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Seeing through Fuller

Nicholas Penny, 30 March 1989

Theoria: Art and the Absence of Grace 
by Peter Fuller.
Chatto, 260 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 7011 2942 5
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Seeing through Berger 
by Peter Fuller.
Claridge, 176 pp., £8.95, November 1988, 1 870626 75 3
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Cambridge Guide to the Arts in Britain. Vol. IX: Since the Second World War 
edited by Boris Ford.
Cambridge, 369 pp., £19.50, November 1988, 0 521 32765 2
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Ruskin’s Myths 
by Dinah Birch.
Oxford, 212 pp., £22.50, August 1988, 9780198128724
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The Sun is God: Painting, Literature and Mythology in the 19th Century 
edited by J.B. Bullen.
Oxford, 230 pp., £27.50, March 1989, 0 19 812884 3
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Artisans and Architects: The Ruskinian Tradition in Architectural Thought 
by Mark Swenarton.
Macmillan, 239 pp., £35, February 1989, 0 333 46460 5
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... true that some modern art has imitated the primitive energy, the folk spells, of graffiti. Peter Fuller’s Modern Painters, a quarterly ‘journal of the fine arts’, launched last spring, challenges many of the fashionable practices and assumptions which I have just reviewed. At first, its opponents in the art world said it wouldn’t last, then they said ...

Other People

Dinah Birch, 6 July 1989

The Middleman, and Other Stories 
by Bharati Mukherjee.
Virago, 197 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 1 85381 058 4
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The Burning Boys 
by John Fuller.
Chatto, 128 pp., £10.95, June 1989, 9780701134648
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Termination Rock 
by Gillian Freeman.
Pandora, 182 pp., £12.95, June 1989, 0 04 440352 6
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Blackground 
by Joan Aiken.
Gollancz, 254 pp., £11.95, June 1989, 0 575 04502 7
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... presents a razor-sharp reflection of a world which is disconnected, but not without hope. John Fuller’s The Burning Boys is interested in other kinds of separation. David’s mother is killed in the Blitz, and he goes to live with his down-to-earth grandmother and nubile young aunt. His life goes underground. David covertly observes the strange ...

Main Man

Michael Hofmann, 7 July 1994

Walking Possession: Essays and Reviews 1968-1993 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 302 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 7475 1712 6
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Gazza Italia 
by Ian Hamilton.
Granta, 188 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 14 014073 5
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... too. Greetings, borrowers. What I admire – not the word – about the poems is their intensity. John Berryman once said: write as short as you can, in order, of what matters. Surely no one – least of all Berryman himself – can have fulfilled the terms of that prescription as scrupulously as Hamilton. The majority of the poems are generated by one of two ...

Received Accents

Peter Robinson, 20 February 1986

Collected Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 351 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 19 211974 5
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Selected and New Poems: 1939-84 
by J.C. Hall.
Secker, 87 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 436 19052 4
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Burning the knife: New and Selected Poems 
by Robin Magowan.
Scarecrow Press, 114 pp., £13.50, September 1985, 0 8108 1777 2
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Englishmen: A Poem 
by Christopher Hope.
Heinemann, 41 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 434 34661 6
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Selected Poems: 1954-1982 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 175 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 436 16754 9
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Writing Home 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 19 211970 2
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... so powerful an influence on who you are. The ‘dispossessed/ and half-tamed Englishman’ of ‘John Maydew or The Allotment’ returns from war to find that he must choose between ‘an England, profitlessly green’ and a landscape where           slag in lavafolds rolls beneath him. The first part of the poem seems to be spoken to the man in ...

Neil Corcoran confronts the new recklessness

Neil Corcoran, 28 September 1989

Manila Envelope 
by James Fenton.
28 Kayumanggi St, West Triangle Homes, Quezon City, Phillipines, 48 pp., £12, May 1989, 971 8647 01 5
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New Selected Poems 
by Richard Murphy.
Faber, 190 pp., £10.99, May 1989, 0 571 15482 4
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The Mirror Wall 
by Richard Murphy.
Bloodaxe, 61 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 9781852240929
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Selected Poems 
by Eavan Boland.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 85635 741 3
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The Accumulation of Small Acts of Kindness 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 47 pp., £5.95, May 1989, 0 7011 3455 0
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... in The Memory of War and in the sometimes, I thought, jejune poems of his collaboration with John Fuller, Partingtime Hall. The novelty in Manila Envelope is that nonsense and ‘light verse’ are yoked to the most harrowing material, and more rigorously than in Auden’s ‘Miss Gee’, for instance, which might otherwise seem a model, because the ...

To Kill All Day

Frank Kermode: Amis’s Terrible News, 17 October 2002

Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 306 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 224 06303 0
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... his visit to China W.H. Auden took along Motley’s The Rise of the Dutch Republic, in which, as John Fuller informs us in his Commentary (1998), he was depressed to read the catalogue of tortures and massacres attributed to William the Silent. The official report of William’s death said that he was the guiding star of the nation, and that ‘when he ...

