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Diary

Patrick Hughes: What do artists do?, 24 July 1986

... from the finish, on Saturday 13 September. I have set my heart on a banner stretched above her lane. Six months ago I stopped drinking. I never did drink during the day, or drink spirits; I drank spritzers. I could easily drink two bottles of wine an evening. There were small physical things: I had some numbness in my ankles for three years – the doctors ...

23153.8; 19897.7; 15635

Adam Smyth: The Stationers’ Company, 27 August 2015

The Stationers’ Company and The Printers of London: 1501-57 
by Peter Blayney.
Cambridge, 2 vols, 1238 pp., £150, November 2013, 978 1 107 03501 0
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... at the cistern house of the Fleet River; on a weekday morning now, the glass and chrome of Shoe Lane is full of suited twentysomethings. A few minutes’ walk up Fleet Street brings you to Number 188, to the west of St Dunstan’s Church, opposite Ye Olde Cock Tavern, and in an echo of Peter Blayney’s central themes (the business of books, and the ...

With Slip and Slapdash

Frank Kermode: Auden’s Prose, 7 February 2008

The Complete Works of W.H. Auden. Vol. III: Prose, 1949-55 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Princeton, 779 pp., £29.95, December 2007, 978 0 691 13326 3
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... but by the law.’ He always had gurus – Gerald Heard, Charles Williams, Georg Groddeck, Homer Lane. Some quietly faded away, but with a few he enjoyed an enduring sympathy: Forster and Virginia Woolf, for instance, and Eliot, with the respect due to the publisher of his first book of poems, but staying well short of idolatry. Such connections ensured that ...

Ladies and Gentlemen

Patricia Beer, 6 May 1982

The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West 1911-17 
by Jane Marcus.
Macmillan, 340 pp., £9.95, April 1982, 0 333 25589 5
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The Harsh Voice 
by Rebecca West, introduced by Alexandra Pringle.
Virago, 250 pp., £2.95, February 1982, 0 86068 249 8
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The Meaning of Treason 
by Rebecca West.
Virago, 439 pp., £3.95, February 1982, 0 86068 256 0
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1990 
by Rebecca West.
Weidenfeld, 190 pp., £10, February 1982, 9780297779636
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... stylistic tropes and flourishes, moreover, which today would have her travelling on the fast lane to Pseuds’ Corner, were in that more exuberant age perfectly acceptable as sober comment. H.G. Wells liked Rebecca West’s The Harsh Voice, which appeared in 1935. This would not be at all surprising – the four short novels of which it is composed were ...

Here come the judges

Conor Gearty: The constitution, 4 June 1998

This Time: Our Constitutional Revolution 
by Anthony Barnett.
Vintage, 371 pp., £6.99, December 1997, 0 09 926858 2
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The Voice of the People: A Constitution for Tomorrow 
by Robert Alexander.
Weidenfeld, 214 pp., £17.99, September 1997, 0 297 84109 2
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The Making and Remaking of the British Constitution 
by Lord Nolan and Stephen Sedley.
Blackstone, 142 pp., £19.95, November 1997, 1 85431 704 0
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... carry the People in their rucksacks. Primus inter people is the founding director of Charter 88, Anthony Barnett, whose book attempts to recapture for his constitutionalist tendency the drama of ‘our constitutional revolution’: ‘“we the people” – to use a long-coined phrase that may finally become currency in Britain – have changed, especially ...

Hoist that dollymop’s sail

John Sutherland: New Victorian Novels, 31 October 2002

Fingersmith 
by Sarah Waters.
Virago, 549 pp., £12.99, February 2002, 1 86049 882 5
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The Crimson Petal and the White 
by Michel Faber.
Canongate, 838 pp., £17.99, October 2002, 1 84195 323 7
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... dark, as the nearest street-lamp is half a dozen houses away. The cobbled paving of Church Lane is no longer white with snow, the sleet has left great gobs and trails of slush, like monstrous spills of semen, glowing in the gas-light. All else is black.’ This broad-brush work, using the favourite colours on Faber’s palette (dark phlegm and pale ...

To Be Worth Forty Shillings

Jonah Miller: Early Modern Inequality, 2 February 2017

Accounting for Oneself: Worth, Status and the Social Order in Early Modern England 
by Alexandra Shepard.
Oxford, 357 pp., £65, February 2015, 978 0 19 960079 3
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... the courts. While ‘comming out of the church’ in Hunstanworth (Co. Durham), Roger Doon denied Anthony Ratcliff’s accusation that he was a thief. ‘Although ye be a gent., and I a poore man, my honestye shalbe as good as yours.’ Ratcliff was horrified: ‘What saith thou? Liknes thou thy honestye to myn?’ He ‘lyftyd up his hand at Doon’, but ...

