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Mother Country

Catherine Hall: The Hostile Environment, 23 January 2020

The Windrush Betrayal: Exposing the Hostile Environment 
by Amelia Gentleman.
Guardian Faber, 336 pp., £18.99, September 2019, 978 1 78335 184 8
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Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation 
by Colin Grant.
Cape, 320 pp., £18.99, October 2019, 978 1 78733 105 1
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Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Become Scapegoats 
by Maya Goodfellow.
Verso, 272 pp., £12.99, November 2019, 978 1 78873 336 6
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... women who had escaped from their owners in London, only to be recaptured, came to public attention.James Somerset, who had been brought to England from Virginia by his owner, Charles Stewart, and managed to escape and live freely for a brief period, became the subject of a test case in 1772. Was the ownership of people legal in the ‘mother ...

The Departed Spirit

Tom Nairn, 30 October 1997

... of the institution. After September, can there be any doubt at all? There are still trusties like Vernon Bogdanor and Clive James who feel that ‘we’ cannot live without the institution, and hence – since this institution is unavoidably genetic – without the well-meaning Charles as a bridge to a brighter future in ...


Craig Raine, 6 October 1983

Peter Porter: Collected Poems 
Oxford, 335 pp., £12.50, March 1983, 0 19 211948 6Show More
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... Hardly any good poems came out of the conflict in Vietnam and most of those were written by James Fenton, a poet alert to the eerie surrealism of war. What happens when the war is banished from the front page and into the history books? Pound said, in the ABC of Reading, that ‘literature is news that STAYS news.’ Eliot, on the other hand, was less ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... us, he’s gonemuch loved, humane; that shyly gloomy humourstays in the minds of friends ...Or Vernon Scannell:We met each other once, that’s all,Nearly twenty years ago.We were not close and yet I knowHis death-day stretched beneath a pallOf melancholy that would leaveSomething of its gloom behind ...Or Anthony Thwaite:Now what you feared so long has ...

Mirror Images

Christopher Andrew, 3 April 1986

World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 297 78745 4
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... Hollis, the director-general of MI5, David Murphy, the CIA chief of Soviet Bloc Intelligence, and James Bennett, head of Canadian counter-espionage, were all denounced as likely Soviet agents by conspiracy theorists within their own services. In his recently published memoirs,* President Carter’s DCI, Stansfield Turner, records that ‘British intelligence ...

The Misery of Not Painting like others

Peter Campbell, 13 April 2000

The Unknown Matisse: Man of the North, 1869-1908 
by Hilary Spurling.
Penguin, 480 pp., £12.99, April 2000, 0 14 017604 7
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Matisse: Father and Son 
by John Russell.
Abrams, 416 pp., £25, May 1999, 0 8109 4378 6
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Ruthless Hedonism: The American Reception of Matisse 
by John O’Brien.
Chicago, 284 pp., £31.50, April 1999, 0 226 61626 6
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Matisse and Picasso 
by Yve-Alain Bois.
Flammarion, 272 pp., £35, February 1999, 2 08 013548 1
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... In 1900, he attended the classes of Eugène Carrière. An Englishman in the same class, Vernon Blake, described an encounter between pupil and teacher: ‘Pardon me, M. Carrière,’ interposed Matisse, ‘but you have not corrected my study!’ ‘Haven’t I? I beg your pardon’ ... He placed himself before the astonishing medley of immense feet ...

Forget the Dylai Lama

Thomas Jones: Bob Dylan, 6 November 2003

Dylan's Visions of Sin 
by Christopher Ricks.
Viking, 517 pp., £25, October 2003, 9780670801336
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... freaking out.’ The singer’s name is Dan Bern. His parents moved to Mount Vernon, Iowa, where Bern was born, round about the time that Robert Zimmerman started calling himself Bob Dylan and left Hibbing, Minnesota, to head circuitously east for New York City. Where Bern stands in relation to Dylan isn’t straightforward. He isn’t ...

Ready to Go Off

Jenny Turner, 18 February 2021

A Handful of Earth, a Handful of Sky: The World of Octavia Butler 
by Lynell George.
Angel City, 176 pp., $30, November 2020, 978 1 62640 063 4
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‘Kindred’, Fledgling’, Collected Stories’ 
by Octavia E. Butler, edited by Gerry Canavan and Nisi Shawl.
Library of America, 790 pp., $31.50, January, 978 1 59853 675 1
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... words of Gerry Canavan, who in 2013 became the first scholar to open them. Butler had been reading James Lovelock and thinking about what would happen if humans migrated to other worlds while continuing to be ‘part of an earth organism in some literal way’: ‘phantom-limb pain’ was a phrase she used in the notes in the boxes. ‘A somehow neurologically ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett, 24 June 1993

... of the judiciary. On the occasion of his retirement as Recorder of London in July 1990, Sir James Miskin gave a television interview to the BBC. ‘That was a mad decision, was it not?’ he said of the Court of Appeal’s judgment in the Guildford case. ‘They didn’t give any thought to the fact that three years after it had happened there was a ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... and green of the hills. This is where you find Tibbie Shiel’s Inn, where the Blackwood’s boys James Hogg and Christopher North used to come to liquefy their rhetoric. We entered from a smirr of rain, snoking for supper. It turned out supper was something that happened in the glen before 6.30 p.m. A lady in a white lab coat emerged to remind us of the ...

Who does that for anyone?

Adam Shatz: Jean-Pierre Melville, 20 June 2019

Jean-Pierre Melville: Le Solitaire 
by Bertrand Teissier.
Fayard, 272 pp., €22, October 2017, 978 2 213 70573 6
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Jean-Pierre Melville, une vie 
by Antoine de Baecque.
Seuil, 244 pp., €32, October 2017, 978 2 02 137107 9
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... in the Resistance. For the role of von Ebrennac, Melville chose the Swiss-American actor Howard Vernon, who was known for playing villainous Nazi officers. ‘You were so good at playing a Nazi bastard,’ Melville told him, ‘but you’ll be just as good playing a sympathetic Nazi.’ The 27-day shoot was spread out over a year since Melville constantly ...

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