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Short Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Successive John Murrays, 8 November 2018

... a list that included some of the best and most popular authors of their day, from Byron and Walter Scott to Patrick Leigh-Fermor and Freya Stark. It was Murray’s reputation for solid, conservative values that led both the geologist Charles Lyell and then Darwin to publish their potentially disruptive theories under its aegis. No. 50 Albemarle Street became ...

Denunciations

Ruth Scurr: Foucault in the Bastille, 14 December 2017

Disorderly Families: Infamous Letters from the Bastille Archives 
by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault, edited by Nancy Luxon, translated by Thomas Scott-Railton.
Minnesota, 328 pp., £28.99, January 2017, 978 0 8166 9534 8
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... the thirtieth anniversary of Foucault’s death, which led to this first English translation by Thomas Scott-Railton, 34 years after the book was published in ...

Three Poems

Hugo Williams, 10 February 1994

... in two. The Fall My father lived in the Garden of Allah, an exotic, bungalow-style hotel which Thomas Wolfe told Scott Fitzgerald he could not believe existed, even in Hollywood. He was sacked by Paramount after serving only one year of a five-year contract when his first three films made the Critics’ Ten Worst Films ...

Full-Employment Utopias

Christopher Hill, 16 July 1981

Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing, 1516-1700 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 427 pp., £25, March 1981, 0 521 23396 8
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Science and Society in Restoration England 
by Michael Hunter.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £18.50, March 1981, 0 521 22866 2
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... Dr Davis’s book is a long, careful and detailed study of utopian writing in England from Sir Thomas More to the end of the 17th century. He has interesting things to say about well-known figures like More, Bacon, Winstanley and Harrington, but I found his chapters on lesser writers even more instructive. Robert Burton and Samuel Gott are revealed as more significant ‘utopians’ than has been recognised ...

Shopping for Soap, Fudge and Biscuit Tins

John Pemble: Literary Tourists, 7 June 2007

The Literary Tourist 
by Nicola J. Watson.
Palgrave, 244 pp., £45, October 2006, 1 4039 9992 9
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... Country, Dickens’s London, With Hardy in Dorset, Literary Bypaths of Old England, The Land of Scott. Academic libraries don’t cater for it, and academic critics have about as much regard for it as they have for Disney World or back numbers of Reader’s Digest. It’s been out of favour since at least the 1750s. The Reverend Francis Gastrell, who owned ...

Try It on the Natives

James C. Scott: Colonial Intelligence Agencies, 9 October 2008

Empires of Intelligence: Security Services and Colonial Disorder after 1914 
by Martin Thomas.
California, 428 pp., £29.95, October 2007, 978 0 520 25117 5
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... British intelligence services in the Middle East and North Africa that are the subject of Martin Thomas’s immensely informed, meticulous and close-grained study not only had an interest in finding activities – unrest, subversion, proto-nationalism – which they then might surveil and suppress: they sought out precisely those activities that best suited ...

At the Queen’s Gallery

Inigo Thomas: David Hockney , 2 March 2017

... the next £20 note, he didn’t mention that Turner was a stock holder in the the Bank of England. Thomas Rowlandson was once a rake; in The Chamber of Genius he depicts a dishevelled artist at work at his easel in a chaotic room that is home to a wife, two children and their dog. Rowlandson died a rich man – it took Sotheby’s three days to sell all his ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... heyday of its literary, cultural and philosophic life lasted for a hundred years to the death of Scott and left its mark on Europe and America. An ancient city, a capital, with authors of all kinds, from Gavin Douglas to James Boswell to Annie S. Swan, Sir Compton Mackenzie and a thousand others: the subject is God’s own gift to the sifter of anecdotes and ...

