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tarry easty

Roy Foster: Joyce in Trieste, 30 November 2000

The Years of Bloom: James Joyce in Trieste 1904-20 
by John McCourt.
Lilliput, 306 pp., £25, June 2000, 1 901866 45 9
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... of a great seaport. Previous literary exiles had included Stendhal, Charles Lever and Richard Burton. In addition, Trieste had its own literary world: Futurism flourished there, Marinetti visited frequently and contributed to local papers, and Joyce’s pupil and friend Ettore Schmitz would later – encouraged by his teacher – become ...

Third Natures

Christopher Minkowski: The Kāmasūtra, 21 June 2018

Redeeming the ‘Kamasutra’ 
by Wendy Doniger.
Oxford, 181 pp., £14.99, March 2016, 978 0 19 049928 0
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... in 1883 of an English translation – a project fronted by the Orientalising self-promoter Richard Burton – there have been a great number of illustrated versions. To many, the Kāmasūtra’s connection with India is almost incidental. Most do not know what the text as a whole is like: the best-known portions take up only one of its seven ...

Magical Realism

D.A.N. Jones, 1 August 1985

The House of the Spirits 
by Isabel Allende, translated by Magda Bogin.
Cape, 368 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 0 224 02231 8
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Linden Hills 
by Gloria Naylor.
Hodder, 304 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 9780340360330
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Careful with the Sharks 
by Constantine Phipps.
Cape, 216 pp., £8.95, May 1985, 9780224023085
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... he writes like Baden-Powell in Adventures of a Spy, even sometimes like Mr Pooter. He reads Sir Richard Burton a good deal and studies a more modern book in which the secrets of the CIA are revealed for 15 bucks. In this mood he feels very clever, easily able to outwit Major Shark from whom he can keep secret the brilliance of his bugs. ‘Sometimes I ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum, 18 September 1997

Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... then ‘Audrey pointed to one of Elizabeth’s enormous jewels and asked: “Kenny Lane?” “No, Richard Burton,” replied Taylor, and both stars screamed with laughter.’ It blows my mind – I don’t know a more proper way to say it – to imagine Hepburn pointing to Taylor’s jewels, as if the two were simply women at a party, not symbolic ...

Carnival Time

Peter Craven, 18 February 1988

The Remake 
by Clive James.
Cape, 223 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 224 02515 5
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In the Land of Oz 
by Howard Jacobson.
Hamish Hamilton, 380 pp., £12.95, September 1987, 0 241 12110 8
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... literary calling float through the novel like a set of spectral teases. It’s a bit like seeing Richard Burton use the technique he learnt for Henry V to play some Alistair Maclean paratrooper. Intermittently, the nonsense assumes a human shape and pressure, the dialogue, when it is not too blatantly James versus James, sounds like something a human ...

Who were they?

Sanjay Subrahmanyam: ‘Thuggee’, 3 December 2009

Stranglers and Bandits: A Historical Anthology of ‘Thuggee’ 
edited by Kim Wagner.
Oxford, 318 pp., £22.99, January 2009, 978 0 19 569815 2
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... lower-class Indian – Merchant himself was convinced that this was ‘a matter of record’: Sir Richard Burton ‘had done exactly that again and again’. Merchant was educated at St Xavier’s College in Bombay before leaving for the US in 1958, and was clearly not so sceptical about colonialist claims of conducting a mission civilisatrice in the way ...

Putting it on

David Marquand, 12 September 1991

A Life at the Centre 
by Roy Jenkins.
Macmillan, 600 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 333 55164 8
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... has nothing to do with air or water, and that accent is only part of the story. In different ways, Richard Burton and Aneurin Bevan (Beaverbrook’s ‘Bollinger Bolshevik’) were also champion putters-on. So, in a rather minor key, were at least half the members of my mother’s extended family. In a putting-it-on competition between Roy Jenkins and my ...

Quick with a Stiletto

Malcolm Gaskill: Europe’s Underground War, 7 July 2022

Resistance: The Underground War in Europe, 1939-45 
by Halik Kochanski.
Allen Lane, 932 pp., £35, March, 978 0 241 00428 9
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... German killed (elsewhere it had been even worse: fifty for every German). Kappler – played by Richard Burton in George P. Cosmatos’s film Massacre in Rome (1973) – had to come up with names very quickly: the killings were to be carried out within 24 hours of the attack. In the film we see Burton at a ...

Belgravia Cockney

Christopher Tayler: On being a le Carré bore, 25 January 2007

The Mission Song 
by John le Carré.
Hodder, 339 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 9780340921968
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... starring Alec Guinness, or Martin Ritt’s version of The Spy who Came in from the Cold with Richard Burton, it’s possible to persuade yourself that le Carré might even be the greatest English novelist alive. Unfortunately, looking at his other books the next morning makes this seem less likely, in part because the classic phase of his career ...

