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Hugging the cats

John Bayley, 14 June 1990

Poems 
by Gay Clifford.
188 pp., £14.99, May 1990, 0 241 12976 1
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Selected Poems 1940 – 1989 
by Allen Curnow.
Viking, 209 pp., £15.99, May 1990, 0 670 83007 0
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Collected Poems and Selected Translations 
by Norman Cameron, edited by Warren Hope and Jonathan Barker.
Anvil, 160 pp., £14.95, May 1990, 0 85646 202 0
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Collected Poems 
by Enoch Powell.
Bellew, 198 pp., £9.95, April 1990, 0 947792 36 8
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... the place loses all self-consciousness. In his introduction to Norman Cameron’s Collected Poems Jonathan Barker quotes a remark Auden made shortly before his death. ‘On hedonistic grounds I am a fanatical formalist. To me a poem is, among other things, always a verbal game.’ It depends, no doubt, on the impression it makes. The contraption (for ...

England and Other Women

Edna Longley, 5 May 1988

Under Storm’s Wing 
by Helen Thomas and Myfanwy Thomas.
Carcanet, 318 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 85635 733 2
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... Even the recent spate of studies – by Michael Kirkham, Stan Smith, and the contributors to Jonathan Barker’s Art of Edward Thomas – seems more fortuitous than co-ordinated. Thomas, as Robert Frost reminded him, ‘knew the worth of [his] bays’. However, it is unwise to die in war when a hegemonic project like Modernism is getting under ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan, 2 April 1987

The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... style of our brightest young writers. The anthology may not begin with ‘Sunday Morning’, but Jonathan Barker suggests that Ron Butlin, James Lasdun, Oliver Reynolds and other talents have been influenced, like Vendler’s Americans, by the world of Canon Aspirin. This seems doubtful. To read the PBS volume after the Faber Book is to be almost ...

Hobohemianism

Blake Morrison, 30 June 2011

The Autobiography of a Super-Tramp 
by W.H. Davies.
Amberley, 192 pp., £14.99, September 2010, 978 1 84868 980 0
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... poetry allots him more entries than it does Owen, Graves, Sassoon or Edward Thomas, and by Jonathan Barker, whose 1985 edition of the Selected Poems reprints more than a third of his 800 or so poems. But it was Larkin who made the best case for him, when he included five of Davies’s poems in the Oxford Book of 20th-Century English Verse. The ...

Losing the Plot

Francesca Wade: Nicola Barker, 3 July 2014

In the Approaches 
by Nicola Barker.
Fourth Estate, 497 pp., £18.99, June 2014, 978 0 00 758370 6
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... be bloody writing novels about it, you should be out there bloody doing something about it.’ Jonathan Coe drops in to tell Maxwell Sim that his book is about to end; Sim looks ‘into the eyes of a serial killer’, and suspects that ‘beneath his courteous exterior, this guy was full of nothing but conceit and self-admiration.’ In At Swim-Two-Birds ...

Unction and Slaughter

Simon Walker: Edward IV, 10 July 2003

Arthurian Myths and Alchemy: The Kingship of Edward IV 
by Jonathan Hughes.
Sutton, 354 pp., £30, October 2002, 0 7509 1994 9
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... determine, the pursuit of political life. It is within this context of political mentalities that Jonathan Hughes situates his study of the Duke of York’s charismatic eldest son, Edward IV. Edward has always received a mixed historiographical press. Contemporaries recognised and celebrated his energy, intelligence and good fortune, but gave due weight as ...

Trouble at the Fees Office

Jonathan Raban: Alice in Expenses Land, 11 June 2009

... champagne flutes in the early 21st century, and no wonder, since they had much to celebrate. Greg Barker, the member for Bexhill and Battle, bought a flat in Pimlico for £480,000 in November 2004, then sold it in February 2007 for £800,000: £320,000 in 27 months works out at nearly £12,000 a month, cause for anyone to break out the Dom Pérignon. Two ...

Holland’s Empire

V.G. Kiernan, 17 August 1989

Dutch Primacy in World Trade, 1585-1740 
by Jonathan Israel.
Oxford, 462 pp., £45, June 1989, 0 19 822729 9
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... Jonathan Israel seeks, as few before him have done, to explain the phenomenal rise and then fall of the Dutch commercial hegemony by viewing it against a global background. His theme is its centrality ‘for over a century in the making of the Early Modern world’. His big book comes close to being a history of Europe, even of the whole world, or at least of commercial relations everywhere and the bearing of these on political relations ...

Several Doses of Wendy

Robert Baird: David Means, 11 August 2016

Hystopia 
by David Means.
Faber, 352 pp., £16.99, May 2016, 978 0 571 33011 9
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... his wife) was the dedicatee of one of the most celebrated megaliths of the past quarter-century, Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections? Of course not. Or that Means had worried, not unreasonably, that the idea of ‘going big and wide for the sake of giving into the possibility’ was for him the succubus of an unholy temptation? No. Did it matter, even, that ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

... reached him and went down well. The first came when he and his wife Jane went to stay with George Barker, in Italy I think, and Barker exclaimed afterwards: ‘That boy! He’s got a tiger in his loins!’ Karl loved that. Who wouldn’t? His friends all got to hear about it. He laughed about it in a deprecating way but ...

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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... are much more suspicious of ‘high culture’. In his introduction to Political Shakespeare, Jonathan Dollimore analyses a tripartite pattern in ideological conflicts of consolidation, subversion and containment. In certain circumstances, drama may subvert the ruling ideology, but the probability is that these challenges will eventually serve to ...

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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... and, in the playwright’s name, deploy a considered programme of anti-Jacobin propaganda. As Jonathan Bate has pointed out in an incisive study of the cultural politics of the period,* Hazlitt stands as the Radical to Coleridge’s Conservative in terms of a struggle for possession of Shakespeare that was a feature of British ideology between Waterloo ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald Bryden, 1 September 1988

Olivier 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... nose and goatee modelled on George Arliss’s Disraeli and had to be persuaded by his director, Jonathan Miller, to evolve in the succeeding weeks a characterisation based on his own face. No one seems to have told Holden that dress rehearsals normally complete, not commence, the rehearsal process. He will surprise many who worked with Tyrone Guthrie by ...

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