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Mr Who He?

Stephen Orgel: Shakespeare’s Poems, 8 August 2002

The Complete Sonnets and Poems 
by William Shakespeare, edited by Colin Burrow.
Oxford, 750 pp., £65, February 2002, 9780198184317
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... our poem, but the poem of Keats, Wordsworth, Browning, Yeats, Eliot, Auden. Only Robert Graves and Laura Riding saw through it; but to return with them to the Shakespeare of Donne and Marvell is to abolish the Shakespeare of Keats and Yeats. Malone’s edition, of course, had a more problematic consequence for Shakespeare: it had him pining once more, in ...


Evan Kindley: Modernist Magazines, 23 January 2014

The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume I: Britain and Ireland 1880-1955 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 976 pp., £35, May 2013, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume II: North America 1894-1960 
edited by Peter Brooker and Andrew Thacker.
Oxford, 1088 pp., £140, July 2012, 978 0 19 965429 1
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The Oxford Critical and Cultural History of Modernist Magazines: Volume III: Europe 1880-1940 
edited by Peter Brooker, Sascha Bru, Andrew Thacker and Christian Weikop.
Oxford, 1471690 pp., £145, March 2013, 978 0 19 965958 6
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... is a particularly valuable aspect of the Oxford volumes, whose examples range from the minuscule (Laura Riding and Robert Graves’s Focus, a ‘private magazine, for and by friends’, or Georges Bataille’s Acéphale, the house organ of his eponymous secret society) to the massive (Vanity Fair and the New Yorker, with circulations in 1930 of 90,000 ...

Henry Hill and Laura Palmer

Philip Horne, 20 December 1990

... investigating agent Dale Cooper, comes when he is kissed full on the mouth by the figure of Laura Palmer, who was a ‘wild girl’ but is now dead and whose murderer he has come to town to detect. The story exerts its spell over television viewers through a combination of gruesome invention, deadpan quirkiness and hyperbolic intensity characteristic of ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... EXTRACTS’ accounted for ‘nine-tenths of the reading of the reading public’. When, in 1928, Laura Riding and Robert Graves’s Pamphlet against Anthologies charged the genre with reducing poetry to a ‘packet-commodity’, the only alternative that they proposed revealed just how inescapable the anthology had become. The ‘full Corpus’ that ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Princess Di and Laura Palmer, 22 January 2004

... town in Washington, five miles south of the Canadian border, 12 miles west of the state line. Laura Palmer, the high school homecoming queen, has been murdered. Agent Cooper – effortlessly dapper, crisply handsome, intimidatingly smart – is called in to investigate. He is assisted by the local sheriff, Harry S. Truman (as Cooper tells his ...

War on God! That is Progress!

Susan Watkins: Paul Lafargue and French socialism, 13 May 1999

Paul Lafargue and the Flowering of French Socialism, 1882-1911 
by Leslie Derfler.
Harvard, 382 pp., £27.95, July 1998, 0 674 65912 0
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... Chamber again. ‘Why in the devil’s name doesn’t Paul speak?’ Engels wrote in perplexity to Laura Lafargue, as one government scandal succeeded another. Nobody outside France could make out why he was allowing this ‘splendid opportunity’ to slip through his fingers. ‘My dear Lafargue, buck up,’ Engels begged from London, during the early days of ...

Mrs Winterson’s Daughter

Adam Mars-Jones: Jeanette Winterson, 26 January 2012

Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? 
by Jeanette Winterson.
Cape, 230 pp., £14.99, October 2011, 978 0 224 09345 3
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... a thing by itself. If it’s only a book then it isn’t anything. It’s less than nothing. Even Laura Riding, no shy blossom, a writer who characterised her own work as being poetry of the first water, emphasised that it wasn’t better than poetry. She was making a philosophical point, that our overvaluation of works of art leads us into a category ...

