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Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... Chris Carduff, who had offered to send her any books she wanted, for a copy of Wild America by Roger Tory Peterson and James Fisher. An account of a 30,000-mile journey around the continent by two naturalists, it was originally published in 1955 and was being reissued in memory of Peterson, who had recently died. Fitzgerald wanted it, however, for the sake ...

England’s End

Peter Campbell, 7 June 1984

English Journey 
by J.B. Priestley.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 434 60371 6
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English Journey, or The Road to Milton Keynes 
by Beryl Bainbridge.
Duckworth/BBC, 158 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 563 20299 8
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Crisis and Conservation: Conflict in the British Countryside 
by Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose.
Penguin, 213 pp., £3.95, March 1984, 0 14 022437 8
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Invisible Country: A Journey through Scotland 
by James Campbell.
Weidenfeld, 164 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 297 78371 8
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Literary Britain 
by Bill Brandt.
Victoria and Albert Museum in association with Hurtwood Press, 184 pp., £8.95, March 1984, 0 905209 66 4
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... and vermin need more protection than the flocks and crops. In Crisis and Conservation Charlie Pye-Smith and Chris Rose marshal such arguments. The one characteristic which measures aesthetic and ecological value objectively is complication. The greater the number of species, and the greater the variety of the habitats supporting them, the better; theory and ...

Political Purposes

Frances Spalding: Art in postwar Britain, 15 April 1999

New Art New World: British Art in Postwar Society 
by Margaret Garlake.
Yale, 279 pp., £35, July 1998, 0 300 07292 9
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Cultural Offensive: America’s Impact on British Art since 1945 
by John Walker.
Pluto, 304 pp., £45, September 1988, 0 7453 1321 3
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... In the same year that the Kitchen Sink artists were honoured in Venice, one of them – Jack Smith – won first prize at the John Moores exhibition in Liverpool, with his Creation and Crucifixion. Thanks to these successes, 1956 could be said to have marked the apotheosis of realism; it was also the year that the death-blow was delivered to the movement ...

Where the Apples Come From

T.C. Smout: What Makes an Oak Tree Grow, 29 November 2007

Woodlands 
by Oliver Rackham.
Collins, 609 pp., £25, September 2006, 0 00 720243 1
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Beechcombings: The Narratives of Trees 
by Richard Mabey.
Chatto, 289 pp., £20, October 2007, 978 1 85619 733 5
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Wildwood: A Journey through Trees 
by Roger Deakin.
Hamish Hamilton, 391 pp., £20, May 2007, 978 0 241 14184 7
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The Wild Trees: What if the Last Wilderness Is above Our Heads? 
by Richard Preston.
Allen Lane, 294 pp., £20, August 2007, 978 1 84614 023 5
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... towards maintaining large, sunny open spaces, even in early prehistory. Twenty years ago, Alan Smith and other archaeologists proposed that Mesolithic hunter-gatherers would have found an advantage in enlarging and manipulating grassy areas where wild grazing animals gathered, and in encouraging nuts and berries to grow on the edge of the wood or in ...

Diary

Elaine Mokhtefi: Panthers in Algiers, 1 June 2017

... killed Rahim last night.’ I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Rahim, aka Clinton Smith, had escaped from prison in California with a fellow inmate, Byron Booth, in January 1969. They had hijacked a plane to Cuba and joined up with Cleaver. Not long after sending Cleaver off to Algiers, the Cubans packed off Rahim and Booth too.Cleaver told me ...

Speaking well

Christopher Ricks, 18 August 1983

Cyril Connolly: Journal and Memoir 
by David Pryce-Jones.
Collins, 304 pp., £12.50, July 1983, 0 333 32827 2
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J.B. Yeats: Letters to His Son W.B. Yeats and Others, 1869-1922 
edited with a memoir by Joseph Hone.
Secker, 296 pp., £7.95, May 1983, 0 436 59205 3
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... friend Mrs Woolf’. ‘There is something wrong with a world in which one meets Mrs Lowinsky and Roger Hinks and Mrs Royde-Smith. They smell of middlebrow.’ The Journal will record sayings without comment and with delectation; to be worthy of record, an exchange should crushingly compact several reputations into the ...

Making strange

John Sutherland, 19 March 1981

Other people 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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XPD 
by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... the hands of less enthusiastic publishers has been recorded in various gossip columns. Anne Smith, editor of the Literary Review, is a canny publicist for herself and her journal. Now, at last, we have this already much-read work to review. The Magic Glass is transparently a version of the author’s childhood, some thirty years ago in Fife (here ...

