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John Kerrigan, 13 October 1988

Archaic Figure 
by Amy Clampitt.
Faber, 113 pp., £4.95, February 1988, 0 571 15043 8
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by Grevel Lindop.
Carcanet, 95 pp., £6.95, July 1987, 0 85635 697 2
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Sleeping rough 
by Charles Boyle.
Carcanet, 64 pp., £5.95, November 1987, 0 85635 731 6
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This Other Life 
by Peter Robinson.
Carcanet, 96 pp., £5.95, April 1988, 0 85635 737 5
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In the Hot-House 
by Alan Jenkins.
Chatto, 60 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3312 0
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Monterey Cypress 
by Lachlan Mackinnon.
Chatto, 62 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3264 7
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My Darling Camel 
by Selima Hill.
Chatto, 64 pp., £4.95, May 1988, 0 7011 3286 8
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The Air Mines of Mistila 
by Philip Gross and Sylvia Kantaris.
Bloodaxe, 80 pp., £4.95, June 1988, 1 85224 055 5
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by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 131 pp., £6.95, April 1988, 0 19 281987 9
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The Arkansas Testament 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 117 pp., £3.95, March 1988, 9780571149094
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... that move, figures of return. After contriving rites of passage modelled on the ceremonies of Arnold Van Gennep in his first trilogy The Arrivants, Brathwaite has set out, in his second – beginning with Mother Poem (1977) and Sun Poem (1982) – to demonstrate the ubiquitousness of empire, and to bring out the neglected role of blacks in governing as ...

Tennyson’s Text

Danny Karlin, 12 November 1987

The Poems of Tennyson 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Longman, 662 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 582 49239 4
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Tennyson’s ‘Maud’: A Definitive Edition 
edited by Susan Shatto.
Athlone, 296 pp., £28, August 1986, 0 485 11294 9
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The Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson. Vol.2: 1851-1870 
edited by Cecil Lang and Edgar Shannon.
Oxford, 585 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 19 812691 3
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The New Oxford Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 654 pp., £15.95, June 1987, 0 19 214154 6
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... both ‘The Gardener’s Daughter’ and ‘Audley Court’, ‘The snoring funnel whizzed with silver steam,’ has nothing inexact about it. Like Browning’s desert-crossing in ‘Sordello’ (‘Each camel churns a sick and frothy chap’), it is comic precisely because it combines sharpness of observation with the perfection of a manner. Browning might ...

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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... was often self-deprecating. John Carey, who wants all writers to be nice (ideally, as decent as Arnold Bennett), wrote a book about the nastiness of various modern writers called The Intellectuals and the Masses. In it Lawrence is scolded for his ‘fascism’, his ecstasies of annihilation. Carey plucks a sentence from a letter written in 1915 to Ottoline ...

Touching and Being Touched

John Kerrigan: Valentine Cunningham, 19 September 2002

Reading after Theory 
by Valentine Cunningham.
Blackwell, 194 pp., £45, December 2001, 0 631 22167 0
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... There is diagnostic touch (as in medicine); touch as the touchstone that is rubbed against gold or silver to measure its fineness (a term appropriated by Arnold to describe how verses of proven quality can be used to gauge the relative merit of literary works), and touch as the tester’s mark, his or her seal of ...

Aubade before Breakfast

Tom Crewe: Balfour and the Souls, 31 March 2016

Balfour’s World: Aristocracy and Political Culture at the Fin de Siècle 
by Nancy Ellenberger.
Boydell, 414 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 1 78327 037 8
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... everyone else trying to guess the identity of the deceased. A premium was placed on quick-fire, silver-tongued brilliance. Not everyone, apparently, was able to keep up: Wilfrid Scawen Blunt found Henry James distinctly heavy in conversation and for a man who writes so lightly and well it is amazing how dull-witted he is. This is not only that he had no ...

