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Michael Neve, 8 November 1990

The Double in 19th-Century Fiction 
by John Herdman.
Macmillan, 174 pp., £35, August 1990, 9780333490242
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Romanticism and the Sciences 
edited by Andrew Cunningham and Nicholas Jardine.
Cambridge, 345 pp., £40, June 1990, 0 521 35602 4
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Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? 
by Mary Boyle.
Routledge, 248 pp., £35, September 1990, 0 415 04096 5
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... consisted precisely in their having expunged ‘Romantic’ ideas from their psychology. Part of Mary Boyle’s study of schizophrenia consists in examining quite why the category is used in the way it is: as a taxonomic catch-all that cannot hold, in any useful scientific sense, the varieties of behaviour it is asked to hold at the moment. If the ...

A heart with testicles

D.J. Enright, 9 May 1991

Goethe: The Poet and the Age. Vol. I: The Poetry of Desire, 1749-1790 
by Nicholas Boyle.
Oxford, 827 pp., £25, May 1991, 0 19 815866 1
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... Not to know Goethe,’ A.W. Schlegel wrote poetically, ‘is to be a Goth.’ Nicholas Boyle begins the preface to Volume One of his biography of the great man by stating, altogether correctly alas, that more must be known, ‘or at any rate there must be more to know’, about him than about almost any other human being ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... term ‘metaphysical’). But Amis is less concerned with reconstituting the mysterious past of Mary Lamb (as she arbitrarily calls herself) than with exploiting her as a centre of deranged consciousness. For Mary the common world is defamiliarised. Thus, for instance, she tackles the telephone: ...

On the Threshold

Tom Nairn, 23 March 1995

Frameworks for the Future 
Northern Ireland Office, 37 pp., February 1995Show More
Northern Ireland: The Choice 
by Kevin Boyle and Tom Hadden.
Penguin, 256 pp., £6.99, May 1994, 0 14 023541 8
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... deep down. It whispers to us in the watches of the night. Our ancestors, faithful to God and Mary, once held this whole island before the foreign heretic took it from us.’ And they will have it back again come what may. The long-awaited Framework Document for a new Northern Ireland states that die Republic intends renouncing its constitutional ...

Scrapbook

Edward Pearce, 26 July 1990

A Sparrow’s Flight: Memoirs 
by Lord Hailsham.
Collins, 463 pp., £17.50, July 1990, 0 00 215545 1
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... and about the son who without affectation loved his father. The account of his second wife Mary is the finest thing in the book. Again the real feelings are out. He loved and was loved by his wife, and in a cruel accident she died. He quotes C.S. Lewis very aptly: ‘Talk to me about the truth of religion and I’ll listen gladly. Talk to me about the ...

Diary

Gillian Darley: John Evelyn and his gardens, 8 June 2006

... piers of London Bridge, to enjoy the delights of Sayes Court and the hospitality of John and Mary Evelyn. The king and Clarendon, the lord chancellor, made the journey, so did Henrietta Maria, old Constantyn Huygens from The Hague as well as Louis XIV’s expert vegetable gardener from Versailles. Pepys, often at the dockyard on business and living in ...

Had I been born a hero

Helen Deutsch: Female poets of the eighteenth century, 21 September 2006

Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and Their Poetry: Inventing Agency, Inventing Genre 
by Paula Backscheider.
Johns Hopkins, 514 pp., £43.50, January 2006, 0 8018 8169 2
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... masculine canon was a drawing, a doodle really, by Dorothy, Lady Burlington, the wife of Richard Boyle, Earl of Burlington, a great patron of art and architecture to whom Pope dedicated the last of his Moral Essays. Lady Burlington sketched Pope at a game of cards – perhaps ombre (aptly enough, an Englishing of the Spanish for ‘man’), the game at which ...

