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Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... left its mark on Europe and America. An ancient city, a capital, with authors of all kinds, from Gavin Douglas to James Boswell to Annie S. Swan, Sir Compton Mackenzie and a thousand others: the subject is God’s own gift to the sifter of anecdotes and the historian of large-scale cultural change. Trevor Royle tackles it with affection and ...

Beach Poets

Blake Morrison, 16 September 1982

The Fortunate Traveller 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 99 pp., £3.95, March 1982, 0 571 11893 3
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Sun Poem 
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 104 pp., £4.95, April 1982, 0 19 211945 1
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Collected Poems 
by Bernard Spencer, edited by Roger Bowen.
Oxford, 149 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 19 211930 3
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Selected Poems 
by Odysseus Elytis.
Anvil, 114 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85646 076 1
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Poems from Oby 
by George MacBeth.
Secker, 67 pp., £4, March 1982, 9780436270178
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The New Ewart: Poems 1980-1982 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 115 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 09 146980 5
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The Apple-Broadcast 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 133 pp., £3, November 1981, 0 7100 0884 8
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... the reader’s sympathy into places it might not otherwise be led, as in this passage where a young West Indian describes the trials of early marriage and parenthood: we walkin out good till de firss baby come: bonnet pram bootie wettin de bed: evry body stannin rounn cooin like woo-dove: look how e favour e faddah they sayin: look e lil booee eye an e ...

Get the placentas

Gavin Francis: ‘The Life Project’, 2 June 2016

The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of Our Ordinary Lives 
by Helen Pearson.
Allen Lane, 399 pp., £20, February 2016, 978 1 84614 826 2
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... argued that to improve the health of the next generation it was vital to improve the health of young women and girls before they became pregnant. As early as 1986, in the Lancet, Barker suggested that those with poor nutrition as children were the least able to cope with an affluent diet in adulthood, and so were doubly disadvantaged. When Jean ...

Such Little Trousers

Lavinia Greenlaw: Pamela Hansford Johnson, 21 March 2019

This Bed Thy Centre 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 288 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7985 6
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An Impossible Marriage 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7980 1
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The Last Resort 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7994 8
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The Holiday Friend 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7987 0
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... the National Health Act’. People are starting to worry about the effects of salt and cigarettes. Young architects are designing maisonettes, launderettes, comprehensive schools and a hospital that looks like a ‘yellow packing case’. The doctor hates the theatre because all they do is talk: ‘One longs for somebody to fall downstairs.’ By the time ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Stop-Loss’, 8 May 2008

Stop-Loss 
directed by Kimberly Peirce.
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... don’t torture,’ Meryl Streep says in Rendition (2007), directed by the South African Gavin Hood. She is a CIA bigwig responding to a senator’s aide who is sure the agency has sent an innocent man off to an unnamed North African country for questioning. Or for pointless violence and humiliation, since nobody really believes he knows ...
... going to the victory feast in Hall. Put on at the last moment, it was not well attended and John Young had invited half a dozen representatives of the lower tables to swell our party ... Roast duck and mulberry tart were the chief dishes and there was champagne. My place was third from the oriel window on the west side of the table between Holmes and ...

Red Stars

John Sutherland, 6 December 1984

Wild Berries 
by Yevgeny Yevtushenko, translated by Antonia Bovis.
Macmillan, 296 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 333 37559 9
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The Burn 
by Vassily Aksyonov, translated by Michael Glenny.
Hutchinson, 528 pp., £10.95, October 1984, 0 09 155580 9
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Fellow Travellers 
by T.C. Worsley.
Gay Men’s Press, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1984, 0 907040 51 9
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The Power of the Dog 
by Thomas Savage.
Chatto, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 7011 3939 0
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The Fourth Protocol 
by Frederick Forsyth.
Hutchinson, 448 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 09 158630 5
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The Set-Up 
by Vladimir Volkoff, translated by Alan Sheridan.
Bodley Head, 397 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30583 3
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... and relates, as evidence of the pioneer cosmonaut’s humanity, an act of kindness to a certain young poet (can it be ... yes, it was). The epilogue goes back in time to the pre-Revolutionary period and the philosopher Tsiolkovsky, whom Yevtushenko hails as the spiritual father of manned space research. Tsiolkovsky evidently promulgated a vitalist ...

