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Good Things: Pederasty and Jazz and Opium and Research

Lawrence Rainey: Mary Butts, 16 July 1998

Mary Butts: Scenes from the Life 
by Nathalie Blondel.
McPherson, 539 pp., £22.50, February 1998, 0 929701 55 0
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The Taverner Novels: ‘Armed with Madness’, ‘Death of Felicity Taverner’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 18 6
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The Classical Novels: ‘The Macedonian’, ‘Scenes from the Life of Cleopatra’ 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 384 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 929701 42 9
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‘Ashe of Rings’ and Other Writings 
by Mary Butts.
McPherson, 374 pp., £18.50, March 1998, 0 929701 53 4
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... Lewis, Ford Madox Ford and, during a brief period when she moved on the fringes of Bloomsbury, Roger Fry. Butts registers their comments, advice and obiter dicta. (Plans have now been announced for a published edition of the diaries, the most important unpublished memoir of the period that I have seen.) In 1918 Butts noted: ‘What we want is a new way of ...

Another A.N. Wilson

Michael Irwin, 3 December 1981

Who was Oswald Fish? 
by A.N. Wilson.
Secker, 314 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 436 57606 6
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... To explain exactly what the author was up to would be equivalent to identifying the murderer of Roger Ackroyd. Honour will be satisfied if he indicates in the most general terms the sort of thing the novelist might be attempting and makes a few knowing comments about particular devices or references that he thinks he has penetrated. Thus it comes about that ...


Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens, 7 February 2013

Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... well established by the early 18th century. Addison and Steele had their loveable curmudgeon Sir Roger de Coverley harrumph that he would be a better customer if Vauxhall offered more nightingales and fewer strumpets. A Virginian gentleman called William Byrd was matter of fact about the amenities in June 1718: We went to Spring Gardens where we picked up ...


Rahmane Idrissa: In Mali, 2 July 2020

... that required armed intervention. The stories told by the griots praised the kings for the wells they had dug and the food they distributed after poor harvests. The 17th-century Timbuktu chronicles tell us that they encouraged markets, organised workers and backed improvements to rice cultivation introduced by Jewish farmers near Timbuktu. My textbooks ...

With What Joy We Write of the New Russian Government

Ferdinand Mount: Arthur Ransome, 24 September 2009

The Last Englishman: The Double Life of Arthur Ransome 
by Roland Chambers.
Faber, 390 pp., £20, August 2009, 978 0 571 22261 2
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... of children’s literature seemed unassailable. The latest adventures of John, Susan, Titty and Roger could safely be placed in the hands of the most impressionable child, and placed they were by wholesome parents every Christmas holidays between 1930 and 1943: Swallows and Amazons, Coot Club, We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea, every one a bestseller to be ...

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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... unbreathable. But he kept up – by letter – with his old Fabian intimates, the Webbs and Wells, and had a joky intimacy with persons as diverse as Lady Astor, Virginia Woolf and the heavyweight champion Gene Tunney. He was sporadically in touch, affectionate and censorious, with Mrs Patrick Campbell, and kept a kindness for scapegraces such as Lord ...

Damn all

Scott Malcomson, 23 September 1993

Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America 
by Robert Hughes.
Oxford, 224 pp., £12.95, June 1993, 0 19 507676 1
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... in Nothing if not Critical (1990), he deplores the neglect of English art, blaming (among others) Roger Fry, who, with Clive Bell, ‘made it just fine to despise new English art in the name of the French avant-garde’: for them ‘any imitation of the Ecole de Paris, however pallid’ was preferable ‘to anything else, however strong’. In another ...

From Lying to Leering

Rebecca Solnit: Penis Power, 19 January 2017

... about his decades-long sexual harassment, degradation and exploitation of his female employees, Roger Ailes became Trump’s debate coach, though they soon fell out – some reports said Ailes was frustrated by Trump’s inability to concentrate. The Fox anchor Andrea Tantaros claimed that under Ailes, Fox was ‘a sex-fuelled, Playboy Mansion-like ...

Stupid Questions

Laleh Khalili: Battlefield to Boardroom, 24 February 2022

Risk: A User’s Guide 
by Stanley McChrystal and Anna Butrico.
Penguin, 343 pp., £20, October 2021, 978 0 241 48192 9
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... communist. I hadn’t known that this was McChrystal’s idea. He also told his officers to read Roger Trinquier’s Modern Warfare, a French counterinsurgency handbook designed for use in Algeria and famous for its advocacy of torture.McChrystal followed his memoir with three business self-help manuals, published at three-year intervals and copyrighted to ...

A Reparation of Her Choosing

Jenny Diski: Among the Sufis, 17 December 2015

... all here on borrowed time, waiting for the penny to drop. Shah set up groups and organisations and Roger, our small daughter and I often spent a Saturday or Sunday first in his house in a leafy village not too far from London and then at Langton House near Tunbridge Wells, another suburb of perfect respectability. The house ...

