy, and a funny boy at that’, as he told his early lover Pamela Hansford Johnson. ‘I’m like a baby in the dark,’ he explained to Henry Treece, an Apocalyptic poet who wrote the first critical book about him, and with whom Thomas had a long and revealing correspondence. Being infantile was useful as a would-be disarming way of ...

Father! Father! Burning Bright

Alan Bennett, 9 December 1999

... not as if you take after him,’ and she switched on again, ‘not one little bit.’ ‘Joyce,’ her mother called, ‘when is that chiropodist coming?’ Midgley looked at his watch. It was three o’clock. At ten past Mrs Midgley took to dusting. It was always assumed the house-work put her in a bad temper. The truth was if she was in a bad ...

Success

Marilyn Butler, 18 November 1982

The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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Byron 
by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... character in English literature, unmitigated by the humour and grudging respect that breaks out in Johnson on the Scots. Among the small would-be nations Byron also tried to help was Armenia, not mentioned in this book. After arriving in Venice in 1816, he provided money for an Armenian dictionary, and did some work on it himself. Is there a statue to him, or ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... by Peter McCarey. Like Bold, Buthlay attends to links between the linguistic adventurousness of Joyce and that of MacDiarmid: but where Bold relates MacDiarmid’s advocacy of the Caledonian antisyzygy to a generally post-Hegelian consciousness, Buthlay indicates more specific analogies with Yeats’s use of self and anti-self. Previous critics have often ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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Translations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... of epic action. And the link Friel establishes with Homer serves to remind his audience of Joyce’s epic, Ulysses, which was published in 1922, the year when civil war broke out in Ireland. Just as Dryden translates Virgil in a Homeric manner, so Joyce’s ‘imitation’ of the Odyssey has fundamental affinities ...

So it must be for ever

Thomas Meaney: American Foreign Policy, 14 July 2016

American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers 
by Perry Anderson.
Verso, 244 pp., £14.99, March 2014, 978 1 78168 667 6
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A Sense of Power: The Roots of America’s Global Role 
by John A. Thompson.
Cornell, 343 pp., £19.95, October 2015, 978 0 8014 4789 1
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A Superpower Transformed: The Remaking of American Foreign Relations in the 1970s 
by Daniel J. Sargent.
Oxford, 369 pp., £23.49, January 2015, 978 0 19 539547 1
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... along with several putatively conservative critics of American empire, among them Chalmers Johnson, who argued in his Blowback trilogy that US imperialism ‘breeds some of the most important contradictions of capitalism’ – not the other way round – and that much of post-1989 US policy, from the inflicting of the 1998 financial crisis on the ...

Why there is no easy way to dispose of painful history

R.W. Johnson: Truth, Lies and Reconciliation, 14 October 1999

The Truth about the Truth Commission 
by Anthea Jeffery.
South African Institute of Race Relations, 167 pp., R 89.95, July 1999, 0 86982 463 5
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... were an extremely flawed exercise: there is no moral justification for the fact that William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw) was executed or Rudolph Hess locked up for life, while so many big Nazis got off that we are still hunting them down. France’s attempt to deal with its traitors and collaborators and to face up to what was done by the Vichy Government and ...

More than one world

P.N. Furbank, 5 December 1991

D.H. Lawrence: The Early Years 1885-1912 
by John Worthen.
Cambridge, 624 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 521 25419 1
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The Letters of D.H. Lawrence. Vol. VI: 1927-28 
edited by James Boulton, Margaret Boulton and Gerald Lacy.
Cambridge, 645 pp., £50, September 1991, 0 521 23115 9
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... poor James Boswell, another great vita nuova man, ever inclined to exhort himself: ‘Be Samuel Johnson! Be the rock of Gibraltar!’) All the same, despite Svevo’s rule, there have been a few people – Tolstoy, Wittgenstein and D.H. Lawrence come to mind – who not only went on expecting to be transformed, but managed to be so – and this without much ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... here, but it is for her association with Yeats that she is now remembered. A cousin of Lionel Johnson, she was married to the much older, and apparently very dull, Hope Shakespear. Yeats met Olivia at a Yellow Book dinner in 1894. He was 29, she a couple of years older. The nervous hesitations preceding their affair, which terminated the poet’s ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... An Adventure of Master Tommy Trusty; and his delivering Miss Biddy Johnson, from the Thieves who were going to murder her’: this is the charming title of a story in the first-ever children’s periodical, the Lilliputian Magazine, brought out by John Newbery in 1751, and with its theme of character-moulding (a silly little girl is cured of vanity through suffering a fright) it set the tone for a good deal of juvenile magazine fiction for some time ...

Strange, Sublime, Uncanny, Anxious

Frank Kermode, 22 December 1994

The Western Canon: The Books and School of the Ages 
by Harold Bloom.
Harcourt Brace, 578 pp., £22, November 1994, 0 15 195747 9
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... of the Western canon, then Dante, followed by Chaucer, Cervantes, Montaigne and Molière, Milton, Johnson, Goethe (Aristocratic Age); Wordsworth, Austen, Whitman, Dickinson, Dickens, George Eliot, Tolstoy, Ibsen (Democratic Age); and Freud, Proust, Joyce, Woolf (Orlando), Kafka, Borges, Neruda and Pessoa, Beckett (Chaotic ...

Lost Empire

D.J. Enright, 16 October 1980

Earthly Powers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 650 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 143910 8
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... known as AE) in a Dublin hotel, on the very day which is recorded in Ulysses. Meeting Joyce in Paris in 1924, he tells him: ‘Well, you gave George Russell an eternal and unbreakable alibi for that afternoon. But I know and he knows that he was not in the National Library.’ Other celebrities among the great unfictitious dead get similarly rough ...

Diary

Zachary Leader: Oscar Talk at the Huntington, 16 April 1998

... including four first Folios, and important holograph manuscripts by Swift, Pope, Gray, Fielding, Johnson, Goldsmith, Garrick, Blake, Burns, Shelley, Lamb, Charlotte Brontë and Dickens. Amis is hardly the only 20th-century writer represented here: the Library has significant Modernist holdings (Joyce, Yeats, Wallace ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... infatuated with the past, don’t square up with 20th-century practice. Lawrence and Joyce held onto their roots even in exile, and there was always MacDiarmid, whose ‘Gairmscoile’ stands the Modernist argument on its head: It’s soon’, no’ sense, that faddoms the herts o’ men, And by my sangs the rouch auld Scots I ken E’en herts ...

What was new

Eric Griffiths, 19 December 1985

Theoretical Essays: Film, Linguistics, Literature 
by Colin MacCabe.
Manchester, 152 pp., £17.50, September 1985, 0 7190 1749 1
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A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory 
by Raman Selden.
Harvester, 153 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 7108 0658 2
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... self-preoccupied. It is a fine passage, but its value is not a scarcity value in literary history: Johnson on Soame Jenyns, Arnold on the Times, Eliot on Baudelaire, Empson on Christianity – all of them, across a range of indignation, needling, defiance, impudent jokiness, and in pursuit of literary-critical considerations, question and re-draw pictures of ...

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