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Helen Cooper: The maverick poetry of John Skelton, 14 December 2006

John Skelton and Poetic Authority: Defining the Liberty to Speak 
by Jane Griffiths.
Oxford, 213 pp., £50, February 2006, 9780199273607
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... of Wales, but like many of his poems it does not survive. When Arthur’s death transformed his pupil’s prospects, Skelton found himself relegated to a rectorship in Norfolk. Some of his poems embed themselves in the locality: his diatribe Ware the Hawk, against a neighbouring vicar whose hawk pursued its prey into his church at Diss; and Phillip ...

Fratricide, Matricide and the Philosopher

Shadi Bartsch: Seneca, 18 June 2015

Dying Every Day: Seneca at the Court of Nero 
by James Romm.
Knopf, 290 pp., £18.45, March 2014, 978 0 307 59687 1
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Seneca: A Life 
by Emily Wilson.
Allen Lane, 253 pp., £25, March 2015, 978 1 84614 637 4
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... influence and wealth. Worse still, it made him complicit with the worsening abuses of power by his former pupil, including Agrippina’s murder. When he tried to retire in 62 ad, whether through fear, compunction or the pressure of his schizophrenic existence, Nero wouldn’t let him: he was too useful as a way of legitimising the regime. Only when he was ...

Making it

Nicholas Penny, 5 November 1992

The Sculpture of Jacopo Sansovino 
by Bruce Boucher.
Yale, 304 pp., £95, November 1991, 0 300 04759 2
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Giambattista and Lorenzo Bregno: Venetian Sculpture in the High Renaissance 
by Anne Markham Schulz.
Cambridge, 564 pp., £85, November 1991, 0 521 38406 0
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... Verrocchio and Antonio Pollaiuolo, were sculptors who also ran painting workshops. Verrocchio’s pupil Leonardo da Vinci was a sculptor as well as a painter (although all that remains of his three-dimensional work is the remarkable bronze of a horse and rider in the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts). Michelangelo was trained by a painter, Domenico ...


Nicholas Penny, 8 March 1990

The Image of the Black in Western Art. Vol. IV, Parts I-II: From the American Revolution to World War One 
by Hugh Honour.
Harvard, 379 pp., £34.95, April 1989, 9780939594177
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Primitive Art in Civilised Places 
by Sally Price.
Chicago, 147 pp., £15.95, December 1989, 0 226 68063 0
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The Return of Cultural Treasures 
by Jeanette Greenfield.
Cambridge, 361 pp., £32.50, February 1990, 0 521 33319 9
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... Above all, there is the Portrait d’une Négresse exhibited at the Paris salon in 1800 by a pupil of David, Marie-Guilhelmine Benoist. The woman’s breast is exposed, but not with any sly or coy intention – her undress seems as natural to her as her white cotton turban; and the candour of her gaze is as disarming as the dignity of her bearing is ...

I do like painting

Julian Bell: The life and art of William Coldstream, 2 December 2004

William Coldstream 
by Bruce Laughton.
Yale, 368 pp., £30, July 2004, 0 300 10243 7
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... such as Bacon or Freud and, more particularly, by the higher pitched, punchier art of his pupil Euan Uglow. A few portrait commissions remain on public view in contexts of fusty formality, but for the most part the Coldstreams are for the storeroom. This, Laughton reckons, is an unworthy coda to the former hegemony ...


J.I.M. Stewart, 15 September 1983

M.R. James: An Informal Portrait 
by Michael Cox.
Oxford, 268 pp., £14.50, June 1983, 0 19 211765 3
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... tutor when he entered Eton as a boy, and at Eton still until he died in the eighth year of his old pupil’s Provostship. Luxmoore was austere but tolerant, and both qualities are evident in his account of a Christmas spent at King’s a few years before Monty’s attaining the headship of the college: I am spending Christmas in this wonderful place with ...

Strawberries in December

Paul Laity: She Radicals, 30 March 2017

Rebel Crossings: New Women, Free Lovers and Radicals in Britain and the United States 
by Sheila Rowbotham.
Verso, 512 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 1 78478 588 8
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... aesthetic example to their neighbours. The drawing-room gatherings and expensive clothes of their former lives now seemed ‘as dross’. On a January morning the following year Born wrote to her cousin that she had ‘made the floor of my room shine with extra brightness’ using ‘beeswax, turps and elbow-grease’. She was excitedly preparing for a visit ...

