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Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... controversy and led several months later to the famous debate on evolution between Wilberforce and Thomas Huxley at the Oxford Museum, appeared in the Quarterly Review, which was published by Murray’s. The editor was John Gibson Lockhart, but we aren’t told why he chose to commission what was guaranteed to be a ...

Doctors’ Orders

Ruth Bernard Yeazell, 18 February 1982

‘All that summer she was mad’: Virginia Woolf and Her Doctors 
by Stephen Trombley.
Junction, 338 pp., £12.50, November 1981, 9780862450397
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... to a friend when the crisis had passed. And yet that tyrannical, and as I think, shortsighted Savage insists upon another two ... really a doctor is worse than a husband! Oh how thankful I shall be to be my own mistress and throw their silly medicines down the slop pail! I never shall believe, or have believed, in anything any doctor says – I learnt ...

Pay me for it

Helen Deutsch: Summoning Dr Johnson, 9 February 2012

Samuel Johnson: A Life 
by David Nokes.
Faber, 415 pp., £9.99, August 2010, 978 0 571 22636 8
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Selected Writings 
by Samuel Johnson, edited by Peter Martin.
Harvard, 503 pp., £16.95, May 2011, 978 0 674 06034 0
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The Brothers Boswell: A Novel 
by Philip Baruth.
Corvus, 336 pp., £7.99, January 2011, 978 1 84887 446 6
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The Life of Samuel Johnson LL.D. 
by John Hawkins, edited by O.M. Brack.
Georgia, 554 pp., £53.50, August 2010, 978 0 8203 2995 6
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... first met Johnson in 1763, in the back parlour of a bookshop. It belonged to a friend of Johnson, Thomas Davies, who described ‘his aweful approach … somewhat in the manner of an actor in the part of Horatio, when he addresses Hamlet on the appearance of his father’s ghost, “Look, my Lord, it comes.”’ ‘Remember me’ was Boswell’s mandate from ...


Frank Cioffi, 22 September 1994

A Pack of Lies: Towards a Sociology of Lying 
by J.A. Barnes.
Cambridge, 200 pp., £35, June 1994, 0 521 45376 3
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... tomorrow, tomorrow we will devise other stratagems.’ According to Samuel Johnson, his friend Savage manifested a comparable ingenuity in distorted ratiocination: ‘Savage ... did not suffer his esteem of himself to depend upon others ... he contented himself with the applause of men of judgment; and was somewhat ...

Internal Combustion

David Trotter, 6 June 1996

The Letters of Rudyard Kipling. Vol. III: 1900-1910 
edited by Thomas Pinney.
Macmillan, 482 pp., £50, December 1995, 9780333637333
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... who had found in Kipling’s work ‘all that is most deplorable, all that is most retrograde and savage, in the restless and uninstructed Hooliganism of the time’. The Boer War provided plenty of scope for hooligans. The notorious celebrations sparked off by the relief of Mafeking in May 1900 were a world-class example of retrogression. Kipling thought ...

On Rosemary Tonks

Patrick McGuinness: Rosemary Tonks, 2 July 2015

... The bronze-brown autumn dusk! And the half-lit territories of street and bed and heart Are savage and full of risk. On bronze nights When the territory is half-lit by casual glances He sweats, each step is hideous! Once he knows his strength of course he will be ruthless. It’s Eliot’s ‘violet hour’, but 1950s streetlamps make it a grimy ...

What did she do with those beds?

Thomas Keymer: Eliza Haywood, 3 January 2013

A Political Biography of Eliza Haywood 
by Kathryn King.
Pickering and Chatto, 288 pp., £60, June 2012, 978 1 85196 917 3
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... adds in a manuscript comment that he may have had from the struggling poet and hellraiser Richard Savage. In typically tantalising style, Curll alleged in print that the ill-matched babes were ‘Offspring of a Poet and a Bookseller’. The first task for any Haywood biographer, plainly, is to clear away the flak and innuendo. Some years ago, King discredited ...


John Sutherland: The crisis in academic publishing, 22 January 2004

... are withering under competition from the Internet and a purge on library acquisitions even more savage than the purge which is destroying the viability of the monograph. And, of course, the learned journal – given its association with dusty work in libraries – is inherently unsexy (when was the last time the LRB notes on contributors credited a ...

