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My Old, Sweet, Darling Mob

Iain Sinclair: Michael Moorcock, 30 November 2000

King of the City 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 421 pp., £9.99, May 2000, 0 684 86140 2
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Mother London 
by Michael Moorcock.
Scribner, 496 pp., £6.99, May 2000, 0 684 86141 0
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... in mythical Brookgate (part of the Huguenot leases), through a bombsite childhood reminiscent of Charles Crichton’s 1947 film, Hue and Cry (a Moorcock favourite), through his love for his cousin Rosie and his spiky relationship with John Barbican Begg, developer and despoiler, global media tycoon. Revelations, betrayals, shifts of ...

Confounding the Apes

P.N. Furbank, 22 August 1996

The Divine Comedy 
by Dante Alighieri, translated by Allen Mandelbaum.
Everyman, 798 pp., £14.99, May 1995, 1 85715 183 6
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The Inferno of Dante. A New Verse Translation 
by Robert Pinsky, illustrated by Michael Mazur.
Dent, 427 pp., £20, February 1996, 9780460877640
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Dante’s Hell 
translated by Steve Ellis.
Chatto, 208 pp., £15.99, March 1994, 0 7011 6127 2
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... poets broadcast by the BBC’s Third Programme in 1961, the prose versions by John Sinclair and Charles Singleton, and an admirable translation – again in prose – by Robert Durling, which will be published in this country by Oxford next year. Behind this we may perhaps see the influence of Eliot’s famous Dante essay of 1929 and of his own verse, which ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... flush out the devout, the fluent genuflection before entering the pew the first indicator. Charles Moore sinks to his knees straightaway and prays for a considerable period of time, and Piers Paul Read similarly. Some admiration for this, men who pray in public not uncourageous, though more often met with at Catholic rather than Anglican services. The ...

Hopi Mean Time

Iain Sinclair: Jim Sallis, 18 March 1999

Eye of the Cricket 
by James Sallis.
No Exit, 190 pp., £6.99, April 1998, 1 874061 77 7
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... Othello. There is nothing flashy about it. There’s no twist in the tail as there is in Charles Willeford’s Pick-Up, where the meaning of the book swivels on the final revelation that the narrator is black, so that all the assumptions of the readers of pulp picaresque are challenged. Pick-Up, as Sallis remarks in an interview with Gerald ...

Adjusting the Mechanism

Colin Burrow: Robert Graves, 11 October 2018

Robert Graves: From a Great War Poet to ‘Goodbye to All That’, 1895-1929 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 461 pp., £25, August 2018, 978 1 4729 2914 3
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The Reader over Your Shoulder: A Handbook for Writers of English Prose 
by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.
Seven Stories, 613 pp., £30, September 2017, 978 1 60980 733 7
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... eclectic. Graves had devoured J.G. Frazer’s Golden Bough. He had read the powerful work of Jane Harrison on the matriarchal roots of Greek religion in her Prolegomena: A Study of Greek Religion (1903). The anthropologist and war psychologist William Rivers (whom Graves met at Craiglockhart hospital, when Siegfried Sassoon was also a patient there in the ...

Joint-Stock War

Valerie Pearl, 3 May 1984

The Age of Elizabeth: England Under the Later Tudors 1547-1603 
by D.M. Palliser.
Longman, 450 pp., £13.95, April 1983, 0 582 48580 0
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After the Armada: Elizabethan England and the Struggle for Western Europe 1588-1595 
by R.B. Wernham.
Oxford, 613 pp., £32.50, February 1984, 0 19 822753 1
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The Defeat of the Spanish Armada 
by Garrett Mattingly.
Cape, 384 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 224 02070 6
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The First Elizabeth 
by Carolly Erickson.
Macmillan, 446 pp., £9.95, October 1983, 0 333 36168 7
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The Renaissance and Reformation in Scotland: Essays in Honour of Gordon Donaldson 
edited by Ian Cowan and Duncan Shaw.
Scottish Academic Press, 261 pp., £14.50, March 1983, 0 7073 0261 7
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... excluded, is attested by many contemporary witnesses, among them foreign travellers. If William Harrison, from whose Description of England of 1587 much in this book is drawn, can be believed, one visiting Spaniard thought that the cottagers of England enjoyed a diet unparalleled in Spain or France – the equal of that of a monarch. A member of Philip’s ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... books I swotted up for my scholarship. Remembering Bruce MacFarlane was at Dulwich, I wander into Charles Barry’s huge hammerbeam hall, the walls lined with honours boards of distinctions at Oxford and Cambridge chiefly; though there’s some mention of the Army and the Indian Civil Service, there is none of any other universities or places of higher ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... while those with reservations, including the Popular Front critic F.O. Matthiessen and the poet Charles Olson, preferred to align him with Shakespeare, his revolutionary Miltonic essence giving way to a more properly tragic register, with its evocations of madness and fallibility (Lear is Olson’s big parallel) and over-reaching. This was, in a sense, to ...

The Monster in the Milk Bowl

Richard Poirier, 3 October 1996

Pierre, or The Ambiguities 
by Herman Melville, edited by Hershel Parker.
HarperCollins, 449 pp., £15.99, May 1996, 0 06 118009 2
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... of the authoritative Northwestern-Newberry edition of The Writings of Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford, Hershel Parker and G. Thomas Tanselle. Now, in 1996, this same Hershel Parker, a professor of English at the University of Delaware, has constructed an alternative version meant to approximate the originally completed novel Melville delivered to ...

Germs: A Memoir

Richard Wollheim, 15 April 2004

... then, any book that captured my interest, such as a novel by Scott or Dickens, or by Kingsley or Harrison Ainsworth, or even by the much despised and now completely forgotten Jeffrey Farnol, whose daintiness deeply offended me, I would pick up, and starting on page 1, I would race through it as fast as my eyes could carry me, until some demand, like washing ...

Ghosting

Andrew O’Hagan: Julian Assange, 6 March 2014

... residence with stags’ heads in the hall. In the dining room there were laptops everywhere. Sarah Harrison, Assange’s personal assistant and girlfriend, was wearing a woolly jumper and kept scraping her ringlets off her face. Another girl, maybe Spanish or South American or Eastern European, came into the drawing room where the fire was blazing. I stood at ...

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