Top People

Luke Hughes: The ghosts of Everest, 20 July 2000

Ghosts of Everest: The Authorised Story of the Search for Mallory & Irvine 
by Jochen Hemmleb and Larry Johnson.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780333783146
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Lost on Everest: The Search for Mallory and Irvine 
by Peter Firstbrook.
BBC, 244 pp., £16.99, September 1999, 0 563 55129 1
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The Last Climb: The Legendary Everest Expeditions of George Mallory 
by David Breashears and Audrey Salkeld.
National Geographic, 240 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7922 7538 1
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... crossed the Channel: Geoffrey Winthrop Young, George Trevelyan, Geoffrey Keynes, Robert Graves (a former pupil) and Rupert Brooke (a contemporary at Magdalene). Another friend, Lytton Strachey, was renowned for his obsession with Mallory’s good looks (he credited him ‘with the face of a Botticelli’). In April 1915, Mallory wrote to A.C. Benson, his ...

They can’t do anything to me

Jeremy Adler: Peter Singer, 20 January 2005

Pushing Time Away: My Grandfather and the Tragedy of Jewish Vienna 
by Peter Singer.
Granta, 254 pp., £15.99, July 2004, 1 86207 696 0
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... the camps found it hard to speak about their loss. In Germany, the 1964 trial of Robert Mulka – former adjutant to Commandant Rudolf Höss – and 21 others for crimes committed at Auschwitz enabled a new generation to confront the past, but in Britain and the United States it was only some years later that it became possible to broach 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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... and social goals of history become either unrealisable or shallow. When Francis Fukuyama, a former pupil, of de Man’s, wrote his article ‘The End of History’ amid the events of 1989, he must have been ironically aware that his mentor and his mentor’s friends had been pouring out books for a quarter of a century on another time history ...

Set on Being Singular

Nick Richardson: Schoenberg, 20 October 2011

Arnold Schoenberg 
by Bojan Bujic.
Phaidon, 240 pp., £15, 0 7148 4614 7
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... to move on. In the early months of 1924 he took up with Gertrud Kolisch, the young sister of a former pupil, and entered the sunniest span of his career. He was invited to tour Mussolini’s Italy by the Corporazione delle Nuove Musiche, and in Florence made friends with Puccini: despite the aesthetic gulf between them the two men held each other in ...

Barely under Control

Jenny Turner: Education: Who’s in charge?, 7 May 2015

... inquiry, bigger and certainly more inflammatory, as a result of his decision to select Clarke, a former head of counter-terrorism for the Metropolitan Police, to lead it. Clarke’s report was published just as Gove himself was unexpectedly moved from the DfE last July. It found lots of things out of order at schools in East Birmingham – poor financial ...

Born to Lying

Theo Tait: Le Carré, 3 December 2015

John le Carré: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Bloomsbury, 652 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 2792 5
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... biographers have been discouraged from poking their noses into the business of David Cornwell, the former spy who has written under that curious pseudonym since 1961. Robert Harris chose not to proceed, for reasons that are hinted at but not made clear in this book, while in the early 1990s the journalist Graham Lord withdrew under a heavy legal barrage, after ...

Murder in the Cathedral

Anthony Howard, 7 December 1989

The Crockford’s File: Gareth Bennett and the Death of the Anglican Mind 
by William Oddie.
Hamish Hamilton, 232 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 241 12613 4
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Absent Friends 
by Geoffrey Wheatcroft.
Hamish Hamilton, 291 pp., £15.95, November 1989, 0 241 12874 9
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... plinth. To most outside the embattled ranks of Anglo-Catholicism Oddie’s efforts to depict the former Dean of New College even as a figure more sinned against than sinning is bound to smack of special pleading. If ever a man brought his troubles on himself, Gary Bennett did. For his story is not, as Oddie would have us believe, that of a man who spoke the ...


James McConica, 21 January 1982

by I.D. McFarlane.
Duckworth, 575 pp., £45, June 1981, 0 7156 0971 8
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... also intertwined were chiefly trained: Hector Boece, John Mair or Major, and Major’s most famous pupil, George Buchanan. If the pitch and intonation of Scottish intellectual life have always seemed somewhat alien to English ears, the influence of these Continental schools must not be forgotten in accounting for it. Of the three, the one who has left the ...

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