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Glaucus and Ione

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 17 April 1980

The Last Days of Pompeii 
by Edward GeorgeBulwer-Lytton.
Sidgwick, 522 pp., £6.95, December 1979, 0 283 98587 9
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... exhibition has been a success in America; and this is why we are offered a handsome new edition of Bulwer-Lytton’s novel, based upon one produced at the Officina Bodoni in Verona for the Limited Editions Club. Sixteen reproductions of Pompeian paintings from the catalogue of the exhibition illustrate the book; there are also some somewhat drab woodcuts by ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... novelists rested comfortably in the routines that had brought them success in the past, Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-73) was always committed to experimentation. He was his own pitiless taskmaster, working for money as strenuously as a starveling, and received £30,000 from Routledge for a 15-year option on his novels. He wrote successful ...

Snakes and Leeches

Rosemary Hill: The Great Stink, 4 January 2018

One Hot Summer: Dickens, Darwin, Disraeli and the Great Stink of 1858 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Yale, 352 pp., £25, July 2017, 978 0 300 22726 0
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... did she dislike him intensely but she had recorded in considerable detail a passionate affair with Edward Lane, the doctor at whose cure house, Moor Park in Surrey, she had been receiving treatment. The case hinged on whether or not she had made up the affair. A keen reader of novels, she had indeed invented a romance in the vein of Madame Bovary, which had ...

A Perfect Eel

Elaine Showalter: ‘Lady Audley’s Secret’, 21 June 2012

Lady Audley’s Secret 
by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, edited by Lyn Pykett.
Oxford, 448 pp., £9.99, January 2012, 978 0 19 957703 3
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... called Helen Maldon, who strikes out on her own when she is abandoned by her hot-headed husband, George Talboys. Helen leaves her baby son with her father, changes her name to Lucy Graham and becomes a governess. Soon she escapes from the ‘dull slavery’ of her job by becoming the trophy wife of the elderly Sir Michael Audley and the mistress of his ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Who’s Afraid of the Library of America?, 19 June 2008

... canonisation came after those of Charles Brockden Brown, H.P. Lovecraft, James Weldon Johnson, George Kaufman, William Bartram and Theodore Roosevelt. He might not have been too chuffed about that. I am an abject fan of the Library. I own, I find, ten of its volumes: three of Parkman, one each of Henry James, Adams, Baldwin, Frost and Stevens, the new ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire, 2 January 2020

... knobbly Knebworth House, which looks as though it’s built of papier-mâché, compete? In 1843 Edward Bulwer-Lytton had the Tudor manor house remodelled – in Pevsner’s words – as a ‘romantic paraphrase of the Gothic palace’, reflecting his own overblown historical fiction. The 16th-century banqueting hall survived – it has been used in ...

Chronicities

Christopher Ricks, 21 November 1985

Gentlemen in England 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 311 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 02 411165 1
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... a not-yet-in-date subject of the once in a while and future king whom Henry James will christen Edward the Caresser. And at the centre of the novel is Professor Horace Nettleship, banked and glowering, a man whose geological hammer has chipped away his deity, and who is deep-seatedly obsessed with the monstrous parachronism of Bishop Ussher, too late a date ...

Spurning at the High

Edward Pearce: A poet of Chartism, 6 November 2003

Ernest Jones, Chartism and the Romance of Politics 1819-69 
by Miles Taylor.
Oxford, 290 pp., £45, January 2003, 0 19 820729 8
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... decencies. Jones published this at 21 and it was well received. He became a close friend of Bulwer-Lytton, and introduced the spirit and style of German Romantic poetry to a London audience in his own verse. He also engaged in the favourite Victorian recreation of religious disputation – from a Lutheran point of view, which was slightly exotic though ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... the pervasive effect on Carlyle’s style of this ‘literary apothecary’. Anthony Trollope and Edward Fitzgerald thought Carlyle had finally gone mad, and former disciples such as Matthew Arnold denounced him as frankly dangerous, a ‘moral desperado’. Some of the mud stuck. It was soon apparent that he was unwholesomely fascinated by Blood and Iron. In ...

