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Diary

Ian Hamilton: I ♥ Concordances, 22 August 1996

... juggled into the beginnings of a sombre Larkin line. In his Preface to the Eliot book, co-editor Peter Holland says that it is not his task ‘to in dicate the potential uses of the concordance’. He does suggest, though, that concordances can have ‘a peculiar magic in their consequential revelations’. He speaks also of ‘the serendipity of ...

Be flippant

David Edgar: Noël Coward’s Return, 9 December 1999

1956 and All That 
by Dan Reballato.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1999, 0 415 18938 1
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Collected Plays: Six 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 415 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Plays: Seven 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 381 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73410 2
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Collected Revue Sketches and Parodies 
by Noël Coward.
Methuen, 282 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 0 413 73390 4
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Noël Coward: A Life in Quotes 
edited by Barry Day.
Metro, 116 pp., £9.99, November 1999, 9781900512848
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Noël Coward: The Complete Lyrics 
Methuen, 352 pp., £30, December 1998, 0 413 73230 4Show More
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... before the essentially triangular fullness of their relationship is presented to the audience. As Peter Holland points out in English Comedy (1994), such relationships are notoriously hard to bring into dramatic equilibrium, and Design for Living is perhaps the first play to hold the balance between three sides by pointing them inwards. In the same ...

Salons

William Thomas, 16 October 1980

Holland House 
by Leslie Mitchell.
Duckworth, 320 pp., £18, May 1980, 9780715611166
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Genius in the Drawing-Room 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 188 pp., £8.50, May 1980, 9780297777700
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... tomes for posterity to ponder over, will not be heavy company. One of the great men of the Holland House circle was Macaulay: but Macaulay did not, apparently, converse. He overwhelmed his hearers with a tidal wave of learning which they were too stunned to check or divert. On the other hand, some of the wits, who gave the talk at ...

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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... Oscar wilde is one of literature’s most bankable brand-names. As the illustrations in Merlin Holland’s The Wilde Album demonstrate, this was as true in his fin de siècle as in ours. During Wilde’s lifetime, his celebrity was used to sell Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience, Madame Fontaine’s Bosom Beautifier, Straiton and Storm’s cigars and, lastly and mostignominiously, copies of the Illustrated Police Budget ...

Women on top

David Underdown, 14 September 1989

The Tradition of Female Transvestism in Early Modern Europe 
by Rudolf Dekker and Lotte van de Pol.
Macmillan, 128 pp., £27.50, February 1989, 0 333 41252 4
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... with gender, which involves the perception and social construction of those differences. And as Peter Burke points out in his foreword to this short but intriguing book, even historians of gender (and there are now a few of them around) have not made much of the subject of transvestism as it is explored by these two Dutch historians. Yet, as Burke also ...

Fashion Flashes

Zoë Heller, 26 January 1995

Kenneth Tynan: Letters 
edited by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 669 pp., £22, November 1994, 0 297 81076 6
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... career. The letters written during this period, particularly those to his friend Julian Holland, are lordly communiqués, full of cinéaste aperçus, literary pastiches, prancing fashion flashes – ‘I now carry a black silk umbrella with a red silk ribbon wound spirally round it’ – and livid accounts of his sexual conquests. Tynan’s adult ...

The Myth of 1940

Angus Calder, 16 October 1980

Collar the lot! How Britain Interned and Expelled its Wartime Refugees 
by Peter Gillman and Leni Gillman.
Quartet, 334 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 7043 2244 7
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A Bespattered Page? The Internment of ‘His Majesty’s Most Loyal Enemy Aliens’ 
by Ronald Stent.
Deutsch, 282 pp., £7.95, July 1980, 0 233 97246 3
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... On 16 May 1940, when the German Army had just overwhelmed Holland, police swooped to arrest 3,000 men born in the Reich but now living in Britain. Some were billeted in the offices of the Tote organisation. Queuing for lunch, one detainee saw an army officer brandishing a revolver at a boy: ‘Are you Jewish?’ the officer asked ...

