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Miss Simpson stayed to tea

Philippa Tristram, 20 April 1989

William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 525 pp., £17.50, March 1989, 0 19 812828 2
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... biography with autobiography is often sidestepped by biographers less equal to their task than Stephen Gill, either by equating the ‘truth’ about a writer’s life with what that writer has specifically chosen not to reveal, or by accepting what he has revealed too literally. The first alternative is adopted by A.N. Wilson in his recent – and ...

One Bit of Rock or Moor

Susan Eilenberg: Wordsworth and the Victorians, 3 September 1998

Wordsworth and the Victorians 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 300 pp., £25, April 1998, 0 19 811965 8
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The Five-Book Prelude 
by William Wordsworth, edited by Duncan Wu.
Blackwell, 214 pp., £40, April 1997, 0 631 20548 9
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... of Wordsworth’s commercial and cultural absorption into diverse aspects of Victorian culture, Stephen Gill reveals the currency throughout the 19th century of more varieties – and more incompatible ones – of Wordsworth than a modern reader can comfortably keep track of. Nor is the instability all a matter of past blindness and Victorian ...

Regrets, Vexations, Lassitudes

Seamus Perry: Wordsworth’s Trouble, 18 December 2008

William Wordsworth’s ‘The Prelude’: A Casebook 
edited by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, 406 pp., £19.99, September 2006, 0 19 518092 5
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... rock-faces. But was it for what, exactly? In his edition of the early Prelude manuscripts, Stephen Parrish suggested that ‘this’ is ‘the powerful disturbance of mind occasioned by a superabundant flow of inspiration’, which would be a confirmation of the powers expected of Wordsworth. But Jonathan Wordsworth offered what has probably become the ...

The Great Copyright Disaster

John Sutherland, 12 January 1995

Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright 
by Mark Rose.
Harvard, 176 pp., £21.95, October 1993, 0 674 05308 7
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Crimes of Writing: Problems in the Containment of Representation 
by Susan Stewart.
Duke, 353 pp., £15.95, November 1994, 0 8223 1545 9
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The Construction of Authorship: Textual Appropriation in Law and Literature 
edited by Martha Woodmansee and Peter Jaszi.
Duke, 562 pp., £42.75, January 1994, 0 8223 1412 6
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... and have an annotated Lawrence (the unclean texts) coming out under the general editorship of Stephen Gill. They have Woolf titles in their catalogue. Even their full range of Thomas Hardy novels will return to copyright protection for a couple of years. Although the legislation will not be retroactive (that is, publishers will not have to cough up ...

The Olympics Scam

Iain Sinclair: The Razing of East London, 19 June 2008

... up to £395,000), this is a tremendous example of aspiration coming to fruition,’ says Stephen Oakes, area director for English Partnerships. Inch by inch, the working canal between Limehouse Basin and the Islington tunnel has become a ladder of glass, connecting Docklands with the northern reaches of the City. Footballers, with loose change to ...

After-Meditation

Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... as a proto-environmentalist. He sidesteps recent reassessments of the later verse, including Stephen Gill’s argument in Wordsworth’s Revisitings (2011) that the revised Prelude of 1850 was much more than a damage-limitation job on a heretical original text. Similar arguments animate the richly revised second edition of ...

The big drops start

John Bayley, 7 December 1989

Coleridge: Early Visions 
by Richard Holmes.
Hodder, 409 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 340 28335 1
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Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution Politics 
by John Williams.
Manchester, 203 pp., £29.95, November 1989, 0 7190 3168 0
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Sara Coleridge, A Victorian Daughter: Her Life and Essays 
by Bradford Keyes Mudge.
Yale, 287 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04443 7
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... a scale more heroic even than Wordsworth and Wordsworth’s sailor brother John. As Stephen Gill acutely points out in his recent Wordsworth biography, an excellent companion piece to Holmes on Coleridge, ‘Coleridge actually needed action, not the tranquillity of a domestic cot but excitement, whether it be from the ...

Wordsworth and the Well-Hidden Corpse

Marilyn Butler, 6 August 1992

The Lyrical Ballads: Longman Annotated Texts 
edited by Michael Mason.
Longman, 419 pp., £29.99, April 1992, 0 582 03302 0
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Strange Power of Speech: Wordsworth, Coleridge and Literary Possession 
by Susan Eilenberg.
Oxford, 278 pp., £30, May 1992, 0 19 506856 4
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The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries 
by Nicholas Roe.
Macmillan, 186 pp., £35, April 1992, 0 333 52314 8
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... could expose Mason to comparison, not only with two serious recent biographies, of Wordsworth by Stephen Gill and of Coleridge by Richard Holmes, but with Susan Eilenberg’s persuasive book-length treatment of this very subject. Mason underplays the psychological interest of Wordsworth’s unceremonious takeover of the second edition, and (surely) its ...

