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Charm with Menaces

Colin Burrow: ‘The Mirror and the Light’, 19 March 2020

The Mirror and the Light 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 883 pp., £25, March 2020, 978 0 00 748099 9
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... evidence to lead her through labyrinths of courtly intrigue. And she has fun on the way. Thomas Wyatt was a poet in a different league from Thomas Howard. He becomes Cromwell’s protégé, and his emergence as the chief poetic voice of the period is another thread that runs through The Mirror and the Light. Initially he is on the receiving end of jokes ...


Jeremy Harding: Syd Barrett, 2 January 2003

Madcap: The Half-Life of Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd’s Lost Genius 
by Tim Willis.
Short Books, 175 pp., £12.99, October 2002, 1 904095 24 0
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... early Pink Floyd – going on to produce a few grand creative talents in their own right. Robert Wyatt is the big survivor of the Soft Machine, a Hugo Ball at full lifespan to the band’s jaunty evocations of Dada. But there was also Daevid Allen, the founder of Gong, and Kevin Ayers, an eclectic-comic figure of some talent – in many ways the successful ...

Not Rough Enough

Tony Tanner, 19 October 1995

Bret Harte: Selected Stories and Sketches 
by David Wyatt.
Oxford, 332 pp., £5.99, February 1995, 9780192823540
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... career is a seemingly irreversible decline into neglect and oblivion: according to David Wyatt he no longer makes even a token appearance in standard anthologies of American literature. Mark Twain’s reputation, of course, has rarely been higher. Back in 1866, however, Twain declared: ‘Though I am generally placed at the head of my breed of ...

A Very Active Captain

Patrick Collinson: Henricentrism, 22 June 2006

The King’s Reformation: Henry VIII and the Remaking of the English Church 
by G.W. Bernard.
Yale, 736 pp., £29.95, November 2005, 0 300 10908 3
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Writing under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation 
by Greg Walker.
Oxford, 556 pp., £65, October 2005, 0 19 928333 8
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... were also important to the history of Tudor literature: John Heywood, Sir Thomas Elyot, Sir Thomas Wyatt, Henry Howard, ‘writers who in one way or another tried to come to terms with the experience of writing under a despotic monarch’. Walker’s strength is that he understands and engages intimately with the culture of a generation schooled in the ...
Stafford Cripps: A Political Life 
by Simon Burgess.
Gollancz, 374 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 575 06565 6
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... League and the Sikhs. This was the task, assigned to two young personal assistants, Major Woodrow Wyatt and Major John McLaughlin Short. Wyatt was an ebullient, high-living Labour MP, whose political career was to describe a long arc from the socialist Left to the Thatcherite Right. His main job was to keep open the line to ...


Elaine Feinstein, 18 April 1996

... were the kind you used to wear, and we began to see you: burly, bearded, handsome as Holbein’s Wyatt, looking into the eyes of a girl or jumping up from the brasserie table to buy truffles from a street vendor. We stayed with our children like gypsies in a barn of your wife’s family house near Aix, and you fed us beef daube, thrush pâté and wine. Long ...

A Match for Macchu Picchu

Christopher Reid, 4 June 1981

Translating Neruda: The Way to Macchu Picchu 
by John Felstiner.
Stanford, 284 pp., $18.50, December 1980, 0 8047 1079 1
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The Oxford Book of Verse in English Translation 
edited by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 608 pp., £12.95, October 1980, 0 19 214103 1
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... the family furniture. Tomlinson has had to begin from scratch, and although there are pieces, by Wyatt, Jonson and others, whose omission would have been unthinkable, each of the 600 selected poems, or passages from longer poems, represents fresh exploration and the judgment of a single scrupulous mind. Translation has always been a debatable ...

Purple Days

Mark Ford, 12 May 1994

The Pugilist at Rest 
by Thom Jones.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, March 1994, 0 571 17134 6
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The Sorrow of War 
by Bao Ninh, translated by Frank Palmos.
Secker, 217 pp., £8.99, January 1994, 0 436 31042 2
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A Good Scent from Strange Mountain 
by Robert Olen Butler.
Minerva, 249 pp., £5.99, November 1993, 0 7493 9767 5
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Out of the Sixties: Storytelling and the Vietnam Generation 
by David Wyatt.
Cambridge, 230 pp., £35, February 1994, 9780521441513
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... in Apocalypse Now mournfully observes; but one sometimes wonders. In Out of the Sixties David Wyatt argues that Vietnam remains ‘the defining thing, our war, our story’, and he compares it to an iceberg, ‘a mostly submerged history that cruises through our dreams’. Oddly though, he in the end makes very few connections between the work of his ...

