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It’s Been a Lot of Fun

David Runciman: Hitchens’s Hitchens, 24 June 2010

Hitch-22: A Memoir 
by Christopher Hitchens.
Atlantic, 435 pp., £20, June 2010, 978 1 84354 921 5
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... and lacks confidence in his aesthetic judgments (something that attracts him to his great friend Martin Amis is that Amis has no problem telling him what sorts of book he should like). But Hitchens has complete confidence in his political judgments, which are robust, intensely felt and invariably propped up by vast amounts of selective reading. He has ...

Shockers

Jeremy Treglown, 6 August 1992

Writers on World War Two: An Anthology 
edited by Mordecai Richler.
Chatto, 752 pp., £18.99, February 1992, 0 7011 3912 9
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Legacies and Ambiguities: Post-war Fiction and Culture in West Germany and Japan 
edited by Ernestine Schlant and Thomas Rimer.
Woodrow Wilson Center Press/Johns Hopkins, 323 pp., $35, February 1992, 0 943875 30 7
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... born. Richler prints a vivid – and typically too-brief – extract from Staring at the Sun by Julian Barnes (b. 1946), although nothing from Shuttlecock, by Graham Swift (b. 1949), which gives the best description I know of the territory, real and psychological, in which his generation grew up in Britain: What attracted me then about Camber was less its ...

My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... the way Andrew Motion carries off his loden coat as he swirls between taxi and station platform. Julian Barnes’s novels are depilated at source, fat-free. Frisking them for a Moorcockian digression, a set of cellulite-heavy parentheses, would be like checking a tub of margarine for a stray pubic hair. Smoothness, the absence of bumps and flaws and evidence ...

Saving the World

Barbara Wootton, 19 June 1980

Sage: A Life of J.D. Bernal 
by Maurice Goldsmith.
Hutchinson, 255 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 9780091395506
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... this was a house where Bernal had for some years been living with Margaret Gardiner and their son Martin – then a most undisciplined small boy, but now, I understand, a highly distinguished Chinese scholar living in the USA and certainly heir to his father’s intellectual gifts. Bernal’s marriage to Eileen (which had produced a son and a daughter) was ...

Keach and Shelley

Denis Donoghue, 19 September 1985

Shelley’s Style 
by William Keach.
Methuen, 269 pp., £18, April 1985, 9780416303209
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Ariel: A Shelley Romance 
by André Maurois and Ella D’Arcy.
Penguin, 252 pp., £1.95, September 1985, 0 14 000001 1
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... adhere to formulated myth, traditionally developed from such meetings.’ Bloom’s authority was Martin Buber’s distinction, in I and Thou, between the two primary words, I-Thou and I-It: When Thou is spoken, the speaker has no thing for his object. For where there is a thing there is another thing. Every It is bounded by others; It exists only through ...

Fundamental Brainwork

Jerome McGann, 30 March 2000

Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Collected Writings 
edited by Jan Marsh.
Dent, 531 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 460 87875 1
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Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Painter and Poet 
by Jan Marsh.
Weidenfeld, 592 pp., £25, November 1999, 0 297 81703 5
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... in the style which I originated, for years, when no works at all resembled mine but my own.’ Martin Hardie has defined that originality as an assumption of new technical licences. ‘The central tradition of watercolour meant nothing to Rossetti,’ Hardie observes. ‘He started out to hack his way to expression,’ achieving ‘an unusual ...

Ozymandias Syndrome

Robert Irwin, 24 August 1995

Islamic Architecture 
by Robert Hillenbrand.
Edinburgh, 645 pp., £49.50, November 1994, 0 7486 0479 0
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The Art and Architecture of Islam 1250-1800 
by Sheila Blair and Jonathan Bloom.
Yale, 348 pp., £45, August 1994, 0 300 05888 8
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The Mosque: History, Architectural Development and Regional Diversity 
edited by Martin Frishman and Hassan-Uddin Khan.
Thames and Hudson, 288 pp., £36, November 1994, 0 500 34133 8
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Iznik: The Pottery of Ottoman Turkey 
by Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby.
Alexandria Press/Laurence King, 384 pp., £60, July 1994, 1 85669 054 7
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... as venues for second-hand book-dealers. So Mohammed Arkoun should stop worrying. Nurhan Atasoy and Julian Raby’s book about Iznik pottery is more architectural in its concerns than someone unfamiliar with the history of Ottoman ceramics might have guessed, for the mass-production of the brilliantly designed and coloured fritware jugs and dishes is ...

