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John Lloyd: Long weekend in Yaroslavl, 20 July 1995

... complete and coercive, self-sacrificing and non-negotiable. I had with me my seven-year-old son, Jacob. We were given the smaller of the two rooms as our bedroom, while Sasha lodged with friends nearby, and Natasha, Tania and Nikolai slept in the larger room. No question of a hotel or of my staying with neighbours. Knowing their poverty, I had brought a bag ...


John Burnside: Death and Photography, 18 December 2014

... and had become almost obsessed by the series of pictures Avedon had made of his elderly father, Jacob, over a period of several years, culminating in a deeply moving final set in which the old man, previously dressed in formal jacket and tie, was shown in a hospital gown. Later Avedon wrote: At first he merely agreed to let me photograph him, but I think ...

Scary Dad

J. Robert Lennon, 10 May 2018

My Absolute Darling 
by Gabriel Tallent.
Fourth Estate, 432 pp., £12.99, August 2017, 978 0 00 818521 3
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by Fiona Mozley.
John Murray, 311 pp., £8.99, March 2018, 978 1 4736 7649 7
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... during an extended ramble through the woods, Turtle encounters a pair of young men from town, Jacob and Brett. She knows them from school; they know her as that weird girl with the scary dad. They’re lost. Turtle agrees to lead them back to town, but darkness falls, and they end up having to make camp together; in doing so, Turtle amazes them with her ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Detroit’, 21 September 2017

directed by Kathryn Bigelow.
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... North and the difficulties of race relations. The lecturing effect is mitigated by the magnificent Jacob Lawrence paintings in the background, and effectively collapses when the text asserts that ‘change was inevitable.’ One major point of the movie is how little has changed since 1967, and Bigelow has said as much in interviews. Unless of course the ...


Frank Kermode, 22 October 1992

The Jew’s Body 
by Sander Gilman.
Routledge, 303 pp., £10.99, September 1992, 0 415 90459 5
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Shylock: Four Hundred Years in the Life of a Legend 
by John Gross.
Chatto, 355 pp., £18, September 1992, 0 7011 3523 9
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Faultlines: Cultural Materialism and the Politics of Dissident Reading 
by Alan Sinfield.
Oxford, 365 pp., £27.50, September 1992, 0 19 811983 6
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... the fact that Matthew and Mark record the last words of Jesus as spoken in Aramaic, while Luke and John offer a different version, in Greek. But although Mark, followed by Matthew, offers various sayings in Aramaic he immediately translates them into Greek. The evangelists were addressing not only Gentiles but the large number of Jews whose ordinary language ...

The Other Thomas

Charles Nicholl, 8 November 2012

... The tale of the apostle Thomas is a sea unspeakably vast.’ Thus the Syriac poet Jacob of Sarugh, who lived in upper Mesopotamia in the late fifth and early sixth centuries. The words are stirring but to our ears perhaps surprising, because in the West we think we know Thomas’s ‘tale’ and its significance pretty well ...

The Powyses

D.A.N. Jones, 7 August 1980

After My Fashion 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 286 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 330 26049 9
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Weymouth Sands 
by John Cowper Powys.
Picador, 567 pp., £2.95, June 1980, 0 330 26050 2
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Recollections of the Powys Brothers 
edited by Belinda Humfrey.
Peter Owen, 288 pp., £9.95, May 1980, 0 7206 0547 4
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John Cowper Powys and David Jones: A Comparative Study 
by Jeremy Hooker.
Enitharmon, 54 pp., £3.75, April 1979, 0 901111 85 6
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The Hollowed-Out Elder Stalk 
by Roland Mathias.
Enitharmon, 158 pp., £4.85, May 1979, 0 901111 87 2
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John Cowper Powys and the Magical Quest 
by Morine Krissdottir.
Macdonald, 218 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 354 04492 3
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... B. Priestley, G. Wilson Knight, George Steiner, Angus Wilson) have been booming the name of John Cowper Powys for many years, outraged that other big guns will not join the salute. In the first number of the Powys Review, in 1977, George Steiner blamed Dr Leavis for praising Theodore Francis Powys above ...

