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Beastliness

Harry Ricketts, 16 March 1989

Rudyard Kipling 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Macdonald, 373 pp., £16.95, February 1989, 0 356 15852 7
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... Speculation, Leon Edel remarks in his one-volume life of Henry James, is ‘the stock-in-trade of all biographers’. But if all biographers speculate, some do so more scrupulously and convincingly than others. Edel, for instance, is both meticulous and plausible. The same can hardly be said of Martin Seymour-Smith in his new critical biography of Kipling ...

Hyacinth Boy

Mark Ford: T.S. Eliot, 21 September 2006

T.S. Eliot: The Making of an American Poet 
by James E. Miller.
Pennsylvania State, 468 pp., £29.95, August 2005, 0 271 02681 2
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The Annotated ‘Waste Land’ with Eliot’s Contemporary Prose 
by T.S. Eliot, edited by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 270 pp., $35, April 2005, 0 300 09743 3
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Revisiting ‘The Waste Land’ 
by Lawrence Rainey.
Yale, 203 pp., £22.50, May 2005, 0 300 10707 2
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... Hart Crane, for one, was in no doubt about it. ‘He’s the prime ram of our flock,’ he insisted to Allen Tate in the summer of 1922. Tate was initially puzzled by the phrase, as well as by various other ‘signals’ his friend was making, but eventually came to understand Crane’s drift: ‘In those days,’ he later commented, ‘a lot of people like Hart had the delusion that Eliot was homosexual ...

In Farageland

James Meek, 9 October 2014

... were conceived. ‘The town used to double, treble, quadruple in size in summer,’ said Clive Hart, one of Cliftonville’s Labour councillors. ‘Birmingham used to close down and send everybody here for a fortnight. I was born in a council house a mile from the sea. In the summer months my mum had to put a sign in the window saying “No ...

Undertellers

Walter Nash, 18 February 1988

The Panda Hunt 
by Richard Burns.
Cape, 189 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02445 0
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Davy Chadwick 
by James Buchan.
Hamish Hamilton, 145 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 241 12115 9
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Overhead in a Balloon: Stories of Paris 
by Mavis Gallant.
Cape, 196 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 224 02426 4
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Black Idol 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 157 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 9780224024372
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... are developed, and here Mr Buchan shows much originality and skill. The narrative accents of James, Dawn and William Nelson differ, and in doing so suggest nuances, not only of character but of characteristic medium: for we are tacitly invited to explain the stylistic variations at least partly in terms of the character’s recording method. ...

Achieving Disunity

Corey Robin, 25 October 2012

Age of Fracture 
by Daniel Rodgers.
Harvard, 360 pp., £14.95, September 2012, 978 0 674 06436 2
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... first applied to politicians, intellectuals and journalists of the left: men like Robert Reich, James Fallows, Lester Thurow, Gary Hart and Bill Bradley, all of whom saw themselves in opposition to an older labour-liberal establishment that was sceptical of the market and friendly to the state. The ‘fracture of the ...

Dunbar’s Disappearance

Sally Mapstone: William Dunbar, 24 May 2001

The Poems of William Dunbar 
edited by Priscilla Bawcutt.
Association for Scottish Literary Studies, £70, May 1999, 0 948877 38 3
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... In December 1501 the Scottish poet William Dunbar received £5 from the Court of King James IV, a payment which was given to him, according to the Treasurer’s accounts, ‘eftir he com furth of Ingland’. It is not known for sure what he had been doing there. He may well have been in the entourage of the Scottish embassy which was conducting the negotiations with Henry VII that led to the marriage two years later of Princess Margaret Tudor to James IV ...

The Real Johnny Hall

Penelope Fitzgerald, 3 October 1985

Our Three Selves: A Life of Radclyffe Hall 
by Michael Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 386 pp., £13.95, June 1985, 0 241 11539 6
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... instead mildly successful at W.H. Smith and the Times Bookshop. The case was altered only by James Douglas, the editor (also in a crusader’s spirit) of the Sunday Express. Douglas decided, a month later, to feature the book and its photogenic author, in her ‘severe’ smoking-jacket, as evidence of ‘the plague stalking shamelessly through public ...

