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Us and Them

Robert Taubman, 4 September 1980

The Secret Servant 
by Gavin Lyall.
Hodder, 224 pp., £5.50, June 1980, 0 340 25385 1
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The Flowers of the Forest 
by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 365 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 436 20087 2
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A Talent to Deceive: An Appreciation of Agatha Christie 
by Robert Barnard.
Collins, 203 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 00 216190 7
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Enter the Lion: A Posthumus Memoir of Mycroft Holmes 
by Michael Hodel and Sean Wright.
Dent, 237 pp., £4.95, May 1980, 0 460 04483 4
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Dorothy I. Sayers: Nine Literary Studies 
by Trevor Hall.
Duckworth, 132 pp., £12.50, April 1980, 9780715614556
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Milk Dime 
by Barry Fantoni.
Hodder, 192 pp., £5.50, May 1980, 0 340 25350 9
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... built of solid dark mahogany and pictures of dead animals.’ A Secret Service chief disappears in Joseph Hone’s The Flowers of the Forest and ambiguous allegiances are disentangled in a quest across Europe, as well as back in time to the Cambridge of Philby – actually, to a stop on the Oxford to Cambridge line, on the assumption that Oxford, too, had ...

Invidious Trumpet

Thomas Keymer: Find the Printer, 9 September 2021

The Paper Chase: The Printer, the Spymaster and the Hunt for the Rebel Pamphleteers 
by Joseph Hone.
Chatto, 251 pp., £18.99, November 2020, 978 1 78474 306 2
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... style of censorship and another, as prior restraint gave way to prosecution after the fact. Or as Joseph Hone puts it in his enthralling microhistory, in 1695 ‘the current system of pre-publication censorship was replaced by a new one of post-publication censorship.’ For a line of writers from Defoe to Bentham, it wasn’t a change for the ...

Wallahs and Wallabies

Gilbert Phelps, 8 May 1986

12 Edmondstone Street 
by David Malouf.
Chatto, 134 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7011 3970 6
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The Shakespeare Wallah 
by Geoffrey Kendal and Clare Colvin.
Sidgwick, 186 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 283 99230 1
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Children of the Country: Coast to Coast across Africa 
by Joseph Hone.
Hamish Hamilton, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 241 11742 9
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... tempted to over-compensate with self-conscious bursts of local colour. This is the trap into which Joseph Hone has fallen in his Children of the Country. He has some excuse, perhaps, in that he was frustrated in his original purpose, which was to cross the African continent from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic, following as closely as possible the route ...

Puppeteer Poet

Colin Burrow: Pope’s Luck, 21 April 2022

Alexander Pope in the Making 
by Joseph Hone.
Oxford, 240 pp., £60, January 2021, 978 0 19 884231 6
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The Poet and the Publisher: The Case of Alexander Pope, Esq., of Twickenham v. Edmund Curll, Bookseller in Grub Street 
by Pat Rogers.
Reaktion, 470 pp., £25, May 2021, 978 1 78914 416 1
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... or gildedly I allude to it all my knowing readers will instantly understand just what I mean.’As Joseph Hone shows in Alexander Pope in the Making, Pope began his writing life as a predominantly manuscript poet writing for ‘tight-knit recusant networks’ in the Thames Valley. Hone argues that for the early part of ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... anything at all about its having taken the liberty of expunging them. Again, though the memoir by Joseph Hone is extremely good, and has done better than wear well (it has weathered well), there is now something needlessly frustrating about all the excisions and truncations; forty years on, these letters could and should have been re-edited. The ...


Jason Harding: George Moore, 21 September 2000

George Moore, 1852-1933 
by Adrian Frazier.
Yale, 604 pp., £29.95, May 2000, 0 300 08245 2
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... Adrian Frazier’s painstakingly researched new biography of Moore marks a considerable advance on Joseph Hone’s respectful but pedestrian 1936 standard biography and Tony Gray’s lively but unscholarly 1996 Life. Moore was born in 1852 into the West of Ireland ‘hard-riding country gentry’ idolised by Yeats. His childhood playgrounds were the ...