Petty Grotesques

Mark Ford: Whitman, 17 March 2011

Democratic Vistas 
by Walt Whitman, edited by Ed Folsom.
Iowa, 143 pp., $24.95, April 2010, 978 1 58729 870 7
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... In August 1867, Thomas Carlyle published one of his most virulent diatribes against ‘swarmery’, by which he meant the trend towards democracy. The immediate inspiration for ‘Shooting Niagara: and After?’ was the threat of Disraeli’s Reform Act, which would double the number of adult males entitled to vote, and thus, as Carlyle saw it, unleash untold ‘new supplies of blockheadism, gullibility, bribability, [and] amenability to beer and balderdash’: look at America, the beleaguered Sage of Chelsea argued, and its absurd Civil War, prompted by what he derisively called ‘the Nigger Question’: Essentially the Nigger Question was one of the smallest; and in itself did not much concern mankind in the present time of struggles and hurries ...

Jousting for Peace

Thomas Penn: Henry VIII meets Francis I, 17 July 2014

The Field of Cloth of Gold 
by Glenn Richardson.
Yale, 288 pp., £35, November 2013, 978 0 300 14886 2
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... ambitious project. Its guiding spirit was Henry’s ‘angel-tongued’ lord chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, the man in whom, as the Venetian ambassador put it, ‘the whole power of the state is really lodged’. In war-ravaged 15th-century Europe, an old idea began to gain new impetus: the dream of a unified Christendom, bound together by its one ...


Alan Brinkley, 7 January 1988

Armed Truce 
by Hugh Thomas.
Hamish Hamilton, 667 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 241 11843 3
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The Wise Men 
by Walter Isaacson and Evan Thomas.
Faber, 853 pp., £15.95, January 1987, 0 571 14606 6
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by Piers Brendon.
Secker, 478 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 436 06813 3
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by Michael Beschloss.
Faber, 494 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 571 14593 0
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... effect on how the larger public views the recent past. Neither the length nor the argument of Hugh Thomas’s exhaustive history of the beginnings of the Cold War (the first of several volumes, he promises) will surprise anyone familiar with the author’s previous career. Best known for his enormous histories of the Spanish Civil War, the Cuban ...


Russell Davies, 18 June 1981

Short Lives 
by Katinka Matson.
Picador, 366 pp., £2.50, February 1981, 9780330262194
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... anecdote casting the artist in the role of perpetual adolescent. Nobody doubts that Dylan Thomas died of drink and a regressive, infantile personality: but the thing that is remembered about his last days is a remark (‘I’ve just had 18 straight whiskies, I think that’s the record’) which superbly typifies the kind of thing his public would ...

Time of the Red-Man

Mark Ford: James Fenimore Cooper, 25 September 2008

James Fenimore Cooper: The Early Years 
by Wayne Franklin.
Yale, 708 pp., £25, July 2008, 978 0 300 10805 7
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... for instance, Natty rescues one of the twice-captured maidens from the grip of an especially savage, cunning and evil Indian by dressing up in a conjurer’s bear costume and imitating the animal’s loping waddle so skilfully that he goes undetected, while Chingachgook fools the warriors of an enemy tribe by donning a furry mask and pretending to be a ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... elders. A devastating social critic over-impressed by heroes and dictators, Carlyle was humane and savage, radical and racist, an agnostic quoted by churchmen and praised as ‘a prophet in the midst of an untoward generation’ in Dean Stanley’s funeral sermon in Westminster Abbey. He was sympathetic to Irish sufferings after the Famine, but almost equally ...

The Whole Sick Crew

Thomas Jones: Donna Tartt, 31 October 2002

The Little Friend 
by Donna Tartt.
Bloomsbury, 555 pp., £16.99, October 2002, 0 7475 6211 3
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... at work are not so much mythological as metereological. Richard nearly dies trying to survive the savage Vermont winter in an unheated room: Henry arrives in the nick of time to save him. A freak late snowstorm spoils Henry’s otherwise perfect plan for doing away with Bunny without arousing suspicion. The weather also contributes a great deal to the ...

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