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Bloody Horse

Samuel Hynes, 1 December 1983

Roy Campbell: A Critical Biography 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 277 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 19 211750 5
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The Selected Poems of Roy Campbell 
edited by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 131 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 9780192119469
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... Roy Campbell has been dead for twenty-five years, and in that time his reputation, such as it was, has faded almost entirely away (I can quote only one of his poems from memory – the epigram on South African novelists that ends ‘But where’s the bloody horse?’). Campbell is one now of that large, sad category, the Neglected Poets, along with many whom, in his day, he despised: Humbert Wolfe, for example, and Vita Sackville-West and Edward Shanks ...

Like the trees on Primrose Hill

Samuel Hynes, 2 March 1989

Louis MacNeice: A Study 
by Edna Longley.
Faber, 178 pp., £4.95, August 1988, 0 571 13748 2
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Louis MacNeice: Selected Poems 
edited by Michael Longley.
Faber, 160 pp., £4.95, August 1988, 0 571 15270 8
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A Scatter of Memories 
by Margaret Gardiner.
Free Association, 280 pp., £15.95, November 1988, 1 85343 043 9
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... In ‘The Cave of Making’, his elegy for MacNeice, Auden describes his friend as a ‘lover of women and Donegal’. The geography seems a bit wrong – the Irish counties in MacNeice’s heart were surely Antrim and Galway – but the terms are apt enough for the man in the poems: a lover, certainly, and of both women and the land of his birth. A full list of his loves would have to be longer than Auden’s, though ...

Poet-in-Ordinary

Samuel Hynes, 22 May 1980

C. Day-Lewis: An English Literary Life 
by Sean Day-Lewis.
Weidenfeld, 333 pp., £12.50, March 1980, 0 297 77745 9
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... One doesn’t ordinarily expect a son to be a trustworthy recorder of his father’s life: if he isn’t paying off the old gentleman for remembered slights, like Shakespeare’s Edmund, he’ll be praising him for unremembered virtues, like Hamlet. So the first thing to be said about Sean Day-Lewis’s biography of his father is that he is neither an Edmund nor a Hamlet ...

Hardy’s Misery

Samuel Hynes, 4 December 1980

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. 2 
edited by Richard Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 309 pp., £17.50, October 1980, 0 19 812619 0
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... The first volume of Hardy’s letters, published two years ago, covered the three decades from 1862, when at 22 he set off for London to work as an architect, to 1892, the year after the publication of Tess. The story that those earlier letters tell is mainly the story of a career: how Hardy cast off architecture and took up novel-writing; how by 1884 he had earned enough from his books to build himself a substantial house near Dorchester; how a few years later he could also afford a flat in London for the ‘season’; how in London he entered both the world of letters and the world of Society, lunched with Browning and dined with Matthew Arnold, and visited Lord This and Lady That and the Honourable Whatshisname ...

The Unhappy Vicar

Samuel Hynes, 24 January 1980

Orwell: The Transformation 
by Peter Stansky and William Abrahams.
Constable, 240 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 462250 7
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... George Orwell was one of the great self-mythologisers. He sought out extreme experiences, was a policeman in Burma and a pauper in Paris and London, lived among unemployed workers in the North of England and among soldiers in Spain, and then turned those hard adventures into fables of imperialism, poverty and war. Everything that he wrote has the feel of direct experience, as though the books composed one long autobiography: yet everything is transformed, moulded into meaning, by his fierce moral sense ...

The Call of Wittenham Clumps

Samuel Hynes, 2 April 1981

Paul Nash 
by Andrew Causey.
Oxford, 511 pp., £35, June 1980, 0 19 817348 2
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The Enemy 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Routledge, 391 pp., £15, July 1980, 0 7100 0514 8
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Wyndham Lewis: A Revaluation 
edited by Jeffrey Meyers.
Athlone, 276 pp., £13.50, May 1980, 0 485 11193 4
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Wyndham lewis 
by Jane Farrington.
Lund Humphries, 128 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85331 434 9
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... Wyndham Lewis had a phrase for himself and those of his contemporaries whom he considered worthy of his company: he called them ‘The Men of 1914’. The phrase has a nice martial ring, and it is not surprising that critics have taken it up: but it implies a historical point that one simply can’t make. 1914 was the year the war started: but it didn’t start then for any of Lewis’s ‘Men ...

The Most Wonderful Sport

James Salter: Those Magnificent Men, 6 November 2014

The Unsubstantial Air: American Fliers in the First World War 
by Samuel Hynes.
Farrar, Straus, 322 pp., £17.99, November 2014, 978 0 374 27800 7
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... names in American headlines, having shot down 12 German planes apiece. The Unsubstantial Air by Samuel Hynes is a chronicle of American pilots in the war, some who fought early on but the far greater numbers who joined the flying force, then called the Air Service. The first Americans to fly in the war had gone to France as volunteers in the American ...

Worries

P.N. Furbank, 5 May 1983

John Galsworthy: A Reassessment 
by Alec Fréchet, translated by Denis Mahaffey.
Macmillan, 229 pp., £20, January 1983, 0 333 31535 9
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... He seems to have believed that simply by worrying you did good. It was well said of him by Samuel Hynes, in The Edwardian Turn of Mind, that ‘when he brought injustice into a story, he did so in a way that was neither objective nor didactic but simply emotional; and his motive in doing so was not the alleviation of injustice but the alleviation ...

