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Good Manners

Craig Raine, 17 May 1984

The Collected Prose of Elizabeth Bishop 
edited by Robert Giroux.
Chatto, 278 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7011 2809 7
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... Elizabeth Bishop was refined. Manners interested her, as The Collected Prose makes clear. She can remember learning ‘how to behave in school’ with more recall than most people: ‘this meant to sit up straight, not to scrape your feet on the floor, never to whisper, to raise your hand when you had to go out, and to stand up when you were asked a question ...

Charmed Quarantine

James Wood, 21 March 1996

Soul Says: On Recent Poetry 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 266 pp., £15.95, June 1995, 0 674 82146 7
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The Breaking of Style: Hopkins, Heaney, Graham 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 100 pp., £18.95, January 1996, 0 674 08121 8
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The Given and the Made: Strategies of Poetic Redefinition 
by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 137 pp., £7.99, April 1995, 0 571 17078 1
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... to obstruct her predictions. For Jarrell, these poets were his contemporaries – Lowell, Moore, Bishop, Berryman and Stevens. When Jarrell writes that he is living in a time of great poetry, it is as if he is not merely describing but claiming something. Vendler’s belief in her contemporaries – that, as she has put it, ‘American poetry remains in good ...

At Auckland Castle

Nicola Jennings: Francisco de Zurbarán, 4 June 2020

... spent nearly ten times that much on restoration and redevelopment in the neighbouring town of Bishop Auckland. Over the past three years, while the building works were ongoing, the paintings have been on tour to New York, Dallas and Jerusalem. Earlier this year they returned to Auckland Castle, where they were put back on display along with a faithful ...

Sublime Propositions

John Summerson, 17 March 1983

John Soane: The Making of an Architect 
by Pierre de la Ruffinière du Prey.
Chicago, 408 pp., £25, November 1982, 0 226 17298 8
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... Soane was born in 1753, the son of a Berkshire bricklayer. At 15 he met a London architect, James Peacock, who was closely associated with George Dance, architect to the City of London. Dance gave Soane a place in his household. After three or four years he left Dance for Henry Holland, from whom he learned more of the business side of building and on ...

Slowly/Swiftly

Michael Hofmann: James Schuyler, 7 February 2002

Last Poems 
by James Schuyler.
Slow Dancer, 64 pp., £7.99, January 1999, 1 871033 51 9
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Alfred and Guinevere 
by James Schuyler.
NYRB, 141 pp., £7.99, June 2001, 0 940322 49 8
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... thing with poetry that it finds its own moment. The poets that have meant most to me – Lowell, Bishop, Schuyler – all, as it were, were rudely kept waiting by me. I had their books, or I already knew some poems of theirs, but there was no spark of transference. Then it happened, and our tepid prehistory was, quite literally, forgotten beyond a lingering ...

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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... as usual in incendiary mood, poured scorn on him and his associates. ‘You and Mr Conrad and Mr James and all those old fellows are done,’ he was to be heard insisting. ‘Exploded! ... Fichus! ... No good! ... Finished!’ Lewis’s beef was with literary ‘impressionism’: with novels which sought intricately to render the movements, at once furtive ...

Break their teeth, O God

Colin Kidd: The Trial of Sacheverell, 21 August 2014

Faction Displayed: Reconsidering the Impeachment of Dr Henry Sacheverell 
edited by Mark Knights.
Wiley-Blackwell, 132 pp., £19.99, February 2012, 978 1 4443 6187 2
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The State Trial of Doctor Henry Sacheverell 
edited by Brian Cowan.
Wiley-Blackwell, 307 pp., £22.99, November 2012, 978 1 4443 3223 0
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... with the safety and welfare of this Protestant kingdom’. This was the primary reason King James II was forced out and replaced by reliably Protestant co-rulers, William and Mary. This Revolution brought in its train several other constitutional changes. Within two decades the succession had been diverted through the Act of Settlement (1701) to the ...

Heroic Irrigations

E.S. Turner, 6 December 1990

The English Spa 1560-1815: A Social History 
by Phyllis Hembry.
Athlone, 401 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 485 11374 0
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The Medical History of Waters and Spas 
edited by Roy Porter.
Wellcome Institute, 150 pp., £18, September 1990, 0 85484 095 8
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... not forget the splendours of that heyday, in Bath: ‘The most fashionable library before 1800 was James Marshall’s in Milsom Street, where from 1793 to 1799 the mostly aristocratic and upper-class subscribers included two princes (the Prince of Wales and Frederick, Prince of Orange), five dukes, four duchesses, seven earls, 14 countesses, many other nobles ...

