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Do I like it?

Terry Castle: Outsider Art, 28 July 2011

... concise and to the point here: The term ‘outsider art’ was coined by the art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 as an English synonym for ‘art brut’ (‘raw art’ or ‘rough art’), a label created by the French artist Jean Dubuffet to describe art created outside the boundaries of official culture; Dubuffet focused particularly on art by ...

At the Hydropathic

T.J. Binyon, 6 December 1984

Agatha Christie 
by Janet Morgan.
Collins, 393 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 00 216330 6
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... In 1926 she became famous. In the spring of that year she published The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, a book based on an idea suggested to her independently by her brother-in-law and by Lord Louis Mountbatten and which certainly has claims to be the most ingenious of her novels. At 11 p.m. on Friday 3 December she came downstairs, got into her ...

Bringing it home to Uncle Willie

Frank Kermode, 6 May 1982

Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Roger Tennant.
Sheldon Press, 276 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 85969 358 9
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Edward Garnett: A Life in Literature 
by George Jefferson.
Cape, 350 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 224 01488 9
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The Edwardian Novelists 
by John Batchelor.
Duckworth, 251 pp., £18, February 1982, 0 7156 1109 7
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The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism 
by Allon White.
Routledge, 190 pp., £12, August 1981, 0 7100 0751 5
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... Three Weeks, both published in 1907, there is an enormous space, whether you estimate it by sales or by quality: but the space is not absolutely vacant. Where, along the line between Glyn and Conrad, do you place The Old Wives’ Tale? Bennett started life a ‘modernist’ and talked about Flaubert, and about Jamesian ‘doing’: yet James, at the end ...

Hugh Dalton to the rescue

Keith Thomas, 13 November 1997

The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home 
by Peter Mandler.
Yale, 523 pp., £19.95, April 1997, 0 300 06703 8
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Ancient as the Hills 
by James Lees-Milne.
Murray, 228 pp., £20, July 1997, 0 7195 5596 5
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The Fate of the English Country House 
by David Littlejohn.
Oxford, 344 pp., £20, May 1997, 9780195088762
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... countryside for the pleasures of London; it was to be found in the Spectator’s portrait of Sir Roger de Coverley; and it reached its apotheosis in Washington Irving’s account of Christmas at Bracebridge Hall in The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. (1819-20). Irving’s was the first, and by no means the last, American contribution to the ...

White Lie Number Ten

Nicholas Jose: Australia’s aboriginal sovereignty, 19 February 1998

Race Matters: Indigenous Australians and ‘Our’ Society 
edited by Gillian Cowlishaw and Barry Morris.
Aboriginal Studies Press, 295 pp., AUS $29.95, March 1998, 0 85575 294 7
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Aboriginal Sovereignty: Reflections on Race, State and Nation 
by Henry Reynolds.
Allen and Unwin, 221 pp., AUS $17.95, July 1996, 1 86373 969 6
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... Governor George Gipps, portrayed with careful scholarship and a novelist’s empathy by Roger Millis in his monumental Water-loo Creek (1992), arrived in Sydney in 1838 wielding the report of a House of Commons committee chaired by the Quaker anti-slavery campaigner and philanthropist Thomas Fowell Buxton. The report was scathing about the treatment ...

One Chapter More

Leah Price: Ectoplasm, 6 July 2000

Teller of Tales: The Life of Arthur Conan Doyle 
by Daniel Stashower.
Penguin, 472 pp., £18.99, February 2000, 0 7139 9373 1
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... And we see him bank-rolling a Psychic Bookshop and stationing his daughter at the till. Few sales were rung up. Content to repeat Conan Doyle’s own roll-calls of the SPR’s most droppable names (Alfred Russel Wallace and William James belonged, and Freud was a corresponding member), Daniel Stashower doesn’t discuss the wider impact of the ...

Jackson breaks the ice

Andrew Forge, 4 April 1991

Jackson Pollock: An American Saga 
by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith.
Barrie and Jenkins, 934 pp., £19.95, March 1990, 0 7126 3866 0
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Abstract Expressionism 
by David Anfam.
Thames and Hudson, 216 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 500 20243 5
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Night Studio: A Memoir of Philip Guston 
by Musa Mayer.
Thames and Hudson, 256 pp., £8.95, February 1991, 0 500 27633 1
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... the sad, remote father, the brothers, particularly Sande, and his wife Arloie, Reuben Kadish, Roger Wilcox, Rita Benton. They write with respect about Lee Krasner and without parti pris. My impression is that the book is written with justice. Many of their witnesses are still very much alive. The book – which in certain passages could be mistaken for a ...