Comprehending Gaddis

D.A.N. Jones, 6 March 1986

The Recognitions 
by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 956 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 007768 5
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by William Gaddis.
Penguin, 726 pp., £7.95, January 1986, 0 14 008039 2
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Carpenter’s Gothic 
by William Gaddis.
Deutsch, 262 pp., £8.95, February 1986, 0 233 97932 8
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... whoring after strange gods, ending up as a Mithraist in New England. In the 19th chapter, his son, Wyatt Gwyon, is hiding in Latin Europe, dodging American law-men, since he has become a forger of old paintings. Wyatt Gwyon’s protector is an American with a Rumanian passport, calling himself Mr Yak: he fixes ...

Cod on Ice

Andy Beckett: The BBC, 10 July 2003

Panorama: Fifty Years of Pride And Paranoia 
by Richard Lindley.
Politico’s, 404 pp., £18.99, September 2002, 1 902301 80 3
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The Harder Path: The Autobiography 
by John Birt.
Time Warner, 532 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 316 86019 0
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... BBC’s usual conventions of ‘impartial’ news reporting – and treated like stars. Woodrow Wyatt was the first. When he was hired in 1955, he had already been a successful print journalist and a Labour junior minister, and had an opinion of himself to match. To look at, he was well-fed rather than youthful and dashing, but the architects of Panorama ...

Dangerous Play

Mike Selvey, 23 May 1985

Gubby Allen: Man of Cricket 
by E.W. Swanton.
Hutchinson, 311 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 09 159780 3
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Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack: 1985 
edited by John Woodcock.
Wisden, 1280 pp., £11.95, April 1985, 0 947766 00 6
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... head and went for four.’ Fair makes your hair curl, doesn’t it? These are the words of R.E.S. Wyatt, in his book Three Straight Sticks, and they refer to the bowling of Constantine, the West Indian, in England in 1928, four years before the Bodyline Tour. Wyatt was to become Jardine’s Vice-Captain in Australia, while ...

Out of the Eater

Jeremy Noel-Tod: Thom Gunn, 6 July 2000

Boss Cupid 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 115 pp., £7.99, March 2000, 0 571 20298 5
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... often lyrical, and often sententious. The term is not necessarily pejorative; it applies to Thomas Wyatt, for instance, whose exemplary plainness in despair – ‘In slumbers oft for fear I quake,/For heat and cold I burn and shake,/For lack of sleep my head doth ache’ – informs ‘The Man with Night Sweats’, one of Gunn’s best poems: I wake up ...

How to Twist a Knife

Colin Burrow: Wolf Hall, 30 April 2009

Wolf Hall 
by Hilary Mantel.
Fourth Estate, 653 pp., April 2009, 978 0 00 723018 1
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... as well as in the process of recording. So, to take one of umpteen examples, the papers of the Wyatt family record that when Sir Henry Wyatt, father of the poet Sir Thomas Wyatt, was imprisoned in the Tower by Richard III he was fed by a cat which brought him a dead pigeon. In Wolf ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper, 22 March 2012

Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... warrant none, is actually a bit of a relief played against Fonda’s beatific and self-righteous Wyatt (think Earp), a.k.a. Captain America. But Billy’s meanness and scariness are startling. It’s possible to argue that it’s what redeems the otherwise self-indulgent film. Billy and Wyatt were never going to change the ...

Praise Yah

Eliot Weinberger: The Psalms, 24 January 2008

The Book of Psalms: A Translation with Commentary 
by Robert Alter.
Norton, 518 pp., £22, October 2007, 978 0 393 06226 7
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... texts, and over the centuries an assembly of angels has been singing the Psalms in its own way: Wyatt, Sidney, the Countess of Pembroke, Campion, Milton, Crashaw, Vaughan, Smart, Clare, Hopkins and Kipling among them. Some were setting lyrics to new tunes; some were performing metrical exercises with familiar material; some were expressing private ...

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