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At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: ‘Salt and Silver’, 21 May 2015

... negative was fixed allowed a precision which, at this point, paper couldn’t match. Yet printing black on silver makes for an image that isn’t only expensive, but also difficult to see – one of many reasons why by the mid-1860s, silver-based negatives (as well as paper ones) had mostly yielded to glass. The brief triumph of the paper negative is a key ...


Nick Laird: Ulster Revisited, 28 July 2011

... 130 rounds were fired. Ten men were killed, including Walter Chapman and his brother; one, Alan Black, survived despite having being shot 18 times. The Kingsmill massacre took place the day after five Catholic men were shot dead by a loyalist gang that included at least one RUC officer. At about 6 p.m. three masked men went into a house in Whitecross (near ...

Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... to bring off a close imitation of Russian verse in English, but he is referring to Johnston’s Eugene Onegin and remains silent on the tetrameters of Johnston’s Bronze Horseman. Johnston’s new book, Choiseul and Talleyrand, includes two further Pushkin poems, ‘Count Nulin’ and ‘Mozart and Salieri’, both of which are also in Thomas’s ...

Ariel goes to the police

Karl Miller, 4 December 1986

Life is elsewhere 
by Milan Kundera, translated by Peter Kussi.
Faber, 311 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 14560 4
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My First Loves 
by Ivan Klima, translated by Ewald Oser.
Chatto, 164 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 7011 3014 8
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... is not so much a character as a type, and is not unlike the Shelleyan poet in Shaw’s Candida, Eugene Marchbanks. Aerial creatures, these, ineffectual angels. Eugene, ‘so uncommon as to be almost unearthly’, wants to go ‘up into the sky’. His brow is ‘lined with pity’. He speaks with ‘lyric rapture’. But ...

Suffocating Suspense

Richard Davenport-Hines, 16 March 2000

Cult Criminals: The Newgate Novels 1830-47 
by Juliet John.
Routledge, 2750 pp., £399, December 1998, 0 415 14383 7
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... famous slogan ‘The Eye that Never Sleeps’, had a favourite novel, which he frequently reread: Eugene Aram, he constantly averred, was die greatest novel in history. This romantic tale of human frailty, murder, remorse and incrimination satisfied the great detective’s imaginative needs and moral sense. Pinkerton himself wrote, or gave the protection of ...

Those Genes!

Charles Wheeler, 17 July 1997

Personal History 
by Katharine Graham.
Weidenfeld, 642 pp., £25, May 1997, 9780297819646
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... publishers in the world: Philip Graham, who inherited the Washington Post from his father-in-law, Eugene Meyer, and his shy, self-effacing wife, Katharine, who took over the company when her husband shot himself in 1963. It was Philip Graham who induced John Kennedy to choose Lyndon Johnson as his running-mate in 1960. This was wise and far-reaching ...

Stuck with Your Own Face

Bee Wilson: The Beauty Industry, 8 July 2010

Beauty Imagined: A History of the Global Beauty Industry 
by Geoffrey Jones.
Oxford, 412 pp., £25, February 2010, 978 0 19 955649 6
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... Female Beauty’: ‘The ladies of Arabia stain their fingers and toes red, their eyebrows black and their lips blue … The Japanese women gild their teeth, and those of the Indies paint them red … Hindoo females, when they wish to appear particularly lovely, smear themselves with a mixture of saffron, turmeric and grease.’ There is a vast ...


Emilie Bickerton, 22 November 2018

The Great Nadar: The Man behind the Camera 
by Adam Begley.
Tim Duggan, 247 pp., £12.99, July 2018, 978 1 101 90262 2
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... him is a bust of George Sand, regal in white alabaster, and at her feet another, of Balzac, almost black but with his frown clearly visible. A dejected-looking Baudelaire hangs back in the shadows. A spidery-legged Nadar – he had especially long, skinny legs – sits casually in the middle. The pantheon was first published in 1854; a revised version came out ...