Best of British

Nicholas Penny, 2 December 1993

Glenkiln 
by John McEwen and John Haddington.
Canongate, 96 pp., £20, November 1993, 0 08 624324 1
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Henry Moore: An Interpretation 
by Peter Fuller, edited by Anthony O’Hear.
Methuen, 98 pp., £16, September 1993, 9780413676207
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... the wild landscape of the estate he owned in south-west Scotland. The setting is commemorated by John Haddington’s fine photographs, and the initiative richly documented by John McEwen (Keswick’s nephew), in Glenkiln. The sculpture by Moore which is most eloquent in this context is the bronze seated King and Queen of ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... Muldoon gets a mention – along with just about everyone else they can think of – in Fenton and Fuller’s collaborative book of light verse, Partingtime Hall. I especially enjoyed the public-school master Mountgrace-church MacDiarmid’s taste in literature: Selected John Ashbery, Schuyler, O’Hara, Gravity’s ...

Liveried

Frank Kermode, 11 May 1995

John Gay: A Profession of Friendship. A Critical Biography 
by David Nokes.
Oxford, 563 pp., £25, February 1995, 0 19 812971 8
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... Like most biographies nowadays, David Nokes’s John Gay is very long, but unlike some of the others it is not much longer than it needed to be. Gay devoted so much of his attention to people grander than himself that his life story can’t be told without allusion to those of more complicated and ambitious figures like Pope, Swift and Addison ...

Diary

Andrew Brighton: On Peter Fuller, 7 November 1991

... Oxbridge voices reviewing an exhibition selected by and posthumously mounted as a tribute to Peter Fuller. The wannabe Oxbridge voice of Giles Auty, art bumbler for the Spectator, declares ‘Peter’ was led by his arguments rather than his eyes. Up speaks real Oxbridge voice, while duly patronising to Auty – not really one of us – does agree ...

I have nothing to say and I am saying it

Philip Clark: John Cage’s Diary, 15 December 2016

The Selected Letters of John Cage 
edited by Laura Kuhn.
Wesleyan, 618 pp., £30, January 2016, 978 0 8195 7591 3
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Diary: How to Improve the World (You Will Only Make Matters Worse) 
by John Cage, edited by Richard Kraft and Joe Biel.
Siglio, 176 pp., £26, October 2015, 978 1 938221 10 1
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... By 1963​ , John Cage had become an unlikely celebrity. Anyone who knew anything about music – who had perhaps followed the perplexed reviews in the New York Times – could tell you how he had managed to transform the piano into a one-man percussion ensemble by wedging nails, bolts and erasers between its strings; or how he had – ‘and you’re never gonna believe this’ – somehow composed silent music ...

The Purser’s Tale

Frank Kermode, 5 April 1984

Home and Dry: Memoirs III 
by Roy Fuller.
London Magazine Editions, 165 pp., £8.95, February 1984, 0 904388 47 6
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... This is the third and last volume of Roy Fuller’s memoirs, and it takes him up to the end of the war. It may sound ungracious, but I can’t help wondering why I find all three books so appealing that the strong implication of finality seems quite unacceptable. Though literate and pleasantly, even amusingly morose, these are not what are commonly called compulsive reads ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... of the usual morose adolescent parables and things like that. The first issue had a foreword by John Wain, the novelist, who had just appeared then and was very famous. I wrote to him to ask if there was some message he could send to youthful aspirants and he did. It was rather good, about half a page, which ended: ‘and, if all this fails, back to the ...

Kant on Wheels

Peter Lipton: Thomas Kuhn, 19 July 2001

The Road since Structure: Philosophical Essays, 1970-93 
by Thomas Kuhn, edited by James Conant and John Haugeland.
Chicago, 335 pp., £16, November 2000, 0 226 45798 2
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Thomas Kuhn: A Philosophical History for Our Times 
by Steve Fuller.
Chicago, 472 pp., £24.50, June 2000, 0 226 26894 2
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... inside the heads of past scientists, to see their projects and their worlds in their terms. Steve Fuller’s book about Kuhn is somewhat odd, in content, style and tone. There is surprisingly little engagement with his ideas: incommensurability and truth are not much discussed, and the key notion of an exemplar is barely mentioned. Rather, what counts for ...

Educating the Blimps

Geoffrey Best: Military history, 10 June 1999

Alchemist of War: The Life of Basil Liddell Hart 
by Alex Danchev.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £25, September 1998, 0 297 81621 7
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Studies in British Military Thought: Debates with Fuller and Liddell Hart 
by Brian Holden Reid.
Nebraska, 287 pp., £30, October 1998, 0 8032 3927 0
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... important by far was the formidably intellectual, misanthropic and ultimately fascistic J.F.C. Fuller – ‘Boney’ Fuller to his fellows-in-arms, because of his inexhaustible enthusiasm for that unattractive warlord. Fuller was the first in the field and always the more powerful ...

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