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My Missus

John Sutherland, 13 May 1993

Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... surveyed the reading of wounded Tommies and discovered that their favourite authors were Nat Gould, Charles Garvice and E. Phillips Oppenheim. She defended their lowbrow preferences stoutly: ‘Our wounded warriors have surely earned the right to amuse themselves with the books that please them most, and to be free from the kind of officious pedantry ...

Six hands at an open door

David Trotter, 21 March 1991

Intertextual Dynamics within the Literary Group: Joyce, Lewis, Pound and Eliot 
by Dennis Brown.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £35, November 1990, 9780333516461
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An Immodest Violet: The Life of Violet Hunt 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 205 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 233 98639 1
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... Pound was to renounce renunciation. The paths taken by Lambert Strether, Merton Densher and Emilia Gould, for example, would not be taken by the paganised protagonists of Modernist fiction. As a label, the concept seems indispensable. It has served to characterise and to legitimate a generation of extremely gifted writers. Recognising its usefulness, some ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary, 27 April 2000

An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... of Thame. This Folio Society reissue comes in the expected fine binding and with illustrations by Peter Bailey, but without any notes to identify all the one-time celebrities, half-celebrities or ‘significant people’, as Fothergill rates them, who throng the road to Thame. Many famous names are dropped, sometimes no more than dropped. Literature and art ...

Fond Father

Dinah Birch: A Victorian Naturalist, 19 September 2002

Glimpses of the Wonderful: The Life of Philip Henry Gosse 1810-88 
by Ann Thwaite.
Faber, 387 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 571 19328 5
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... to have the cool exactitude of his father’s studies of the private lives of sea anemones. Peter Abbs’s introduction to the current Penguin edition, first published in 1983, accepts the memoir as a faithful record of what happened: ‘As a documentary record we know, from other sources, that most of the facts are accurate.’ This is very much the ...


James Paradis, 18 June 1981

Sir Joseph Banks 
by Charles Lyte.
David and Charles, 248 pp., £10.50, October 1980, 0 7153 7884 8
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The Heyday of Natural History: 1820-1870 
by Lynn Barber.
Cape, 320 pp., £9.50, October 1980, 9780224014489
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A Vision of Eden 
by Marianne North.
Webb and Bower, 240 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 906671 18 3
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... him a man with no credentials in science. Wolcot, the lampoonist, who wrote under the name of Peter Pindar, was probably not alone in finding Banks a study in vanity: an intellectual flea Hopping on Science’s broad, bony back. Although Banks did much to promote the international image of the Royal Society during his 42-year tenure as its President, he ...

Music Lessons

Nicholas Spice, 14 December 1995

by Maynard Solomon.
Hutchinson, 640 pp., £25, May 1995, 9780091747046
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... with the intensity and the range of Mozart,’ says Charles Rosen in The Classical Style. Glenn Gould thought Mozart’s music was ‘hedonist’. The immediacy of Mozart’s music can be spooky. That simple four-note figure repeated twice, the viola motif in the slow movement of the G minor String Quintet, reaches out at us from the music, like Keats’s ...


Perry Anderson, 6 July 1989

A Treatise on Social Theory. Vol. II: Substantive Social Theory 
by W.G. Runciman.
Cambridge, 493 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 521 24959 7
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... The structure of argument is the same in Franco Moretti’s splendid Signs taken for wonders (with Gould rather than Dawkins in the background), which proposes a theory of literary evolution where genres play the role of species, and individual works furnish the random mutations. Human history, however, exhibits no such Darwinian dualism. For in the process of ...


Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... Trinity! 10 January. In George Lyttelton’s Commonplace Book it’s recorded that Yeats told Peter Warlock that after being invited to hear ‘The Lake Isle of Innisfree’ (a solitary man’s expression of longing for still greater solitude) sung by a thousand Boy Scouts he set up a rigid censorship to prevent anything like that ever happening ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... clinical testing. The demand for the life-extending – life-saving? – treatment was huge. Peter Staley being arrested during a protest at Astra Pharmaceuticals in 1989 The company behind AZT, Burroughs Wellcome, had made a deal with the US’s publicly funded National Cancer Institute that they would provide promising drug compounds (AZT was one) so ...

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