A Short History of the Trump Family

Sidney Blumenthal: The First Family, 16 February 2017

... many, many billions of dollars,’ he lied during one of the presidential debates. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he insists that he has pulled himself up by his bootstraps. But, as well as staking him to launch his real-estate career, when the Taj was sinking like Donald’s own private Titanic, Fred Trump rushed to the casino to buy $3.35 million ...


Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... a vision.25 September. The Bradford Telegraph and Argus rings at about 10.30 to say that Jonathan Silver has died. I last spoke to him in July, when he rang to say that I had been much in his mind since he was now wholly at the mercy of his doctors and so was feeling like George III. Some of their procedures (a baseball cap filled with ice worn for some hours ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... and Hollywood played a big part in putting British ‘social consciousness’ drama on the silver screen (The Citadel, the first of Cronin’s novels to be filmed, was an MGM production of 1938; How Green Was My Valley a Darryl F. Zanuck film of 1941). But there was good reason why this narrative should have a special resonance in Britain. The country ...

Dazed and Confused

Paul Laity: Are the English human?, 28 November 2002

Patriots: National Identity in Britain 1940-2000 
by Richard Weight.
Macmillan, 866 pp., £25, May 2002, 0 333 73462 9
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Pariah: Misfortunes of the British Kingdom 
by Tom Nairn.
Verso, 176 pp., £13, September 2002, 1 85984 657 2
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Identity of England 
by Robert Colls.
Oxford, 422 pp., £25, October 2002, 0 19 924519 3
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Chatto, 518 pp., £25, October 2002, 1 85619 716 6
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... unity’ were still binding. Remarkably, the villagers of Shilton in Oxfordshire celebrated the Silver Jubilee by gathering at their church under ‘two huge, flaming crosses’ (they then said prayers for the nation, before trooping down to the village pond to sing ‘Land of Hope and Glory’). Thatcher, a couple of years later, talked of the country ...

The Suitcase: Part Two

Frances Stonor Saunders, 13 August 2020

... gaze was Homerically expansive, even taking in the claim, as the anthropologist Bettina Arnold describes it, that the ancient Greeks were actually Germans ‘who had survived a northern natural catastrophe and evolved a highly developed culture in southern contexts’ – a preposterous fantasy, but worth pursuing for archaeologists who coveted ...

Into the Underworld

Iain Sinclair: The Hackney Underworld, 22 January 2015

... and vanished from the story, leaving him to his drills and shovels. Lyttle posed in the rubble, silver hair combed, neat in open-necked shirt and faded trenchcoat. ‘Artists don’t need to take on a moral tone,’ Russo said. ‘I kind of like the idea of the artist as devil’s advocate.’ But she wasn’t prepared to inflict the Mole Man on the editor ...

Germs: A Memoir

Richard Wollheim, 15 April 2004

... small bedside clock, a special key for opening first-class compartments on the Southern Railway, a silver cigarette lighter, a few carefully folded five-pound notes, printed, as they were in those days, on the finest transparent paper and held in place by a gold clip, some spare coins, and a small pearl tiepin, which smelled permanently of eau de Cologne. My ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... had never received such magnificent expression. But such they remained. In England, by the time of Arnold, salvation by art was already the conventional intellectual substitute for faith. In France, Thibaudet would observe in 1926: ‘The 19th century began, with Chateaubriand, in the poetry of religion. It ended, with Mallarmé and his disciples, in a ...

Memoirs of a Pet Lamb

David Sylvester, 5 July 2001

... addressed him as Mr Marshall. There were two branches, a shop run by my mother dealing in silver, mostly Georgian, and one run by my father dealing in miscellaneous antiques and bric-à-brac. She revelled in her job, especially the buying, which she did with a lot of taste. She was hampered by suffering from angina, which gave her hope that she would ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... in Iran in 1979. His cousin Masoud said the former chef loved his flat, with his hookah and silver samovar. Something happened to these people, a life, yes indeed, but also a death, a very public one, and to ignore it, or let it go in a cloud of unknowing, would fail to mark their attempts at survival. It is hard to think about, but these people all ...

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