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What about the aeroplanes?

Gillian Beer, 23 April 1987

The Essays of Virginia Woolf: Vol. 1 1904-1912 
edited by Andrew McNeillie.
Hogarth, 411 pp., £20, November 1986, 0 7012 0666 7
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The Interrupted Moment: A View of Virginia Woolf’s Novels 
by Lucio Ruotolo.
Stanford, 262 pp., $29.50, November 1986, 0 8047 1342 1
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Virginia Woolf and the Real World 
by Alex Zwerdling.
California, 370 pp., £24.95, October 1986, 0 520 05684 1
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... the thoughts of Woolf’s characters, rhyme affords a comforting narcissism and seems often to mark the threshold of the unconscious as it emerges into language. Ruotolo, despite the sensitivity of his reading, avoids all such dangerous junctures. What is ‘the real world’? Can it include everything? Can it, in particular, include the remote past or the ...

The Wrong Stuff

Christopher Hitchens, 1 April 1983

The Purple Decades 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 396 pp., £8.95, March 1983, 0 224 02944 4
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... its glass of fashion and its mould of form – was attained by Wolfe himself when he attended Leonard Bernstein’s never-to-be-forgotten cocktail party for the Black Panthers. ‘Radical Chic’ has passed so far into the Anglo-American argot that it may be futile, 13 years later, to attempt to expose it. For one thing, it was so nearly right. Everybody ...

One Night in Maidenhead

Jean McNicol, 30 October 1997

Noel Coward and Radclyffe Hall: Kindred Spirits 
by Terry Castle.
Columbia, 150 pp., £15.95, November 1996, 0 231 10596 7
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Your John: The Love Letters of Radclyffe Hall 
edited by Joanne Glasgow.
New York, 273 pp., £20, March 1997, 0 8147 3092 2
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Radclyffe Hall: A Woman Called John 
by Sally Cline.
Murray, 434 pp., £25, June 1997, 9780719554087
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... immediately to the Bible which ‘fell open near the beginning. She read: “And the Lord set a mark upon Cain.” ’ The scar on Stephen’s face (the result of a wartime wound), which becomes livid at times of stress, functions as that mark. Despite Hall’s attempts to court the sympathy of heterosexuals by writing ...

The Style It Takes

Mark Ford: John Cale, 16 September 1999

What’s Welsh for Zen? The Autobiography of John Cale 
by Victor Bockris.
Bloomsbury, 272 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 7475 3668 6
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... covers of ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ (ever-present in Cale’s repertoire since the Seventies) and Leonard Cohen’s extraordinary ‘Hallelujah’. But his performance of roughly the same songlist at the Royal Festival Hall earlier this year, accompanied by two other musicians, was even better. Given the abuses detailed in What’s Welsh for Zen? (abuses he ...

At the British Museum

Peter Campbell: American Prints, 8 May 2008

... or plate than when you scratch away at a copper plate. Wherever lithographic chalk or ink leaves a mark on the stone, ink will stick and be transferred to the print; some processes add strength or regularity to drawn lines. Lithography may discourage fumbling, but essentially the plate gives back what it is given. Bellows’s Dance in a Madhouse, although it ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... Ronnie Kray, performance artist and comedian of terror, was beginning to lose his audience. Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read’s weasels were infecting the landscape with rumours: all the creeping, ugly dream-things the Twins had always vigorously suppressed were daring to emerge by daylight. The aura of magical protection that encircled these backlands, the ...

Whose Greece?

Martin Bernal, 12 December 1996

Not Out of Africa: How Afrocentrism Became an Excuse to Teach Myth as History 
by Mary Lefkowitz.
Basic Books, 222 pp., $24, February 1996, 0 465 09837 1
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Black Athena Revisited 
edited by Mary Lefkowitz and Guy MacLean Rogers.
North Carolina, 544 pp., £14.75, September 1996, 0 8078 2246 9
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... to a number of intellectual positions, ranging from ‘All good things come from Africa’ or, as Leonard Jeffries, the outspoken professor of African Studies at City University in New York, put it, ‘Africa creates, Europe imitates,’ to the many who merely maintain that Africans, or peoples of African descent, have made significant contributions to world ...

Thinking Persons

John Ellis, 14 May 1992

Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... literary critics think that they either could of should follow in such ugly footsteps? Leonard Jackson begins his The Poverty of Structuralism with the bald statement: ‘Modern literary theory is very strange.’ Indeed it is, but it is easier to see this than to pin down just how and why it is strange. In Addressing Frank Kermode Kermode prefers ...