Condy’s Fluid

P.N. Furbank, 25 October 1990

A War Imagined: The First World War and English Culture 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bodley Head, 514 pp., £20, October 1990, 0 370 30451 9
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Killing in Verse and Prose, and Other Essays 
by Paul Fussell.
Bellew, 294 pp., £9.95, October 1990, 0 947792 55 4
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... rather an incentive, than a preventive, of war.’ If we assume this to be so, we might feel that Samuel Hynes, in completing his trilogy (the one which begins with The Edwardian Turn of Mind and ends with The Auden Generation – it was not originally planned as a trilogy), had a rather special problem on his hands. For in his approach, the calendar is ...

Raining

Donald Davie, 5 May 1983

Later Poems 
by R.S. Thomas.
Macmillan, 224 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 333 34560 6
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Thomas Hardy Annual, No 1 
edited by Norman Page.
Macmillan, 205 pp., £20, March 1983, 0 333 32022 0
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Tess of the d’Urbervilles 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Juliet Grindle and Simon Gatrell.
Oxford, 636 pp., £50, March 1983, 0 19 812495 3
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Hardy’s Love Poems 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Carl Weber.
Macmillan, 253 pp., £3.95, February 1983, 0 333 34798 6
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. I: Wessex Poems, Poems of the Past and the Present, Time’s Laughingstocks 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 403 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 0 19 812708 1
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... Poems of the Past and Present and Time’s Laughingstocks), and found no mention by the editor Samuel Hynes of James Gibson’s traverse of just the same ground only three years before. The only difference I can find is that two private collectors, Frederick B. Adams and Richard Little Purdy, have extended to ...

Ghosts

Hugh Haughton, 5 December 1985

The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate.
Macmillan, 604 pp., £30, April 1985, 0 333 29441 6
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The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy: Vols I and II 
edited by Lennart Björk.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 333 36777 4
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Emma Hardy’s Diaries 
edited by Richard Taylor.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 216 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 904790 21 5
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. V: 1914-1919 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 357 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 19 812622 0
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, Vol. III 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 390 pp., £32.50, June 1985, 0 19 812784 7
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Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England 1660-1900 
by K.D.M. Snell.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 24548 6
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Thomas Hardy 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 547 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 19 254177 3
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... poetry, one letter states, that his ‘self-expression had been quite unfettered’. Volume III of Samuel Hynes’s edition contains his last two books, Human Shows and Winter-Words, written in his Sophoclean eighties, and a host of uncollected poems. He isn’t a poet who needs much annotation, but as in the previous volumes, ...

Nonetheless

John Bayley, 2 February 1989

The Lost Voices of World War One: An International Anthology of Writers, Poets and Playwrights 
edited by Tim Cross.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0276 5
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Poems 
by Paul Celan, translated by Michael Hamburger.
Anvil, 350 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 0 85646 198 9
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Flights of Passage: Reflections of a World War Two Aviator 
by Samuel Hynes.
Bloomsbury, 270 pp., £13.95, November 1988, 0 7475 0333 8
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... for return to combat, but it gives no impression of dwelling on or summoning up the past, and Hynes in his own way writes as compellingly as Hillary did. What chiefly emerges – and is so unlike the earlier war – is the sense of modern conflict as a series of random industrial or natural accidents, in which those involved can receive neither credit nor ...

Mauve Monkeys

William Fiennes, 18 September 1997

Wilde’s Last Stand: Decadence, Conspiracy and the First World War 
by Philip Hoare.
Duckworth, 250 pp., £16.95, July 1997, 0 7156 2737 6
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... expose the decadent spirit sapping Britain’s strength’. It was the beginning, as Samuel Hynes has written, of ‘a home-front war against sex, and especially what one might call dissenting sex – that is, homosexuality’. In Billing the reactionaries had found their champion. The campaign gathered steam. Foremost among the ...

Neglect

Ian Hamilton, 26 January 1995

An Unmentionable Man 
by Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 102 pp., £5.99, October 1994, 1 870612 64 7
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Journey to the Border 
by Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 135 pp., £5.99, October 1994, 1 870612 59 0
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The Mortmere Stories 
by Christopher Isherwood and Edward Upward.
Enitharmon, 206 pp., £7.99, October 1994, 1 870612 69 8
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... Like Stephen Highwood, it was found to be ‘boringly old-fashioned and over-serious’. Even Samuel Hynes called it ‘arid, unimaginative and unreadable’. And Upward had trouble finding a publisher for the third section. The overall suggestion was that his laborious rephrasings of the Art v. Politics dilemmas of his youth had added nothing much ...

Miserable Creatures

C.H. Sisson, 2 August 1984

The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. IV: 1909-1913 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 337 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 19 812621 2
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The Letters and Prose Writings of William Cowper. Vol. IV: 1792-1799 
edited by James King and Charles Ryskamp.
Oxford, 498 pp., £48, March 1984, 0 19 812681 6
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The Land and Literature of England: A Historical Account 
by Robert M. Adams.
Norton, 555 pp., £21, March 1984, 0 393 01704 4
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy. Vol. II 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 543 pp., £35, June 1984, 0 19 812783 9
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... differently. He was convinced that he should have committed suicide years before. God, he wrote to Samuel Teedon in 1794, ‘considers me as a traytor, and acts towards me as he does, for that reason’. ‘I can hope nothing – believe nothing – I am and have long been the most miserable of the human race, and he knows it. Knows how ardently I wish that I ...

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