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Plantsmen

David Allen, 20 December 1984

The John Tradescants: Gardeners to the Rose and Lily Queen 
by Prudence Leith-Ross.
Owen, 320 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 7206 0612 8
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Sydney Parkinson: Artist of Cook’s ‘Endeavour’ Voyage 
edited by D.J. Carr.
Croom Helm, 300 pp., £29.95, March 1984, 9780709907947
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... Gardeners and, even less, flower painters are not usually thought of as leading adventurous lives. Their pursuits above all others are suggestive of peacefulness, of contented days quietly tucked away in hothouses and arbours, with no greater dangers to contend with than pricks from rose-bushes or stings from wasps. Yet it has never been like that entirely ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... D.J. Taylor​ is the most charitable of critics. However absurd, third-rate or pretentious the authors he examines, he can always find something to say in their favour. In this latest study, he even puts in a good word for the preposterous Sitwell family, having first given them a roasting for their insufferable self-importance, on the grounds that Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell were at least serious about literature ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... review, Malcolm Bradbury is a self-conscious progressive, but he writes the old kind of history. D.J. Taylor is a self-conscious reactionary whose book is a rather strange example of the new kind. Taylor’s belief, set out bluntly in his introduction, is that no modern English writer can ‘hold a candle’ to Dickens or George Eliot. Born in 1960, Taylor ...

Phut-Phut

James Wood: The ‘TLS’, 27 June 2002

Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... vicars, soldiers and politicians, along with scholars and hacks. May discusses anonymity, and John Gross’s decision to abandon it in 1974, at length, but he is himself in the end too committed to a notion of institutional success to be distracted by such questions. Anonymity is an interesting topic largely because it would be so clearly exploited and ...

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