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In Defence of Rights

Philippe Sands and Helena Kennedy, 3 January 2013

... nothing less than ‘a substantial sacrifice by states of their freedom of action’. David Maxwell-Fyfe, who led the negotiations that led to the European Convention (and went on to be home secretary in the 1951 Conservative government) welcomed the Convention as ‘a simple and safe insurance policy’ in favour of ‘a minimum standard of democratic ...

In the Tart Shop

Murray Sayle: How Sydney got its Opera House, 5 October 2000

The Masterpiece: Jørn Utzon, a Secret Life 
by Philip Drew.
Hardie Grant, 574 pp., AUS $39.95, October 1999, 1 86498 047 8
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Jørn Utzon: The Sydney Opera House 
by Françoise Fromonot, translated by Christopher Thompson.
Electa/Gingko, 236 pp., £37.45, January 1998, 3 927258 72 5
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... platform, approached by a broad staircase. ‘Dreamy and emotional,’ the English architect Maxwell Fry commented, ‘but far too resigned to be real.’ Already, here was a hint that Utzon might turn away from conflict when, inevitably, his originality collided with meaner minds. Only one entry, not Utzon’s, repeated some of the technical daring of ...

Poor Dear, How She Figures!

Alan Hollinghurst: Forster and His Mother, 3 January 2013

The Journals and Diaries of E.M. Forster Volumes I-III 
edited by Philip Gardner.
Pickering and Chatto, 813 pp., £275, February 2011, 978 1 84893 114 5
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... prejudice?), and then ‘the sea full of floating brown pennies of oil’, an image and a phrase Elizabeth Bishop might not have disdained, with its quiet metaphorical swell. The rhythms and play of sounds, the subtle presence of things remembered in things seen, convey a genius for observation that one doesn’t think of as Forsterian. The Bishop-like ...

You better not tell me you forgot

Terry Castle: How to Spot Members of the Tribe, 27 September 2012

All We Know: Three Lives 
by Lisa Cohen.
Farrar Straus, 429 pp., £22.50, July 2012, 978 0 374 17649 5
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... altogether sinister ‘period’ sprite, the celebrity-chasing and deeply closeted impresaria Elsa Maxwell.) All three of Cohen’s subjects were intelligent, ambitious, creative, forceful women blessed with charisma, charm and near inexhaustible energy, not to mention the financial wherewithal to create around themselves what their biographer calls, tactfully ...

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