At the National Gallery

Peter Campbell: Good Enough to Eat, 24 January 2008

... peeled lemon and an elaborate silver-mounted drinking horn – the original horn is in a museum in Holland – is perfect in its detail. But the insistent surfaces, the glitter of the crustacean’s shell and the luxury of it and its trappings, are so meticulously described that you can feel, as you can looking at the perfect photographs in a recipe book, that ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: David Wilkie, 31 October 2002

... him reaching for the effects other men achieved, so it is necessary to look further afield than Holland for apt comparisons with the early ones. Wilkie, who knew the Dulwich Gallery, much admired the Watteau there. His touch – in particular his way with fabric – is much more French than Dutch. His sentimental comedies are neither as artful (in the ...

At the Museum of London

Peter Campbell: Artists’ studios, 7 June 2001

... it. Millais put up a grand, if conventional mansion in Knightsbridge and Watts led the way to Holland Park, where Lord Leighton turned to brick for his richly decorated studio house – seeming to imply that Belgravian stucco isn’t honest enough for an artist. The house E.W. Godwin built for Whistler in Tite Street was as aesthetically sophisticated as ...
The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age 
by Simon Schama.
Collins, 698 pp., £19.95, September 1987, 9780002178013
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... the Netherlands which rebelled against Philip II in the 1560s, only the seven northern provinces (Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen and Overijsel) were able to resist the Spanish armies, making good use of their waterlogged terrain for a guerrilla war of combined operations. The result of what the Dutch call their ‘Eighty ...

Art of Embarrassment

A.D. Nuttall, 18 August 1994

Essays, Mainly Shakespearean 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 386 pp., £40, March 1994, 0 521 40444 4
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English Comedy 
edited by Michael Cordner, Peter Holland and John Kerrigan.
Cambridge, 323 pp., £35, March 1994, 0 521 41917 4
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... Humane, learned, un-showily stylish and at times moving in their tender intelligence, these essays by Anne Barton, ranging from a richly ‘mellow’ piece first published in 1953 – a period when even undergraduates wrote as if they were middle-aged – to the magnificent ‘Wrying a Little’, on Cymbeline, Jacobean marriage law and female desire, are nourishing to the spirit ...

The vanquished party, as likely as not innocent, was dragged half-dead to the gallows

Alexander Murray: Huizinga’s history of the Middle Ages, 19 March 1998

The Autumn of the Middle Ages 
by John Huizinga, translated by Rodney Payton.
Chicago, 560 pp., £15.95, December 1997, 0 226 35994 8
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... what he did when he arrived. Dutch history had only begun in earnest in the 16th century, so that Holland was late in producing medievalists. The first Dutch chair in the subject was founded in 1900, in Utrecht, its first holder a German, who upheld the conservative tradition of approaching the Middle Ages through charters, not chronicles or ...

Tony, Ray and the Duchess

Alan Bell, 21 May 1981

A Lonely Business: A Self-Portrait of James Pope-Hennessy 
edited by Peter Quennell.
Weidenfeld, 278 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 0 297 77918 4
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... out all too clearly the unevenness of his character and achievement. It is tactfully introduced by Peter Quennell, a friend described by Pope-Hennessy elsewhere in the volume as ‘amiable as always, but fundamentally antipathetic’. Mr Quennell does not disguise the less agreeable side of his friend’s life, but prefers to leave it to the letters to reveal ...

Ancient Greek Romances

Peter Parsons, 20 August 1981

... In 1834, T.B. Macaulay left Holland House to unaccustomed silences, and set sail for Madras, where he was to save £30,000 and draft the penal code. Indian leisure inspired him to reread Greek. Thucydides, Euripides, Demosthenes, all got good marks. Fiction came off less well. Macaulay was a great reader of novels (to his father’s and Clapham’s distress); the Governor-General’s court wept over his copy of Clarissa ...

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