Little Philadelphias

Ange Mlinko: Imagism, 25 March 2010

The Verse Revolutionaries: Ezra Pound, H.D. and the Imagists 
by Helen Carr.
Cape, 982 pp., £30, May 2009, 978 0 224 04030 3
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... poem had come a long way from ‘Casabianca’. As a historian, Carr is ecumenical: William Brooke Smith, a student who died of tuberculosis in 1908, is given as much consideration as Pound’s other early friend William Carlos Williams; Marianne Moore, who matriculated at Bryn Mawr in the same year as H.D., is barely mentioned. Snippets of truly mediocre ...

Into Thin Air

Marina Warner: Science at the Séances, 3 October 2002

The Invention of Telepathy 
by Roger Luckhurst.
Oxford, 334 pp., £35, June 2002, 0 19 924962 8
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... investigators during the last three decades of the 19th century, the period dealt with in Roger Luckhurst’s study. Photography was of inestimable importance in disseminating the performance of the mediums, as well as offering a deep metaphor for the relation between external matter and immaterial thought. While the interplay between psychology and ...

Thinking about Death

Michael Wood: Why does the world exist?, 21 March 2013

Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story 
by Jim Holt.
Profile, 307 pp., £12.99, June 2012, 978 1 84668 244 5
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... David Deutsch in Headington, to John Leslie in Canada, to Derek Parfit, again in Oxford. He meets Roger Penrose in New York, has phone conversations with Steven Weinberg and John Updike. These conversations become a way of evoking possibilities as much as seeking answers, and some of these possibilities are fascinating, whatever our scepticism may be about ...

Nobbled or Not

Bernard Porter: The Central African Federation, 25 May 2006

British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part I: Closer Association 1945-58 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 448 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290586 2
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British Documents on the End of Empire Series B Vol. 9: Central Africa: Part II: Crisis and Dissolution 1959-65 
by Philip Murphy.
Stationery Office, 602 pp., £150, November 2005, 0 11 290587 0
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... policy against the nationalists if Britain would only make their chiefs ‘divine’ again. Ian Smith took the same general line in 1965, just before the (Southern) Rhodesian UDI, when he recommended as a true test of African opinion on his regime ‘indabas’ of chiefs rather than a referendum. Hastings Banda, the Nyasaland nationalist leader, responded ...

Turtles All the Way Down

Walter Gratzer, 4 September 1997

The End of Science 
by John Horgan.
Little, Brown, 324 pp., £18.99, May 1997, 0 316 64052 2
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... the best-known figures (and popularisers) of our day, such as Stephen Hawking, Steven Weinberg and Roger Penrose, not to mention all the proponents of superstring theory. But Horgan has also found some more fitting targets for his scorn. The expansion of science, the increasingly brutish struggle for survival that scientists must endure and the opportunities ...

Soldier, Sailor, Poacher

E.S. Turner, 3 October 1985

Great Britons: 20th-Century Lives 
by Harold Oxbury.
Oxford, 371 pp., £14.95, September 1985, 0 19 211599 5
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The Oxford Book of Military Anecdotes 
edited by Max Hastings.
Oxford, 514 pp., £9.50, October 1985, 0 19 214107 4
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The Long Affray: The Poaching Wars in Britain 
by Harry Hopkins.
Secker, 344 pp., £12.95, August 1985, 9780436201028
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... for international sanity’? Some subjects, like the Duke of Windsor, are let off lightly. Sir Roger Casement, executed for treason, was judged ‘honest and honourable’ by those who knew him, but the victim of ‘misguided extremism in time of war’. ‘Misguided’ is a useful word on these occasions. Nancy Mitford was ‘buried ... beside her ...

Mannequin-Maker

Patrick Parrinder, 5 October 1995

The Black Book 
by Orhan Pamuk, translated by Güneli Gün.
Faber, 400 pp., £14.99, July 1995, 0 571 16892 2
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... of distinguishing between the Brotherhood, the underground resistance movement that Winston Smith attempts to join, and the Inner Party or secret organisation sustaining Big Brother himself. In Lewis’s thriller That Hideous Strength, we are in no doubt that NICE, the Wellsian scientific research organisation dedicated to wiping out the world of ...

Après Brexit

Ferdinand Mount, 20 February 2020

... on Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network, and the bombardiers of Brexit – Iain Duncan Smith, David Davis, Liam Fox et al – are furious too. The industry points out that Huawei kit has already been installed in dozens of cities across the UK and to a more sophisticated standard than the US can currently provide. Ripping it all out would cost ...

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