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Dat’s de Truth

Terence Hawkes, 26 January 1995

Dancing to a Black Man’s Tune: A Life of Scott Joplin 
by Susan Curtis.
Missouri, 265 pp., £26.95, July 1994, 0 8262 0949 1
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King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era 
by Edward Berlin.
Oxford, 334 pp., £19.99, September 1994, 0 19 508739 9
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... was to be socially as well as musically discordant; it is no accident that the primary business of John Stark, publisher of Scott Joplin’s most famous rags, was the selling of pianos. The arrival of the cheap domestic piano hastened the decline of field songs and ‘spirituals’ among former slaves, but by and large failed to establish a pious white ...

Sod off, readers

John Sutherland, 26 September 1991

Rude Words: A Discursive History of the London Library 
by John Wells.
Macmillan, 240 pp., £17.50, September 1991, 0 333 47519 4
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Swearing: A Social History of Foul Language, Oaths and Profanity in English 
by Geoffrey Hughes.
Blackwell, 283 pp., £16.95, August 1991, 0 631 16593 2
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... 150th anniversary, the present guardians of the London Library have chosen an eminent comedian, John Wells, to write their celebratory history. The sage of Chelsea would not have been amused. But then, nothing did amuse him. He seems to have been immune to such essentially human feelings. Carlyle happened to be in the library in 1875 when Bryan Courthope ...

Bardbiz

Terence Hawkes, 22 February 1990

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe 
by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.
Weidenfeld, 197 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 297 79346 2
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Shakespeare and the Popular Voice 
by Annabel Patterson.
Blackwell, 195 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 631 16873 7
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Re-Inventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present 
by Gary Taylor.
Hogarth, 461 pp., £18, January 1990, 0 7012 0888 0
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Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare 
by Michael Bristol.
Routledge, 237 pp., £30, January 1990, 0 415 01538 3
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... flowers to the wire fencing around the Rose and the Globe, had a familiar whiff. Andrew Gurr and John Orrell’s Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe concerns a project conceived well before the recent discoveries. But its primary aim – to present the case for a ‘reconstruction’ of the Globe Theatre in Southwark near the site of the original ...

A Fue Respectable Friends

John Lloyd: British brass bands, 5 April 2001

The British Brass Band: A Musical and Social History 
by Trevor Herbert.
Oxford, 381 pp., £48, June 2000, 0 19 816698 2
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... bands briefly attracted some of the less snobbish ‘serious’ composers: notably Elgar, Holst, John Ireland and Herbert Howells. The two indefatigable journalist/ entrepreneurs of the movement, Cope and the championship organiser Herbert Whiteley, played a leading part in persuading Holst and Elgar to write for the bands. They coaxed from them, among other ...

Anger and Dismay

Denis Donoghue, 19 July 1984

Literary Education: A Revaluation 
by James Gribble.
Cambridge, 182 pp., £16.50, November 1983, 0 521 25315 2
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Reconstructing Literature 
edited by Laurence Lerner.
Blackwell, 218 pp., £15, August 1983, 0 631 13323 2
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Counter-Modernism in Current Critical Theory 
by Geoffrey Thurley.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 333 33436 1
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... Graham Hough and Cleanth Brooks on ‘Tears, Idle Tears’; and of Jonathan Culler and Terence Hawkes on William Carlos Williams’s ‘This is Just to Say’. Theories of Structuralism make Gribble particularly angry. He quotes a bit from Roland Barthes only to say he finds it impenetrable. A long paragraph from Culler’s Structuralist Poetics he regards ...

Embarrassment and Loss

Marghanita Laski, 19 February 1981

A Way to Die 
by Rosemary Zorza.
Deutsch, 254 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 233 97355 9
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Letter to a Younger Son 
by Christopher Leach.
Dent, 155 pp., £5.95, January 1981, 0 460 04496 6
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Bereavement 
by Colin Murray Parkes.
Pelican, 267 pp., £1.50, June 1980, 0 14 021833 5
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... which people struggle to make a life after crushing grief, and, for a writer, not an uncommon way. John Evelyn did the same thing when his daughter, Margaret Godolphin, died in 1678, but wiser, I think, than these, he did not publish. Of these two books, the Zorzas’ is the worse, and for the sad reason that it is, in the literal sense, the more ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

Landmarks 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... William Cobbett of Rural Rides, a farmer’s son and himself a farmer from time to time; John Muir of My First Summer in the Sierra, a farmer’s son and farmer; and Lewis Grassic Gibbon of A Scots Quair, a farmer’s son from the Mearns in north-east Scotland. All three produced work that strikes me as special – as important, if you like ...

