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Nudge-Winking

Terry Eagleton: T.S. Eliot’s Politics, 19 September 2002

The ‘Criterion’: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Interwar Britain 
by Jason Harding.
Oxford, 250 pp., £35, April 2002, 9780199247172
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... Eliot derived his poetics from the French Symbolists, so that it was impossible for him to follow Matthew Arnold in finding a solution to spiritual turbulence in poetry as such. The language of poetry cannot deliver a solution of this kind, indeed cannot even comment authoritatively on such a condition, since to be persuasive – which is to say, for ...

Superior Persons

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1986

Travels with a Superior Person 
by Lord Curzon, edited by Peter King.
Sidgwick, 191 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 283 99294 8
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The Ladies of Castlebrae 
by A. Whigham Price.
Alan Sutton, 242 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 228 1
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Lizzie: A Victorian Lady’s Amazon Adventure 
by Tony Morrison, Anne Brown and Ann Rose.
BBC, 160 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 563 20424 9
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Miss Fane in India 
by [author], edited by John Pemble.
Alan Sutton, 246 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 240 0
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Explorers Extraordinary 
by John Keay.
Murray/BBC Publications, 195 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 7195 4249 9
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A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41 
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Grace Thornton.
Peter Owen, 182 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 7206 0636 5
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The Irish Sketch-Book 1842 
by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Blackstaff, 368 pp., £9.95, December 1985, 0 85640 340 7
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Mr Rowlandson’s England 
by Robert Southey, edited by John Steel.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 202 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 907462 77 4
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... Not every well-bred Scots lady can identify a greasy Syriac palimpsest at breakfast, but Agnes Lewis had no doubts. In 1894 the rescued document created much excitement, not least because it seemed to show Joseph as the natural father of Jesus. Agnes tried to explain this away, but was not too embarrassed; like her sister, Maggie Gibson, she was enjoying ...

Dancing Senator

Pat Rogers, 7 November 1985

Memoirs of King George II: Vols I, II and III 
by Horace Walpole, edited by John Brooke.
Yale, 248 pp., £65, June 1985, 0 300 03197 1
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... the full Yale treatment. ‘Almost’, because Brooke is a more abstemious editor than W.S. Lewis and the team responsible for the Yale edition of Walpole’s Correspondence: indeed, he makes the specific assumption that ‘the student of these volumes will have [that edition] readily available.’ Student, not reader, mark you: and we are told also ...

Community

Raymond Williams, 24 January 1985

The Taliesin Tradition: A Quest for the Welsh Identity 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Black Raven, 245 pp., £10.95, April 1984, 0 85159 002 0
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Jones: A Novel 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Dent, 144 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 460 04660 8
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Wales! Wales? 
by Dai Smith.
Allen and Unwin, 173 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 04 942185 9
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The Matter of Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country 
by Jan Morris.
Oxford, 442 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 19 215846 5
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... should be so largely unknown to readers of strict literary interests. A general impression from Matthew Arnold will not do. The major verse of Dafydd ap Gwilym and the romances of Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi (in English the Mabinogion) are evident classics in the writing of this island. Moreover the interest of several Welsh verse forms is considerable. Even ...

Fit and Few

Donald Davie, 3 May 1984

The Making of the Reader: Language and Subjectivity in Modern American, English and Irish Poetry 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 30632 5
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... of a poet’s preferred dramatis personae – Wordsworth’s beggars and village idiots, Matthew Arnold’s Carthusian monks and gypsies, the young Auden’s ‘airman’, Lionel Johnson’s and T.S. Eliot’s vanquished Kings – the investigation is seen to be fascinating and instructive. But already with Wordsworth and consistently thereafter the ...

Wallpaper and Barricades

Terry Eagleton, 23 February 1995

William Morris: A Life for Our Time 
by Fiona MacCarthy.
Faber, 780 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 571 14250 8
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... British current of it had got under way, passed from Coleridge and Carlyle to John Ruskin and Matthew Arnold. From this radical-Romantic viewpoint, industrial capitalism was to be condemned for stifling a creativity which the arts, above all, most finely exemplified. Art was the enemy of alienation, craftsmanship the antithesis of labour. Human culture ...

Descent into Oddness

Dinah Birch: Peter Rushforth’s long-awaited second novel, 6 January 2005

Pinkerton’s Sister 
by Peter Rushforth.
Scribner, 729 pp., £18.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5235 7
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... of every syllabus in Victorian literature that could be contrived. Alice is the woman in white, or Lewis Carroll’s little girl lost in a looking-glass. Still more, she is the madwoman in the attic. But she is a madwoman who cares about accuracy, and is vexed by the slackness of other readers: It annoyed her that they thought she was mad, but it annoyed her ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... razor-sharp instinct for leadership contests led him to back Liz Kendall), Steve Coogan, Matthew D’Ancona, Betty Boothroyd. Papers aren’t just papers any longer. A lot of these commentaries appeared online, some of them only online, where they are now archived among the thousands of articles the Guardian has published on Corbyn or the leadership ...