Soldier, Saint

Stuart Airlie, 19 February 1987

William Marshal: The Flower of Chivalry 
by Georges Duby, translated by Richard Howard.
Faber, 156 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 571 13745 8
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Thomas Becket 
by Frank Barlow.
Weidenfeld, 334 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 297 78908 2
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... Most of us are familiar with Jacob Burckhardt’s thesis that the Italian Renaissance witnessed the ‘discovery of the individual’ while Medieval man’s self-consciousness simply took corporate form: ‘Man was conscious of himself only as a member of a race, a people, a party, a corporation, a family.’ This view is no longer held in its crude state, and sophisticated work by Colin Morris and other Medievalists has made a strong case for the 12th century, with its ‘Renaissance’, as the era of the discovery of individual self-consciousness ...

Don’t try this at home

Gavin Francis: Adrenaline, 29 August 2013

by Brian Hoffman.
Harvard, 298 pp., £18.95, April 2013, 978 0 674 05088 4
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... There’s a scene in Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction in which John Travolta’s character, a hitman called Vincent Vega, who has escorted his boss’s wife home after an evening out, returns from the bathroom to find her unconscious on the floor. Mia (Uma Thurman) has taken a bag of heroin from his jacket pocket and, mistaking the white powder for cocaine, snorted a line and collapsed ...

Clan Gatherings

Inigo Thomas: The Bushes, 24 April 2008

The Bush Tragedy: The Unmaking of a President 
by Jacob Weisberg.
Bloomsbury, 271 pp., £16.99, February 2008, 978 0 7475 9394 2
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... whom bought oil leases in the hope of generating an unstoppable flow of cash. In The Bush Tragedy, Jacob Weisberg shows how Bush family traits explain some of George W.’s tactics and modes of decision-making. ‘What makes the family drama unusual,’ Weisberg says, ‘is the way it played out on a national and world stage.’ But the Bushes are less of a ...

Beyond the Cringe

John Barrell: British Art, 2 June 2016

Art in Britain 1660-1815 
by David Solkin.
Yale, 367 pp., £55, October 2015, 978 0 300 21556 4
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... for its ‘gentleness and refinement’. On the other hand, the fact that so many portraits by John Opie ‘are thoroughly dull, if not frankly bad’, was owed to the fact that as the son of a carpenter ‘he had no elegance in his make-up, but was commissioned to do portraits of fashionable persons.’ Remarkable for its range as Waterhouse’s book ...


Linda Colley, 1 November 1984

The Origins of Anglo-American Radicalism 
edited by Margaret Jacob and James Jacob.
Allen and Unwin, 333 pp., £18.50, February 1984, 0 04 909015 1
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Insurrection: The British Experience 1795-1803 
by Roger Wells.
Alan Sutton, 312 pp., £16, May 1983, 9780862990190
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Radicalism and Freethought in 19th-Century Britain 
by Joel Wiener.
Greenwood, 285 pp., $29.95, March 1983, 0 313 23532 5
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For King, Constitution and Country: The English Loyalists and the French Revolution 
by Robert Dozier.
Kentucky, 213 pp., £20.90, February 1984, 9780813114903
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... piece on radical pirates after the Restoration; Wilson Hays offers an interesting study of John Everard; and there is some predictably tough and valuable political analysis from David Underdown and Nicholas Rogers. What emerges from most of these essays, however, is not so much the undoubted ideological confluence of English and American radicals, as ...

Short Cuts

Inigo Thomas: At the Ladbroke Arms, 22 February 2018

... apparent soon enough almost anywhere. The clientele of the Ladbroke Arms is mostly European – Jacob Rees-Mogg would label such people ‘economic migrants’, the term he favours for anyone from the European Union who isn’t British and who lives and works in Britain. In the Brexit lexicon, anything migrant is suspect – illegal immigration is ...

The Two Jacobs

James Meek: The Faragist Future, 1 August 2019

... will live in a nice house in the middle of London, but it won’t be his house. Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Arron Banks bought it for him. They own 10 Downing Street, and they own him. Amid a cascade of extreme events and consequences, we all tend to lose focus – not just the humble citizen but those charged with steering us through. Early in the ...

Shop Talk

John Lennard, 27 January 1994

Jargon: Its Uses and Abuses 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 214 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 9780631180630
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... allegiance of the individual talent to the collective identity of the team. In this light John Major’s cricketpersonhood is no accident, since the person who put the ‘gray’ back in Great Britain knows very well that cricket washes whiter. Nash avoids such immediately topical reference in favour of an old and valued sitting duck, Newbolt’s ...

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