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Holy Terrors

Penelope Fitzgerald, 4 December 1986

‘Elizabeth’: The Author of ‘Elizabeth and her German Garden’ 
by Karen Usborne.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 370 30887 5
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Alison Uttley: The Life of a Country Child 
by Denis Judd.
Joseph, 264 pp., £15.95, October 1986, 0 7181 2449 9
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Richmal Crompton: The Woman behind William 
by Mary Cadogan.
Allen and Unwin, 169 pp., £12.95, October 1986, 0 04 928054 6
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... an unspecified number of younger people. In January 1969 she died with as little fuss as possible. Mary Cadogan, writing with workmanlike cheerfulness, calls her ‘so likeable, indeed, that she is something of a biographer’s nightmare’. Not daunted, however, by the likeableness, she pushes through the story at a rapid pace, making very little even of ...

Netherstocking

E.S. Turner, 1 December 1983

Just William, More William, William Again, William the Fourth 
by Richmal Crompton and Thomas Henry.
Macmillan, 215 pp., £5.95, October 1983, 0 333 35848 1
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... deluded enough to think that children trail clouds of glory. In You’re a brick, Angela Mary Cadogan and Patricia Craig, working through the William canon, are shocked to find that in the Thirties William and his gang play at being Nazis, robbing a Jewish-owned sweet shop but later redeeming themselves by rescuing poor Mr Isaacs who has been ...

Pious Girls and Swearing Fathers

Patricia Craig, 1 June 1989

English Children and their Magazines 1751-1945 
by Kirsten Drotner.
Yale, 272 pp., £16.95, January 1988, 0 300 04010 5
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Frank Richards: The Chap behind the Chums 
by Mary Cadogan.
Viking, 258 pp., £14.95, October 1988, 0 670 81946 8
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A History of Children’s Book Illustration 
by Joyce Irene Whalley and Tessa Rose Chester.
Murray/Victoria and Albert Museum, 268 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 7195 4584 6
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Manchester Polytechnic Library of Children’s Books 1840-1939: ‘From Morality to Adventure’ 
by W.H. Shercliff.
Bracken Books/Studio Editions, 203 pp., £25, September 1988, 0 901276 18 9
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Children’s Modern First Editions: Their Value to Collectors 
by Joseph Connolly.
Macdonald, 336 pp., £17.95, October 1988, 0 356 15741 5
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... instance, is heavy-handed but good-hearted, and not a bully as Drotner says. Indeed, we learn from Mary Cadogan’s celebration of Charles Hamilton and his works that Coker was derived in part from Hamilton’s elder brother Richard, whose Christian name provided the famous pseudonym, and who, quite clearly, was anything but a lout in the eyes of the ...

Churchill by moonlight

Paul Addison, 7 November 1985

The Fringes of Power: Downing Street Diaries 1939-1955 
by John Colville.
Hodder, 796 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 340 38296 1
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... sides of the family, he inherited the Court connections of his mother, a lady-in-waiting to Queen Mary. At the age of 12 he was a Page of Honour to George V and in the late 1940s Private Secretary to Princess Elizabeth. From Harrow, and Trinity College, Cambridge, he entered the diplomatic service the year before Munich, and thoroughly approved ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde, 5 February 1998

The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... before his arrest in a Post House Hotel by two Wiltshire police officers. It’s not exactly the Cadogan, but the cheap resonance is there. Moab Is My Washpot is a very eccentric confessional, alive with the contradictions that make Fry such a beguiling popular-cultural landmark. He unloads his confessions of mendacity, thieving, sexual ...

Walking on Eyeballs

E.S. Turner: The history of gout, 7 January 1999

Gout: The Patrician Malady 
by Roy Porter and G.S. Rousseau.
Yale, 393 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 300 07386 0
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... and one which emerged in the gout wars in 1771 was that of the fertile pamphleteer, Dr William Cadogan, who insisted that the prime causes of gout were idleness, intemperance and vexation. This not very original theory roused a predictable fury. In the turbulent last decade of the 18th century, the authors say, ‘the gout war was being waged in a climate ...

May I come to your house to philosophise?

John Barrell: Godwin’s Letters, 8 September 2011

The Letters of William Godwin Vol. I: 1778-97 
by Pamela Clemit.
Oxford, 306 pp., £100, February 2011, 978 0 19 956261 9
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... novels of the 18th century and of the founding text in the philosophy of anarchism, the husband of Mary Wollstonecraft, the father of Mary Shelley, and the friend or acquaintance of almost everyone on the liberal left over 50 of the most intellectually exciting years in British history. In November last year his voluminous ...

The Best of Betjeman

John Bayley, 18 December 1980

John Betjeman’s Collected Poems 
compiled by the Earl of Birkenhead.
Murray, 427 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3632 4
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Church Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 63 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 7195 3797 5
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... chased with sardonyx and gold, And in the long white room Thin drapery draws backward to unfold Cadogan Square between the window-bars And Whistler’s mother knitting in the gloom. Church poems, like poems of plain topography, are never inspired Betjeman but the zestful craftsmanship here is none the less superb. ‘Without a church,’ he says in a ...

Oscar and Constance

Tom Paulin, 17 November 1983

The Last Testament of Oscar Wilde 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 185 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 241 10964 7
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The Importance of Being Constance: A Biography of Oscar Wilde’s Wife 
by Joyce Bentley.
Hale, 160 pp., £8.75, May 1983, 0 7090 0538 5
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Mrs Oscar Wilde: A Woman of Some Importance 
by Anne Clark Amor.
Sidgwick, 249 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 9780283989674
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... Or did he simply dither until the detectives knocked on the door of Douglas’s suite in the Cadogan Hotel? The legal authorities hoped that he would flee and his friends repeatedly urged him to catch the Dover train. He kept saying ‘It is too late’ and ‘The train has gone,’ and he remained in the hotel all afternoon until the detectives ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn, 7 May 1998

... away from the Royal Court Theatre, rounding Peter Jones on Symons Street and turning up towards Cadogan Square. On entering the house, you rose in a coffin-like lift to the top and walked down to the first half-landing, where the door of her place would be open. Inside, if it was summer, you could browse the skyline of West London through her picture ...

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