On Not Getting the Credit

Brian Dillon: Eileen Gray, 23 May 2013

Eileen Gray 
Pompidou Centre, 20 February 2013 to 20 May 2013Show More
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... Tudor-style confection, but this is unlikely: the family kept a house in Kensington, and like many young women of her class in Ireland, she was already well used to life in London when in 1898 she enrolled at the Slade to study painting. For the first half of her long life, Gray knew everybody. At the Slade she met Wyndham Lewis, and soon made friends with the ...

The Road to Sligo

Tom Paulin, 17 May 1984

Poetry and Metamorphosis 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Cambridge, 97 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 521 24848 5
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Translations 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 120 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 19 211958 3
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Conversation with the Prince 
by Tadeusz Rozewicz, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Anvil, 206 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 85646 079 6
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Passions and Impressions 
by Pablo Neruda, translated by Margaret Sayers Peden.
Farrar, Straus/Faber, 396 pp., £16.50, October 1983, 0 571 12054 7
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An Empty Room 
by Leopold Staff, translated by Adam Czerniawski.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £3.25, March 1983, 0 906427 52 5
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... concept of art’s relation to society? In these islands, the first translator of Virgil was Gavin Douglas, whose Eneados was completed in 1513. Although my Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Literature appropriates Douglas as the earliest translator of the classics ‘into English’, his version was of course written in Scots and is an ennobling ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... dominant ‘quality’ Sunday paper, certainly in its cultural and political influence among the young if not always in terms of its circulation. It belonged to the era of what Lewis calls the ‘benign monopolies of English life’ – the BBC, the NHS, Penguin paperbacks – as yet unconcerned about ‘low-grade competition from upstart rivals’. The ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election, 22 January 1998

The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... great Labour landslide year, that the first Nuffield election study appeared, with the hand of a young David Butler already apparent. It was, sadly, a jejune and disappointing volume which explains very little of the last great realigning election of modern times. Since then Butler has taken an increasingly dominant role in the enterprise and the books have ...

Brattishness

Colin Burrow: Henry Howard, 11 November 1999

Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life 
by W.A. Sessions.
Oxford, 448 pp., £60, March 1999, 9780198186243
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... into the zeal of Protestant reformers, but also running through it is the resentful voice of a young nobleman who got caught and who simply cannot believe that a Howard could ever be in the wrong. ‘London, hast thow accused me’ has an incredulous stress on the words ‘me’ and ‘thou’: how could you, you idolatrous, lecherous commoners, blame me ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: Aubergines are no longer merely aubergines, 21 April 2016

... !document.querySelector("img.emoji")))twemoji.parse(document.body)}var t=document.createElement("style");t.type="text/css";var m="img.emoji{height:1em;width:1em;margin:0 .05em 0 .1em;vertical-align:-0.1em;}";if(t.styleSheet){t.styleSheet.cssText=m}else{t.appendChild(document.createTextNode(m))}document.getElementsByTagName("head")[0].appendChild(t);var a=document ...

Upstaging

Paul Driver, 19 August 1993

Shining Brow 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 86 pp., £5.99, February 1993, 0 571 16789 6
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... Kallman in tow) pressed his suit on whatever composers he could. Henze accepted it (Elegy for Young Lovers, The Bassarids); Tippett and Harrison Birtwistle resisted. The latter has worked fruitfully (the small-scale pieces Bow Down and Yan Tan Tethera) with Tony Harrison, another poet avid for theatrical and operatic activity; and his most recent ...

Fine Women

Neil Rennie, 6 July 1989

The Pacific since Magellan. Vol. III: Paradise Found and Lost 
by O.H.K. Spate.
Routledge, 410 pp., £40, January 1989, 0 415 02565 6
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Captain Bligh: The Man and his Mutinies 
by Gavin Kennedy.
Duckworth, 321 pp., £14.95, April 1989, 0 7156 2231 5
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The Sublime Savage: James Macpherson and the Poems of Ossian 
by Fiona Stafford.
Edinburgh, 208 pp., £22.50, November 1988, 0 85224 569 6
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... that ‘AFRICA’S dark sons’ in the West Indies thought the breadfruit not worth the trouble. Gavin Kennedy, in Captain Bligh: The Man and his Mutinies, also dismisses speculation about homosexuality and has rather more pages to spare for narration and explanation. Most people today would surely agree that the causes of the mutiny two hundred years ago ...

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