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Angering and Agitating

Christopher Turner: Freud’s fan club, 30 November 2006

Freud’s Wizard: The Enigma of Ernest Jones 
by Brenda Maddox.
Murray, 354 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 7195 6792 0
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... The Welsh psychoanalyst Ernest Jones, known for his three-volume hagiography of Freud, was also the author of a book on figure skating. The New York Psychoanalytic Institute owns a dusty copy, which is illustrated with drawings of the elegant squiggles skaters were supposed to leave on the ice: ‘Only in a certain type of dream,’ Jones wrote, offering a clue to his other area of expertise, ‘do we ever else attain a higher degree of the same ravishing experience of exultantly skiing the earth ...

Knife and Fork Question

Miles Taylor: The Chartist Movement, 29 November 2001

The Chartist Movement in Britain 1838-50 
edited by Gregory Claeys.
Pickering & Chatto, £495, April 2001, 1 85196 330 8
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... of the writings of Thomas Paine and his contemporaries in the 1790s, John Thelwall, Robert Owen and the British Utopians, and the responsibility for producing a Chartist canon could not have fallen into better hands. Few scholars can match Claeys’s ability to render 19th-century radicalism and socialism coherent by locating ideas which have often ...

Questions Concerning the Murder of Benazir Bhutto

Owen Bennett-Jones: Who killed Benazir Bhutto?, 6 December 2012

... In her posthumously published book, Reconciliation, Benazir Bhutto named a man who she believed had tried to procure bombs for an unsuccessful attempt on her life in Karachi in October 2007: I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned … a bomb maker was needed for the bombs. Enter Qari Saifullah Akhtar, a wanted terrorist who had tried to overthrow my second government ...

Mulishness

Paul Keegan: David Jones removes himself, 7 November 2019

David JonesEngraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet 
by Thomas Dilworth.
Vintage, 448 pp., £14.99, January 2019, 978 0 7847 0800 2
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Epoch and Artist Selected Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33950 1
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‘The Dying Gaul’ and Other Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 240 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33953 2
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Dai Greatcoat A Self-Portrait of David Jones in His Letters 
edited by René Hague.
Faber, 280 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33952 5
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... You​ ought to be in a kindergarten,’ a Canadian nurse exclaimed to David Jones, aged twenty, awaiting transfer home in July 1916 after being wounded in Mametz Wood. Even a decade later, photographs show a wary child or an understudy for an adult. Prudence Pelham, the staunchest of his extended female fellowship, described him as ‘completely unsexed ...

Bevan’s Boy

R.W. Johnson, 24 March 1994

Michael Foot 
by Mervyn Jones.
Gollancz, 570 pp., £20, March 1994, 0 575 05197 3
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... for his stewardship of the Party. ‘I am deeply ashamed,’ he began. Unfortunately for Mervyn Jones, who both loves and admires his subject and would have us dwell on other things, it is the freeze-frame of that moment which lives on. For Foot had led Labour to its worst defeat since 1922, a defeat so bad that it handicaps Labour still. In almost exactly ...

The Flight of a Clergyman’s Wife

Gareth Stedman Jones, 27 May 1993

Annie Besant: A Biography 
by Anne Taylor.
Oxford, 383 pp., £25, April 1992, 0 19 211796 3
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... rather than merely economic. In the 1850s a substantial number of socialists had followed Robert Owen into spiritualism and his son, Robert Dale Owen, became a leader of the spiritualist movement in America. Interest in ghosts and communication with the dead was also a preoccupation of the early Fabians. So much so that ...

‘Auntie Mabel doesn’t give a toss about Serbia’

Jo Glanville: The World Service, 25 August 2011

... for a short time. One of the programme’s great coups was an interview that Kofi Annan gave to Owen Bennett-Jones in 2004 in which Annan said that the invasion of Iraq was illegal. The Interview has now been replaced by the BBC World television programme Hard Talk, in a version for radio. The decision appeared ...

The Dollar Tree

Tobias Jones, 11 December 1997

Hand To Mouth: A Chronicle of Early Failure 
by Paul Auster.
Faber, 436 pp., £15.99, November 1997, 0 571 17149 4
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... those few who haven’t heard – comparing faces and states of mind.’ In John living’s Owen Meaney, one mythic hit (‘so unusually sharp and loud’) led to death and Christian conversion. To the British, baseball seems to be simply a spruced up version of rounders. To American writers it is like village cricket: a touchstone of a nation’s soul ...

