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What time can you pick me up?

J. Robert Lennon: ‘The Art of Fielding’, 26 January 2012

The Art of Fielding 
by Chad Harbach.
Fourth Estate, 512 pp., £16.99, January 2012, 978 0 00 737444 1
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... W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe, Robert Coover’s The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop., Philip Roth’s The Great American Novel and Bernard Malamud’s The Natural. It was the last two of those novels I kept thinking of as I read Chad Harbach’s highly entertaining, intermittently excellent, unapologetically masculine The Art ...


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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... natural to the knight and the squire, appears to us with scarcely less realism than the people of Henry Fielding and Jane Austen.’ Ostensibly Holmes is only comparing the art, the ‘realism’, of Chaucer with that of novelists four centuries later. But the implication is that ‘realism’ means writing about what Jane Austen would have written about ...

F for Felon

Roy Porter: Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror by J.M. Beattie., 4 April 2002

Policing and Punishment in London 1660-1750: Urban Crime and the Limits of Terror 
by J.M. Beattie.
Oxford, 491 pp., £48, July 2001, 0 19 820867 7
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... the self-employed ‘thief-catcher’ – the most celebrated was Jonathan Wild, immortalised by Fielding. Such self-appointed sleuths cashed in on the lavish Parliamentary rewards newly offered for those bringing successful prosecutions. With a thief-catcher clearing up to £140 per case – far more than an artisan’s annual income – it could be nice ...


Pat Rogers, 7 August 1986

Mothers of the Novel: One Hundred Good Women Writers before Jane Austen 
by Dale Spender.
Pandora, 357 pp., £12.95, May 1986, 0 86358 081 5
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Scribbling Sisters 
by Dale Spender and Lynne Spender.
Camden Press, 188 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 948491 00 0
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A Woman of No Character: An Autobiography of Mrs Manley 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 176 pp., £9.95, June 1986, 0 571 13934 5
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by Fanny Burney.
Virago, 919 pp., £6.95, May 1986, 0 86068 775 9
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Millenium Hall 
by Sarah Scott.
Virago, 207 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86068 780 5
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by Susan Ferrier.
Virago, 513 pp., £4.50, February 1986, 0 86068 765 1
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by Maria Edgeworth.
Pandora, 434 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 074 2
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by Mary Brunton.
Pandora, 437 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 9780863580840
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The Female Quixote: The Adventures of Arabella 
by Charlotte Lennox.
Pandora, 423 pp., £4.95, May 1986, 0 86358 080 7
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... men’. Then follows a remarkable passage: ‘Among the neglected men I have found Robert Bage, Henry Brooke, John Bunyan, Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Delaney [sic], Emanuel Ford, William Godwin, Richard Graves, Robert Greene, Robert Henryson, Charles Johnstone, Charles Lever, M.G. Lewis, Thomas Lodge, Henry MacKenzie ...

Henry and Caroline

W.G. Runciman, 1 April 1983

The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook: The First Guide to What Really Matters in Life 
by Ann Barr and Peter York.
Ebury, 160 pp., £4.95, October 1982, 0 85223 236 5
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... maintains its undying faith in What Really Matters in Life. The observations that, for example, Henry and Caroline never cry at funerals, but only at carols, that Sloanes never ‘go’ anywhere but always ‘whizz’, ‘toddle’, ‘rush’, ‘beetle’, ‘tear’ or ‘zoom’, and that ‘Hooray Henrys’ Get Pretty Pissed, not to show they can hold ...

Sizing up the Ultra-Right

David Butler, 2 July 1981

The National Front 
by Nigel Fielding.
Routledge, 252 pp., £12.50, January 1981, 0 7100 0559 8
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Left, Right: The March of Political Extremism in Britain 
by John Tomlinson.
Calder, 152 pp., £4.95, March 1981, 0 7145 3855 8
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... which recent opinion polls have shown to be so extensive. In the mid-Seventies, however, when Dr Fielding was writing this thesis, a lot of people did take the National Front seriously. In the West Bromwich by-election of 1973, the NF saved their deposit for the first time. In 1975, a former NF chairman won a seat on Blackburn Council. In 1976, NF candidates ...

