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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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... in the autumn of 1799 with the Hutchinson sisters – Mary, Sara and Joanna – at their brother Tom’s Yorkshire farm. Coleridge laid himself out to charm them and succeeded. The middle sister, Sara, whom he would call Asra, to set her apart from his own wife Sara, became his prime female figure of worship and consolation. Mary was to have a long and ...

Wives, Queens, Distant Princesses

John Bayley, 23 October 1986

The Bondage of Love: A Life of Mrs Samuel Taylor Coleridge 
by Molly Lefebure.
Gollancz, 287 pp., £15.95, July 1986, 0 575 03871 3
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Jane Welsh Carlyle 
by Virginia Surtees.
Michael Russell, 294 pp., £12.95, September 1986, 0 85955 134 2
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... right too, making allowance for a little professional jealousy on young Robert’s part. Even Tom Poole, that sweet young man who lived with his mother and had a steady job in his father’s business, distrusted the Wordsworths. True, Tom had a bit of a gay crush on Sam and wanted to keep him to himself, but he was a ...

Bounty Hunter

John Sutherland, 17 July 1997

Riders of the Purple Sage 
by Zane Grey.
Oxford, 265 pp., £4.99, May 1995, 0 19 282443 0
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The Man of the Forest: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 383 pp., $15, September 1996, 0 8032 7062 3
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The Thundering Herd: The Authorised Version 
by Zane Grey.
Nebraska, 400 pp., $16, September 1996, 0 8032 7065 8
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... had already been identified and was beginning to be exploited. In 1904, B(ertha) M(uzzy) Bower began serialising her ‘Chip of the Flying U’ series in Street & Smith’s Popular Magazine. In 1907, Clarence E. Mulford began a magazine series loosely chronicling the ‘Bar-20 Crew’, prominent among whom was the cow-puncher Hopalong ...

Diary

David Craig: In the Barra Isles, 30 October 1997

... for the first 64 years of my life) the whole ground and air-space is one nest and garden, bower and biosphere, for myriads of flowers and birds. Usually you would go out of your way to avoid stepping on a primrose. Here their buttery constellations star the ground so thickly that they are almost unavoidable. And butter-worts in the damper places, with ...

Blowing Cigarette Smoke at Greenfly

E.S. Turner: The Beastliness of Saki, 24 August 2000

The Unrest-Cure and Other Beastly Tales 
by Saki.
Prion, 297 pp., £8.99, May 2000, 9781853753701
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... were Reginald and Clovis (not a name, as Samuel Goldwyn would have said, to be given to every Tom, Dick and Harry). Reginald believed that the religious system which had given us green Chartreuse would never really die. Here he is, showing off to a duchess at the Carlton: ‘There may have been disillusionments in the lives of the medieval saints, but ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... been proposed as a device (as well as a tale worth the telling) to buy time for another poet, for Tom Pickard perhaps. Ackroyd, coming from a more catholic (and Catholic) camp, is less fierce, less implicated, in his treatment. His Blake is decently crafted fiction overwhelmed by an excess of tyrannical facts. Looking back over my notes, I wasn’t ...

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