Floating Hair v. Blue Pencil

Frank Kermode, 6 June 1996

Revision and Romantic Authorship 
by Zachary Leader.
Oxford, 354 pp., £40, March 1996, 0 19 812264 0
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... that there is something false in the cult of the original unrevised version. He takes issue with Stephen Gill, whose Oxford Authors edition of Wordsworth prints the poems ‘in texts in which their original identity is restored’. Thus all the ‘secondary’ work that resulted in the final authorised text, the six-volume Poems of 1849-50, published at ...

Bumming and Booing

John Mullan: William Wordsworth, 5 April 2001

Wordsworth: A Life 
by Juliet Barker.
Viking, 971 pp., £25, October 2000, 9780670872138
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The Hidden Wordsworth 
by Kenneth Johnston.
Pimlico, 690 pp., £15, September 2000, 0 7126 6752 0
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Disowned by Memory: Wordsworth’s Poetry of the 1790s 
by David Bromwich.
Chicago, 186 pp., £9.50, April 2000, 0 226 07556 7
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... Juliet Barker finds the idea ‘ludicrous’, but says no more. Wordsworth éminence grise Stephen Gill thought that a verdict on Johnston’s claims would only be possible after ‘years’ of ‘rigorous scholarly assessment’. It was about a year and a half before the speculation was scotched. Michael Durey, writing in the TLS, proved that ...

Upriver

Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... banking steeply to avoid the pyramidal summit of the Canary Wharf tower, is named in honour of Sir Stephen Redgrave. After hacking through brambles, picking a path around Magellan Boulevard, Atlantis Avenue and a boarded-up missionary hut, I found myself outside the perimeter fence of the steel-grey block of Buhler Sortex Ltd. Two men wearing crisp blue shirts ...

Francis and Vanessa

Peter Campbell, 15 March 1984

Francis Bacon 
by Michel Leiris, translated by John Weightman.
Phaidon, 271 pp., £50, September 1983, 0 7148 2218 3
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Vanessa Bell 
by Frances Spalding.
Weidenfeld, 399 pp., £12.95, August 1983, 0 297 78162 6
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The Omega Workshops 
by Judith Collins.
Secker, 310 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 436 10562 4
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The Omega Workshops 1913-1919: Decorative Arts of Bloomsbury 
Crafts Council, 96 pp., £6.95, March 1984, 0 903798 72 7Show More
The Omega Workshops: Alliance and Enmity in English Art 1911-1920 
Anthony d’Offay Gallery, 80 pp., £4.95, February 1984, 0 947564 00 4Show More
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... in 1968, there is a grand old painter called Harry Bretton. He is modelled, I would guess, on Eric Gill, for the Life, and Stanley Spencer, for the Work. Musing by the studio window, he considers his place in history: Turner was the greatest English painter, and was safely dead, did not encroach or suggest comparisons. But at the end he had petered out, not ...
... the achievements of Arts and Crafts revivalism were petering out: Edward Johnston and Eric Gill look good, calligraphy after Johnston aimless, laboured and weak. Craft pottery and commercial pottery both stand up very well. Furniture, either in the Gimson tradition, of beautifully-finished joinery with neat carpentered detailing, as practised by Edward ...

Beijing Envy

Joshua Kurlantzick: China in Africa, 5 July 2007

China and Africa: Engagement and Compromise 
by Ian Taylor.
Routledge, 233 pp., £75, August 2006, 0 415 39740 5
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China and the Developing World: Beijing’s Strategy for the 21st Century 
edited by Joshua Eisenman, Eric Heginbotham and Derek Mitchell.
Sharpe, 232 pp., $29.95, April 2007, 978 0 7656 1713 2
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China’s African Policy 
Foreign Ministry of the People’s Republic of China, January 2006Show More
China’s Expanding Role in Africa: Implications for the United States 
by Bates Gill, Chin-hao Huang and J. Stephen Morrison.
Centre for Strategic and International Studies, February 2007
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Friends and Interests: China’s Distinctive Links with Africa 
by Barry Sautman.
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, April 2006
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African Perspectives on China in Africa 
edited by Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks.
Fahamu, 174 pp., £11.95, March 2007, 978 0 9545637 3 8
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Africa’s Silk Road: China and India’s New Economic Frontier 
by Harry Broadman.
World Bank, 391 pp., $20, November 2006, 0 8213 6835 4
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... develop, and to earn some of the wealth that industrialised nations now possess. Firoze Manji and Stephen Marks’s book, the first attempt in recent years to examine African views of China, makes clear that there is hunger in Africa for a new partner. Though they are cautious about the negative impact of China’s rise, and wary of the way China treats its ...

Even When It’s a Big Fat Lie

Alex Abramovich: ‘Country Music’, 8 October 2020

Country Music 
directed by Ken Burns.
PBS, eight episodes
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... new film seems to speak for. ‘It depicts our entire history,’ the singer-songwriter Vince Gill said when he appeared with Burns at the 92nd Street Y in New York last September. ‘And what’s beautiful about the way it’s been depicted is that it’s finally given the respect that it’s never had. As someone that’s kind of given their life to ...

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