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So Much for Caligula

Julian Bell: Caesarishness, 24 March 2022

Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the Ancient World to the Modern 
by Mary Beard.
Princeton, 369 pp., £30, September 2021, 978 0 691 22236 3
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... of Gaul, atrocities frequently ignored by his admirers. The Victorian classicist Sabine Baring-Gould, for instance, who wrote the words to the hymn ‘Onward, Christian Soldiers’, rhapsodised over an eagle-nosed bust in the British Museum, admiring its ‘sweet, sad, patient smile, the reserve of power in the lips, and that far-off look into the ...


John Bayley, 17 September 1987

Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry 
edited by Steven Gould Axelrod and Helen Deese.
Cambridge, 377 pp., £17.50, June 1987, 0 571 14979 0
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Collected Prose 
by Robert Lowell, edited and introduced by Robert Giroux.
Faber, 269 pp., £27.50, February 1987, 0 521 30872 0
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... is Fifty years of snapshots, The ladder of ripening likeness. In his introductory essay Steven Gould Axelrod writes that ‘Lowell felt so personally contingent that he dedicated himself to a task of self-creation in an unfinishable discourse, spent his life pushing across the borders of his previous texts, lived only in the ever-shifting frontier of an ...

Green Thoughts

Colin Ward, 19 January 1989

Seasons of the Seal 
by Fred Bruemmer and Brian Davies.
Bloomsbury, 160 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 7475 0214 5
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Whale Nation 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 191 pp., £15, August 1988, 0 224 02555 4
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Falling for a dolphin 
by Heathcote Williams.
Cape, 47 pp., £4.95, November 1988, 0 224 02659 3
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Prisoners of the Seas 
by K.A. Gourlay.
Zed, 256 pp., £25.95, November 1988, 0 86232 686 9
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Progress for a Small Planet 
by Barbara Ward.
Earthscan, 298 pp., £5.95, September 1988, 1 85383 028 3
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Future Earth: Exploring the Frontiers of Space 
edited by Nigel Calder and John Newell.
Christopher Helm, 255 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780747004202
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Sizewell B: An Anatomy of the Enquiry 
by Timothy O’Riordan, Ray Kemp and Michael Purdue.
Macmillan, 474 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 333 38944 1
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Early Green Politics 
by Peter Gould.
Harvester, 225 pp., £29.95, June 1988, 0 7108 1192 6
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Dreamers of the Absolute 
by Hans Magnus Enzensberger.
Radius, 312 pp., £7.95, October 1988, 0 09 173240 9
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The Coming of the Greens 
by Jonathon Porritt and David Winner.
Fontana, 287 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 00 637244 9
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Ecology and Socialism 
by Martin Ryle.
Radius, 122 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 09 182247 5
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... undeterred by history or events, see it as the natural habitat of the political Left. Peter Gould, in his very agreeable disinterment of the ideologies of the dawn of socialist parties in Britain in the last two decades of the 19th century, shows how they were linked with aspirations to restore the peasantry and get back to a simple life on the ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: On Greensill, 6 May 2021

... and called and texted Tom Scholar, the permanent secretary at the Treasury. He also contacted John Glen and Jesse Norman, two MPs who had served under him and were now ministers in Sunak’s department.Despite Cameron’s efforts – and at least ten meetings with Treasury officials – Greensill wasn’t given access to the CCFF scheme, but it did ...

Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... are newly included. Letters (also to Craft) from Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Glenn Gould and other musical luminaries are also published for the first time; and most of the illustrations are new. Gone are the itineraries that laboriously prefaced each chapter-year in the original edition and the interpolated 12-page ‘Afterword’ which Craft ...

Give Pot a Chance

Roy Porter, 8 June 1995

Marihuana: The Forbidden Medicine 
by Lester Grinspoon, edited by James Bakalar.
Yale, 184 pp., £7.95, April 1995, 0 300 05994 9
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... evidence comes from impeccable professional sources. The Harvard biologist, Stephen Jay Gould, is a rare survivor from a generally lethal form of cancer. Chemotherapy induced in him ‘long periods of intense and uncontrollable nausea’ which only smoking joints alleviated. Gould notes that he had never ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... Hugh Benson, Laurence Binyon, Robert Bridges, Hall Caine, G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Galsworthy, Thomas Hardy, Maurice Hewlett, Anthony Hope, W.J. Locke, E.V. Lucas, J.W. Mackail, John Masefield, A.E.W. Mason, Gilbert Murray, Henry Newbolt, Owen Seaman, G.M. Trevelyan, H.G. Wells and Israel Zangwill ...