‘I was a more man’

Keith Kyle, 12 October 1989

Keith Joseph: A Single Mind 
by Morrison Halcrow.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 333 49016 9
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... at the time as one of the Tory Party’s brightest hopes for the future. When he and Sir Edward Boyle were brought into the Cabinet by Macmillan on ‘the Night of the Long Knives’, it was with a flourish – the old showman’s theatrical salute to youth and brains. Joseph, as Minister of Housing and Local Government with a background in the construction ...

I have written as I rode

Adam Smyth: ‘Brief Lives’, 8 October 2015

‘Brief Lives’ with ‘An Apparatus for the Lives of Our English Mathematical Writers’ 
by John Aubrey, edited by Kate Bennett.
Oxford, 1968 pp., £250, March 2015, 978 0 19 968953 8
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John Aubrey: My Own Life 
by Ruth Scurr.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 0 7011 7907 6
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... a Crowd of ill Directions’) but also the latest scientific advances: alongside Newton, Hooke, Boyle, he attended Royal Society meetings where he stammered when he talked in public. ‘Blood has been moved between two dogs for the first time. Before the Society, Mr King and Mr Thomas Coxe successfully performed the experiment on a small bulldog and a ...

How to Perfume a Glove

Adam Smyth: Early Modern Cookbooks, 5 January 2017

Recipes for Thought: Knowledge and Taste in the Early Modern English Kitchen 
by Wendy Wall.
Pennsylvania, 328 pp., £53, November 2015, 978 0 8122 4758 9
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... is everywhere in the recipe culture Wall describes. Thus the manuscript recipe book of Mary Birkhead from about 1680 now in the British Library (which Wall cites but doesn’t discuss) moves easily between recipes ‘To make Lemmon Cakes’, ‘for a cold a sirup of turnups’, and for ‘aunt whaleys head pill’. This cultural link between health ...

The Road to Reading Gaol

Colm Tóibín, 30 November 2017

... Wilde, who by the time of his marriage had had two further illegitimate children, Emily and Mary, born in 1847 and 1849, who were taken care of as wards by William’s eldest brother, Ralph. (John Butler Yeats believed that the mother of these two girls kept a ‘black oak shop’ in Dublin.) William fully acknowledged his illegitimate son, known as ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self, 5 February 2004

Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... formal experimentation whose work Wolff did include (among them Lorrie Moore, Denis Johnson and Mary Robison) did not, in the stories Wolff selected, engage with the question of how a story convinces us of its reality. This is not to say that the stories Wolff selected were not interesting stories. Rather, it became abundantly clear that he had very narrow ...

‘Where’s yer Wullie Shakespeare noo?’

Michael Dobson: 17th-century literary culture, 11 September 2008

Archipelagic English: Literature, History, and Politics 1603-1707 
by John Kerrigan.
Oxford, 599 pp., March 2008, 978 0 19 818384 6
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... ordinary money, and my mother used to say that what she liked best about the place, apart from the Mary O’Hara records, was that with its bumpy single-track roads and straying donkeys it reminded her of the prewar Dales of her childhood. The only time I remember thinking that something really foreign was happening on one of these family holidays was when we ...

Taking Bad Arguments Seriously

Ian Hacking, 21 August 1997

... research. First, then, the constructionist attitude to schizophrenia. I take, for my example, Mary Boyle’s 1990 book, Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion? Critics like Boyle argue that the criteria for diagnosis of schizophrenia have varied enormously from decade to decade, yet psychiatry still asserts it to be ...

My God, the Suburbs!

Colm Tóibín: John Cheever, 5 November 2009

Cheever: A Life 
by Blake Bailey.
Picador, 770 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 330 43790 5
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... The feeling always was that if I could express myself erotically I should come alive. Later, MaryCheever would report that she knew that there was something wrong with her marriage. ‘I sensed that he wasn’t entirely masculine.’ When asked if she discussed it with Cheever, she said: ‘Oh Lord, no. Oh Lord, no. He was terrified of it ...

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