Glasgow über Alles

Julian Loose, 8 July 1993

Swing Hammer Swing! 
by Jeff Torrington.
Secker, 416 pp., £8.99, August 1992, 0 436 53120 8
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Looking for the Possible Dance 
by A.L. Kennedy.
Secker, 254 pp., £7.99, February 1993, 0 436 23321 5
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The Lights Below 
by Carl MacDougall.
Secker, 254 pp., £7.99, February 1993, 9780436270796
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... such as Polygon and Canongate, writers like Alasdair Gray, Agnes Owens, Thomas Healy, Tom Leonard, James Kelman and Janice Galloway have found the city a congenial location for their life and work, and their success is encouraging others. Of course, Glasgow has always had its writers. Torrington’s late Sixties hero is himself a working-class ...

Ruined by men

Anthony Thwaite, 1 September 1988

The Truth about Lorin Jones 
by Alison Lurie.
Joseph, 294 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 7181 3095 2
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Latecomers 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 248 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 224 02554 6
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Where the rivers meet 
by John Wain.
Hutchinson, 563 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 9780091736170
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About the Body 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 193 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 0 436 09784 2
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Stories 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 312 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 670 82113 6
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... a minor character, is a marvellous one, one of those dubious people who effortlessly make their mark and hold people in thrall, producing Comus at Oxford and then swiftly going up the mummers’ ladder (‘Then he got a part in a film on Channel Four. The part was small, but at one point he was required to take off his shirt’). At times I felt I was ...

Strenuously Modern

Rosemary Hill: At Home with the Stracheys, 3 March 2005

Bombay to Bloomsbury: A Biography of the Strachey Family 
by Barbara Caine.
Oxford, 488 pp., £25, February 2005, 0 19 925034 0
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... For nearly three generations, from the high-water mark of the Victorian age to the eve of the Second World War, the Stracheys were prominent in English life. Noted for their intellect and their boisterousness in argument, and characterised, in most cases, by long limbs and large spectacles, they struck Leonard Woolf as ‘much the most remarkable family I have ever known ...

Grey Eminence

Edward Said, 5 March 1981

Walter Lippmann and the American Century 
by Ronald Steel.
Bodley Head, 669 pp., £8.95, February 1981, 0 370 30376 8
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... its European counterparts, with rare skill; compared to the recent The American Establishment by Leonard and Mark Silk, Steel’s portrait is far more effective precisely because, like Lippmann himself, Steel understands that what matters is how it is animated, what a master of its contradictions and conjunctures can ...

Secret-Keeping

Rosemarie Bodenheimer: Elizabeth Gaskell, 16 August 2007

The Works of Elizabeth Gaskell 
edited by Joanne Shattock et al.
Pickering & Chatto, 4716 pp., £900, May 2006, 9781851967773
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... Pickering and Chatto edition of the complete works of Elizabeth Gaskell arrived just in time to mark a century since the publication of the previous standard text, A.W. Ward’s Knutsford Edition of 1906. In the meantime, Gaskell has been transformed from a charming woman who wrote wry nostalgic sketches to a major figure in Victorian studies. Raymond ...

Respectful Perversion

John Pemble: Gilbert and Sullivan, 16 June 2011

Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody 
by Carolyn Williams.
Columbia, 454 pp., £24, January 2011, 978 0 231 14804 7
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... to believe that a lord chancellor in love with a fairy can be anything but ridiculous,’ he told Leonard Woolf; ‘but one goes, and when the moment comes, it’s simply great … I should like to go every night, for the comedy and wit is as enthralling as the tragedy.’ Strachey wasn’t far wrong, either. What even Victorians regarded as Victoriana at its ...

Dark Strangers, Gorgeous Slums

Philip Horne, 16 March 1989

Off the Rails: Memoirs of a Train Addict 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Bloomsbury, 193 pp., £12.95, January 1989, 0 7475 0011 8
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The Marble Mountain, and Other Stories 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 126 pp., £10.95, January 1989, 9780224025973
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The Bathroom 
by Jean-Philippe Toussaint, translated by Barbara Bray.
Boyars, 125 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 7145 2880 3
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Motherland 
by Timothy O’Grady.
Chatto, 230 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 7011 3341 4
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A Lesser Dependency 
by Peter Benson.
Macmillan, 146 pp., £11.95, February 1989, 0 333 49093 2
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... a flash, I’d launch the dart at the board. This is only apparent ‘relaxation’, though, the mark of an obsessional state, and, irrationally, when Edmondsson tries to distract him from his darts and get him to return to Paris, ‘I hurled a dart at her with all my might and it stuck in her forehead.’ He is much distressed at his (not fatal) act, which ...

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