Buffed-Up Scholar

Stefan Collini: Eliot and the Dons, 30 August 2012

Letters of T.S. Eliot, Vol. III: 1926-27 
edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.
Faber, 954 pp., £40, July 2012, 978 0 571 14085 5
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... collective persona when communicating editorial decisions, as when he turned down some essays by Laura Riding because ‘they are not closely enough in relation to the point of view of the Criterion and its principal collaborators’. The weaselly formulation (‘not closely enough in relation to’) gestures towards unexpressed criticisms, just as his ...

It isn’t your home

Toril Moi: Sarraute gets her due, 10 September 2020

Nathalie Sarraute: A Life Between 
by Ann Jefferson.
Princeton, 425 pp., £34, August, 978 0 691 19787 6
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... known as Finnegans Wake), as well as early texts by Samuel Beckett, Kay Boyle, H.D., Laura Riding and Paul Bowles. Sarraute found a kindred spirit in Jolas, someone who shared her own aesthetic sensibilities. She would remain a lifelong friend, and later became Sarraute’s translator. Jolas and her friends must have inspired Sarraute, for ...

If my sister’s arches fall

Laura Jacobs: Agnes de Mille, 6 October 2016

Dance to the Piper 
by Agnes de Mille.
NYRB, 368 pp., £11.99, February 2016, 978 1 59017 908 6
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... Mille danced the role of the Cowgirl, a tomboy who wants to win the love of the Head Wrangler by riding with the men. Even today, watching the Cowgirl’s rattled leaps and falls, her horse running away with her and bucking her off, you feel that dancer’s delirium de Mille wrote of – ‘wrecking her body on the earth’ – and her identification with ...

Like China Girls

Naomi Fry: Rachel Kushner, 18 July 2013

The Flamethrowers 
by Rachel Kushner.
Harvill Secker, 400 pp., £16.99, June 2013, 978 1 84655 791 0
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... set-piece monologues, crafty egotistical tall tales and hapless adventures.’ In Salon, Laura Miller said it had ‘authority in spades’, making it a contender for the traditionally masculine prize of Great American Novel. The confidence of the performance, the novelistic wizardry, was what impressed the early reviewers; and, predictably, what ...

Heart and Hoof

Marjorie Garber: Seabiscuit, 4 October 2001

Seabiscuit: The Making of a Legend 
by Laura Hillenbrand.
Fourth Estate, 399 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 1 84115 091 6
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... joke about its pedigree: ‘Travesty, by Irish Peasant, out of Bog Oak.’ Seabiscuit, the hero of Laura Hillenbrand’s celebrity biography, was by Hard Tack out of Swing On, and had a brother called Grog. In fact, Grog, less successful on the track, would come to play a strong supporting role in Seabiscuit’s story as the hero’s stand-in and decoy, called ...

Now for the Hills

Stephanie Burt: Les Murray, 16 March 2000

Collected Poems 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 476 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 1 85754 369 6
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Fredy Neptune 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 256 pp., £19.95, May 1999, 1 85754 433 1
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Conscious and Verbal 
by Les Murray.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £6.95, October 1999, 1 85754 453 6
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... He especially enjoys mimesis of action – lines emulate ‘motoring down the main roads’, riding a horse, wielding a hammer, lying in bed. He relishes onomatopoeia: The channel-billed cuckoo shouts, flying, and the drug-squad helicopter comes singing I’ll spot it, your pot plot. Murray avoids a consistent level of diction as he avoids regular ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Mad for the Handcuff Bracelets, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... most striking portraits in the book juxtaposes two images of female exposure and protection. Dame Laura Knight’s self-portrait of 1913 shows the artist at her easel, back to the viewer, painting a female nude model who also stands with her back to us. Knight is very fully dressed for the work of painting: she is even wearing a hat, in addition to a grey ...


Jacqueline Rose: ‘Specimen Days’, 22 September 2005

Specimen Days 
by Michael Cunningham.
Fourth Estate, 308 pp., £14.99, August 2005, 0 00 715605 7
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... least successful moments, walks straight into two of the tales. Above all, he is not just read, as Laura Brown read Woolf in The Hours, making but not quite making Woolf’s tragic story her own. Or named, as Clarissa is named for Mrs Dalloway, making her party for the Aids-stricken Richard a reprise. In fact, in Specimen Days, Whitman is not read at all. He ...

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