‘A Being full of Witching’

Charles Nicholl: The ‘poor half-harlot’ of Hazlitt’s affections, 18 May 2000

... of Micaiah Walker, tailor, and his wife Martha, née Hilditch. The family was of Dorset origin: Anthony Walker, Sarah’s grandfather, was born in Lyme Regis. In religion they were Nonconformists. In 1816, they moved into a large, rambling and probably rather scruffy house, 9 Southampton Buildings, between Chancery ...

Isle of Dogs

Iain Sinclair, 10 May 1990

Pit Bull 
by Scott Ely.
Penguin, 218 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 14 012033 5
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... that pull the community together, like doodlebug yarns in wartime. The Cypriot tailor in Dalston Lane, who still operates in the jaunty ambience that sent the Krays sailing to their fate in schmutter that made them look like Romanian secret policemen dressed for a perpetual wedding, recalls the incident in a decommissioned shop guarded by a pit ...

Lucky Boy

Kevin Kopelson, 3 April 1997

Shine 
directed by Scott Hicks.
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Shine: The Screenplay 
by Jan Sardi.
Bloomsbury, 176 pp., £7.99, January 1997, 0 7475 3173 0
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The Book of David 
by Beverley Eley.
HarperCollins, 285 pp., £8.99, March 1997, 0 207 19105 0
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Love You to Bits and Pieces: Life with David Helfgott 
by Gillian Helfgott, with Alissa Tanskaya.
Penguin, 337 pp., £6.99, January 1997, 0 14 026546 5
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... limitations but sympathise with his condition. Who wouldn’t ‘wish him well’, as the critic Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times did? And who, if only in fantasy, couldn’t identify with him? Rain Man meets Rocky, to play with Juilliard parlance. (Conservatory pianists used to call Rachmaninov’s Third Rocky III. David, according to Gillian, calls ...

Diary

Inigo Thomas: My Father, Hugh Thomas, 15 June 2017

... Hill is green, wooded and unrecognisable – the chimney of the kiln on what would become Pottery Lane is the only identifiable landmark. The studio of the photographer played by David Hemmings in Antonioni’s Blow-Up is on Pottery Lane. The Grove sweeps down into Notting Dale, and passes several of the large communal ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine, 3 December 1981

The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... is unsigned. Is this sinister machination, or merely a proofreader’s oversight? The second is Anthony Blunt’s account of Tomas Harris, whom he describes as ‘artist, art dealer and intelligence officer’. What wistful, envious or remorseful sense of irony prompted Blunt to remark that Harris perpetrated ‘the most successful doublecross operation of ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare, 4 October 2007

Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... of Shakespeare’s Wife, I can’t imagine that any biographer will ever again dare suggest (as Anthony Holden recently has) that Ann was ‘a homely wench’ who may have ‘set out to catch herself a much younger husband by seducing him’, or that Shakespeare married her only because she became pregnant after ‘a careless roll in the hay of a summer ...

Knobs, Dots and Grooves

Peter Campbell: Henry Moore, 8 August 2002

Henry Moore: Writings and Conversations 
edited by Alan Wilkinson.
Lund Humphries, 320 pp., £35, February 2002, 0 85331 847 6
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The Penguin Modern Painters: A History 
by Carol Peaker.
Penguin Collectors’ Society, 124 pp., £15, August 2001, 0 9527401 4 1
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... now for Moore to fight shy of being a war artist. War artists’ art, like the war novels of Anthony Powell and Evelyn Waugh, was stronger on boredom, home-front detail and character than adventure and horror. Nobody expected a Guernica – or if they did they didn’t get one. No Goya or Otto Dix emerged – the drawings Ronald Searle made in a Japanese ...

Whatever you do, buy

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s First Folio, 15 November 2001

The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book Vol. I: An Account of the First Folio Based on Its Sales and Prices, 1623-2000 
by Anthony James West.
Oxford, 215 pp., £70, April 2001, 0 19 818769 6
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... awkwardly assembled and unevenly printed volume has commanded which preoccupy the first volume of Anthony James West’s The Shakespeare First Folio: The History of the Book, and they provide a very remarkable instance of the interplay between literature and the market, prompting all sorts of reflections on the curious relations between cultural capital and ...

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