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A Use for the Stones

Jacqueline Rose: On Being Nadine Gordimer, 20 April 2006

Get a Life 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Bloomsbury, 187 pp., £16.99, November 2005, 0 7475 8175 4
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... victims of Western standards of humanity.’ Editing the piece for the New York Review of Books, Robert Silvers objected to the unqualified critique of Western capitalism: ‘Won’t you keep in mind the Western reader who might not want to cross the slag heaps with you?’ (She felt he had edited the piece into a ‘mild, unchallenging plea’.) With its ...

In the Shady Wood

Michael Neill: Staging the Forest, 22 March 2018

The Shakespearean Forest 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 185 pp., £75, August 2017, 978 0 521 57344 3
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... barren detested vale’ with ‘trees, though summer, yet forlorn and lean,/Overcome with moss and baleful mistletoe’. Sometimes, though, it appears that more literal realisations were intended. Of course the two stage pillars that supported the ‘heavens’ might readily stand in as trees; but in a few cases at least property trees and bushes seem ...

The Man in the Clearing

Iain Sinclair: Meeting Gary Snyder, 24 May 2012

... the west coast of North America to Europe or Asia. ‘But coming from Asia is easier.’ In 1889 Robert Louis Stevenson, in the final chapter of a wandering life, settled on a hillside above Apia, the Samoan capital. He bought three hundred acres of jungle, and built a two-storey timber house. He was 39 and accompanied by his American wife, Fanny, her two ...

How can we live with it?

Thomas Jones: How to Survive Climate Change, 23 May 2013

The Carbon Crunch: How We’re Getting Climate Change Wrong – and How to Fix It 
by Dieter Helm.
Yale, 273 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 300 18659 8
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Earthmasters: The Dawn of the Age of Climate Engineering 
by Clive Hamilton.
Yale, 247 pp., £20, February 2013, 978 0 300 18667 3
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The City and the Coming Climate: Climate Change in the Places We Live 
by Brian Stone.
Cambridge, 187 pp., £19.99, July 2012, 978 1 107 60258 8
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... phylum in 1773, called it kleiner Wasserbär (‘little water bear’); they’re also known as moss piglets. More than a thousand species have since been identified, found everywhere from the seabed to the peaks of the Himalayas. The oldest tardigrade fossils date from 530 million years ago. They can survive for several minutes at 150°C or near absolute ...

Sounding Auden

Seamus Heaney, 4 June 1987

... their beautifully elaborated and uncomplicating meaning. The hammer of modern English metre, what Robert Graves called the smith-work of ti-tum, ti-tum, is going on during the deeper, longer oar-work of Old English, and the ear, no matter how ignorant it may be of the provenance of what it is hearing, picks up on the contest. This contest, perfectly ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... too. He found that he shared his interest in dirty books with ‘the sensitive and worldly-wise’ Robert Conquest and together they went on expeditions, trawling the specialist shops for their respective bag in a partnership that seems both carefree and innocent. Unusual, too, as I had always thought that porn, looking for it and looking at it, was something ...

The Suitcase

Frances Stonor Saunders, 30 July 2020

... that he had to be housed in a derelict tennis court, had torn it from its socket and eaten it); Robert Crabbe had lost several toes, which I did not think too serious until he explained they were required for balance (I understood balance in the negative context of not having enough of it, hence those shameful safety wheels fastened to my bicycle).At some ...

Somerdale to Skarbimierz

James Meek, 20 April 2017

... A new product the Cadburys had been counting on to turn things around, a drink called Iceland Moss, made of cocoa mixed with lichen, failed to find favour with the public.The first step to commercial salvation was the purchase, with the last of George’s inheritance, of a machine designed by a family of Dutch chocolatiers, the van Houtens. Up to that ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... drinking troughs lying about in the yard, and we’d play in them for half the summer. Cranberry Moss Farm, McLaughlin’s Farm on Byrehill, Ashgrove Farm, the Old Mains – nowadays they are all buried under concrete, except for the farm at Toddhill, which became a home for the mentally handicapped. In my youth they had been like haunted houses. There were ...

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