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Paul Laity: Little England, 24 May 2001

... honorary members – there’s Jilly Cooper, Peter Hitchens, Norris McWhirter, mad Patrick Moore – includes the name of the universally adored J.K. Rowling OBE. Is this not taking the antique Englishness of Harry Potter just a little too far? But then I remember that the ‘feasts’ served up at Hogwarts boarding school are of ‘roast beef, roast ...

The Passion of the Bureaucrats

Tim Parks: Skulduggery in the Vatican, 18 February 2016

Avarizia: Le Carte che Svelano. Ricchezza, Scandali e Segreti della Chiesa di Francesco 
by Emiliano Fittipaldi.
Feltrinelli, 224 pp., €14, December 2015, 978 88 07 17298 4
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Merchants in the Temple: Inside Pope Francis’s Secret Battle against Corruption in the Vatican 
by Gianluigi Nuzzi, translated by Michael Moore.
Holt, 224 pp., £24.99, December 2015, 978 1 62779 865 5
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... Most​ blessed Father,’ five international auditors wrote to Pope Francis on 27 June 2013, three months into his papacy, ‘there is an almost total lack of clarity in the accounts of both the Holy See and the Governorate.’ The letter goes on: This lack of clarity makes it impossible to establish a proper estimate of the real financial position of the Vatican, whether as a whole or with regard to the single elements of which it is made up ...

The Jump-out Boys

J. Robert Lennon: The Drug-Bust that Wasn’t, 3 August 2006

Tulia: Race, Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town 
by Nate Blakeslee.
PublicAffairs, 450 pp., £15.99, September 2005, 9781586482190
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... Tulians were happy to see behind bars. One was a former juke-joint owner and bootlegger called Joe Moore. These days, Moore made his living raising pigs and cows, but local police still remembered his more disreputable days. He’d been busted for cocaine possession a couple of times in the past, and had gone to prison ...

Echoes

Tom Phillips, 2 April 1981

English Art and Modernism 1900-1939 
by Charles Harrison.
Allen Lane, 416 pp., £20, February 1981, 0 7139 0792 4
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... but which turned out to be a marathon. The pack thins and the stayers are revealed in the lead (Michael Andrews, Frank Auerbach and Adrian Berg, for example). With so many of the tedious political attitudes of the artists of the Sixties discredited, those who have been slow to slough them off (following Kitaj’s example once again) have found themselves ...

Country Life

David Cannadine, 5 November 1981

The Victorian Countryside 
edited by G.E. Mingay.
Routledge, 380 pp., £25, July 1981, 0 7100 0734 5
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... and Kegan Paul published The Victorian City: Images and Realities, edited by H.J. Dyos and Michael Wolff, a Wagnerian epic in which history went to town in exuberant, zestful and flamboyant fashion. Understandably, the two volumes won immediate and widespread acclaim as a tour de force of entrepreneurial inspiration and editorial skill: ‘a study in ...

Mostly Middle

Michael Hofmann: Elizabeth Bishop, 8 September 2011

Poems 
by Elizabeth Bishop.
Chatto, 352 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 7011 8628 9
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... but where else have the culture vultures not been, with their guides and follow-me signs?Marianne Moore and her mother finished her in Brooklyn (decorum studies?) after she left Vassar. James Laughlin, founder of New Directions, publisher and friend of Ezra Pound, was so desperate to publish her that even after he accepted he wasn’t going to be allowed ...

Honey and Water

Michael Irwin, 7 August 1980

The Beekeepers 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 156 pp., £5.50, July 1980, 0 7100 0473 7
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F for Ferg 
by Ian Cochrane.
Gollancz, 117 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 0 575 02862 9
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Events Beyond the Heartlands 
by Robert Watson.
Heinemann, 241 pp., £6.50, July 1980, 0 434 84200 1
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... new novella buttonholes you immediately with its easy Irish conversational style: Fergus Moore was new in the village. Well, he had been there for three months but nobody had got to know him. He came from the city. His Da had got one of the big houses just outside the village because he got the job as manager in the textile factory. We didn’t like ...

