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Seven Centuries Too Late

Barbara Newman: Popes in Hell, 15 July 2021

Dante’s Bones: How a Poet Invented Italy 
by Guy Raffa.
Harvard, 370 pp., £28.95, May 2020, 978 0 674 98083 9
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Poetry in Dialogue in the Duecento and Dante 
by David Bowe.
Oxford, 225 pp., £60, November 2020, 978 0 19 884957 5
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Dante’s Christian Ethics: Purgatory and Its Moral Contexts 
by George Corbett.
Cambridge, 233 pp., £75, March 2020, 978 1 108 48941 6
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Why Dante Matters: An Intelligent Person’s Guide 
by John Took.
Bloomsbury, 207 pp., £20, October 2020, 978 1 4729 5103 8
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Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio: Literature, Doctrine, Reality 
by Zygmunt Barański.
Legenda, 658 pp., £75, February 2020, 978 1 78188 879 7
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... fate of Italy. David Bowe reads Dante in dialogue with other lyricists of the duecento, while George Corbett examines his ethics and politics, appraising his magisterial synthesis of Aristotelian and Christian thought. John Took asks ‘why Dante matters’ and responds by casting him as an existentialist philosopher. And in a retrospective ...

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Hugh Barnes, 21 February 1985

So Much Love 
by Beryl Reid.
Hutchinson, 195 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 09 155730 5
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Knock wood 
by Candice Bergen.
Hamish Hamilton, 223 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 9780241113585
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... went to as a child. Beryl’s heroes are a homely breed. She christened her cat Ronnie after Corbett. Everybody loves Beryl. Hers is not the kind of history celebrated by the theatrical establishment, but as distinguished and a thousand times more diverse. She made her professional debut, still a teenager, at the Floral Theatre, Bridlington, and ...

Joke Book?

A.D. Nuttall, 23 November 1989

The Anatomy of Melancholy: Vol. I 
by Robert Burton, edited by Thomas Faulkner, Nicholas Kiessling and Rhonda Blair.
Oxford, 675 pp., £70, October 1989, 0 19 812448 1
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... that the first Casaubon – Isaac – was an immensely learned Continental contemporary of Burton. George Eliot’s sad heaper-up of undigested matter could also be seen, then, as Burton minus the humour. To this day, European visitors to British universities sometimes confess themselves bewildered or repelled by the inclusion of jokes in papers read to ...

High Taxes, Bad Times

John Pemble: Late Georgian Westminster, 10 June 2010

The History of Parliament: The House of Commons 1820-32 
by D.R. Fisher.
Cambridge, 6336 pp., £490, December 2009, 978 0 521 19314 6
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... before they got allowances for second homes. ‘Members of your fortune,’ his father told Panton Corbett, MP for Shrewsbury, ‘live in cheap lodgings, dining in the coffee house of the Commons five days in the week and visiting their friends the other two.’ Even this was expensive. Bellamy, the catering manager of the Commons, charged 5s 6d (about £27.50 ...

Overindulgence

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: A.S. Byatt, 28 November 2002

A Whistling Woman 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 422 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 7011 7380 7
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... her, ‘when you decide to be a lady novelist, and get set to write a long novel by Proust out of George Eliot, and it won’t get up and walk.’ The author of The Virgin in the Garden was also 17 in 1953, but Frederica Potter is not A.S. Byatt – even if subsequent novels have shown her giving up the same dissertation (on 17th-century religious ...

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