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Vienna: Myth and Reality

Hans Keller, 5 June 1980

Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture 
by Carl Schorske.
Weidenfeld, 378 pp., £15, May 1980, 0 297 77772 6
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A Nervous Splendour: Vienna 1888/1889 
by Frederic Morton.
Weidenfeld, 340 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 297 77769 6
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... as 1961, 1967 and 1973: no wonder there is no continuous argument. But if Schorske has no thesis, Frederic Morton (who lists Schorske’s Freud essay of 1973 in his own bibliography) does not even have a theme – outside the myth of Vienna, that is, which remains unmolested by reality: ‘Anti-semitism, operetta, psychoanalysis: three contributions from ...

Mary Swann’s Way

Danny Karlin, 27 September 1990

Jane Fairfax 
by Joan Aiken.
Gollancz, 252 pp., £12.95, September 1990, 0 575 04889 1
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Lady’s Maid 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 536 pp., £13.95, July 1990, 0 7011 3574 3
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Mary Swann 
by Carol Shields.
Fourth Estate, 313 pp., £12.99, August 1990, 1 872180 02 7
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... day that she delivered her only manuscript to a local newspaper editor and small press publisher, Frederic Cruzzi. Published in a posthumous edition of only 250 copies (a number which dwindles significantly in the course of the novel), the rather gruesomely named ‘Swann’s Songs’ is discovered years later by a young feminist scholar, Sarah Maloney, and ...

Drawing-rooms are always tidy

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 20 August 1992

The Sexual Education of Edith Wharton 
by Gloria Erlich.
California, 210 pp., £13.95, May 1992, 0 520 07583 8
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... with ‘her tall handsome father’, Wharton’s autobiography consistently associates George Frederic Jones with whatever spontaneous feeling and poetry her childhood contained. Retreating to her father’s library, the young girl discovered the books that were to sustain her, as she dragged out volume after volume ‘in a secret ecstasy of ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford, 1 June 2000

Return to Yesterday 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... Butler’s torpedo beard is matched by his viciousness, especially towards ‘young persons’. Frederic Harrison, the pope of Positivism, sports a ‘great, square, white beard’ (every comma counts, in that description); he, too, likes nothing better, while taking tea with Dr Richard Garnett, Principal Librarian at the British Museum, than brutally to ...

Self-Made Man

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: Edith Wharton’s Domestic Arrangements, 5 April 2007

Edith Wharton 
by Hermione Lee.
Chatto, 853 pp., £25, February 2007, 978 0 7011 6665 6
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... improbable for a future novelist. Persistent rumours that she was not the daughter of George Frederic Jones but the illegitimate offspring of a Scottish peer or an English tutor clearly attest to a sense that there was something otherwise inexplicable about this ambitious daughter of Old New York. Her autobiography, A Backward Glance (1934), says nothing ...

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