Phantom Jacks

John Bayley, 5 January 1989

Jack: C.S. Lewis and His Times 
by George Sayer.
Macmillan, 278 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 0 333 43362 9
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J.B. Priestley 
by Vincent Brome.
Hamish Hamilton, 512 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 9780241125601
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Eddy: The Life of Edward Sackville-West 
by Michael De-la-Noy.
Bodley Head, 341 pp., £16, October 1988, 0 370 31164 7
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... or perhaps succubus as a result of active service in the First World War. This was Mrs Moore – her name has a coincidental affiliation with Forster’s heroine in A Passage to India – whose own son was killed, and with whom Lewis took it upon himself, first as a pleasure and then as a duty, to live for the rest of her life. Live with? Sayer is ...

Can I have my shilling back?

Peter Campbell, 19 November 1992

Epstein: Artist against the Establishment 
by Stephen Gardiner.
Joseph, 532 pp., £20, September 1992, 9780718129446
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... Then there were the monumental bronzes: the Madonna and Child in Cavendish Square and the St Michael at Coventry, for example. These were well-liked by most people and liked very much indeed by many. Because they are whole figures, not just heads, you can see how Epstein handled poses: they tend to be solemn, formal and frontal, the palms of the hands ...

What did you expect?

Steven Shapin: The banality of moon-talk, 1 September 2005

Moondust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth 
by Andrew Smith.
Bloomsbury, 308 pp., £17.99, April 2005, 0 7475 6368 3
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... In Tom Stoppard’s Jumpers, Dorothy Moore – a retired music-hall chanteuse and the wife of a moral philosopher called George Moore – is going dotty in her bedroom. The precipitating cause is a televised fight between the first two astronauts to land on the Moon about who gets to go back home on a damaged lunar ascent module that can carry only one ...

‘The Meeting of the Waters’

John Barrell, 26 July 2017

... to have been named by Walter Scott after the song of that title by the Irish Romantic poet Thomas Moore. This was then the only place I knew of so named. Next came a beautiful lake at Killarney which turned out to be called the Meeting of the Waters; again, it’s believed, at Scott’s suggestion. I decided to start collecting these ‘meetings’, so drove ...
Life of a Poet: Rainer Maria Rilke 
by Ralph Freedman.
Farrar, Straus, 640 pp., $35, March 1996, 0 374 18690 1
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Uncollected Poems 
by Rainer Maria Rilke and Edward Snow.
North Point Press/Farrar, Straus, 266 pp., $22, March 1996, 0 86547 482 6
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Rilke’s ‘Duino Elegies’: Cambridge Readings 
edited by Roger Paulin and Peter Hutchinson.
Duckworth/Ariadne, 237 pp., £30, March 1996, 1 57241 032 9
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... and Valéry, inward and intricate like Eliot and Pessoa, serenely eccentric like Marianne Moore, public and overflowing like Neruda and Pound. One of the strangest and most tantalising of these images is that of Yeats, both worldly and spiritualist, silly like us, as Auden said (sillier, some would say), and yet wonderfully hard-headed. But there ...

Muldoon – A Mystery

Michael Hofmann, 20 December 1990

Madoc – A Mystery 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 261 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14489 6
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... Welsh Indians, early pioneers, Lewis and Clark, stray Irishmen, the Satanic School of Byron and Moore. The two disciplines are pretty arbitrarily related – principally, I suppose, by the idea that Southey and Coleridge are poet-philosophers, and thereafter by some typical Muldoon punning and legerdemain, such things as the cryptogram ...

Diary

Iain Sinclair: My Olympics, 30 August 2012

... bonanza. The soft-spoken Californian rodent was attended by his sleepover pal and minder, Michael Jackson. We have heard it stated, quite accurately, that construction work on the Olympic Park has been carried out with few casualties. But cycle deaths are mounting, from the early casualties of the fresh-painted lanes at the base of the Bow ...

Going Straight

Neal Ascherson, 17 March 1983

After Long Silence 
by Michael Straight.
Collins, 351 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 00 217001 9
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A Matter of Trust: MI5 1945-72 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £8.95, December 1982, 0 297 78253 3
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... malevolent, piteous or merely inaccurate, ought to be wound up after the publication of Michael Straight’s contribution. Very possibly, Anthony Blunt will one day write such a book himself. But the names have almost all been named, the questions of motive worn smooth, the titles and pensions (some of them) stripped like epaulettes, the spell in ...

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