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Non-Stick Nationalists

Colin Kidd: Scotland’s Law, 24 September 2015

Constitutional Law of Scotland 
by Alan Page.
W. Green, 334 pp., £95, June 2015, 978 0 414 01456 5
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... to the UK Supreme Court’s decisions in the criminal appeals Cadder v. HM Advocate (2010) and Fraser v. HM Advocate (2011). Although the House of Lords had consistently exercised an appellate role with regard to Scottish civil appeals, the situation with regard to criminal appeals was different. In the early years after 1707 the House of Lords accepted ...

Seventeen Million Words

Richard Poirier, 7 November 1985

The Inman Diary: A Public and Private Confession 
edited by Daniel Aaron.
Harvard, 1661 pp., £35.95, March 1986, 0 674 45445 6
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... hope that, with financial support from the Inman estate, some version of it might be published. David Donald read the manuscript – he says on the dust-jacket that it is ‘the most remarkable diary ever written by an American’ – and recommended it to Harvard University Press, along with the suggestion that Aaron, of the Harvard English Department, be ...

Splashed with Stars

Susannah Clapp: In Stoppardian Fashion, 16 December 2021

Tom Stoppard: A Life 
by Hermione Lee.
Faber, 977 pp., £14.99, September, 978 0 571 31444 7
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... Julian Barnes’s diary). He records meeting, in the same week, Princess Margaret, Ionesco and David Hockney. David Bowie offers to take over a part in The Real Thing; the Duchess of Devonshire appears as ‘Debo’ on page 33. Stoppard is not unaware of the effect: ‘I’m getting quite impressed by some of our ...


D.A.N. Jones, 23 May 1985

Secret Villages 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 170 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 571 13443 2
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Miss Peabody’s Inheritance 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Viking, 157 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 670 47952 7
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Mr Scobie’s Riddle 
by Elizabeth Jolley.
Penguin, 226 pp., £2.95, April 1985, 0 14 007490 2
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The Modern Common Wind 
by Don Bloch.
Heinemann, 234 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 434 07551 5
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by Denis Johnson.
Chatto, 221 pp., £9.50, May 1985, 0 7011 2935 2
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... would respond to such behaviour in a small town. In fact, there is a ‘here-where’ poem by G.S. Fraser discussing the response: Here, where the women wear dark shawls and mutter   A hasty word as other women pass, Telling the secret, telling, clucking and tutting,   Sighing or saying that it served her right, The bitch! However, Douglas Dunn’s ...


Elaine Jordan, 21 April 1983

The Viaduct 
by David Wheldon.
Bodley Head, 176 pp., £5.95, March 1983, 0 370 30519 1
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Rates of Exchange 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 310 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 436 06505 3
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by Maggie Ross.
Collins, 280 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 0 00 222602 2
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No Place on Earth 
by Christa Wolf, translated by Jan van Heurck.
Virago, 110 pp., £6.95, March 1983, 9780860683636
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Look at me 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 192 pp., £7.50, March 1983, 0 224 02055 2
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Not Not While the Giro and Other Stories 
by James Kelman.
Polygon, 207 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 9780904919653
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... how a well-mannered person should treat her acquaintance, but look at the previously admired Alix Fraser: ‘Alix stubbed out her cigarette in the remains of her yellow custard and smeared red over her wide mouth.’ This is not a novel of scenes but a meditation on experience in the French tradition. One problem is how far Frances is presented ...

Sink or Skim

Michael Wood: ‘The Alexandria Quartet’, 1 January 2009

by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 203 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 198 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 263 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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by Lawrence Durrell.
Folio Society, 241 pp., £19.95, January 2009
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... One of adventive’s meanings is ‘imperfectly naturalised’. And it’s good to learn from G.S. Fraser’s book on Durrell that however long the novelist thought about these works, he wrote them, or at least the last three, very quickly: Balthazar in six weeks, Mountolive in 12 and Clea in four. It’s good to know too that however portentous he could sound ...

