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The trouble with the Enlightenment

Mark Lilla, 6 January 1994

The Magus of the North: J.G. Hamann and the Origins of Modern Irrationalism 
by Isaiah Berlin, edited by Henry Hardy.
Murray, 144 pp., £14.99, October 1993, 0 7195 5312 1
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... lectures originally delivered in 1965 and then forgotten, until their existence was discovered by Henry Hardy, who shaped them into a publishable manuscript. The result is a happy one. Not only does the book give a sense of how Berlin began thinking about the opposition between the Enlightenment and the Counter-Enlightenment, it offers us yet another ...

A Life of Henry Reed

Jon Stallworthy, 12 September 1991

... poet. The publication of his collected poems will give the lie to that gross misperception. Henry Reed was born, in Birmingham, on 22 February 1914 and named after his father, a master bricklayer and foreman in charge of forcing at Nocks’ Brickworks. Henry senior was nothing if not forceful, a serious drinker and ...

Kiss me, Hardy

Humphrey Carpenter, 15 November 1984

Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Chatto, 266 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7011 2908 5
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Watson’s Apology 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 222 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 7156 1935 7
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The Foreigner 
by David Plante.
Chatto, 237 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 7011 2904 2
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... something else.’ So it’s rather a blow to Barney to discover he’s a reincarnation of Thomas Hardy. The discovery comes about at a séance organised by Sharon in her bookshop, where, under the influence of a hypnotist, Barney finds himself recounting, in the first person, Hardy’s memory of watching the hanging of ...

Anxious Pleasures

James Wood: Thomas Hardy, 4 January 2007

Thomas HardyThe Time-Torn Man 
by Claire Tomalin.
Viking, 486 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 670 91512 2
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... But where Flaubert turns his train-steam into writing, flourishing his fine literary simile, Hardy, flirting with the pictorially gnomic, seems to want to resist that conversion; Hardy would like to preserve the visuality of the detail. Hardy was supremely a man ‘who used to notice ...

Cramming for Success

James Wood: Hardy in London, 15 June 2017

Thomas HardyHalf A Londoner 
by Mark Ford.
Harvard, 305 pp., £20, October 2016, 978 0 674 73789 1
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... put in mind of ‘The Painter of Modern Life’ while reading Mark Ford’s study of Thomas Hardy. Ford doesn’t mention it (though he does refer to Baudelaire’s flaneurial poems), perhaps because that manifesto is too obvious, or too obviously theoretical: he prefers to build his case patiently, historically, in solid empirical ...

Embarrassed

Graham Hough, 7 October 1982

Thomas HardyA Biography 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 637 pp., £15, June 1982, 0 19 211725 4
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. III: 1902-1908 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 367 pp., £19.50, July 1982, 0 19 812620 4
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The Neglected HardyThomas Hardy’s Lesser Novels 
by Richard Taylor.
Macmillan, 202 pp., £17.50, May 1982, 0 333 31051 9
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Good Little Thomas Hardy 
by C.H. Salter.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £15, August 1982, 0 333 29387 8
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Thomas Hardy and Women: Sexual Ideology and Narrative Form 
by Penny Boumelha.
Harvester, 178 pp., £18.95, April 1982, 0 7108 0018 5
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Illustration and the Novels of Thomas Hardy 
by Arlene Jackson.
Macmillan, 151 pp., £15, October 1981, 0 333 32303 3
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... There has been an abundance of good critical writing about Thomas Hardy, from Lionel Johnson in 1894 to our own day, but his biography has been in a curious condition from the start. The authorised version (Early Life, 1928; Later Years, 1930) is supposed to be by Florence, his second wife, but is wholly composed from notes by Hardy himself, and for the most part actually dictated by him ...

Death to America Day

Roger Hardy, 15 September 1988

Europe and the Mystique of Islam 
by Maxime Rodinson, translated by Roger Veinus.
Tauris, 163 pp., £19.50, April 1988, 1 85043 104 3
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The Political Language of Islam 
by Bernard Lewis.
Chicago, 168 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 226 47692 8
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Islam and Revolution in the Middle East 
by Henry Munson.
Yale, 180 pp., £15.95, June 1988, 0 300 04127 6
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... from Morocco to Indonesia. Lewis is implicitly challenged in a number of respects, too, in Henry Munson’s stimulating book, Islam and Revolution in the Middle East. Take, for example, Lewis’s endorsement of the familiar argument that there is no separation of religion and politics in Islam. ‘It is all very well,’ Munson writes, ‘to say ...