Erasures

Mark Ford: Donald Justice, 16 November 2006

Collected Poems 
by Donald Justice.
Anvil, 289 pp., £15, June 2006, 0 85646 386 8
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... dirt, and spat, Turning away abruptly, out of respect. Justice was not prolific; like Elizabeth Bishop, with whom he has much in common, he devoted his life to the perfection of a small body of deceptively modest poems. His work exhibits little of the ostentatious virtuosity of better-known formalists such as Richard Wilbur and Anthony Hecht, with whom he ...

Diary

R.W. Johnson: Magdalen College, 19 November 2009

... Magdalen College was founded in 1458 by William Waynflete, a farmer’s son who became the bishop of Winchester and chancellor of England, and so endowed the college as to make it the richest in Oxford or Cambridge until the foundation of Cardinal College (renamed Christ Church after Wolsey’s fall). It did no harm to Magdalen that Wolsey, who was one of its fellows, himself became Henry VIII’s chancellor ...

Who kicked them out?

Diarmaid MacCulloch: St Patrick’s Purgatory, 1 August 2019

St Patrick Retold: The Legend and History of Ireland’s Patron Saint 
by Roy Flechner.
Princeton, 320 pp., £22, March 2019, 978 0 691 18464 7
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... land of his captivity, to convert the Irish to Christianity and preside over the Irish Church as bishop in Armagh. Patrick is unusual among major-league patron saints in having bequeathed us two records of his authentic writing. One is a testy autobiographical tract known as the Confessio; it provides the narrative of his youth, capture, flight from and ...

Watering the Dust

James Wood: Saint Augustine, 30 September 1999

Saint Augustine 
by Garry Wills.
Weidenfeld, 153 pp., £12.99, August 1999, 0 297 84281 1
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... the blackmail, seemed almost pagan to me. Augustine, the great early theologian, the North African bishop heavily influenced by Neoplatonism, is in many ways the patron saint of this pagan Christianity. Majestically, Augustine spent much of his life as a Christian applying his superbly lucid and restless mind to the hazard of human sinfulness, the release of ...

Tropical Storms

Blake Morrison, 6 September 1984

Poems of Science 
edited by John Heath-Stubbs and Phillips Salman.
Penguin, 328 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 0 14 042317 6
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The Kingfisher 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 92 pp., £4, April 1984, 0 571 13269 3
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The Ice Factory 
by Philip Gross.
Faber, 62 pp., £3.95, June 1984, 0 571 13217 0
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Venus and the Rain 
by Medbh McGuckian.
Oxford, 57 pp., £4.50, June 1984, 0 19 211962 1
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Saying hello at the station 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 48 pp., £2.95, June 1984, 0 7011 2788 0
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Dreaming Frankenstein and Collected Poems 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 159 pp., £2.95, May 1984, 0 904919 80 3
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News for Babylon: The Chatto Book of West Indian-British Poetry 
edited by James Berry.
Chatto, 212 pp., £4.95, June 1984, 9780701127978
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Human Rites: Selected Poems 1970-1982 
by E.A. Markham.
Anvil, 127 pp., £7.95, May 1984, 0 85646 112 1
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Midsummer 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 79 pp., £3.95, July 1984, 0 571 13180 8
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... or the progress from eiders to eiderdown. Such lines and shorelines bring to mind Elizabeth Bishop, littered as they are with correspondences – a turtle like ‘a covered wagon’ or the ocean ‘wrinkling like tinfoil’. She lays the paint on more thickly than Bishop: but can she rise to the grandiloquence of ...

Hew their bones in sunder

Eamon Duffy: Lancelot Andrewes, 3 August 2006

Lancelot Andrewes: Selected Sermons and Lectures 
edited by Peter McCullough.
Oxford, 491 pp., £90, November 2005, 0 19 818774 2
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... master of Pembroke College, Cambridge; prebendary of St Paul’s; dean of Westminster; and bishop of Chichester, Ely and, finally, Winchester. What must have seemed a surprising tribute from the premier poet of Modernism to a relatively forgotten cleric was of course part of Eliot’s own journey towards a conservative (and at times ...

A Tall Stranger in Hoxton

John Bossy, 3 July 1997

The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 
by Antonia Fraser.
Weidenfeld, 347 pp., £20, August 1996, 9780297813484
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... In the spring of 1604, the English were adjusting to the arrival of King James from Scotland, attending to the doings of his first Parliament, and awaiting the arrival of envoys from the King of Spain to negotiate an end to twenty years of war. Peace, even with the Scots, was in the air. This did not please everybody, and some of the people it did not please were Catholics, who thought that the Spaniards had let them down by failing to make formal toleration for them a condition of the peace ...

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