On the Lower Slopes

Stefan Collini: Greene’s Luck, 5 August 2010

Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 580 pp., £25, August 2010, 978 0 224 07921 1
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... early death at the age of 44. As a boy playing on Berkhamsted Common, Greene had cast himself as David Balfour, and as a novelist he can be thought to have given his own bleak twist to the kind of ‘adventure story’ with which Stevenson’s name was for so long associated. In 1949 he began to write a biography of Stevenson, abandoning it only when he ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... salmonella’). Then there is the long line of sex-scandal casualties: Cecil Parkinson, Tim Yeo, David Mellor (greatly exaggerated, but not his only alleged misdemeanour), Hartley Booth, Michael Brown (though he is a borderline case, since he resigned from office while denying allegations that he had had a homosexual relationship). We should also not forget ...


Frank Kermode, 22 May 1986

Pound, Yeats, Eliot and the Modernist Movement 
by C.K. Stead.
Macmillan, 393 pp., £27.50, March 1986, 0 333 37457 6
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The Myth of Modernism and 20th-century Literature 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Harvester, 216 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 7108 1002 4
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The Innocent Eye: On Modern Literature and the Arts 
by Roger Shattuck.
Faber, 362 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 571 12071 7
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... with Pound as a sort of fever-chart of English Poundianism. He also includes a review of C. David Heymann’s book The Last Rower, a book Stead barely mentions, though it is relevant to a study of that political ‘extravagance’ we heard described as ‘a kind of saving grace’. Pound, near the end of his life, said he was sorry he had been ...

Being that can be understood is language

Richard Rorty: H.-G. Gadamer, 16 March 2000

... is dead. There are many distinguished analytic philosophers, particularly admirers of Kripke like David Lewis and Frank Jackson, who are unabashed physicalist metaphysicians. They think of themselves as continuing the struggle against mystificatory nonsense that Thomas Huxley waged against Bishop Wilberforce, Russell against Bergson, and Carnap against ...

Bad News at the ‘Observer’

Colin Legum, 4 November 1982

Powers of the Press: The World’s Great Newspapers 
by Martin Walker.
Quartet, 401 pp., £15, July 1982, 0 7043 2271 4
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Goodbye Gutenberg: The Newspaper Revolution of the 1980s 
by Anthony Smith.
Oxford, 367 pp., £3.95, January 1982, 9780198272434
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New Technology and Industrial Relations in Fleet Street 
by Roderick Martin.
Oxford, 367 pp., £17.50, October 1981, 9780198272434
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News Ltd: Why you can’t read all about it 
by Brian Whitaker.
Minority Press Group, 176 pp., £3.25, June 1981, 0 906890 04 7
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... to the Observer because of criticism by John Davies, the City Editor, over the Lonrho-House of Fraser negotiations. Conor Cruise O’Brien was characteristically frank in writing in his column for the paper that it would be absurd for anybody to suppose that he would feel he could write as freely about Lonrho once it owned the paper as he had before. In ...

The Angry Men

Jean McNicol: Harriet Harman, 14 December 2017

A Woman’s Work 
by Harriet Harman.
Allen Lane, 405 pp., £20, February 2017, 978 0 241 27494 1
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The Women Who Shaped Politics 
by Sophy Ridge.
Coronet, 295 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 4736 3876 1
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... London family: her father (whose sister, Elizabeth, became Lady Longford; Antonia Fraser is Harman’s cousin) was a doctor and her mother had qualified as a barrister, though she gave up work when she had children. Their four daughters were to be educated but marriageable; not too submissive or too assertive; and to be sure to avoid the fate ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... all – historians among them. The ABA has had a rocky ride since its establishment, by a hopeful Fraser Government in 1981, with public fights, expensive resignations, and manifest uncase about its own raisond’être expressed in the censorship of its shiny literature: employees have been forbidden, for example, to use the word ‘invasion’ with reference ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... 1972 winner, John Berger, in denouncing capitalism and Booker’s treatment of Guyanese workers. David Lean optioned the novel a year later, and though the project came to nothing, Farrell found himself in funds for the first time in his life. After finishing The Singapore Grip in his two-room flat in South Kensington, he bought a cottage on the coast of ...

All change. This train is cancelled

Iain Sinclair: The Dome, 13 May 1999

... black and white photographs that line the walls of the dining-room: Harold Wilson, Derek Nimmo, David Steel, Jeremy Irons, Clement Freud, Norman Tebbit, Barbara Castle, Elaine Paige, Cecil Parkinson, Nigel Lawson, Robin Day. It’s like being compulsorily inducted into a dinner party from hell, a nightmare mix of half-forgotten careerists and political ...

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