Cheeky

Norman Page, 16 March 1989

Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VI, 1920-1925 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 379 pp., £27.50, March 1987, 0 19 812623 9
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Collected Letters of Thomas HardyVol. VII, 1926-1927 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 304 pp., £29.50, October 1988, 0 19 812624 7
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Thomas HardyThe Offensive Truth 
by John Goode.
Blackwell, 184 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 631 13954 0
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The Thomas Hardy Journal. Vol. IV: October 1988 
edited by James Gibson.
Thomas Hardy Society, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1988, 0 00 268541 8
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Hardy’s Metres and Victorian Prosody 
by Dennis Taylor.
Oxford, 297 pp., £32.50, December 1988, 9780198129677
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Collected Short Stories 
by Thomas Hardy.
Macmillan, 936 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 333 47332 9
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... or destroyed. Hence a scholarly enterprise such as the Purdy/Millgate edition, now complete, of Hardy’s letters, handsomely produced and impeccably edited though it is – or perhaps precisely because it has such a finished and monumental look – can inadvertently create a false impression. ‘Collected letters’ means, after all, ‘surviving ...

Miserable Creatures

C.H. Sisson, 2 August 1984

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... The fourth volume of the Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy opens with a recommendation for Mr Harry Pouncy, ‘Lecturer and Entertainer’, of Dorchester, apparently with a view to his extending his fascinations to a wider public. There follows a note to Desmond MacCarthy suggesting – surely with the firm touch of a provincial or a Victorian survivor – that it would be better if the New Quarterly were called instead the Quarterly Herald or Quarterly Clarion, ‘or some such ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... of this and that. It buys from Oxfam books like The Brontë Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back numbers of Reader’s Digest. It’s been out of favour since ...

Diary

Christopher Nicholson: Rare Birds, 22 November 2018

... the first history of Dorset’s birds. Of the other characters involved, the Earl of Ilchester was Henry Stephen Fox-Strangways (1787-1858), who lived at Melbury House near Evershot, in west Dorset. Built in the 16th century, Melbury is a grand English country house with formal gardens, lakes and an extensive deer park. Lord Digby (1809-89) was Sir Edward St ...

Shuffling off

John Sutherland, 18 April 1985

Death Sentences: Styles of Dying in British Fiction 
by Garrett Stewart.
Harvard, 403 pp., £19.80, December 1984, 0 674 19428 4
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Forms of Feeling in Victorian Fiction 
by Barbara Hardy.
Owen, 215 pp., £12.50, January 1985, 9780720606119
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Language and Class in Victorian England 
by K.C. Phillipps.
Basil Blackwell in association with Deutsch, 190 pp., £19.50, November 1984, 0 631 13689 4
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... which seems for her the open-ended predication of a new “life story”.’ (If what?) Barbara Hardy shares with Stewart a sense of the Victorian novel’s maturity, a maturity which exacts the full range of 20th-century exegetic skill. But in other respects the two critics are traditions apart. The gulf separating them in starkly evident in a long ...

Lotti’s Leap

Penelope Fitzgerald, 1 July 1982

Collected Poems and Prose 
by Charlotte Mew, edited by Val Warner.
Carcanet/Virago, 445 pp., £9.95, October 1981, 0 85635 260 8
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... driver whenever a cab was called, and was half-mad with excitement at Christmas. She told Florence Hardy that she ‘never outgrew the snowflakes’. And yet when she was only seven two of her brothers died – one a baby, one, her great playmate, a six-year-old. Lotti, as was then considered right, was taken in to see him in his coffin. The steadying ...

Under the Sphinx

Alasdair Gray, 11 March 1993

Places of the Mind: The Life and Work of James Thomson (‘B.V.’) 
by Tom Leonard.
Cape, 407 pp., £25, February 1993, 9780224031189
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... This is the first full-length study of James Thomson’s life and work since Henry Salt’s in 1889. Thomson’s poem The City of Dreadful Night is known by name to many but has seldom been reprinted or discussed. Histories of literature say more about an earlier James Thomson (1700-48) who wrote The Seasons and ‘Rule Britannia’ and got into Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, though Johnson says his diction was ‘florid and luxuriant ...
... sees in the press. The method, like Greene’s, is highly effective, but it can never produce what Henry James would have called ‘saturation’. Virginia Woolf remarked that A Handful of Dust was a brilliant novel but that she didn’t believe a word of it: a way of turning round the ordinary reader’s cliché to suggest that truth in fiction has a complex ...

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