The Amazing Mrs Charke

David Nokes, 1 June 1989

The Well-Known Troublemaker: A Life of Charlotte Charke 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 231 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 571 14743 7
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The Ladies: Female Patronage of Restoration Drama 
by David Roberts.
Oxford, 188 pp., £22.50, February 1989, 0 19 811743 4
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The Complete Lover: Eros, Nature and Artifice in the 18th-Century French Novel 
by Angelica Goodden.
Oxford, 329 pp., £32.50, January 1989, 0 19 815820 3
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... comedy. Arguing instead in terms which endorse Robert Hume’s thesis in his vastly superior book Henry Fielding and the London Theatre (Clarendon, 1988), Roberts suggests that market forces rather than moralising zeal led to a new conservatism. The collapse of the King’s Company in 1682 introduced a new note of caution: ‘Now that there was only one ...

In the Teeth of the Gale

A.D. Nuttall, 16 November 1995

The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation 
edited by Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule.
Oxford, 606 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 19 214209 7
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... when a certain grossness is needed, the chance is missed. Both Sir Robert Stapylton (1647) and Henry Fielding (1743) have a go at translating Juvenal’s ferocious account of the profligate Empress Messalina working as a prostitute in a Roman brothel and both suppress Juvenal’s reference to gilded nipples (‘papillis ... auratis’). As ...

We were the Lambert boys

Paul Driver, 22 May 1986

The Lamberts: George, Constant and Kit 
by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 388 pp., £13.95, April 1986, 0 7011 2731 7
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... faisandés tastes and a bluff and hearty roast-beef-and-Yorkshire Englishman; Baudelaire and Henry Fielding combined’). We believe in a personality devoted to art but deploring artiness, cherishing self-expression but abominating self-promotion; just as we are able to glimpse the fashionable ballet-conductor pausing to talk to an alley cat. We ...


Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne, 4 November 1993

... Simon Raven’s Alms for Oblivion novel sequence, we are introduced to the hopeless young charmer Fielding Gray. His father is remote and sourly reactionary; his mother develops ominous signs of chippiness and puritanism. Young Fielding gets through most of the right hoops but usually in the wrong way. His public school, in ...

The Devil upon Two Sticks

Charles Nicholl: Samuel Foote, 23 May 2013

Mr Foote’s Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London 
by Ian Kelly.
Picador, 462 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 330 51783 6
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... himself from the funeral, ‘very little regretted even by his nearest acquaintance’, or as Henry Fielding put it more bluntly, ‘pissed upon with scorn and contempt’. Foote’s celebrity status can be measured in the proliferation of theatrical prints and paintings of him onstage, working the audience with his idiosyncratic blend of goofy ...

Astral Projection

Alison Light: The Case of the Croydon Poltergeist, 17 December 2020

The Haunting of Alma FieldingA True Ghost Story 
by Kate Summerscale.
Bloomsbury, 345 pp., £18.99, October, 978 1 4088 9545 0
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... invited readers to share their supernatural experiences. Almost a thousand of them wrote in. Alma Fielding, a 34-year-old housewife from the South London suburb of Thornton Heath, rang the paper (a ghost didn’t seem a case for the police, she said). As she and her husband, Les, lay in bed, she told the journalist, there were strange happenings. A tumbler ...

A Life of Its Own

Jonathan Coe, 24 February 1994

The Kenneth Williams Diaries 
edited by Russell Davies.
HarperCollins, 827 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 00 255023 7
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... is a significant one in this context. In January 1960 Williams was playing with Fenella Fielding in the revue Pieces of Eight (largely written by Peter Cook) at the Apollo Theatre, and his diary entry for the 27th reads: ‘The show in evening went well, till Madam decided to ad lib one line before the tag in “Spies”. Of course it threw me ...

Paisley’s Progress

Tom Paulin, 1 April 1982

... to the barrier around the demesne. The Paisley of this period is partly modelled on the Rev. Henry Cooke, a reactionary and highly influential 19th-century preacher who did much to counter Presbyterian radicalism. This Paisley is an autochthonous bigot who once organised a mock-mass on the platform of the Ulster Hall. Patrick Marrinan, his ...

Upright Ends

Vincent Newey, 1 October 1987

The Origins of the English Novel, 1660-1740 
by Michael McKeon.
Johns Hopkins, 530 pp., £21.25, April 1987, 0 8018 3291 8
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... unresolved even at that point in the 1740s when, in the controversy between Richardson and Fielding, the new genre achieved the status of what Marx calls ‘a simple abstraction’, an identifiable category in its own right. McKeon’s terms are useful ones; and his theory argues attractively for the early novel’s significance as a crucial site of ...

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