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Simon Avery and Andrew Maunder

In October 1860, the New York-based magazine, Harper’s New Monthly, offered its readers this scathing commentary on the apparently morbid tendency among their British cousins to delve into the private lives of famous men and women. The magazine’s onslaught was both topical and contentious. The pleasures and punishments of fame experienced by such victimised ‘lions’ as Charles Dickens and Edward Bulwer Lytton, together with the public’s apparent right to ‘know’ everything, struck the writer as not only ‘vulgar’ but as clear evidence (if any were needed) of a degenerate culture. The situation was bad in America but much worse in Britain for there, as Harper’s noted, ‘John Bull is very fond of . . . talking about the private history of public men – prying into their bathing-tubs and counting the moles upon their necks.’ In the name of both art and decency, Harper’s made the following plea: ‘For the honour of the guild – for the fair name of literature – let us have done with peeping through keyholes and listening at cracks.’

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Dennis Brown, Anna Birch, Eibhlín Evans, and Andrew Maunder

Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer Paul Edwards (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000), ISBN 0–300–08209–6, hardback £40

The Routledge Reader in Politics and Performance, edited by Lizbeth Goodman with Jane de Gay (London: Routledge, 2000), ISBN 0–415–17473–2 paperback £15.99

Seamus Heaney Andrew Murphy (Tavistock: Northcote House, 1996, 2nd Edition, 2000). ISBN 0 7463 09627 paperback £8.99

Women’s Gothic: From Clara Reeve to Mary Shelley E. J. Clery (Tavistock: Northcote House, 2000), ISBN 0 7463 0872 8 paperback £9.99

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David Amigoni, Simon Avery, Alexis Easley, Pam Hirsch, Tim Marshall, Andrew Maunder, Marie Mulvey-Roberts, John Plunkett, and Valerie Sanders

Notes on contributors