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Two Sharp Teeth

Philip Ball: Dracula Studies, 25 October 2018

Something in the Blood: The Untold Story of Bram Stoker, the Man Who Wrote ‘Dracula’ 
by David J. Skal.
Norton, 672 pp., £15.99, October 2017, 978 1 63149 386 7
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The Cambridge Companion to ‘Dracula’ 
edited by Roger Luckhurst.
Cambridge, 219 pp., £17.99, November 2017, 978 1 316 60708 4
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The Vampire: A New History 
by Nick Groom.
Yale, 287 pp., £16.99, October 2018, 978 0 300 23223 3
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... but because for much of his life he was furiously overworked as house manager for Henry Irving’s Lyceum Theatre in London. Aside from Dracula, Stoker wrote nothing of note, and plenty that was excruciating. ‘There is a semi-heroic, Everyman quality about his intense command of the mediocre,’ the critic Ludovic Flow wrote, ‘as if the ...

Urban Messthetics

John Mullan: Black and Asian writers in London, 18 November 2004

London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City 
by Sukhdev Sandhu.
Harper Perennial, 498 pp., £9.99, November 2004, 0 00 653214 4
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... in the Haymarket, he went to evening classes to learn arithmetic, he worked for Dr Charles Irving in Pall Mall, ‘so celebrated for his successful experiments in making sea water fresh’. But he found metropolitan life expensive and soon went back to sea (later, he accompanied Dr Irving on a voyage of exploration ...

Boutique Faith

Jeremy Waldron: Against Free Speech, 20 July 2006

Courting the Abyss: Free Speech and the Liberal Tradition 
by John Durham Peters.
Chicago, 309 pp., £18.50, April 2005, 0 226 66274 8
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... right. Recently, I have heard them voice similar views about the jailing in Austria of David Irving – the man who prided himself on having shaken more hands that shook hands with Hitler than anyone else in the world – for Holocaust denial. It seems that racists and Nazis are never far from the centre of concerns about free speech. In the US, First ...

I sizzle to see you

John Lahr: Cole Porter’s secret songs, 21 November 2019

The Letters of Cole Porter 
edited by Cliff Eisen and Dominic McHugh.
Yale, 672 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 0 300 21927 2
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... withdraw and disappear before one’s eyes with an almost sinister facility.’As late as 1926, Irving Berlin, the songwriter Porter most admired and the only other master of the Broadway musical besides himself to write both words and music, counselled the frustrated Porter to return to New York where the city and the audience were much changed since ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... and rivalry. Paradoxically, this is why so many of the club escape mention except in footnotes. Irving Howe, for example, gave no sexual trouble to anyone we know about. Nor indeed did Diana Trilling. William Phillips and William Barrett seem to have been uxorious or monastic by contrast to the friends whose hands they held at moments of crisis. ...

Liberated by His Bite

Andrew Delbanco, 19 September 1996

Our Vampires, Ourselves 
by Nina Auerbach.
Chicago, 238 pp., £17.50, November 1995, 0 226 03201 9
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... than the licensed torture of a woman who knew women didn’t need men. By the time of John Badham’s 1979 Dracula, starring Frank Langella as ‘a Dracula of fusion’, the women have become ‘victims no more’, but passionate creatures liberated by his bite – seekers ‘who embrace vampirism as the sole available escape from ...


Michael Dobson: The Russell-Cotes, 23 February 2012

... Annie and Sir Merton’s interest in 19th-century theatre, and had grown attached to the Henry Irving Room – the guest bedroom in which the actor had stayed for a weekend, subsequently turned into a shrine, full of relics bought at auction after his death – and had also noticed that some of the theatrical portraits the Russell-Coteses had ...

A Plumless Pudding

John Sutherland: The Great John Murray Archive Disaster, 18 March 2004

... family, after the takeover of the firm by Smith, Elder & Co (itself soon to be taken over by John Murray). A descendant – loyally named Richard Bentley – had lovingly conserved and catalogued them for posterity. In 1967, the BL acquired a tranche of early Macmillan papers: Harold Macmillan, it seems, was keen that the family firm’s archive should ...