Every Watermark and Stain

Gill Partington: Faked Editions, 20 June 2024

The Book Forger: The True Story of a Literary Crime That Fooled the World 
by Joseph Hone.
Chatto, 336 pp., £22, March, 978 1 78474 467 0
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... put more than a thousand individual fakes into circulation. It was forgery on an industrial scale.Joseph Hone’s hugely entertaining new account shows how this ‘Moriarty of the book world’ met his match in a duo of intrepid young book dealers, John Carter and Graham Pollard, whose investigation is ‘worthy of fiction’. The ‘impossibly ...

A Lazarus beside Me

Avies Platt: An Encounter with Yeats, 27 August 2015

... and more gratefully. But if so they did not come forward, at least not in the press. Then​ Joseph Hone undertook the Life and appealed in the Times. I wrote to him, but guardedly, and before I could say fully what I wanted to say I became very seriously ill. I recovered and had another chance yet still I did not say it. I don’t know why, except ...

The Playboy of West 29th Street

Colm Tóibín: Yeats’s Father in Exile, 25 January 2018

... decided to mount an exhibition at her own expense of his work and that of the artist Nathaniel Hone. The reviews were good, as was attendance at the show. John Butler Yeats was becoming famous in Dublin, but he was still broke: he stayed on in the city only because he did not have the fare to return to London. But gradually his studio in St Stephen’s ...

Outside the text

Marilyn Butler, 19 December 1985

The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory 
by Jerome McGann.
Oxford, 352 pp., £19.50, May 1985, 0 19 811730 2
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The Politics of Language: 1791-1819 
by Olivia Smith.
Oxford, 269 pp., £19.50, December 1984, 0 19 812817 7
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... in a very particularised way. Its heroes are the popular rhetoricians Paine, Cobbett, Spence and Hone; its leading theorist, John Horne Tooke. A book concerned with so many minor figures may seem discouragingly narrow, not perhaps to political and social historians, but to most critics, even those who specialise in Romanticism or in language in the aftermath ...

A Djinn speaks

Colm Tóibín: What about George Yeats?, 20 February 2003

Becoming George: The Life of Mrs W.B. Yeats 
by Ann Saddlemyer.
Oxford, 808 pp., £25, September 2002, 0 19 811232 7
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... to Maud Gonne, and then became involved with her daughter Iseult, to whom he also proposed. Joseph Hone writes about this in his authorised biography of the poet, published in 1942. When Iseult finally rejected him in the summer of 1917, he decided to propose to a young Englishwoman, Georgie Hyde-Lees. He wrote to Lady Gregory: ‘I certainly feel ...

At the Royal Academy

Brigid von Preussen: On Angelica Kauffman, 20 June 2024

... artist with ambitions beyond contemporary expectations. Her father, the Austrian painter Johann Joseph Kauffman, encouraged her talents, giving her an artistic, literary and musical education to which few women had access. After chaperoning her around Italy, he followed her to London, helping to manage her career as it far eclipsed his own. Even her name ...

Pissing on Idiots

Colin Burrow: Extreme Editing, 6 October 2011

Richard Bentley: Poetry and Enlightenment 
by Kristine Louise Haugen.
Harvard, 333 pp., £29.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05871 2
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... they record and much of their vocabulary must date from centuries after Phalaris. He began to hone his own distinctive style, that of an infinitely learned man whose spirit was entirely untainted by generosity: ‘A strange piece of stupidity, or else contempt of his Readers,’ he growled, ‘to pretend to assume the garb and person of Phalaris, and yet ...

Nora Barnacle: Pictor Ignotus

Sean O’Faolain, 2 August 1984

... small portrait copied from a very small photograph of a young woman named, so Mossy averred, Nora Joseph Barnacle. A name, I need not tell you, well known by then throughout the world of literature.’ ‘Barnacle?’ said Hunty. ‘But that is a kind of goose.’ ‘Mossy’s story about it was that some ten years before, that is in 1922, a tiddley old ...

Asterisks and Obelisks

Colin Burrow, 7 March 2019

Poems of Sextus Propertius 
edited and translated by Patrick Worsnip.
Carcanet, 253 pp., £12.99, September 2018, 978 1 78410 651 5
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... Katz renders this by ‘Cynthia, potent form: light word, Cynthia’. As early as 1577 Joseph Scaliger had argued that this line was not just the product of an utterly obscure poet (‘poeta obscurissima’) but was in need of emendation because the neuter plural verba (‘words’) did not make grammatical sense. He had a point. Modern editors ...

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