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The Groom Stripped Bare by His Suitor

Jeremy Harding: John Lennon, 4 January 2001

Lennon Remembers 
by Jann Wenner.
Verso, 151 pp., £20, October 2000, 1 85984 600 9
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... the same, of course, but in this case the dating was pretty precise. It was ten years since John, Paul, George and Ringo had recorded their first session together at the Akustik, a small studio in Hamburg (apparently a single 78 rpm copy of ‘Summertime’ still survives); and Lennon’s declaration that ‘the dream is over’ in ‘God’, track ten on ...

Wizard Contrivances

Jon Day: Will Self, 27 September 2012

Umbrella 
by Will Self.
Bloomsbury, 397 pp., £18.99, August 2012, 978 1 4088 2014 8
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... and enters a purgatory reminiscent of the no-man’s-land inhabited by deserter-troglodytes in Paul Fussell’s The Great War and Modern Memory. Audrey succumbs to encephalitis lethargica, the ‘sleepy sickness’ that swept Europe after the First World War. Constantin Von Economo, who first described the condition, called its most extreme sufferers ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie, 5 April 2012

Starman: David Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... Which would make Ziggy Stardust the beautiful butterfly that emerged from the chrysalis. Paul Trynka begins his biography with a description of Bowie’s performance of ‘Starman’ on Top of the Pops on 5 July 1972. It was three years since ‘Space Oddity’ had made it into the top ten after being used by the BBC in its broadcast of the Apollo 11 ...

Elegant Extracts

Leah Price: Anthologies, 3 February 2000

The Oxford Book of English Verse 
edited by Christopher Ricks.
Oxford, 690 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 19 214182 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2974 pp., £22.50, December 1999, 0 393 97487 1
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The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume Two 
edited by M.H. Abrams and Stephen Greenblatt.
Norton, 2963 pp., £22.50, February 2000, 9780393974911
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume One 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2963 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01173 2
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The Longman Anthology of British Literature: Volume Two 
edited by David Damrosch.
Longman, 2982 pp., $53, July 1999, 0 321 01174 0
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Night & Horses & The Desert: An Anthology of Classical Arabic Literature 
edited by Robert Irwin.
Allen Lane, 480 pp., £25, September 1999, 0 7139 9153 4
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News that Stays News: The 20th Century in Poems 
edited by Simon Rae.
Faber, 189 pp., £9.99, October 1999, 0 571 20060 5
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Time’s Tidings: Greeting the 21st Century 
by Carol Ann Duffy.
Anvil, 157 pp., £7.95, November 1999, 0 85646 313 2
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Scanning the Century: The Penguin Book of the 20th Century in Poetry 
edited by Peter Forbes.
Penguin, 640 pp., £12.99, February 1999, 9780140588996
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... the two. Both anthologies register the aftershock of the multiculturalist impulse that generated Paul Lauter’s revisionist Heath Anthology of American Literature (1990) and Myra Jehlen and Michael Warner’s English Literatures of America (1996), but they do so in diametrically opposed ways. The new Norton turns outward to include a staggering array of ...

Mulishness

Paul Keegan: David Jones removes himself, 7 November 2019

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet 
by Thomas Dilworth.
Vintage, 448 pp., £14.99, January 2019, 978 0 7847 0800 2
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Epoch and Artist Selected Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33950 1
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‘The Dying Gaul’ and Other Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 240 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33953 2
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Dai Greatcoat A Self-Portrait of David Jones in His Letters 
edited by René Hague.
Faber, 280 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33952 5
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... with greyhound owners in nearby bars, and Dilworth itemises his acquaintances: ‘a priest named Murray; the Misses Jervois; retired Colonel L.H. Hastings; a teacher named Deanesley; a woman named Spunday; his doctor, E.E. Lightwood, with whom he walked the shore and dined at the Fort; and a homosexual couple who had a good library’. His second and only ...

I did not pan out

Christian Lorentzen: Sam Lipsyte, 6 June 2019

Hark 
by Sam Lipsyte.
Granta, 304 pp., £12.99, March 2019, 978 1 78378 321 2
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... the intellectual. But he is also one of the few working American novelists – along with Paul Beatty, Lydia Millet, Mark Leyner, Mark Doten – truly committed to satire. The opening passage of The Ask compares America to a ‘run-down and demented pimp’ slumped in the corner of a pool hall, a novel image of imperial decline. Sometimes it’s the ...

