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Frognal Days

Zachary Leader: Files on the Fifties, 4 June 1998

Previous Convictions: A Journey Through the Fifties 
by Nora Sayre.
Rutgers, 464 pp., £27.95, April 1997, 0 8135 2231 5
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... Georgian house in Hampstead, 109 Frognal, the home of the blacklisted screenwriter and playwright Donald Ogden Stewart and his journalist wife, Ella Winter. In Frognal, Sayre met Charlie Chaplin (depicted as arrogant, politically obtuse and unfunny), Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Dubois, the left-wing filmmakers Joseph Losey, Carl Foreman and Abraham Polonsky, the ...

Dogface

Ian Hamilton, 28 September 1989

Wartime: Understanding and Behaviour in the Second World War 
by Paul Fussell.
Oxford, 330 pp., £15, September 1989, 0 19 503797 9
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War like a Wasp: The Lost Decade of the Forties 
by Andrew Sinclair.
Hamish Hamilton, 312 pp., £17.95, October 1989, 0 241 12531 6
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... poetry and prose. Sinclair’s critical method is that of the impresario. A phrase like ‘As Donald Bain put it’ or ‘In the words of Gaven Ewart’ will be used to introduce a large hunk of the text in question, and that’s that. Sinclair’s real excitement is in recalling what a thrill it was (or must have been) to bang in to the old pub every ...

X marks the snob

W.G. Runciman, 17 May 1984

Caste Marks: Style and Status in the USA 
by Paul Fussell.
Heinemann, 202 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 9780434275007
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... uneasy and therefore middle-class subject), and he permits himself a quotation from Professor Arthur Marwick of the Open University (who knows better but pretends not to) that ‘class is too serious a subject to leave to the social scientists.’ Well – OK, fellas. Vance Packard sells better than Aristotle, and we don’t want to take ourselves too ...

How Movies End

David Thomson: John Boorman’s Quiet Ending, 20 February 2020

Conclusions 
by John Boorman.
Faber, 237 pp., £20, February, 978 0 571 35379 8
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... interest. So that’s how Boorman ended up in Soho one night discussing a bad script from a Donald Westlake novel, The Hunter, with Marvin, who was staying in London. ‘What do you think?’ Marvin wanted to know. Boorman said it was clichéd; they bonded over considering it ‘a piece of shit’.That was the start of Point Blank. Boorman thought the ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... piling up on remainder tables, 1999 marked the appearance of Christopher Ricks’s successor to Arthur Quiller-Couch’s Oxford Book of English Verse, published a hundred years ago, revised in 1939, and followed in 1972 by Helen Gardner’s New Oxford Book; of the Longman Anthology of British Literature, a brashly devolutionary challenger to the Norton ...

We know it intimately

Christina Riggs: Rummaging for Mummies, 22 October 2020

A World beneath the Sands: Adventurers and Archaeologists in the Golden Age of Egyptology 
by Toby Wilkinson.
Picador, 510 pp., £25, October, 978 1 5098 5870 5
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... To the Past we must go as a relief from To-day’s harshness,’ the Egyptologist Arthur Weigall wrote in 1923, as illustrated newspapers were bringing Tutankhamun back to life. The First World War was over, but its aftershocks rippled on. Golden treasure, a boy pharaoh and lost tombs in the Valley of the Kings offered readers an escape ...

The Inequality Engine

Geoff Mann, 4 June 2020

Capital and Ideology 
by Thomas Piketty, translated by Arthur Goldhammer.
Harvard, 1150 pp., £31.95, March, 978 0 674 98082 2
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... and innovation and substantially reduce the quantity and quality of a nation’s output’ (as Donald Trump’s Council of Economic Advisers put it in an October 2018 report, ‘The Opportunity Costs of Socialism’). This is the same ‘logic’ that Senator Lindsey Graham trotted out to argue against income support for US nurses in the midst of the ...

Our chaps will deal with them

E.S. Turner: The Great Flap of 1940, 8 August 2002

Dad’s Army: The Story of a Classic Television Show 
by Graham McCann.
Fourth Estate, 304 pp., £7.99, August 2002, 1 84115 309 5
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... from Graham McCann’s book about Dad’s Army have been widely quoted, notably the insistence by Arthur Lowe (Mainwaring) on having a clause in his contract stipulating that in no scene would he be required to remove his trousers. Lowe, it turns out, was a sergeant-major in the war, and John Le Mesurier, who played the limp Sergeant Wilson, was a ...