Earl Grey Moments

Tobias Jones, 2 October 1997

Grace Notes 
by Bernard Mac Laverty.
Cape, 277 pp., £14.99, July 1997, 9780224044295
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... rely on the most frugal plotting: since the crime has already been committed (the abduction of Owen Kane, the killing of Robert, the RUC officer), the narratives are internalised – rueful accounts of the lives of good but guilty men. The action is economical, the characters entirely engaging: both novels were made into successful films, full of ...

Whose Candyfloss?

Christopher Hilliard: Richard Hoggart, 17 April 2014

Richard Hoggart: Virtue and Reward 
by Fred Inglis.
Polity, 259 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 7456 5171 2
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... predictably on the Establishment snobbery personified by the prosecuting counsel, Mervyn Griffith-Jones. No one, as Inglis says, can resist quoting his rhetorical question to the jurors: was Lawrence’s novel the sort of thing they would wish their wives or servants to read? But the routine satirising of Griffith-...

Darkness and so on and on

Adam Mars-Jones: Kate Atkinson, 6 June 2013

Life after Life 
by Kate Atkinson.
Doubleday, 477 pp., £18.99, March 2013, 978 0 385 61867 0
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... to train for a supernaturally revealed task. The hero of John Irving’s novel A Prayer for Owen Meany, for instance, must master a particular basketball shot in order to fulfil his destiny by saving a group of children. It may be that the literary form best suited to dramatising forks in the road, paths taken and not taken, isn’t the novel at all but ...

Under the Staircase

Robert Neild, 1 April 1983

War Plan UK: The Truth about Civil Defence in Britain 
by Duncan Campbell.
Burnett, 488 pp., £12.95, November 1982, 0 09 150670 0
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With Enough Shovels: Reagan, Bush and Nuclear War 
by Robert Scheer.
Secker, 279 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 436 44355 4
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... for power and their early heady days in office. It was in an interview with one of them, Thomas K. Jones, whom President Reagan appointed Deputy Under-Secretary of Defence for Research and Engineering, Strategic and Theatre Nuclear Forces, that Robert Scheer heard the phrase from which he took the title of his book: ‘if there are enough shovels to go ...

Done Deal

Christopher Hitchens: Nixon in China, 5 April 2001

A Great Wall: Six Presidents and China 
by Patrick Tyler.
PublicAffairs, 512 pp., £11.99, September 2000, 1 58648 005 7
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... of the Revolution were mainly Communist sympathisers like Edgar Snow, Anna Louise Strong and Owen Lattimore. After the gruesomeness of the war in Korea, their expertise was at a discount and the State Department was purged of the sort of people who might, if they had stuck around, have helped avert the inane policies that eventuated in the Vietnam ...

Cough up

Thomas Keymer: Henry Fielding, 20 November 2008

Plays: Vol. II, 1731-34 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Thomas Lockwood.
Oxford, 865 pp., £150, October 2007, 978 0 19 925790 4
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‘The Journal of a Voyage to Lisbon’, ‘Shamela’ and ‘Occasional Writings’ 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin, with Sheridan Baker and Hugh Amory.
Oxford, 804 pp., £150
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... was that of a professional author any purer? Although Fielding’s most enduring work, and Tom Jones (1749) especially, were the result of a painstaking commitment to the craft of writing, he always wanted to disguise the vulgarities of effort, and nowhere more than in the comedies and farces of the 1730s, eight of which appear in this volume of Thomas ...

Beach Poets

Blake Morrison, 16 September 1982

The Fortunate Traveller 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 99 pp., £3.95, March 1982, 0 571 11893 3
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Sun Poem 
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 104 pp., £4.95, April 1982, 0 19 211945 1
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Collected Poems 
by Bernard Spencer, edited by Roger Bowen.
Oxford, 149 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 19 211930 3
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Selected Poems 
by Odysseus Elytis.
Anvil, 114 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85646 076 1
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Poems from Oby 
by George MacBeth.
Secker, 67 pp., £4, March 1982, 9780436270178
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The New Ewart: Poems 1980-1982 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 115 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 09 146980 5
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The Apple-Broadcast 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 133 pp., £3, November 1981, 0 7100 0884 8
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... experiences during the Second World War Albanian campaign and describe soldiers, as Wilfred Owen or David Jones might, making their way to ‘the place where you don’t find weekdays or holidays, sick people or healthy people, poor or rich’. To possess a sunny disposition may be as much a handicap to a poet seeking ...

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