High on His Own Supply

Christopher Tayler: Amis Recycled, 11 September 2003

Yellow Dog 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 340 pp., £16.99, September 2003, 0 224 05061 3
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... Reviewing a new edition of Ulysses in 1986, Martin Amis had a few reservations about the book’s popularity with scholarly intermediaries. James Joyce, he concluded, ‘could have been the most popular boy in the school, the funniest, the cleverest, the kindest. He ended up with a more ambiguous distinction: he became the teacher’s pet ...

Writer’s Writer and Writer’s Writer’s Writer

Julian Barnes: ‘Madame Bovary’, 18 November 2010

Madame Bovary: Provincial Ways 
by Gustave Flaubert and Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 342 pp., £20, November 2010, 978 1 84614 104 1
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... sadly not now; Marmur’s is good; Wall’s brings in the slightly unwanted flavour of a bad Dean Martin movie; Steegmuller and Hopkins deliberately duck the felinity (you could argue that the French is already drained of it anyway); while Russell and Davis, mixing banality and distant animality, have found the best solution. Probably. At least for the ...

Diary

Julian Barnes: People Will Hate Us Again, 20 April 2017

... head, more in sadness than anything else. ‘No,’ he answered. I later discovered his identity: Martin Schulz, now running against Angela Merkel. As he put it back in October, when president of the European Parliament: ‘I refuse to imagine a Europe where lorries and hedge funds are free to cross borders but citizens are not.’ Liam Fox resigned on 14 ...

Diary

Nicholas Penny: Getting Rid of the Curators, 4 May 1989

... was some sort of plan even before the Director was appointed is clear from the account given by Julian Spalding (now Director of the City Art Gallery, Glasgow) of his interview for the post. Sir Michael Butler, Deputy Chairman of the Trustees, told him that they, the Trustees, were looking for someone to carry out their policies. This is not, of ...
The Alternative: Politics for a Change 
edited by Ben Pimlott, Anthony Wright and Tony Flower.
W.H. Allen, 260 pp., £14.95, July 1990, 9781852271688
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... and style to New Times (1989), a product of Marxism Today. Indeed, Marxism Today’s editor, Martin Jacques, is a contributor to The Alternative. Both see the Eighties as representing a profound historical caesura: an epoch dominated by the October Revolution, classical social-democratic working-class movements, and a Keynesian-Beveridge political ...

Odysseus’ Bow

Edward Luttwak: Ancient combat, 17 November 2005

Soldiers and Ghosts: A History of Battle in Classical Antiquity 
by J.E. Lendon.
Yale, 468 pp., £18.95, June 2005, 0 300 10663 7
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... collective memory therefore obscure the twin verities that, in the words of the military historian Martin van Creveld, ‘men love war and women love warriors.’ That he is right cannot be doubted because, with few exceptions, wars throughout history have been fought by volunteers, who had to love war to tolerate its inevitable hardships; and men would ...

It’s not the bus: it’s us

Thomas Sugrue: Stars, Stripes and Civil Rights, 20 November 2008

The Soiling of Old Glory: The Story of a Photograph that Shocked America 
by Louis Masur.
Bloomsbury US, 224 pp., $24.95, April 2008, 978 1 59691 364 6
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... blacks continued to wallow in self-pity. Boston’s Irish were not alone in their resentments. Martin Luther King was pelted with bricks when he led marches in Chicago’s Polish and Lithuanian enclaves during the summer of 1966. Throughout the 1970s, Italians in Brooklyn fiercely defended their turf from blacks. And in 1972, whites in Pontiac, Michigan, a ...

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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... novel, Moscow is the fount of spiritual nourishment, the known but unvisited other country, as Julian Mitchell terms it, in his play, Another Country. Fellow Travellers fits snugly with the success of the film version of the play, with the death of Blunt, and Britain’s continuing fascination with Thirties upper-class traitors. Worsley wrote the ...

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