Delightful to be Robbed

E.S. Turner: Stand and deliver, 9 May 2002

Outlaws and Highwaymen: The Cult of the Robber in England from the Middle Ages to the 19th century 
by Gillian Spraggs.
Pimlico, 372 pp., £12.50, November 2001, 0 7126 6479 3
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... gang, headed by a rascally rector, who murdered a Leicestershire magnate and robbed one of Edward I’s trailbaston judges, before going on to commit numerous robberies in Lincolnshire. The gang were brothers, well-connected enough to buy pardons from the Crown, or to atone by serving in the King’s Army, but fatally drawn to highway robbery. The ...

Trollopiad

John Sutherland, 9 January 1992

The Chronicler of Barsetshire: A Life of Anthony Trollope 
by R.H. Super.
Manchester, 528 pp., £29.95, July 1990, 0 472 10102 1
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Anthony Trollope: A Victorian in his World 
by Richard Mullen.
Duckworth, 767 pp., £25, July 1990, 0 7156 2293 5
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Trollope: A Biography 
by N. John Hall.
Oxford, 581 pp., £25, October 1991, 0 19 812627 1
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... is our most popular and reprinted Victorian novelist. His new companions in the Abbey – Dickens, George Eliot and Hardy – may sell more copies of individual novels, but they cannot match the expansiveness of Trollope’s appeal. Forty or more of his works are currently in print – some in as many as five different editions. But for a ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement, 29 November 2001

The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... easily surpasses in size (and in price) the principal older collections edited by F.C. Mather and Edward Royle, although for the hardy there remains a less easily available set put together by Dorothy Thompson, the doyenne of Chartist studies. Claeys is a past master of the art of compilation, having already produced similar collections of the writings of ...

McNed

Gillian Darley: Lutyens, 17 April 2003

The Architect and His Wife: A Life of Edwin Lutyens 
by Jane Ridley.
Chatto, 524 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 7201 0
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Edwin Lutyens, Country Houses: From the Archives of ‘Country Life’ 
by Gavin Stamp.
Aurum, 192 pp., £35, May 2001, 1 85410 763 1
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Lutyens Abroad 
edited by Andrew Hopkins and Gavin Stamp.
British School at Rome, 260 pp., £34.95, March 2002, 0 904152 37 5
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... on his formative years in rural Surrey. Although trained in the architectural office of Ernest George and Harold Peto, the older of whom was an able vernacular revivalist and the younger a skilled landscape architect, he portrayed himself as a self-taught artist who learned what he needed by haunting the yards of traditional craftsmen ...

Unembraceable

Peter Wollen, 19 October 1995

Sex and Suits 
by Anne Hollander.
Knopf, 212 pp., $25, September 1994, 0 679 43096 2
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... riding-habits. The same year Henry Poole became tailor to the Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII, and soon both Worth and Poole, who had actually helped finance the Emperor’s return to France, had established a vast clientele of kings, princes and grand-dukes, stretching across Europe and beyond. Worth dressed the Princess von Metternich, Poole ...

An Infinity of Novels

Philip Horne, 14 September 1989

A Short Guide to the World Novel: From Myth to Modernism 
by Gilbert Phelps.
Routledge, 397 pp., £30, September 1988, 0 415 00765 8
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The Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction 
by John Sutherland.
Longman, 696 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 582 49040 5
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The Haunted Study: A Social History of the English Novel 1875-1914 
by Peter Keating.
Secker, 533 pp., £30, September 1989, 0 436 23248 0
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... houses and individuals from fools and rogues, so that credit could be given where it was due: to George Smith for instance, as the ‘godfather to Esmond’, saving Thackeray from the scatty habits he lapsed into when he wrote for serialisation, and providing support for the more measured creation of an elegiac masterpiece. In the new Companion the ...

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