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Diary

Nigel Hamilton: Writing Books, and Selling Them, 23 October 1986

... three months now and can at last ink real figures onto our accountant’s computer predictions. Robin is there early, the lights are on and he’s opened the windows. The Market is still quiet – a far cry from its days as a fruit and flower nexus. I read in the Observer that Michael Caine’s father had worked in one of the London markets. Now the Market ...

The Death of Actaeon

Robin Robertson, 5 June 2003

... and his men; their nets are stiff with it. It cakes their hands and spear-shafts. Enough for one day, they sleep in the shade. Where Actaeon left them. Arms outspread, one step at a time, he inched down through the cooling air, to enter – though he did not know it – the grove of the virgin goddess, Artemis. He parted the branches, slipping through ferns ...

Dionysus in Love

Robin Robertson, 5 April 2012

... tired of watching, though fearful now, for what he had seen. And Ampelos watched him back, every day, Dionysus riding away on the saddle of a panther to hunt the dark woods with his maenads, with his deer-skin whipping behind him, out on the hunt like a god. And as he watched, he felt a presence at his shoulder saying ‘Why should he have the panthers, why ...

A Sequence from ‘Camera Obscura’

Robin Robertson, 22 August 1996

... the weight of the camera,the holders, plates, tripod, his enormous coat,he eats the same each day: bread, milk, sugar,and takes the same position to record the seasons.They flick past and he speaks the colours:chlorophyll, honey, cinnamon and bone.     *Edinburgh Castle (detail)The Japanese touristplaces his camera on a post,backs away, and ...

Tilting the day

Lisa Cohen: Writing about Clothes, 7 November 2019

Dressed: The Secret Life of Clothes 
by Shahidha Bari.
Cape, 312 pp., £25, June 2019, 978 1 78733 149 5
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... includes, among other examples, the sane, sly, knowledgeable prose of the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan, who not only covers collections but also analyses the looks of American public figures. And there is more reporting on the working and living conditions of the people who make the clothes – from the growing and harvesting of plants (cotton and ...

Maria Isabel

Graham Hough, 22 January 1981

The Duchess’s Diary 
by Robin Chapman.
Boudicca Books, 126 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 9506715 0 9
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The Interceptor Pilot 
by Kenneth Gangemi.
Boyars, 127 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7145 2699 1
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Judgment Day 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 167 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 434 42738 1
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Voyovic 
by Niall Quinn.
Wolfhound, 163 pp., £5.95, December 1980, 0 905473 61 2
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... duchess who thereafter plays a considerable part in their adventures. In The Duchess’s Diary Robin Chapman imagines her to have been an actual person, who had met not the fictitious Quixote but the real Cervantes; and the diary, supposedly translated from the original MS, tells her story. The first book of Don Quixote came out in 1605, the second book ...
A Slight and Delicate Creature: The Memoirs of Margaret Cook 
Weidenfeld, 307 pp., £20, January 1999, 0 297 84293 5Show More
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... the misfortune or bad judgment to be married for thirty years to the current Foreign Secretary. Robin Cook most certainly comes second in his ex-wife’s memoirs. It is wishful thinking on the part of excitement-seekers to call the book an act of revenge: the main thing is the transformation of Margaret Cook from a woman barely noticed during a long ...

Strong Meat

John Lanchester, 11 January 1990

The Bellarosa Connection 
by Saul Bellow.
Secker, 102 pp., £11.95, January 1990, 0 436 19988 2
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The War Zone 
by Alexander Stuart.
Hamish Hamilton, 207 pp., £11.95, March 1989, 0 241 12342 9
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A Touch of Love 
by Jonathan Coe.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £9.95, April 1989, 0 7156 2277 3
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Do it again 
by Martyn Harris.
Viking, 220 pp., £11.95, October 1989, 0 670 82858 0
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... Jews and squaring himself to outwit Hitler and Himmler and cheat them of their victims. On another day he’d set his heart on a baked potato, a hot dog, a cruise around Manhattan on the Circle Line. There were, however, spots of deep feeling in flimsy Billy. The God of his fathers still mattered. Billy was as spattered as a Jackson Pollock painting, and among ...

Diary

Robin Blackburn: In Haiti, 8 October 2009

... the majority have no formal employment and that 76 per cent of Haitians live on less than $2 a day. The abysmal state of the roads, occasional power cuts, unreliable water supply and the fact that only 13 per cent of children are enrolled in state schools, all testify to a failure of the powers that be to furnish basic services. On two occasions – in ...

Coming of age in Wiltshire

Nell Dunn, 21 November 1985

Everything to lose: Diaries 1945-1960 
by Frances Partridge.
Gollancz, 383 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03549 8
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... When I was about eleven in 1947, my mother and stepfather, Mary and Robin Campbell, went to live in Wiltshire and were neighbours of Frances Partridge and her husband Ralph. They became great friends. I was somewhere included in that friendship, and Frances made an enormous impression on me as I grew up. These are the years covered in Everything to lose ...

Anthropology as it should be

Robin Fox: Colin Turnbull, 9 August 2001

In the Arms of Africa: The Life of Colin Turnbull 
by Roy Richard Grinker.
St Martin’s, 354 pp., £19.75, August 2000, 0 312 22946 1
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... his sentiments, particularly his moral outrage. This broke all the anthropological rules of the day, but it was prescient. In a sense, the current generation of anthropologists has voted for Colin. It may not be ‘anthropology’, they say, but it ought to be. This is what anthropology should be like, not hiding behind a phony and unachievable ...

Brexit and Myths of Englishness

James Meek: For England and St George, 11 October 2018

... Of the two​ folk-myths bound up with Englishness, the myth of St George and the myth of Robin Hood, the myth of St George is simpler. Robin Hood is a process; St George is an event. Robin Hood steals from the rich, which is difficult, to give to the poor, which is trickier still, and has to keep on doing it over and over; but St George kills the dragon, and that’s it ...

Loose Woven

Peter Howarth: Edward Thomas’s contingencies, 4 August 2005

Collected Poems 
by Edward Thomas, edited by R. George Thomas.
Faber, 264 pp., £12.99, October 2004, 0 571 22260 9
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... choose my sex yet I was simpler then. And so I can’t leave off going in after myself tho’ some day I may. I didn’t know after I left you at Newent I was going to begin to write poetry. This is not really fair to Frost: ‘The Road Not Taken’ doesn’t treat choice as straightforwardly as Thomas claims, and it’s certainly not the hymn to ...

Safe Spaces

Barbara Newman, 21 July 2022

Uncertain Refuge: Sanctuary in the Literature of Medieval England 
by Elizabeth Allen.
Pennsylvania, 311 pp., £52, October 2021, 978 0 8122 5344 3
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... they had to board the first available ship or, if there were none sailing, walk into the sea every day as a token of good faith. This procedure was surprisingly routine. In the 13th and early 14th centuries, William Chester Jordan estimates, around five hundred people abjured the realm each year. Before the Hundred Years’ War, abjurers departed most often ...

The BBC on the Rack

James Butler, 19 March 2020

... that only a technology in its infancy can engender. She wonders how governments – or modern-day privateers – might use broadcasts to sway a foreign nation; she asks whether the slide to war might have been avoided had the 1914 Sarajevo assassination taken place in the wireless era and the public heard it discussed by experts; she discusses how a ...

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