Best Remain Seated

Jeremy Harding: Travel guides, 1 January 1998

by Hugh Finlay and Geoff Crowther.
Lonely Planet, 376 pp., £11.99, April 1997, 0 86442 460 4
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by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 632 pp., £13.95, December 1995, 1 56952 026 7
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Asia's Top Dive Sites 
edited by Fiona Nichols and Michael Stachels.
Fielding, 228 pp., £13.95, December 1996, 1 56952 129 8
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Jon Murray et al.
Lonely Planet, 658 pp., £13.99, January 1998, 0 86442 508 2
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Southern Africa 
by Richard Cox.
Thornton Cox, 474 pp., £11.95, July 1995, 0 7818 0388 8
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The World's Most Dangerous Places 
by Robert Pelton Young.
Fielding, 1048 pp., £13.95, December 1997, 1 56952 104 2
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South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland 
by Barbara McCrea et al.
Rough Guides, 697 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85828 238 1
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The Good Honeymoon Guide 
by Lucy Horne.
Trailblazer, 320 pp., £11.95, March 1997, 1 873756 12 7
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Amnesty International Report 1997 
Amnesty International, 378 pp., £18, June 1997, 0 86210 267 7Show More
by Barnaby Rogerson.
Cadogan, 596 pp., £12.99, December 1997, 1 86011 043 6
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... parrying acute hunger (lotus berries, mustard shoots, radish leaves) and extreme thirst (streams, wells and rainwater tanks). On the eighth day, he wrote, ‘I was consumed with thirst and I had no water at all.’ He searched a ruined village for a tank of rainwater but had no luck. Further along the road he came upon a well with a rope but ‘no vessel on ...

Rescuing the bishops

Blair Worden, 21 April 1983

The Religion of Protestants: The Church in English Society 1559-1625 
by Patrick Collinson.
Oxford, 297 pp., £17.50, January 1983, 0 19 822685 3
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Reactions to the English Civil War 1642-1649 
by John Morrill.
Macmillan, 257 pp., £14, November 1982, 0 333 27565 9
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The World of the Muggletonians 
by Christopher Hill, Barry Reay and William Lamont.
Temple Smith, 195 pp., £12.50, February 1983, 0 85117 226 1
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The Life of John Milton 
by A.N. Wilson.
Oxford, 278 pp., £9.95, January 1983, 0 19 211776 9
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Complete Prose Works of John Milton. Vol. 8: 1666-1682 
edited by Maurice Kelley.
Yale, 625 pp., £55, January 1983, 0 300 02561 0
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The Poet’s Time: Politics and Religion in the Works of Andrew Marvell 
by Warren Chernaik.
Cambridge, 249 pp., £19.50, February 1983, 9780521247733
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... of the conflict, but by the time Anthony Fletcher has guided us round the counties of England, and Roger Howell round the towns, we must wonder whether any generalisations about local allegiances can ever be made again. Donald Pennington describes the burdens and the dislocation brought by the fighting, Robert Ashton the scant respect shown by Parliament for ...

Real Busters

Tom Crewe: Sickert Grows Up, 18 August 2022

Walter Sickert 
Tate Britain, until 18 September 2022Show More
Walter Sickert: The Theatre of Life 
edited by Matthew Travers.
Piano Nobile, 184 pp., £60, October 2021, 978 1 901192 59 9
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Sickert: A Life in Art 
by Charlotte Keenan McDonald.
National Museums Liverpool, 104 pp., £14.99, September 2021, 978 1 902700 63 2
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... up or across their bodies, catching on a knee or a breast or darting off the bed frame, and which wells darkly in and spills brightly over the deep creases of a sheet. ‘The object of illumination is to reveal form,’ Sickert said, and the human form was fundamental. Indeed, it seemed to him that ‘perhaps the chief source of pleasure in the aspect of a ...


Stefan Collini: Edmund Wilson, 17 November 2005

Edmund Wilson: A Life in Literature 
by Lewis Dabney.
Farrar, Straus, 642 pp., £35, August 2005, 0 374 11312 2
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... to putting things into categories’. This required a constant responsiveness sustained by deep wells of intellectual energy. Part of Wilson’s subsequent standing, and much of his status as a fantasy object, is due to the stamina he displayed in fulfilling his regular reviewing duties. The sheer miscellaneousness of what he covered has its own ...

The Dark Side of Brazilian Conviviality

Perry Anderson, 24 November 1994

... in the world at large, came to the Faculty in São Paulo: Lévi-Strauss, Braudel, Pierre Monbeig, Roger Bastide, Claude Lefort, Michel Foucault. The deepest local imprint was left in philosophy, where a set of outstanding instructors trained a generation of thinkers, vividly memorialised in a recent work by Paulo Eduardo Arantes as Um Departamento Francês de ...

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