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If Only Analogues...

Ange Mlinko: Ginsberg Goes to India, 20 November 2008

A Blue Hand: The Beats in India 
by Deborah Baker.
Penguin US, 256 pp., £25.95, April 2008, 978 1 59420 158 5
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... poet to provocateur. He was haunted by a vision he had had at the age of 22, when, while reading Blake, a voice thundered in his ear: Ah! sunflower, weary of time, Who countest the steps of the sun, Seeking after that sweet golden clime Where the traveller’s journey is done Could he recapture his youthful faith in God and poetry? Was India that ‘sweet ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Van Dyck’s Portraits, 12 March 2009

... Earl of Warwick is shown in orange and silver with his armour and marshal’s baton beside him. Lord George Stuart, on the other hand, assumes the costume of a stage shepherd to play the pastoral lover. One of the finest portraits is that of Teresa, Lady Shirley, painted in Rome in 1622. The daughter of a Christian Circassian chieftain, she had married ...

The Hollis Launch

John Vincent, 7 May 1981

Their trade is treachery 
by Chapman Pincher.
Sidgwick, 240 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 283 98781 2
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... 1966-7, but were completely cleared after arduous investigation, a conclusion fully endorsed by Lord Trend’s inquiry in 1974. Successive chapters then deal with Hollis’s life at Oxford and in China until he entered MI 5 in 1938, with his career there until 1950, and with his unexpected promotion to director-general following the Commander Crabb ...

Social Policy

Ralf Dahrendorf, 3 July 1980

Understanding Social Policy 
by Michael Hill.
Blackwell, 280 pp., £12, April 1980, 0 631 18170 9
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Poverty and Inequality in Common Market Countries 
edited by Vic George and Roger Lawson.
Routledge, 253 pp., £9.50, April 1980, 0 7100 0424 9
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Planning for Welfare: Social Policy and the Expenditure Process 
edited by Timothy Booth.
Blackwell, 208 pp., £12, November 1980, 0 631 19560 2
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The City and Social Theory 
by Michael Peter Smith.
Blackwell, 315 pp., £12, April 1980, 9780631121510
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The Good City: A Study of Urban Development and Policy in Britain 
by David Donnison.
Heinemann, 221 pp., £4.95, April 1980, 0 435 85217 5
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The Economics of Prosperity: Social Priorities in the Eighties 
by David Blake and Paul Ormerod.
Grant Mclntyre, 230 pp., £3.95, April 1980, 0 86216 013 8
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... state of affairs? Are there not important differences between the qualitative inequalities of the lord and his serfs and the quantitative inequalities of a professional and a working class? Has not the generalisation of citizenship made a difference? And has not Fred Hirsch – not mentioned a single time in this book on inequality! – made points about the ...

Adventures at the End of Time

Angela Carter, 7 March 1991

by Iain Sinclair.
Paladin, 407 pp., £14.99, March 1991, 0 586 09074 6
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... raised in Lambeth – Lambeth, ‘the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife’, according to William Blake – nevertheless, I was scared shitless the first time I went to the East End. Patrick White says somewhere that there is an intangible difference in the air of places where there has been intense suffering, that you can never get rid of the memory that ...

Godmother of the Salmon

John Bayley, 9 July 1992

‘Rain-Charm for the Duchy’ and other Laureate Poems 
by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 64 pp., £12.99, June 1992, 0 571 16605 9
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... from Ireland, and it seemed a good idea to knock off a little ‘Horatian Ode’ to welcome the Lord Protector home. Larkin had his own wholly characteristic way of dealing with a royal occasion. In times when nothing stood but worsened, or grew strange, there was one constant good:         she did not change. Coming first upon that in the ...

The Same Old Solotaire

Peter Wollen, 4 July 1996

‘Salome’ and ‘Under the Hill’ 
by Oscar Wilde and Aubrey Beardsley.
Creation, 123 pp., £7.95, April 1996, 1 871592 12 7
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Aubrey Beardsley: Dandy of the Grotesque 
by Chris Snodgrass.
Oxford, 338 pp., £35, August 1995, 0 19 509062 4
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... how ‘the bookseller’s manager, no doubt looking for a design of Beardsley’s, pitched on Blake’s Anteus Setting Virgil and Dante upon the Verge of Cocytus as grounds for refusal, and when Arthur Symons pointed out that Blake was considered “a very spiritual artist”, replied: “Oh, Mr Symons, you must ...