That’s what Wystan says

Seamus Perry, 10 May 2018

Early Auden, Later Auden: A Critical Biography 
by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 912 pp., £27.95, May 2017, 978 0 691 17249 1
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... years to have been encased behind a great mask, from which he would only occasionally peep out: Matthew Spender recalled ‘a direct, blue-eyed stare’ lasting two seconds, ‘then he’d pull back within his usual frontiers, as if he’d corroborated some long-held suspicion’. The change could be disturbing for old acquaintances. Margaret Gardiner, who ...

Ideas of Decline

Sheldon Rothblatt, 6 August 1981

English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit, 1850-1980 
by Martin Wiener.
Cambridge, 217 pp., £9.95, April 1981, 0 521 23418 2
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Peaceful Conquest: The Industrialisation of Europe, 1760-1970 
by Sidney Pollard.
Oxford, 451 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 19 877093 6
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... and spent lavishly in a fully public manner. They were adaptable, even amphibious (to use Sir Lewis Namier’s phrase), moving easily between town and country, centre and periphery. Potential rivals were de-fanged, seduced, by a policy of relative social acceptance. New fortunes were allowed a share of political power. Newcomers were admitted into the ...

World’s End

John Sutherland, 1 October 1987

The Day of Creation 
by J.G. Ballard.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 575 04152 8
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The Playmaker 
by Thomas Keneally.
Hodder, 310 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 340 34154 8
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In the Skin of a Lion 
by Michael Ondaatje.
Secker, 244 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 436 34009 7
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The House of Hospitalities 
by Emma Tennant.
Viking, 184 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 670 81501 2
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... an Aborigine, Arabanoo, initially as a native envoy and possibly also as a lover. Arabanoo (like Matthew Flinders’s tame Aborigine, Bungaree) is satirically decked out in an officer’s uniform and kept half-sozzled on brandy. When this innocent dies, just before the play comes off, the Governor loses all will to govern. (Phillip did actually sicken around ...

Flirting

P.N. Furbank, 18 November 1982

The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... of Shelley and Byron, the inability to think logically of John Stuart Mill and Cardinal Newman and Lewis Carroll? No, it won’t do, and Orwell, for once, was talking through his hat – perhaps relaxing in what he considered an ‘English’ manner. It really seems, then, not quite proper that distinguished experts should have contributed to a volume entitled ...

Peter opened Paul the door

Leofranc Holford-Strevens: The Case for Case, 9 July 2009

The Oxford Handbook of Case 
edited by Andrej Malchukov and Andrew Spencer.
Oxford, 928 pp., £85, November 2008, 978 0 19 920647 6
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... the Latin genitives plural rosarum equorum dierum from the ablatives singular rosa equo die. Matthew Baerman examines case syncretism, the use of the same case-form for different cases. In Sanskrit, as he notes, the ablative is identical in the singular with the genitive except in a-stems (the counterpart of the Greek and Latin second declension); in the ...

On Trying to Be Portugal

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Zionist Terrorism, 6 August 2009

‘A Senseless, Squalid War’: Voices from Palestine 1945-48 
by Norman Rose.
Bodley Head, 278 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 224 07938 9
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Major Farran’s Hat: Murder, Scandal and Britain’s War against Jewish Terrorism 1945-48 
by David Cesarani.
Heinemann, 290 pp., £20, March 2009, 978 0 434 01844 4
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... reclaim the African and Asian colonies lost after the Great War, he was silenced by the historian Lewis Namier with the words: ‘Wir Juden und die anderen Farbigen denken anders.’ Some Zionists tried to persuade themselves that they counted among Namier’s ‘other coloured peoples’, or even that Zionism was an anti-colonial movement. The indefatigable ...

Masses and Classes

Ferdinand Mount: Gladstone, 17 February 2005

The Mind of Gladstone: Religion, Homer and Politics 
by David Bebbington.
Oxford, 331 pp., £55, March 2004, 0 19 926765 0
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... The verdicts that these massive works provoked were often scorching. Sir George Cornewall Lewis, Gladstone’s successor as chancellor of the exchequer and a formidable classical scholar, said that he was ‘fundamentally wrong’ about Homer. Tennyson thought his opinions on Homeric religion ‘hobbyhorsical’. Huxley denounced Gladstone’s ...

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