Strewn with Loot

Adewale Maja-Pearce, 12 August 2021

The Brutish Museums: The Benin Bronzes, Colonial Violence and Cultural Restitution 
by Dan Hicks.
Pluto, 368 pp., £20, November 2020, 978 0 7453 4176 7
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Loot: Britain and the Benin Bronzes 
by Barnaby Phillips.
Oneworld, 388 pp., £20, April, 978 1 78607 935 0
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... Benin court art, since works in brass, ivory and wood are also included – in his 1668 account. Richard Burton, who travelled to the city in 1863, had written of them too, and a few had been presented as gifts, notably two carved ivory tusks given to a visiting trader in 1889 (he also took photographs), and a bronze figure of a horseman given to ...

Joke Book?

A.D. Nuttall, 23 November 1989

The Anatomy of Melancholy: Vol. I 
by Robert Burton, edited by Thomas Faulkner, Nicholas Kiessling and Rhonda Blair.
Oxford, 675 pp., £70, October 1989, 0 19 812448 1
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... who eluded her too amorous suitor by hiding among pigs, stands the funerary monument of Robert Burton. Already, it will be noticed, I am giving more information than is strictly necessary. My excuse must be that it is a habit I have caught from Burton himself. A schoolboy, asked to produce a review, is said to have ...

The Politics of Translation

Marina Warner: Translate this!, 11 October 2018

This Little Art 
by Kate Briggs.
Fitzcarraldo, 365 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 910695 45 6
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Translation as Transhumance 
by Mireille Gansel, translated by Ros Schwartz.
Les Fugitives, 150 pp., £10, November 2017, 978 0 9930093 3 4
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Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto 
by Mark Polizzotti.
MIT, 168 pp., £17.99, May 2018, 978 0 262 03799 0
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The 100 Best Novels in Translation 
by Boyd Tonkin.
Galileo, 304 pp., £14.99, June 2018, 978 1 903385 67 8
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The Work of Literary Translation 
by Clive Scott.
Cambridge, 285 pp., £75, June 2018, 978 1 108 42682 4
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... and surveys a number of translators who were information-gatherers for their paymasters (Richard Burton, for example, the maker of a steamy Arabian Nights). Briggs lobbied hard for the job of translating Roland Barthes’s famous lecture series at the Collège de France, and, in spite of being a newcomer to ‘this little art’, was ...

Gentlemen Travellers

D.A.N. Jones, 15 September 1983

George Borrow: Eccentric 
by Michael Collie.
Cambridge, 275 pp., £19.50, November 1982, 0 521 24615 6
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A World of his Own: The Double Life of George Borrow 
by David Williams.
Oxford, 178 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 19 211762 9
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Eothen: Traces of Travel Brought Home from the East 
by Alexander Kinglake and Jan Morris.
Oxford, 279 pp., £2.95, November 1982, 0 19 281361 7
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Eothen 
by Alexander Kinglake and Jonathan Raban.
Century, 226 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 7126 0031 0
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... monster, lionised by London hostesses as a man who did savage things in exotic lands, like Sir Richard Burton, later in the century. But that would be too absurd. ‘The proposed victim looked so thoroughly capable of enjoying life (if he could only get to the other side of the river) that I thought it would be hard for him to die, merely in order to ...

Born to Lying

Theo Tait: Le Carré, 3 December 2015

John le Carré: The Biography 
by Adam Sisman.
Bloomsbury, 652 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 2792 5
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... to Crete or Vienna, then jetting off to America on publicity tours or visiting Dublin to work with Richard Burton on the film of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold. In time, it ruined his marriage. Cornwell became passionately involved with the writer James Kennaway and his wife, Susan, a glamorous couple described by one friend as ‘Scott and Zelda, with ...

You’ve got it or you haven’t

Iain Sinclair, 25 February 1993

Inside the Firm: The Untold Story of the Krays’ Reign of Terror 
by Tony Lambrianou and Carol Clerk.
Pan, 256 pp., £4.99, October 1992, 0 330 32284 2
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Gangland: London’s Underworld 
by James Morton.
Little, Brown, 349 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 356 20889 3
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Nipper: The Story of Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read 
by Leonard Read and James Morton.
Warner, 318 pp., £5.99, September 1992, 0 7515 0001 1
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Smash and Grab: Gangsters in the London Underworld 
by Robert Murphy.
Faber, 182 pp., £15.99, February 1993, 0 571 15442 5
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... could be the difference between being a statistic in a Channel 4 filler and being reincarnated by Richard Burton. Only losers leave their stories to the East London Advertiser and the more literate class of probation officer. Take that McVicar. He was totally out of order. An armed robber, ‘one of the top men of his profession’ (Lambrianou), he blew ...

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