Losers

Ross McKibbin, 23 October 1986

The Politics of the UCS Work-In: Class Alliances and the Right to Work 
by John Foster and Charles Woolfson.
Lawrence and Wishart, 446 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 85315 663 8
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A Lost Left: Three Studies in Socialism and Nationalism 
by David Howell.
Manchester, 351 pp., £29.95, July 1986, 0 7190 1959 1
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The Miners’ Strike 1984-5: Loss without Limit 
by Martin Adeney and John Lloyd.
Routledge, 319 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 7102 0694 1
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Red Hill: A Mining Community 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 196 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 434 57771 5
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Strike Free: New Industrial Relations in Britain 
by Philip Bassett.
Macmillan, 197 pp., £10.95, August 1986, 9780333418000
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... answer the question by an examination of the careers of three men whom history has marginalised: James Connolly, Irish socialist executed for his part in the Easter Rebellion, John Maclean, idiosyncratic Scottish revolutionary socialist, and John Wheatley, an ILP’er from Glasgow and Minister of Health in the first Labour government. Like Foster and ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 21 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... novelist worth catching up on and following, in the wake of and on a level with the likes of James Buchan, Tessa Hadley and Edward St Aubyn. The four books are distinct – there’s no real overlap to speak of – but possess the sort of shared traits that a reader likes to find in an author, and an author in himself. London and the South-East is a ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth, 19 August 2004

Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... the last rites for serious poetry-grazing, Compendium in Camden Town (Nick Kimberley, Mike Hart). The system worked. The managers knew what they had and knew what to recommend. They took poetry books from obscure presses (run by poets) as trade. No money changed hands. Three of my titles for one of yours. ‘Manner,’ Ed Dorn says in his extensive ...

Hitler at Heathrow

E.S. Shaffer, 7 August 1980

The Memoirs of Bridget Hitler 
edited by Michael Unger.
Duckworth, 192 pp., £4.95, March 1979, 0 7156 1356 1
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The Portage to San Cristobal of A.H. 
by George Steiner.
Granta, 66 pp., £1.50
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Young Adolf 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth, 174 pp., £6.95, November 1978, 0 7156 1323 5
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... too glad to avoid vengeance from his fellows by impersonating the great in perpetual concealment; James Pool and Suzanne Pool’s Who financed Hitler?, which opens with a luxurious gathering of bankers and party ‘higher-ups’ with their sleek women, just a shade less exotic than the gathering in a Japanese restaurant of Spanish-speaking kameraden that ...

William Rodgers reads the papers

William Rodgers, 19 February 1987

The Market for Glory: Fleet Street Ownership in the 20th Century 
by Simon Jenkins.
Faber, 247 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 571 14627 9
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The End of the Street 
by Linda Melvern.
Methuen, 276 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 413 14640 5
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... and steady judgment that are at issue. This is not an exclusively British weakness. When Gary Hart won the New Hampshire Primary early in 1984, he had been a Senator for many years but the files of the Washington Post and the New York Times were empty. His sudden emergence as a serious contender for the Presidential nomination required a hurried attempt ...

Meringue-utan

Rosemary Hill: Rosamund Lehmann’s Disappointments, 8 August 2002

Rosamond Lehmann 
by Selina Hastings.
Chatto, 476 pp., £25, June 2002, 0 7011 6542 1
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... his mentor, John got him into left-wing politics, and at various points he was in analysis with James and in bed with Julia. Philipps’s father funded him while he tried to develop a career as a painter, but even by the lowish standards of Bloomsbury he was a terrible artist. ‘Rosamond . . . is always driving him to it and making him “follow his ...

Diary

Ben Lerner: On Disliking Poetry, 18 June 2015

... alternative making inherent in the materials of which any world must be composed’. Writing about Hart Crane, Grossman develops his notion of a ‘virtual poem’ – what we might call poetry with a capital ‘P’, the abstract potentiality of the medium as felt by the poet when called on to write – and opposes it to the ‘actual poem’, which ...

Upside Down, Inside Out

Colin Kidd: The 1975 Referendum, 25 October 2018

Yes to Europe! The 1975 Referendum and Seventies Britain 
by Robert Saunders.
Cambridge, 509 pp., £24.99, March 2018, 978 1 108 42535 3
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... a hideous woolly jumper displaying the flags of the EEC nations. Back in the mid-1970s the tycoon James Goldsmith, the future founder of the anti-European Referendum Party, was a prominent supporter of the Common Market. The position of the press also changed. In the earlier campaign the Sun, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express enthusiastically made the case ...

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