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Ronan Bennett: Being Irish in New York, 6 April 1995

... mischievous matchmakers, innocent fun, uileann pipes, sea-wind in the hair. Even if you swap John Ford’s Ireland for something more urban and contemporary, say that of Roddy Doyle, in which a good night out is more likely to involve soul music and a ‘ride’, it is still possible to find yourself idealising: Ford and ...


Richard Altick, 29 October 1987

George Scharf’s London: Sketches and Watercolours of a Changing City, 1820-50 
by Peter Jackson.
Murray, 154 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 7195 4379 7
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... Whether by happy accident or design, the publication of Peter Jackson’s George Scharf’s London coincided with the opening of a notable exhibition at the Museum of London called simply ‘Londoners’. Although Scharf’s oeuvre is most readily classified as topographical art, his sketches are as descriptive of the everyday Londoners who went about their lawful pursuits in the decades between 1820 and 1850 as they are of sides of the emerging metropolis which down to that time were largely neglected by the best-known London iconographers ...

Newfangled Inner Worlds

Adam Phillips: Malingering, 3 March 2005

Forgotten Lunatics of the Great War 
by Peter Barham.
Yale, 451 pp., £19.99, August 2004, 0 300 10379 4
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... believed, as most German doctors and many of their British colleagues apparently did, that, in Peter Barham’s words, ‘the so-called war neuroses were for the most part not causally connected with the circumstances of the war at all, but were essentially psychological reactions in terrified and weak-willed individuals unwilling or unable to place the ...

Dancing and Flirting

Mark Ford: Apollinaire, 24 May 2018

Zone: Selected Poems 
by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Ron Padgett.
NYRB, 251 pp., £9.99, January 2016, 978 1 59017 924 6
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Selected Poems 
by Guillaume Apollinaire, translated by Martin Sorrell.
Oxford, 281 pp., £9.99, November 2015, 978 0 19 968759 6
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... Apollinaire in the seat of honour as the ‘impresario of the avant-garde’. More recently Peter Read has explored in rich and rewarding detail the complex relationship between Apollinaire and Picasso, illustrating the way the ‘creative dialogue’ between them ‘fostered and inspired some of their finest art and poetry’. Apollinaire’s ...

From Old Adam to New Eve

Peter Pulzer, 6 June 1985

The Conservative Party from Peel to Thatcher 
by Robert Blake.
Methuen/Fontana, 401 pp., £19.95, May 1985, 0 413 58140 3
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Westminster Blues 
by Julian Critchley.
Hamish Hamilton, 134 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 241 11387 3
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... Indeed how alike are the Tory Party of today and that of 1968, when Lord Blake delivered the Ford Lectures that form the backbone of this book? Is it only the faulty perspective of daily politics that makes one wonder whether the gap between the Tory Party of Margaret Thatcher and that of Harold Macmillan is greater than the gap between Macmillan and the ...

The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper

Blake Morrison, 4 July 1985

... Masque of the Red Death’ I were just cleaning up streets our kid. Just cleaning up streets. Peter Sutcliffe to his brother Carl: Somebody’s Husband, Somebody’s Son by Gordon Burn Ower t’ills o Bingley Stormclouds clap an drain, Like opened blood-black blisters Leakin pus an pain. Ail teems down like stair-rods, An swells canals an becks, An ...

A Car of One’s Own

Andrew O’Hagan: Chariots of Desire, 11 June 2009

... was part-nationalised in 1975 – and several banks have been as good as nationalised this year. Peter Mandelson recently said that the £2.3 billion in loan guarantees he unlocked for the car industry were no ‘bail-out’, being intended to promote its ‘greening’, but this was just a fancy way of getting access to £1.3 billion from the European ...