Between centuries

Frank Kermode, 11 January 1990

In the Nineties 
by John Stokes.
Harvester, 199 pp., £17.50, September 1989, 0 7450 0604 3
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Olivia Shakespear and W.B. Yeats 
by John Harwood.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 333 42518 9
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Letters to the New Island 
by W.B. Yeats, edited by George Bornstein and Hugh Witemeyer.
Macmillan, 200 pp., £45, November 1989, 0 333 43878 7
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The Letters of Ezra Pound to Margaret Anderson: The ‘Little Review’ Correspondence 
edited by Thomas Scott, Melvin Friedman and Jackson Bryer.
Faber, 368 pp., £30, July 1989, 0 571 14099 8
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Ezra Pound and Margaret Cravens: A Tragic Friendship, 1910-1912 
edited by Omar Pound and Robert Spoo.
Duke, 181 pp., £20.75, January 1989, 0 8223 0862 2
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Postcards from the End of the World: An Investigation into the Mind of Fin-de-Siècle Vienna 
by Larry Wolff.
Collins, 275 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 215171 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Bantam, 396 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 593 01862 1
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Esprit de Corps: The Art of the Parisian Avant-Garde and the First World War, 1916-1925 
by Kenneth Silver.
Thames and Hudson, 506 pp., £32, October 1989, 0 500 23567 8
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... To live in the Nineties is to have first-hand experience of l’entre-siècle, a useful word I picked up from Kenneth Silver. Expect to see signs of what Henri Focillon in his book on the year 1000 identified as ‘centurial mysticism’, an affliction even more likely to be endemic when the century that is ending is also ending a millennium. These chronological divisions are meaningless in themselves, but, as Focillon argued, we tend to project onto them aspirations and anxieties which have quite other sources ...

The Flight of a Clergyman’s Wife

Gareth Stedman Jones, 27 May 1993

Annie Besant: A Biography 
by Anne Taylor.
Oxford, 383 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 19 211796 3
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... fashionable Emersonian leader of metropolitan free thought, and was employed as a pamphleteer by Thomas Scott, Voysey’s wealthy patron. These unconventional yet genteel circles were only the prelude to a yet more drastic move into the plebeian world of secularism. By 1875 she had accepted employment on Charles Bradlaugh’s National Reformer and begun ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: National Poetry Day, 5 October 2000

... and none of them obscene – may have been, he certainly erred in misquoting Thomas Edison (no rhymes), who suggested the ratio was 1 to 99, as we are reliably reminded in Science Says: A Collection of Quotations on the History, Meaning and Practice of Science, edited by Rob Kaplan (Stonesong, £19.95). Here Edison is joined by, among ...

Northern Laughter

Karl Miller: Macrone on Scott, 10 October 2013

The Life of Sir Walter Scott 
by John Macrone, edited by Daniel Grader.
Edinburgh, 156 pp., £65, February 2013, 978 0 7486 6991 2
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... Students of the life and works of Walter Scott and James Hogg may have glimpsed the shadowy, not to say meteoric, not to say dubious presence of the publisher John Macrone, and learned of his prompt desire, after Scott’s death in September 1832, to write his Life, basing it to a large extent on rural informants ...

A Joke Too Far

Colin Burrow: My Favourite Elizabethan, 22 August 2002

Sir John Harington and the Book as Gift 
by Jason Scott-Warren.
Oxford, 273 pp., £45, August 2001, 0 19 924445 6
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... for sex) has declined, and in another of which (translated from a Latin epigram by Thomas More, one of Harington’s early Tudor heroes) he has to leave out a word in order to avoid telling his mother-in-law to eat shit. Lady Rogers, unsurprisingly enough, did not make her son-in-law the executor of her will, which led to violent disputes ...

Bad Shepherd

Robert Crawford: James Hogg, 5 April 2001

The Collected Works of James Hogg. Vol. VIII: The ‘Spy’ 
edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 641 pp., £60, March 2000, 9780748613656
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... the man, with soul so dead,/Who never to himself hath said,/This is my own, my native land!’ Scott presented this as an exclamation, not a question. Scotland is Scotland’s greatest theme. Some of Hogg’s poems in the Spy, as Scottish poems like to do, trumpet a rather self-satisfied nationalism. Scottish writers are too fond of gazing at the ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Only God Forgives’, 29 August 2013

Only God Forgives 
directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.
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... policeman is the fellow to do it. The best line in the movie goes to Crystal, played by Kristin Scott Thomas with nasty vulgar authority. She talks tough, bosses everyone around, insists on the superiority of her dead son over his pathetic younger brother, and generally expects to get what she wants. When Julian tells her what Billy had done, she says ...

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