Great Portland Street Blues

Karl Miller, 25 January 1990

Boswell: The Great Biographer. Journals: 1789-1795 
by James Boswell, edited by Marlies Danziger and Frank Brady.
Heinemann, 432 pp., £25, November 1989, 0 434 89729 9
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... to ‘God’s system’. It resembled the submission granted to a mistress by a lover. Like Blake, he was able to imagine the institution in sexual terms. Unlike Blake, he approved of it. And unlike Johnson – for all that Johnson, with his companionate black servant, was ‘a friend to subordination’, who held ...

Eye Contact

Peter Campbell: Anthony van Dyck, 16 September 1999

Anthony van Dyck 1599-1641 
by Christopher Brown and Hans Vlieghe.
Royal Academy, 360 pp., £22.50, May 1999, 9780847821969
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Anthony van Dyck: A Life, 1599-1641 
by Robin Blake.
Constable, 435 pp., £25, August 1999, 9780094797208
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... at his (or her) partner or at some unspecified point outside the picture, as in the portrait of Lord Digby and Lord Russell – either way, the missed glances hint at boredom. Maybe the reason so many conversations in the movies take place on the front seats of cars is that it is one of the few situations in which a ...

His Dark Example

Colin Burrow: ‘The Book of Dust’, 4 January 2018

The Book of Dust, Vol. I: La Belle Sauvage 
by Philip Pullman.
David Fickling, 546 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 0 385 60441 3
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Daemon Voices: Essays on Storytelling 
by Philip Pullman.
David Fickling, 480 pp., £20, October 2017, 978 1 910200 96 4
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... doubt unusually central to the target zone of fiction that pours Milton into the melting-pot with Blake in a form where the sass and speed of the story keeps the kids happy too. But it’s not just me. His Dark Materials gives you the feel and the fear of living. Pullman’s daemons play a large part in this. For the uninitiated, these are the animal-shaped ...

Full of Glory

John Mullan: The Inklings, 19 November 2015

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings 
by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski.
Farrar, Straus, 644 pp., £11.20, June 2015, 978 0 374 15409 7
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... Waterstone’s conducted a poll to find the ‘Book of the Century’ in 1997, the winner was The Lord of the Rings (The Hobbit was 19th, just ahead of L’Etranger, and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was 21st, just pipping The Trial). When the BBC’s The Big Read invited viewers to vote for their favourite novel in 2003, The ...


Ian Gilmour, 1 August 1996

The Younger Pitt: The Consuming Struggle 
by John Ehrman.
Constable, 911 pp., £35, May 1996, 9780094755406
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... error. The nearest I came to spotting mistakes was, first, the ascription to Hazlitt rather than Blake of the lines, ‘To defend the Bible in this year 1798 would cost a man his life. The Beast and the Whore rule without control’; and, secondly, the statement that ‘a sovereign Belgium’ came into existence in 1815, although here he is in distinguished ...

Sweet Porn

Michael Irwin, 1 October 1981

George’s Marvellous Medicine 
by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake.
Cape, 96 pp., £3.95, April 1981, 0 224 01901 5
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... that ‘Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was voted No 1 (above Winnie the Pooh, Lord of the Rings and Alice in Wonderland) in a Sunday Times survey to find the best ten children’s books.’ Even if the word ‘best’ is translated into reasonable terms (‘currently most popular’?), the claim remains impressive, and implies classic ...

Whitehall Farce

Paul Foot, 12 October 1989

The Intelligence Game: Illusions and Delusions of International Espionage 
by James Rusbridger.
Bodley Head, 320 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 370 31242 2
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The Truth about Hollis 
by W.J. West.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7156 2286 2
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... secretary of the committee which planned it was the British MI6 officer and Russian spy, George Blake, who passed details of the entire operation to the Russians two years before the tunnel was completed. Here, too, is the story of MI6’s courageous decision to order Commander Lionel Crabb to swim under a Russian warship in Portsmouth to take photographs ...

A Very Good Job for a Swede

E.S. Turner, 4 September 1997

The Fu Manchu Omnibus: Vol. II 
by Sax Rohmer.
Allison and Busby, 630 pp., £9.99, June 1997, 0 7490 0222 0
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... inspired by Chinese incursions into Australian goldfields. In South Africa, after the Boer War, Lord Milner imported fifty thousand indentured Chinese to work the Rand gold mines; the subsequent row over their mistreatment (and misbehaviour) convulsed British Liberals and gave Winston Churchill the opportunity to protest that ‘slavery’ was a ...

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