On Teesside

Joanna Biggs, 21 October 2010

... be hit hard by public sector cuts. Ray Mallon, Middlesbrough’s elected mayor, has polished his sales pitch until it shines, however uncertainly. Mallon was a detective superintendent in Cleveland Police who became nationally known in the late 1990s as Robocop, when his ‘zero tolerance’ policing caught the attention of Tony Blair: he had promised to ...

I say, damn it, where are the beds?

David Trotter: Orwell’s Nose and Prose, 16 February 2017

Orwell’s Nose: A Pathological Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Reaktion, 256 pp., £15, August 2016, 978 1 78023 648 3
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Or Orwell: Writing and Democratic Socialism 
by Alex Woloch.
Harvard, 378 pp., £35.95, January 2016, 978 0 674 28248 3
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... than any particular political prescience, which have been invoked by the remarkable spike in the sales of Nineteen Eighty-Four following Kellyanne Conway’s notoriously unblushing embrace of ‘alternative facts’. Orwell didn’t foresee Trump. But if Trump were ever to find out about Orwell, he would probably tweet against him. ‘Really dumb ...

‘Our citizenship is expensive!’

Kristin Surak, 22 September 2016

TheCosmopolites: The Coming of the Global Citizen 
by Atossa Araxia Abrahamian.
Columbia Global Reports, 166 pp., £10, November 2015, 978 0 9909763 6 3
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... ringing: the opposition have just won an election and keep asking how things work. Kalin gives a sales pitch about the personal freedom, privacy and security that come with a citizenship upgrade, but he also claims that what he’s doing isn’t ‘about buying passports; it’s about self-actualising as a global citizen.’ Citizenship by investment is ...

Little Goldbug

Iain Bamforth: Tomi Ungerer, 19 July 2001

... and mores.) Four years later, when the French reclaimed Alsace, it was tit for tat: Alsatians were sales Boches. The fact that some of them had been involved in Wehrmacht atrocities in France didn’t help either. Having been dragged before the local Gestapo for speaking French with his mother, Ungerer was now told by his teachers that before presuming to ...

V.G. Kiernan on treason

V.G. Kiernan, 25 June 1987

... and work: I was invited to speak about his time at Cambridge. The conference papers, edited by Roger Bowen, have been published, and Dr Bowen has also written an appreciative biography. Japanese studies being his subject, he is well qualified to weigh up the writings on modern Japan of Herbert Norman, a missionary’s son who grew up there. Very different ...

The Tangible Page

Leah Price: Books as Things, 31 October 2002

The Book History Reader 
edited by David Finkelstein and Alistair McCleery.
Routledge, 390 pp., £17.99, November 2001, 0 415 22658 9
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Making Meaning: ‘Printers of the Mind’ and Other Essays 
by D.F. McKenzie, edited by Peter D. McDonald and Michael F. Suarez.
Massachusetts, 296 pp., £20.95, June 2002, 1 55849 336 0
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... Oxford Companion to English Literature, and the names most ubiquitous in The Book History Reader, Roger Chartier and D.F. McKenzie, can be found on none of the new Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism’s several thousand pages. Perhaps this is as it should be; to call book history a theory would be to read it against the grain. For many literary critics ...

What to call her?

Jenny Diski, 9 October 2014

... a couple of months later, in 2011, my first husband, father of my daughter, and my oldest friend, Roger. Then, during the final quarter of 2013, there were two more deaths within a month of each other, neither of them really unexpected after years of frailty, but both, Doris Lessing and her son, Peter, having attachments of some complexity to each other, to ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... of the more effective publicity stunts which the author has at his disposal. Yukio Mishima did his sales no end of good by ritually disembowelling himself in front of the world’s press cameras. In a quieter way, it is hard to see how this work could have merited print, had it not been for the interesting failures of Edwards’s life, and their presentation ...

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