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Handfuls of Dust

Richard Cronin: Amit Chaudhuri, 12 November 1998

Freedom Song 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Picador, 202 pp., £13.99, August 1998, 0 330 34423 4
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... The first of the great Indian novelists to write in English, R.K. Narayan, wrote modest novels about modest people living in the small South Indian town of Malgudi. The completeness of the world he creates is possible only because that world is so circumscribed. Then in 1981 Salman Rushdie published Midnight’s Children, and such a narrow focus no longer seemed possible ...

His Own Dark Mind

Clare Bucknell: Rescuing Lord Byron, 30 November 2023

Byron and the Poetics of Adversity 
by Jerome McGann.
Cambridge, 214 pp., £19.99, December 2022, 978 1 009 23295 1
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Reading Byron: Poems – Life – Politics 
by Bernard Beatty.
Liverpool, 266 pp., £90, January, 978 1 80085 462 8
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Byron’s ‘Don Juan’: The Liberal Epic of the 19th Century 
by Richard Cronin.
Cambridge, 248 pp., £85, June, 978 1 009 36623 6
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... in The Spirit of the Age.)In​ Byron’s ‘Don Juan’: The Liberal Epic of the 19th Century, Richard Cronin sees the same parallels and collisions in Byron’s last poem. ‘There is a public world in Don Juan, a world of facts, a world of pumps and barbettes and periwigs, and a private world of feeling,’ he argues. ‘One is forever being ...

Noticing and Not Noticing

John Mullan: Consciousness in Austen, 20 November 2014

The Hidden Jane Austen 
by John Wiltshire.
Cambridge, 195 pp., £17.99, April 2014, 978 1 107 64364 2
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... to embark on another round. In their introduction to Emma in the Cambridge edition of the novels, Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan argue that Austen wrote for the rereader. In Emma she deliberately sacrificed ‘readability’ for the sake of a novel that ‘demanded repeated rereadings’. Wiltshire cites their argument that Emma, more than any other ...

German Jew

Michael Irwin, 17 April 1980

The Missing Years 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 281 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 297 77707 6
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Jack be nimble 
by Nigel Williams.
Secker, 213 pp., £5.50, March 1980, 0 436 57155 2
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Identity Papers 
by Anthony Cronin.
Co-op Books, 194 pp., £4.50, February 1980, 0 905441 23 0
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Narrow Rooms 
by James Purdy.
Black Sheep Books, 185 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 906538 60 2
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Six Moral Tales 
by Eric Rohmer, translated by Sabine d’Estrée.
Lorrimer, 252 pp., £4.95, February 1980, 0 85647 075 9
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... to show what it was like to be a Jew in Germany during the first 45 years of this century. Dr Richard Lasson, the narrator, traces his own career from front-line service in the First World War, through the mounting uncertainties and perils of the Twenties and Thirties to desperately precarious survival in Berlin during the Second World War. Walter Laqueur ...

Against the Same-Old Same-Old

Seamus Perry: The Brownings, 3 November 2016

The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 21 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 432 pp., $110, April 2014, 978 0 911459 38 8
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The Brownings’ Correspondence, Vol 22 
edited by Philip Kelley, Scott Lewis, Joseph Phelan, Edward Hagan and Rhian Williams.
Wedgestone, 430 pp., $110, June 2015, 978 0 911459 39 5
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Robert Browning 
edited by Richard Cronin and Dorothy McMillan.
Oxford, 904 pp., £95, December 2014, 978 0 19 959942 4
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Browning Studies: Being Select Papers by Members of the Browning Society 
edited by Edward Berdoe.
Routledge, 348 pp., £30, August 2015, 978 1 138 02488 5
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... Romanticism​ bequeathed a good many things to the beleaguered modern imagination, one of the most provoking of which was the thought that it should get out more. That bit of advice proved all the more challenging because it contradicted the other basic idea which the Romantics left behind – namely, that what mattered was staying inside, wrapped in the private world of subjectivity and ‘mental space ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... introduced the 1939 screen version of The Stars Look Down – the words are possibly those of A.J. Cronin, the novelist, rather than of Carol Reed, the film’s director – signalled a remarkable turn-around in attitudes to the miners, as well as prefiguring what was to be the leading idiom of British wartime cinema. The success of the film itself (fear of ...


Anne Enright: Priests in the Family, 18 November 2021

... so perhaps this was the kind of secret that people in Dublin were happy to know. After I read Richard Ellmann’s biography of Joyce in my twenties, I asked my mother about Eileen. She knew quite a lot about her mother’s friend. The Joyce family had lived locally for some years. Eileen had a flat in Mountjoy Square, where she stayed during the week, and ...

Down with Cosmopolitanism

Gillian Darley, 18 May 2000

Stylistic Cold Wars: Betjeman v. Pevsner 
by Timothy Mowl.
Murray, 182 pp., £14.99, March 2000, 9780719559099
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... of the magazine, then only recently transformed by its odd and near invisible editor Hubert de Cronin Hastings, Betjeman’s jocular, impressionable soul was temporarily stolen by the hard men of the Modern Movement. Then, after Betjeman resigned, along came Pevsner, to hammer home the determinist message with which the magazine was obsessed. Or that is ...

Something about her eyes

Patricia Beer, 24 June 1993

Daphne du Maurier 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 455 pp., £17.99, March 1993, 0 7011 3699 5
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... as clever Victor Gollancz spotted when he picked her out for his list as a successor to A.J. Cronin. Having said that, one hears the sad voice of E.M. Forster: ‘Yes – oh dear yes – the novel tells a story.’ He calls the story ‘a low atavistic form’ and envisages an audience of cave-persons ‘gaping round the camp-fire, fatigued with ...


Clair Wills: Plain Brian O’Nolan, 4 April 2019

The Collected Letters of Flann O’Brien 
edited by Maebh Long.
Dalkey Archive, 619 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 1 62897 183 5
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... undertones’). Prematurely aged and alcoholic – according to his friend and biographer Anthony Cronin, by his late forties O’Nolan was generally so pickled by three in the afternoon that he retired to bed – he was never not in the position of having to carve out a place for himself as a writer. The failure to find an American publisher for At ...

Who to Be

Colm Tóibín: Beckett’s Letters, 6 August 2009

The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1929-40 
edited by Martha Dow Fehsenfeld and Lois More Overbeck.
Cambridge, 782 pp., £30, February 2009, 978 0 521 86793 1
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... Jack Yeats and some poems, a few of them masterpieces of their kind, he wrote books on Eliot and Richard Aldington for the same series as Beckett’s book on Proust, the publication of which he arranged. He later wrote a monograph on Poussin and was director of the National Gallery of Ireland from 1950 to 1963. McGreevy flits in and out of the lives of ...

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