Diary

John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... never far from chthonic nationalism, are unprogressive. As Professor Terence ‘Piss off’ Hawkes has shown,* to identify Shakespeare with an essential England can lead to crude imperialism. Let me recommend his essay, though I note with concern its recurrent urino-genital images. By now it’s really peeing down. I call the dogs out of the Avon, where ...

Phantom Jacks

John Bayley, 5 January 1989

Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times 
by George Sayer.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 333 43362 9
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J.B. Priestley 
by Vincent Brome.
Hamish Hamilton, 512 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 9780241125601
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Eddy: The Life of Edward Sackville-West 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £16, October 1988, 0 370 31164 7
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... to each other. After two marriages and many affairs he fell deeply in love with Jacquetta Hawkes, seeing himself as Bottom the Weaver miraculous adored by Titania. Lewis also found intense happiness in a late marriage, with Joy Davidman, a disciple from America. What he wrote about it is as sincere but unpersuasive as Priestley on the same kind of ...

Shakespeares

David Norbrook, 18 July 1985

Political Shakespeare: New Essays in Cultural Materialism 
edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield.
Manchester, 244 pp., £19.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1752 1
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Alternative Shakespeares 
edited by John Drakakis.
Methuen, 252 pp., £10.50, July 1985, 0 416 36850 6
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Shakespeare and Others 
by S. Schoenbaum.
Scolar, 285 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 85967 691 9
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Illustrations of the English Stage 1580-1642 
by R.A. Foakes.
Scolar, 180 pp., £35, February 1985, 0 85967 684 6
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Shakespeare: The ‘Lost Years’ 
by E.A.J. Honigmann.
Manchester, 172 pp., £17.50, April 1985, 0 7190 1743 2
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... repression may be dubious, it cannot be denied that it yields some interesting insights. Terence Hawkes, Christopher Norris and Jacqueline Rose show how the attempts of some influential Shakespeare critics to reduce the plays to coherent unified structures break down as the gaps and contradictions of the texts are carried over by an uncanny transfer ...

Faculty at War

Tom Paulin, 17 June 1982

Re-Reading English 
edited by Peter Widdowson.
Methuen, 246 pp., £7.95, March 1982, 0 416 31150 4
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Against Criticism 
by Iain McGilchrist.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, May 1982, 0 571 11922 0
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... is a quaint survivor from the world of tentative liberal open-mindedness, rather like the ghost of John Bayley infiltrating a branch of Militant Tendency. Before considering the terminal ironies of this rejection of printed texts, it is essential to examine the history of English as an academic subject. As Brian Doyle shows in the only valuable essay in this ...

No looking at my elephant

Mary Wellesley: Menageries, 15 December 2016

Menagerie: The History of Exotic Animals in England 1100-1837 
by Caroline Grigson.
Oxford, 349 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 19 871470 5
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... Lisle gave Anne Boleyn a monkey in 1534, she wasn’t pleased. ‘As to touching your monkey,’ John Hussee wrote to Lisle the following year, ‘of a truth, madam, the queen loveth no such beasts nor can scarce abide the sight of them.’ What happened to the monkey isn’t clear. One hopes Anne didn’t do to it what Samuel Pepys did to his pet monkey in ...

Just Like Cookham

Neal Ascherson: Stanley Spencer in China, 19 May 2011

Passport to Peking: A Very British Mission to Mao’s China 
by Patrick Wright.
Oxford, 591 pp., £20, October 2010, 978 0 19 954193 5
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... Friendship Association, an organisation firmly loyal to the Communist regime. Professor Leonard Hawkes, the leader of the delegation, was a geologist famous for pointing out that England was slowly tilting into the North Sea. The novelist and translator Rex Warner had been a left-winger in his youth but was now a comfortably-off, convivial figure. Sir Hugh ...

Flattery and Whining

William Gass: Prologomania, 5 October 2000

The Book of Prefaces 
edited by Alasdair Gray.
Bloomsbury, 639 pp., £35, May 2000, 0 7475 4443 3
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... even foreword mail. An introduction presupposes ignorance. When Albert J. Guerard introduced John Hawkes’s novel The Cannibal in 1948, he could properly feel both Hawkes and his novel were unknown to most readers. But this is what Guerard begins by saying: ‘Many introductions exist to persuade the reluctant ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester: A Memoir, 5 July 2001

... it. He then got a friend to do a translation into Hebrew of the words. He then persuaded Boosey & Hawkes to publish it. He then persuaded Paul Robeson to perform it at a concert in London. But now his military fixation intervened and he started to hear the music in his head at a faster tempo, as a march played by a military band, especially by trombones. He ...

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