Bruce Bawer, 2 May 1985

Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald 
by James Mellow.
Souvenir, 569 pp., £15.95, February 1985, 0 285 65001 7
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Home before Dark: A Personal Memoir of John Cheever 
by Susan Cheever.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 297 78376 9
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... letters, screenplays, notebooks and minor stories, but written Brobdingnagian lives of John O’Hara and James Gould Cozzens), produced a sloppy, simple-minded, adoring doorstop of a biography entitled Some Sort of Epic Grandeur. André Le Vot, a French scholar, followed in 1983 with a graceful English ...

Hateful Sunsets

David Craig: Highlands and Headlands, 5 March 2015

Rising Ground: A Search for the Spirit of Place 
by Philip Marsden.
Granta, 348 pp., £20, October 2014, 978 1 84708 628 0
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... manuscripts and bundles of parish records. Marsden is a fellow of Borlase, and of Sabine Baring-Gould and Charles Henderson in the later 19th and early 20th centuries, in his eagerness to find out about that extremity of England which has the largest concentration of standing stones in Britain. No serious theories have explained this, and it is daft to turn ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Five Easy Pieces’, 9 September 2010

Five Easy Pieces 
by Bob Raphelson.
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... seen by night and day, and amazing silhouettes of people, pumps and scaffolding. It’s as if John Ford had decided to start a western among the California oil rigs, and track his story up the West Coast to Puget Sound. The space around the people in this movie is so large and so unambiguously beautiful you have to wonder what story it is trying to ...

Prosecco Notwithstanding

Tobias Gregory: 21st-Century Noir, 3 July 2008

The Lemur 
by Benjamin Black.
Picador US, 144 pp., $13, June 2008, 978 0 312 42808 2
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... habits are hard to break, or because he thinks he can write a thriller that is also a work of art. John Banville, to his credit, understands that crime fiction is only crime fiction. The Lemur, his third book under the pen name Benjamin Black, is a slim, efficient novel, elegantly done as such things go, in which literary pretensions are largely resisted and ...

My Missus

John Sutherland, 13 May 1993

Popular Reading and Publishing in Britain, 1914-1950 
by Joseph McAleer.
Oxford, 284 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 19 820329 2
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American Star: A Love Story 
by Jackie Collins.
Heinemann, 568 pp., £14.99, March 1993, 0 434 14093 7
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... surveyed the reading of wounded Tommies and discovered that their favourite authors were Nat Gould, Charles Garvice and E. Phillips Oppenheim. She defended their lowbrow preferences stoutly: ‘Our wounded warriors have surely earned the right to amuse themselves with the books that please them most, and to be free from the kind of officious pedantry ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... by Dick Powell and Robert Montgomery during Chandler’s lifetime, and afterwards by Elliot Gould, Robert Mitchum and James Garner. He was the hero of the most listened to radio detective serial in history, and, by the time Chandler died in 1959, had sold over five million books. The private eye was the wilderness hero moved to the urban frontier, alone ...

Son of God

Brigid Brophy, 21 April 1983

by Robert Liebert.
Yale, 447 pp., £25, January 1983, 0 300 02793 1
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The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse 
edited by Stephen Coote.
Penguin, 410 pp., £3.95, March 1983, 0 14 042293 5
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... art historians are not agreed on the chronology, painstakingly reports their different views: ‘Gould (1974) ... proposes that the panel was painted ... in two periods ... Levey (1970) favours dating the work at the beginning of the second Roman period ...’ This carefulness makes it all the odder when, in a rare and clumsy excursion into rhetoric, he ...

Mr Straight and Mr Good

Paul Foot: Gordon Brown, 19 February 1998

Gordon Brown: The Biography 
by Paul Routledge.
Simon and Schuster, 358 pp., £17.99, February 1998, 0 684 81954 6
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... and the subsequent policy review conducted by the Shadow Secretary for Trade and Industry, Bryan Gould. Who are the two young members of the Tribune Group passionately arguing against the inclusion in Labour’s new programme of a modest measure, supported by the Tribune Group, to buy 2 per cent of the shares in British Telecom and thus restore public ...

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