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Diary

Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... and only achieve form when one steps back. Oddly favourite is a portrait of the (unappealing) Pope Paul III in a faded rose-coloured cape enthroned on a worn velvet chair, the supreme pontiff just a lay figure there to demonstrate the painter’s skill with his materials. Next to him the irresistible portrait of the 12-year-old Ranuccio Farnese and another of ...
... the novel needs another force, which emerges as the more determined and unconflicted figure of Paul Muniment, who is all outwardness, decisiveness and manliness, with politics that are focused, thought-out, physical, set against Robinson’s ambiguous sexual and social presence. But drama in the novel can only occur when Hyacinth’s bookishness, his soul ...

Ghosting

Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... person yet,’ he said. ‘It will be the book you can write now.’ He wanted his book to be like Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man. I noticed he tended to eat pretty much with his hands. People in magazine articles say he doesn’t eat, but he had three helpings of lasagne that night and he ate both the baked potato and the jam pudding with his hands. He turned ...

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