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P.N. Furbank, 18 November 1982

The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... old-fashioned American scholars and the French poets, and between flattering Frenchmen (like André Maurois) and the bluff English. I revere Nikolaus Pevsner, but he will have to forgive me if I detect a touch of flirtatiousness in The Englishness of Art. One could labour the point, and offer reasons why no such concept could be valid, but I hardly ...

Countess Bitch

Robert Tombs, 16 November 1995

The Notorious Life of Gyp: Right-Wing Anarchist in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Willa Silverman.
Oxford, 325 pp., £24, June 1995, 0 19 508754 2
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... and grumbling to the last. Her funeral attracted an interesting range of mourners, including André Maurois and Paul Valéry, the former socialist Dreyfusard Alexandre Millerand, the Duchesse d’Uzès,Marshal Lyautey – and of course a Calmann Lévy. Old age and the watershed of the First World War had calmed the old antagonisms, if only by ...

Keach and Shelley

Denis Donoghue, 19 September 1985

Shelley’s Style 
by William Keach.
Methuen, 269 pp., £18, April 1985, 9780416303209
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Ariel: A Shelley Romance 
by André Maurois and Ella D’Arcy.
Penguin, 252 pp., £1.95, September 1985, 0 14 000001 1
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... Yeats, Hardy, Frost and Stevens. The image of Shelley as angel, by the way, is Arnold’s, but André Maurois’s version of it – ‘Shelley angelic, too angelic’ – in his Ariel (1923) sent it aloft again and has done much to keep it there. Many readers have derived from it their definitive image not only of Shelley but of the life of a ...


Peter Swaab, 20 April 1989

The Unremarkable Wordsworth 
by Geoffrey Hartman.
Methuen, 249 pp., £8.95, September 1987, 0 416 05142 1
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Wordsworth’s Historical Imagination: The Poetry of Displacement 
by David Simpson.
Methuen, 239 pp., £25, June 1987, 0 416 03872 7
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Romanticism in National Context 
edited by Roy Porter and Mikulas Teich.
Cambridge, 353 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 521 32605 2
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Romantic Affinities: Portraits from an Age 1780-1830 
by Rupert Christiansen.
Bodley Head, 262 pp., £16, January 1988, 0 370 31117 5
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... It is an old-fashionedly belle-lettristic sort of book, in the tradition of Lytton Strachey and André Maurois. There is a concession to modern times in having a chapter on women, but Rupert Christiansen is pretty much unreconstructed. Mary Wollstonecraft gets taken to task for ‘deficiencies of method, arrangement and style’ (‘but it is difficult ...

‘Tiens! Une madeleine?’

Michael Wood: The Comic-Strip Proust, 26 November 1998

À la recherche du temps perdu: Combray 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Stéphane Heuet.
Delcourt, 72 pp., €10.95, October 1998, 2 84055 218 3
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Proust among the Stars 
by Malcolm Bowie.
HarperCollins, 348 pp., £19.99, August 1998, 0 00 255622 7
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... disguised autobiography, as the ‘convincing and accessible near-novels by biographers like André Maurois and George Painter’ suggest, and it reaches out to a universe far more varied than ‘the thin thread of Proust’s biography’. These are fighting words in our biographical days, but the reminder is more than timely. What we miss if we ...

An Absolutely Different Life

Michael Wood: Too Proustian, 7 November 2019

Sept conférences sur Marcel Proust 
by Bernard de Fallois.
Editions de Fallois, 312 pp., €20, January 2019, 978 1 03 210214 6
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Proust avant Proust Essai sur ‘Les Plaisirs et les jours’ 
by Bernard de Fallois.
Les Belles Lettres, 192 pp., €21.50, May 2019, 978 2 251 44939 5
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‘Le Mystérieux Correspondant’ et autres nouvelles inédites 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Luc Fraisse.
Editions de Fallois, 174 pp., €18.50, October 2019, 978 1 03 210229 0
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... and after that went into publishing, but he remained a distinguished Proustian. Invited by André Maurois to look at the Proust archive, at that point still held by Proust’s niece, de Fallois discovered Jean Santeuil, a long unfinished autobiographical novel, and brought out an edition in 1952. He also found a collection of essays that could be ...

Spectacle of the Rats and Owls

Malcolm Deas, 2 June 1988

Against All Hope 
by Armando Valladares, translated by Andrew Harley.
Hamish Hamilton, 381 pp., £12.95, July 1986, 0 241 11806 9
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by Peter Bourne.
Macmillan, 332 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 333 44593 7
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Fidel: A Critical Portrait 
by Tad Szulc.
Hutchinson, 585 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 09 172602 6
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Castro and the Cuban Labour Movement: Statecraft and Society in a Revolutionary Period (1959-1961) 
by Efren Cordova.
University Press of America, 354 pp., £24.65, April 1988, 0 8191 5952 2
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Fidel and Religion: Castro talks on revolution and religion with Frei Betto 
translated by the Cuban Centre for Translation.
Simon and Schuster, 314 pp., £14.95, September 1987, 9780671641146
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... sort of intellectual. Does he not read? In prison after the Moncada attack he read A.J. Cronin, André Maurois and Romain Rolland, the old Latin American radical bible Les Misérables, The 19th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, Axel Munthe – ‘a book that made a significant impression’ – Vanity Fair, A Nest of Gentlefolk, Somerset ...

Proust and His Mother

Michael Wood, 22 March 2012

... the French equivalent of a stiff upper lip: ‘If you are not a Roman, be worthy of being one.’ André Maurois cites the fragment as autobiographical, noting that it is unpublished. Painter dramatises the moment: Mme Proust stammers her quotation, Marcel interjects that he can’t bear to be without her. Roger Duchêne coolly insists that this is just ...

Unliterary, Unpolished, Unromantic

Charles Nicholl: ‘The Merchant of Prato’, 8 February 2018

The Merchant of Prato: Daily Life in a Medieval Italian City 
by Iris Origo.
Penguin, 400 pp., £10.99, May 2017, 978 0 241 29392 8
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... was both old-fashioned and very deaf – had already refused access to several people, including André Maurois, to the papers of ‘poor dear aunt Teresa’. I don’t remember how I persuaded him to change his mind, since it is very difficult to be persuasive or reassuring at the top of one’s voice, but I suspect that he did so not because of ...

Too Much Gide

Douglas Johnson: French writers (1940-53), 15 November 2001

La Guerre des écrivains 1940-53 
by Gisèle Sapiro.
Fayard, 807 pp., frs 220, September 1999, 2 213 60211 5
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Correspondance: Marcel Arland – Jean Paulhan 1936-45 
edited by Jean-Jacques Didier.
Gallimard, 397 pp., frs 140, March 2000, 2 07 075789 7
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Dialogue des ‘vaincus’: Prison de Clairvaux, janvier-décembre 1950 
by Lucien Rebatet and Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, edited by Robert Belot.
Berg, 285 pp., frs 120, March 2000, 2 911289 22 6
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The Collaborator: The Trial and Execution of Robert Brasillach 
by Alice Kaplan.
Chicago, 320 pp., £9.50, December 2000, 0 226 42415 4
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... had published just one novel: were he to stop writing he would be forgotten. Another novelist, André Fraigneau, was more high flown. To continue to write and publish was a duty, he declared, because it would prove that French civilisation still existed. Such sentiments were echoed by the Vichy authorities. Alfred Fabre-Luce is quoted as reporting that the ...

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