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The Ultimate Socket

David Trotter: On Sylvia Townsend Warner, 23 June 2022

Lolly Willowes 
by Sylvia Townsend Warner.
Penguin, 161 pp., £9.99, October 2020, 978 0 241 45488 6
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Valentine Ackland: A Transgressive Life 
by Frances Bingham.
Handheld Press, 344 pp., £15.99, May 2021, 978 1 912766 40 6
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... including the charismatic sculptor and Bloomsbury habitué Stephen Tomlin, and the novelist David Garnett, whose publishing connections were to prove invaluable. Now in her late twenties, Warner was hungry for new experiences. In July 1922, while she was browsing in the cheap section of Whiteley’s Department Store in Bayswater, she noticed a map of the ...


Thomas Powers: Stephen Crane, 17 July 2014

Stephen Crane: A Life of Fire 
by Paul Sorrentino.
Harvard, 476 pp., £25, June 2014, 978 0 674 04953 6
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... and leading news correspondents Crane met in Cuba such as Charles Michelson, Ernest McCready and Richard Harding Davis. These are rich materials but at the same time they are incomplete and sparse. Crane was not a prolific letter-writer and he left no diaries or memoir. Further confusing matters was Crane’s first biographer, Thomas Beer, whose Stephen ...

Seeing in the Darkness

James Wood, 6 March 1997

D.H. Lawrence: Triumph To Exile 1912-22 
by Mark Kinkead-Weekes.
Cambridge, 943 pp., £25, August 1996, 0 521 25420 5
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... mimic. Everyone who met him, even those who disliked him, felt his vitality. David ‘Bunny’ Garnett noticed his ‘beautiful lively, blue eyes’, and that he was ‘very light in his movements’. He also maintained that Lawrence’s hair colour, or non-colour – it was reddish-fair – was characteristically working-class. When a young admirer called ...

Georgian eyes are smiling

Frank Kermode, 15 September 1988

Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... slow torment, at the time of these miserable letters, was Nostromo. On 3 September 1904 he tells Garnett: ‘I write you these lines just to say that Nostromo is finished; a fact upon which my friends may congratulate me as upon a recovery from a dangerous illness.’ Though eloquent on their cost, he rarely says much about his books as such, and it is ...

A Soft Pear

Tom Crewe: Totally Tourgenueff, 21 April 2022

A Nest of Gentlefolk and Other Stories 
by Ivan Turgenev, translated by Jessie Coulson.
Riverrun, 568 pp., £9.99, April 2020, 978 1 5294 0405 0
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Love and Youth: Essential Stories 
by Ivan Turgenev, translated by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater.
Pushkin, 222 pp., £12, October 2020, 978 1 78227 601 2
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... English translations, which suggests that the problem of conveying this texture is insuperable. Richard Freeborn’s decision in his translation of Fathers and Sons to have Bazarov speak a slangy American does not convince otherwise.In reading Turgenev in English we are not departing from historical precedent. The vast majority of his 19th-century ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... Dennis Potter’s sexually provocative and formally challenging Singing Detective (1986) and Richard Eyre’s film of Charles Wood’s anti-Falklands Tumbledown (1988). When a newly aggressive ITV, freed from its franchise limitations by the 1990 Act, decided to make popular drama its flagship audience puller, BBC drama was faced with an unprecedented ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... minister. I canvassed for Labour in 1964. At Private Eye, where I used to spend a lot of time, Richard Ingrams said: ‘Why don’t you compile “The Thoughts of Chairman Harold”? Just dig out the best quotes from him, and Ralph Steadman will illustrate them.’ So my first book was compiling all those wonderful anti-imperialist quotes from Wilson – I ...

The Arrestables

Jeremy Harding: Extinction Rebellion, 16 April 2020

... the right-wing think tank Policy Exchange, whose funding sources are a jealously guarded secret, Richard Walton, the retired head of counter-terrorism at the Metropolitan Police, accused XR of trying to break up ‘democracy and the British state’. In January, City of London police put XR on a list of groups said to have extremist ideologies; they were ...

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