Diary

Tim Dee: Derek Walcott’s Birthday Party, 22 May 2014

... him when necessary. For another, his writing has never been fully at home in the tropics. Les Murray, a comparably prolific user of English under a hot sun, made his poem ‘The Dream of Wearing Shorts Forever’ into a love song to comfort clothing (‘scunge’), and Walcott likes to wear that kind of thing, but he’s one of the least holidayish of ...

High Jinks at the Plaza

Perry Anderson, 22 October 1992

The British Constitution Now 
by Ferdinand Mount.
Heinemann, 289 pp., £18.50, April 1992, 0 434 47994 2
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Constitutional Reform 
by Robert Brazier.
Oxford, 172 pp., £22.50, September 1991, 0 19 876257 7
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Anatomy of Thatcherism 
by Shirley Letwin.
Fontana, 364 pp., £6.99, October 1992, 0 00 686243 8
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... American neo-conservatism – Alan Bloom, Harvey Mansfield, Joseph Epstein, Hilton Kramer, Charles Murray, Paul Craig Roberts, Irving Kristol, even such names for the connoisseur as Richard Cornuelle – they are among the fruits of a mutually beneficial association. For on the one side, there are limits to local supply ...

What the Twist Did for the Peppermint Lounge

Dave Haslam: Club culture, 6 January 2000

Adventures in Wonderland: A Decade of Club Culture 
by Sheryl Garratt.
Headline, 335 pp., £7.99, May 1999, 0 7472 7680 3
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Last Night a DJ Saved My Life: The History of the Disc Jockey 
by Bill Brewster and Frank Broughton.
Headline, 408 pp., £14.99, November 1999, 0 7472 7573 4
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Saturday Night For Ever: The Story of Disco 
by Alan Jones and Jussi Kantonen.
Mainstream, 223 pp., £9.99, April 1999, 9781840181777
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DJ Culture 
by Ulf Poschardt.
Quartet, 473 pp., £13, January 1999, 0 7043 8098 6
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Energy Flash: A Journey through Rave Music and Dance Culture 
by Simon Reynolds.
Picador, 493 pp., £12.99, July 1998, 0 330 35056 0
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More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction 
by Kodwo Eshun.
Quartet, 208 pp., £10, March 1998, 0 7043 8025 0
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... music. One of these venues – on the rue Huchette – called itself La Discothèque. Then Paul Pacine opened the Whiskey a Go-Go, where dancers would hit the floor accompanied by records played by disc jockeys on a phonograph. Pacine went on to open other clubs in Europe, while in Paris Chez Régine opened in 1960, catering to the self-styled ...

Leaping on Tables

Norman Vance: Thomas Carlyle, 2 November 2000

Sartor Resartus 
by Thomas Carlyle, edited by Rodger Tarr and Mark Engel.
California, 774 pp., £38, April 2000, 0 520 20928 1
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... a harsh reassessment. Carlyle had earlier translated the whimsical German Romantic novelist Jean Paul Richter, lyrical and discursive by turns, a major influence on Sartor Resartus, and Marx now noted and deplored the pervasive effect on Carlyle’s style of this ‘literary apothecary’. Anthony Trollope and Edward Fitzgerald thought Carlyle had finally ...
... Guardian (21 June) about the latest eruption in the Observer’s boardroom, Lonrho’s spokesman, Paul Spicer, was not concerned to confirm or deny the accuracy of the report: his only response was to warn that a search would be made to discover which of the directors had leaked the information and that the offender would be sacked. That’s the language of ...

On Liking Herodotus

Peter Green, 3 April 2014

The Histories 
by Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland.
Penguin, 834 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9977 8
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Herodotus: Vol. I, Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 495 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958757 5
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Herodotus: Vol. II, Herodotus and the World 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 473 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958759 9
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Textual Rivals: Self-Presentation in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ 
by David Branscome.
Michigan, 272 pp., £60.50, November 2013, 978 0 472 11894 6
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The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus 
by Joseph Skinner.
Oxford, 343 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 979360 0
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... he himself, though exiled and out of favour through accidents of war, unquestionably belonged. As Paul Cartledge writes in his introduction to Tom Holland’s new translation of Herodotus, the resemblance Thucydides’ merciless analysis of civil war on Corfu bears to Orwell’s reading of totalitarianism, complete with doublespeak, was exploited to some ...

