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The King and I

Alan Bennett, 30 January 1992

... In the play Sir Boothby Skrymshir and his nephew Ramsden are a ridiculous pair, but as Sheridan says (though the phrase was actually used by Fox), they are the ‘marketable flotsam’ out of which a majority was constructed. At the head of the pyramid was the King. All appointments flowed from him. If he was incapacitated and his powers ...

At Tate Britain

Rosemary Hill: Aubrey Beardsley, 24 September 2020

... to his feelings in a series of Bons Mots, small format collections of the sayings of Sydney Smith, Sheridan and others, published by Dent, which Beardsley adorned with skeletons, Pierrots, angry animals and mythic beasts, wilfully at odds with the subject matter. These anti-illustrations have now been collected by Beardsley’s biographer Matthew Sturgis in ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections, 26 April 2007

... Devolution has so far provided more of a threat to Brown’s ambitions than the posturings of Alan Milburn and other surrogates of Blair. After all, nobody – not even Brown, who has the biggest stake in finding a plausible solution – is able to provide a compelling answer to the West Lothian Question. Why should Scottish MPs have a right to vote at ...

No Shortage of Cousins

David Trotter: Bowenology, 12 August 2021

Selected Stories 
by Elizabeth Bowen, edited by Tessa Hadley.
Vintage, 320 pp., £14.99, April, 978 1 78487 715 6
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The Hotel 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Anchor, 256 pp., $16, August 2020, 978 0 593 08065 8
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Friends and Relations 
by Elizabeth Bowen.
Anchor, 224 pp., $16, August 2020, 978 0 593 08067 2
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... or go missing. Bowen did not settle in North Cork until the spring of 1952, when her husband, Alan Cameron, retired. A couple of months later, Alan died in his sleep. Unable to maintain the estate on her own, she sold up in 1959. The weird households had seeded themselves a long time before that in the childhood cleft ...

The Whole Bustle

Siobhan Kilfeather, 9 January 1992

The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing 
edited by Seamus Deane.
Field Day Publications/Faber, 4044 pp., £150, November 1991, 0 946755 20 5
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... Literature’, including epic, lyric and occasional poetry. The period 1600-1800, introduced by Alan Harrison, is probably more familiar to non-Gaelic readers through Kinsella and O’Tuama’s major bilingual anthology, An Duanaire (1981). The Field Day publicity makes the claim that ‘all texts not originally in English have been specially translated for ...

How good was he?

Iain Fenlon: Antonio Salieri, 6 July 2000

Antonio Salieri and Viennese Opera 
by John Rice.
Chicago, 648 pp., £66.50, April 1999, 0 226 71125 0
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... Writing about Michael Kelly, a minor Irish composer and singer who was also an importer of wines, Sheridan suggested that his shop sign should read ‘composer of wines and importer of music’. Notions of the composer’s inviolable authority belong to later centuries, and various forms of rewriting, ghosting and substitution remained ...

Plenty of Pinching

John Mullan: The Sad End of Swift, 29 October 1998

Jonathan Swift 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 324 pp., £20, September 1998, 0 09 179196 0
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... widely rumoured ‘marriage’ to Stella (asserted by Pilkington, Delany, Deane Swift and Thomas Sheridan, as well as Orrery) with a mere footnote: ‘I do not believe Swift ever went through a marriage ceremony with Esther Johnson, any more than that he ever had sexual relations with her.’ Glendinning is rationally curious about the exact nature of ...

Swanker

Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... with a swan, a gazelle and a tropical fish. He could use animal imagery to be scathing, as well. Alan Badel’s Romeo brought to his mind a restless marmoset, Dorothy Tutin’s Ophelia ‘a mouse on the rack’ and Claire Bloom’s Jessica in an Old Vic Merchant of Venice, gazing adoringly but disconcertingly into Lorenzo’s eyes, ‘a sea-lion awaiting a ...

Malice

John Mullan: Fanny Burney, 23 August 2001

Fanny Burney: A Biography 
by Claire Harman.
Flamingo, 464 pp., £8.99, October 2001, 0 00 655036 3
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Fanny Burney: Her Life 
by Kate Chisholm.
Vintage, 347 pp., £7.99, June 1999, 0 09 959021 2
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Faithful Handmaid: Fanny Burney at the Court of King George III 
by Hester Davenport.
Sutton, 224 pp., £25, June 2000, 0 7509 1881 0
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... brother James had been on Captain Cook’s second voyage). There is Joshua Reynolds and Richard Sheridan, and later Madame de Staël and Talleyrand. In her ostensibly private records of her life, Burney often keeps pace with current events and personalities, providing the biographer with the background as well as the foreground of a Life. It is as if she is ...

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