John Harvey

John Harvey is a fellow in English at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The paperback of his book, Men in Black, is published by Reaktion.

Sempre Armani: Peacockery

John Harvey, 7 May 1998

Fashion pages in papers – like fashion sections in bookshops – give more space to dresses than to suits. With the assumption that fashion is a female domain goes the popular male assumption that it is frivolous – dazzling perhaps, but ephemeral and lightweight. The accusation most commonly made against male dandies is that they are effeminate. The usual assumption would seem to be that women wear fashions, while men wear uniforms – military, civilian, athletic or ‘leisure’.’‘

New Mortality

John Harvey, 5 November 1981

One of the genuinely eerie moments in the recent huge and hollow film about a huge and hollow hotel, The Shining, comes in the late shot where we get a glimpse inside one of the rooms that should be empty, and see some sort of human bear, or person in a bearskin, kneeling to a woman in evening dress: this couple looks back at us slowly, surprised in we can’t guess what macabre rite of love.


John Harvey, 6 August 1981

The freckled drawing on the cover of Günter Grass’s latest novel shows a hand just emerging from a rubble of old stones and holding a quill. The quill is lightly and sensitively poised, the hand could be meaning to draw or to write as Grass himself both writes and draws. It is, that is to say, the hand of a writer who in his writing is an artist, and the drawing asks in effect: in a harsh or devastated world, what should such a hand write, and what chances does it have? It is a drawing which, with different implications, could serve equally for all the books here reviewed.

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