The Vice President’s Men

Seymour M. Hersh, 24 January 2019

... the CIA – and wasn’t answerable to congressional oversight. It was led by Vice-Admiral Arthur Moreau, a brilliant navy officer who would be known to those on the inside as ‘M’. He had most recently been involved, as deputy chief of naval operations, in developing the US’s new maritime strategy, aimed at restricting Soviet freedom of ...

St Marilyn

Andrew O’Hagan: The Girl and Me, 6 January 2000

The Personal Property of Marilyn Monroe 
Christie’s, 415 pp., $85, September 1999, 0 903432 64 1Show More
The Complete Marilyn Monroe 
by Adam Victor.
Thames and Hudson, 339 pp., £29.95, November 1999, 0 500 01978 9
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Marilyn Monroe 
by Barbara Leaming.
Orion, 474 pp., £8.99, October 1999, 0 7528 2692 1
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... married to Monroe for three days). There is a new addition to this group, a hysterical book by Donald H. Wolfe which may just prove to be the conspiracy sub-genre’s reductio ad absurdum: Bobby Kennedy and Sam Giancana and Marilyn’s psychotherapist tripping over each other in an effort to commit the great pointless homicide.* Monroe Books by Big Writers ...

There’s Daddy

Michael Wood, 13 February 1992

Flying in to Love 
by D.M. Thomas.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 7475 1129 2
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JFK 
directed by Oliver Stone.
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... that you can’t take your eyes off him; everything he does is full of sleaze and interest. Donald Sutherland, by contrast, as the top military man who, off the record, confirms all of Garrison’s darkest and most far-reaching suspicions, merely oozes complacency: it is so satisfying to think your President has been murdered in a plot involving all the ...

Hasped and Hooped and Hirpling

Terry Eagleton: Beowulf, 11 November 1999

Beowulf 
translated by Seamus Heaney.
Faber, 104 pp., £14.99, October 1999, 9780571201136
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... the pluck and slop of brackish water as the signs button down snugly on their referents, whereas Donald Davie’s words stand at a chaster distance from his meanings. This, needless to say, is linguistic nonsense. Basil Bunting’s words are no closer to his material objects than Thomas Hardy’s, for all that the former came from the North-East and the ...

Opprobrious Epithets

Katrina Navickas: The Peterloo Massacre, 20 December 2018

Peterloo: The Story of the Manchester Massacre 
by Jacqueline Riding.
Head of Zeus, 386 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 1 78669 583 3
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... bicentenary. Questions remain about the build-up to 16 August and who was at fault that day. Donald Read’s exposition of events, published in 1958, remains a standard text. Read regarded Peterloo as a massacre, but argued that it resulted from mistakes made by a panicked magistracy rather than from premeditation or government diktat. Robert ...

Diary

Terry Castle: Shaking Hands with the Hilldebeest, 31 March 2016

... with the Hilldebeest! The Many-Horned Hillaria! (Bernie who?) Hellza-poppin’ H-Rod! (Not the Donald?) The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails! The Ethical Wreck! Our Straight-Talking-Thick-Ankled Lady of the Half-Explained! (Will Huma be there?) OMGoddess! It should be awesome, we figure: our first sighting, not only of the She-Deity, but also of her millionaire ...

The Mask It Wears

Pankaj Mishra: The Wrong Human Rights, 21 June 2018

The People v. Democracy: Why Our Freedom Is in Danger and How to Save It 
by Yascha Mounk.
Harvard, 400 pp., £21.95, March 2018, 978 0 674 97682 5
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Not Enough: Human Rights in an Unequal World 
by Samuel Moyn.
Harvard, 277 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 73756 3
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... Trump ordered strikes on Syria in April last year, Fareed Zakaria hailed the ‘big moment’: ‘Donald Trump,’ he said, ‘became president of the United States last night.’ As Trump dispatched his ‘shiny and new’ missiles to Syria a year later, Anne-Marie Slaughter, a former Obama apparatchik and president of the New America Foundation, tweeted ...

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