Anxiety of Influx

Tony Tanner, 18 February 1982

Plotting the Golden West: American Literature and the Rhetoric of the California Trail 
by Stephen Fender.
Cambridge, 241 pp., £15, January 1982, 0 521 23924 9
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Witnesses to a Vanishing America: The 19th-Century Response 
by Lee Clark Mitchell.
Princeton, 320 pp., £10.70, July 1981, 9780691064611
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... American life struck writers (and others) as being at once too ‘plotless’ (or, as Washington Irving put it – before Cooper, Hawthorne, James and others – too lacking in ‘association’) and ‘stiflingly, even obsessively over-plotted’. There is a relationship, in Fender’s reading of American literature, between plotting and landscape which can ...

Adulation or Eggs

Susan Eilenberg: At home with the Carlyles, 7 October 2004

Thomas and Jane Carlyle: Portrait of a Marriage 
by Rosemary Ashton.
Pimlico, 560 pp., £15, February 2003, 0 7126 6634 6
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... by Carlyle’s first real friend, the bold and enthusiastic charlatan-in-training Edward Irving, who had been Jane’s Latin tutor when, as a much adored and adoration-craving nine-year-old, she had demanded that her father permit her to study as boys did. The tutoring had lasted only two years, but Irving met her ...

At the Jeu de Paume

Brian Dillon: Peter Hujar, 19 December 2019

... by Nadar or Julia Margaret Cameron. Some of them were famous – William Burroughs, Brion Gysin, John Giorno – or soon to be: Hujar recorded successive generations of downtown scenesters, including Gary Indiana, Fran Lebowitz and Cookie Mueller. Even if he had been only a portraitist, Hujar’s work would be an essential document of queer life and ...

At Driscoll Babcock

Christopher Benfey: The Shock of the Old, 16 June 2016

... selling paintings of rural and woodland landscapes to pent-up urbanites. The gallery, now owned by John Driscoll, moved downtown in 2012 from its stodgier precincts on 57th Street. Unlike the Whitney, which, in its choice of what to exhibit, sometimes seems to have jettisoned most of its pre-1960 holdings in the course of its downtown journey, the Driscoll ...

In Memoriam: V.S. Pritchett

John Bayley, 24 April 1997

... logo to win immediate recognition. ‘No one alive writes a better English sentence,’ observed Irving Howe, and there is something peculiarly just about that, for no one could be less narrowly and definably English in outlook and manner than Pritchett. Howe’s verdict suggests a time when English, as such, was well-written as a matter of course by a large ...

Our Slaves Are Black

Nicholas Guyatt: Theories of Slavery, 4 October 2007

Inhuman Bondage: The Rise and Fall of Slavery in the New World 
by David Brion Davis.
Oxford, 440 pp., £17.99, May 2006, 0 19 514073 7
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The Trader, the Owner, the Slave 
by James Walvin.
Cape, 297 pp., £17.99, March 2007, 978 0 224 06144 5
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The Forging of Races: Race and Scripture in the Protestant Atlantic World, 1600-2000 
by Colin Kidd.
Cambridge, 309 pp., £16.99, September 2006, 0 521 79324 6
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The Mind of the Master Class: History and Faith in the Southern Slaveholders’ Worldview 
by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese and Eugene Genovese.
Cambridge, 828 pp., £18.99, December 2005, 0 521 85065 7
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... presents biographical sketches of three participants in Britain’s 18th-century slave economy. John Newton (1725-1807) was a slave captain who became an Anglican cleric and, towards the end of his life, an opponent of the trade. Thomas Thistlewood (1721-86) was an overseer and eventually a slaveholder in western Jamaica who compiled a meticulous diary of ...


Frank Kermode, 22 October 1992

The Jew’s Body 
by Sander Gilman.
Routledge, 303 pp., £10.99, September 1992, 0 415 90459 5
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Shylock: Four Hundred Years in the Life of a Legend 
by John Gross.
Chatto, 355 pp., £18, September 1992, 0 7011 3523 9
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Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading 
by Alan Sinfield.
Oxford, 365 pp., £27.50, September 1992, 0 19 811983 6
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... the fact that Matthew and Mark record the last words of Jesus as spoken in Aramaic, while Luke and John offer a different version, in Greek. But although Mark, followed by Matthew, offers various sayings in Aramaic he immediately translates them into Greek. The evangelists were addressing not only Gentiles but the large number of Jews whose ordinary language ...

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