Communicating with Agaat

Nicole Devarenne: South African women speak out, 4 August 2005

by Marlene van Niekerk.
Tafelberg, 718 pp., R 250, August 2004, 0 624 04206 5
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A Change of Tongue 
by Antjie Krog.
Random House (South Africa), 376 pp., R 182.95, September 2003, 0 9584468 4 9
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Die Onsigbares 
by E.K.M. Dido.
Kwela, 223 pp., R 110, August 2003, 0 7957 0158 6
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... ignore British complicity in the making of apartheid South Africa). She begins with a story about Eugene Terre’Blanche, leader of the neo-Nazi Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (Afrikaner Resistance Movement), and ends with a request, in verse, to those ‘whom I have wronged’, to ‘please/ take me/with you.’ Krog wrote Country of My Skull in Afrikaans and ...

What are you looking at?

Christine Stansell, 3 October 1996

Metropolitan Lives: The Ashcan Artists and Their New York 
edited by Rebecca Zurier, Robert Snyder and Virginia Mecklenburg.
Norton, 232 pp., £35, February 1996, 0 393 03901 3
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... strikingly Sloan – abandoned types altogether. In a modest painting of fishermen on a dock, a black man turns to speak to a man sitting beside him. He is the only black in the line of shabbily clad figures, but the interest is less in ‘the Negro’ than in the tonalities of a city-bred companionship of strangers ...

More Noodling, Please

Jessica Olin: The Bystander’s Scrapbook by Joseph Torra, 4 April 2002

The Bystander's Scrapbook 
by Joseph Torra.
Weidenfeld, 186 pp., £7.99, November 2001, 0 575 06767 5
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... and break into rich people’s houses, selling the silver and valuables they steal on the black market. When she becomes pregnant with Carlo’s child, she must decide how committed she truly is to the cause. Carlo’s mother, Giulia, meanwhile, remembers the poverty of her childhood in an Italian village and worries about her son’s ...


John Lanchester, 6 October 1994

The Magician’s Doubts 
by Michael Wood.
Chatto, 252 pp., £18, August 1994, 0 7011 6197 3
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... and pieces Strong Opinions, and also here and there in his lectures, interviews and edition of Eugene Onegin; the Nabokov who wrote that Dostoevsky was ‘a much overrated, sentimental and gothic novelist’, or who described Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin as a ‘silly’ opera, or who unconvincingly hung so much ...

In a Spa Town

James Wood: ‘A Hero of Our Time’, 11 February 2010

A Hero of Our Time 
by Mikhail Lermontov, translated by Natasha Randall.
Penguin, 174 pp., £8.99, August 2009, 978 0 14 310563 3
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... men are victims of romantic grandiosity; a deliberate literariness infests the book, as it does Eugene Onegin. Characters take their cues from romantic fashions, and from writers like Scott, Pushkin, Byron, Rousseau and Marlinsky (a producer of Caucasian adventures and the most popular Russian novelist of the 1830s). This is how Pechorin is first ...


Alex Ivanovitch: William Boyd, 4 June 1998

by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 310 pp., £16.99, February 1998, 0 241 13928 7
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Nat Tate: American Artist, 1928-60 
by William Boyd.
Twenty One, 77 pp., £9.95, April 1998, 1 901785 01 7
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... is similar, a story that spools out between two names: our hero calls himself Lorimer Black and ends up as Milomre Blocj. Like the author of NatTate, Black is a dissimulator, but one whose project has nothing jokey about it: after an embarrassing episode at university he changes his name and decides to live as ...

An UnAmerican in New York

Lewis Nkosi: The Harlem Renaissance, 24 August 2000

Winds Can Wake Up the Dead: An Eric Walrond Reader 
edited by Louis Parascandola.
Wayne State, 350 pp., $24.95, December 1998, 0 8143 2709 5
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... perceptions of African American artistic expression. In a little over a decade, more books by black Americans appeared in print than had been published in the entire history of black American writing. In December 1923, Opportunity, the mouthpiece of the National Urban League, declared in its editorial: ‘There are new ...

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