The Manners of a Hog

Christopher Tayler: Buchan’s Banter, 20 February 2020

Beyond the Thirty-Nine Steps: A Life of John Buchan 
by Ursula Buchan.
Bloomsbury, 479 pp., £25, April 2019, 978 1 4088 7081 5
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... spoils the effect by having another heroic character call him ‘the whitest Jew since the Apostle Paul’. A self-referential passage in the same book has someone explaining how to write a mystery novel. You take three images at random – ‘say, an old blind woman spinning in the Western Highlands, a barn in a Norwegian saeter, and a little curiosity shop ...

Dialect does it

Blake Morrison, 5 December 1985

No Mate for the Magpie 
by Frances Molloy.
Virago, 170 pp., £7.95, April 1985, 0 86068 594 2
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The Mysteries 
by Tony Harrison.
Faber, 229 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 9780571137893
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Ukulele Music 
by Peter Reading.
Secker, 103 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 40986 0
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Hard Lines 2 
edited by Ian Dury, Pete Townshend, Alan Bleasdale and Fanny Dubes.
Faber, 95 pp., £2.50, June 1985, 0 571 13542 0
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No Holds Barred: The Raving Beauties choose new poems by women 
edited by Anna Carteret, Fanny Viner and Sue Jones-Davies.
Women’s Press, 130 pp., £2.95, June 1985, 0 7043 3963 3
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Katerina Brac 
by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 47 pp., £8.95, October 1985, 0 571 13614 1
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Skevington’s Daughter 
by Oliver Reynolds.
Faber, 88 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 571 13697 4
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Rhondda Tenpenn’orth 
by Oliver Reynolds.
10 pence
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Trio 4 
by Andrew Elliott, Leon McAuley and Ciaran O’Driscoll.
Blackstaff, 69 pp., £3.95, May 1985, 0 85640 333 4
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Mama Dot 
by Fred D’Aguiar.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, August 1985, 0 7011 2957 3
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The Dread Affair: Collected Poems 
by Benjamin Zephaniah.
Arena, 112 pp., £2.95, August 1985, 9780099392507
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Long Road to Nowhere 
by Amryl Johnson.
Virago, 64 pp., £2.95, July 1985, 0 86068 687 6
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Mangoes and Bullets 
by John Agard.
Pluto, 64 pp., £3.50, August 1985, 0 7453 0028 6
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Ragtime in Unfamiliar Bars 
by Ron Butlin.
Secker, 51 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 436 07810 4
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True Confessions and New Clichés 
by Liz Lochhead.
Polygon, 135 pp., £3.95, July 1985, 0 904919 90 0
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Works in the Inglis Tongue 
by Peter Davidson.
Three Tygers Press, 17 pp., £2.50, June 1985
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Wild Places: Poems in Three Leids 
by William Neill.
Luath, 200 pp., £5, September 1985, 0 946487 11 1
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... tracks healing the torn paper’. But the poem has a good story to tell – about the visit of Dr Murray to one of his OED contributors, whose home turns out to be Broadmoor – and tells it with chilling assurance, not least in the pacing and line-breaks. Reynolds is learned and laconic and his mind leaps about a bit, a combination which makes some of his ...

Daisy Chains

Emma Hogan: Sappho 1900, 20 May 2021

No Modernism without Lesbians 
by Diana Souhami.
Head of Zeus, 464 pp., £9.99, February, 978 1 78669 487 4
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... them. Anne Morgan, daughter of J.P. Morgan, started the ‘heiress corps’ with her partner, Anne Murray Dike. For many, it was liberating. Women referred to one another by their surnames, as if they were soldiers or schoolboys, or gave each other boyish nicknames – Tommy, Kit. They were no longer criticised for wearing androgynous clothes; indeed, Vita ...

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