Just one of those ends

Michael Wood: Apocalypse Regained, 13 December 2001

Apocalypse Now Redux 
directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
August 2001
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Marlon Brando 
by Patricia Bosworth.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £12.99, October 2001, 0 297 84284 6
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... lunch than in the mission he is ordering, and his aide de camp, a very youthful-looking Harrison Ford, doesn’t quite know whether to look sinister or sympathetic. He clears his throat a lot. A Vietnamese technician (Jerry Ziesmer) reverses the oriental stereotype by looking like an ordinary human being, and far less inscrutable than either of the other ...

Lost Empire

D.J. Enright, 16 October 1980

Earthly Powers 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 650 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 143910 8
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... Toomey’s real-life colleagues in the arts get a bad press. H.G. Wells is ‘a satyromaniac’, Ford Madox Ford has bad breath and a dirty mind, Norman Douglas is ‘filthy’ and ‘boy shagging’, T.S. Eliot is wrong about the Tarot pack and also (in which case, among many others) about Seneca’s act-division ...


Mary-Kay Wilmers: Karl Miller Remembered, 9 October 2014

... a point of view and an attitude and – as his pieces did – their own way of saying things (of Ford Madox Ford, Clive James wrote in the Listener, ‘the grade A crumpet came at him like kamikazes’). He said he would publish anything as long as it was interesting though I don’t think that was ever put to the test, or ...

Thee, Thou, Twixt

Mark Ford: Walter de la Mare, 24 March 2022

Reading Walter de la Mare 
edited by William Wootten.
Faber, 320 pp., £14.99, June 2021, 978 0 571 34713 1
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... somehow lurking in Howards End or the haunted garden of Kipling’s ‘They’ or the Neverland of Peter Pan. De la Mare inhabited that wistfulness not only because he was poetically averse to embracing modernity, but because it suited his technical gifts, and because his exquisite attention to detail and rhythm allowed him to invest wistfulness itself with a ...

What difference did she make?

Eric Hobsbawm, 23 May 1991

A Question of Leadership: Gladstone to Thatcher 
by Peter Clarke.
Hamish Hamilton, 334 pp., £17.99, April 1991, 0 241 13005 0
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The Quiet Rise of John Major 
by Edward Pearce.
Weidenfeld, 177 pp., £14.99, April 1991, 0 297 81208 4
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... Mrs Wilson and not Woodrow Wilson, Truman and not Roosevelt, Lyndon Johnson and not Kennedy, Ford and not Nixon, or even that there was nobody in the White House at all – as under Reagan. In short, a strong economy and great power can be politically almost foolproof, just as, conversely, there are limits to what pure talent and leadership can ...

Ejected Gentleman

Norman Page, 7 May 1987

John Galsworthy’s Life and Art: An Alien’s Fortress 
by James Gindin.
Macmillan, 616 pp., £35, March 1987, 0 333 40812 8
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... the end of his life that he had ‘never been part and parcel of the England he has loved’; told Ford Madox Ford (if the latter, so often untrustworthy, is to be believed) that he had never been ‘absolutely in the inner circle’ of society; insisted to Harley Granville-Barker that he knew he would never be able to live ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting, 1 January 1998

Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... exclusively to Dadd’s madness, for the compositional congestion is not so different from Ford Madox Brown’s Work, and may perhaps also be compared to Dickens’s plots. A more important influence than photography, generally speaking, was that of book illustration, in which almost all the painters of fairy subjects engaged. Both the ornate ...

Flights from the Asylum

John Sutherland, 1 September 1988

Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 496 pp., £9.95, June 1988, 0 436 28461 8
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The Comforts of Madness 
by Paul Sayer.
Constable, 128 pp., £9.95, July 1988, 0 09 468480 4
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Sweet Desserts 
by Lucy Ellmann.
Virago, 154 pp., £10.95, August 1988, 9780860688471
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by Theodore Zeldin.
Collins Harvill, 320 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 00 271302 0
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... Comforts of Madness is an extended imaginary exposure to what the wretches under his care feel. Peter is a long-term catatonic patient, and the novel takes the form of his interior monologue. Seemingly impervious to the outside world, Peter watches everything around him keenly. It is his choice to switch off – like ...

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