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Devil take the hindmost

John Sutherland, 14 December 1995

Shadows of the Future: H.G. Wells, Science Fiction and Prophecy 
by Patrick Parrinder.
Liverpool, 170 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 85323 439 6
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The History of Mr Wells 
by Michael Foot.
Doubleday, 318 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 385 40366 6
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A Modern Utopia 
by H.G. Wells, edited by Krishan Kumar.
Everyman, 271 pp., £5.99, November 1994, 0 460 87498 5
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... Cape Canaveral in 1969, reveals how wildly wrong science fiction invariably is. Nostradamus, Old Moore and Mystic Meg have SF beat every time. (Parrinder sportingly quotes against himself Fredric Jameson’s paradox that science fiction’s role in life is ‘to demonstrate and to dramatise our incapacity to imagine the future’.) The third, and most ...

Only Sentences

Ray Monk, 31 October 1996

Wittgenstein’s Place in 20th-Century Analytic Philosophy 
by P.M.S. Hacker.
Blackwell, 368 pp., £50, October 1996, 0 631 20098 3
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Wittgenstein: Mind and Will, Vol. IV of an Analytical Commentary on the ‘Philosophical Investigations’ 
by P.M.S. Hacker.
Blackwell, 742 pp., £90, August 1996, 0 631 18739 1
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... subject and a common belief that the method of analysis they had learned from Frege, Russell, Moore and Wittgenstein constituted a great advance over previous ways of doing philosophy and over the techniques of their Continental rivals. Nowhere is this confidence better epitomised than in the notorious paper delivered by Ryle at the conference on La ...
High Fidelity 
by Nick Hornby.
Gollancz, 256 pp., £14.99, April 1995, 0 575 05748 3
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... have they gone, all these records I’ve had in my head for years, just in case Roy Plomley or Michael Parkinson or Sue Lawley or whoever used to do My Top Twelve on Radio One asked me in as a late and admittedly unknown replacement for somebody famous?’ And what was Rob’s killer move when he was in the process of getting to know Laura in the first ...

The Sponge of Apelles

Alexander Nehamas, 3 October 1985

TheSkeptical Tradition 
by Myles Burnyeat.
California, 434 pp., £36.75, June 1984, 0 520 03747 2
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The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations 
by Julia Annas and Jonathan Barnes.
Cambridge, 204 pp., £20, May 1985, 0 521 25682 8
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Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties 
by P.F. Strawson.
Methuen, 98 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 416 39070 6
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Hume’s Skepticism in the ‘Treatise of Human Nature’ 
by Robert Fogelin.
Routledge, 195 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 7102 0368 3
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The Refutation of Scepticism 
by A.C. Grayling.
Duckworth, 150 pp., £18, May 1985, 0 7156 1922 5
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The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism 
by Barry Stroud.
Oxford, 277 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 19 824730 3
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... Burnyeat and Jonathan Barnes in The Skeptical Tradition and elsewhere, as well as in papers by Michael Frede. But what is also needed is a more elementary account of Scepticism, a presentation of the Sceptics’ main approaches when undermining their opponents’ views and reaching their own position. This need is addressed by The Modes of Scepticism, a ...

Here was a plague

Tom Crewe, 27 September 2018

How to Survive a Plague: The Story of How Activists and Scientists Tamed Aids 
by David France.
Picador, 624 pp., £12.99, September 2017, 978 1 5098 3940 7
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Patient Zero and the Making of the Aids Epidemic 
by Richard A. McKay.
Chicago, 432 pp., £26.50, November 2017, 978 0 226 06395 9
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Modern Nature: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1989-90 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 314 pp., £9.99, May 2018, 978 1 78487 387 5
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Smiling in Slow Motion: The Journals of Derek Jarman, 1991-94 
by Derek Jarman.
Vintage, 388 pp., £9.99, August 2018, 978 1 78487 516 9
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The Ward 
by Gideon Mendel.
Trolley, 88 pp., £25, December 2017, 978 1 907112 56 0
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... problem with sex is I get the feeling that I’m not even supposed to think about it,’ Oscar Moore wrote in his PWA (Person with Aids) column for the Guardian. ‘[I am] supposed to be beyond sex. The trouble is that sex is not beyond me.’ ‘My whole being has changed … Even with safer sex I’ve felt the life of my partner was in my ...

Seductress Extraordinaire

Terry Castle: The vampiric Mercedes de Acosta, 24 June 2004

‘That Furious Lesbian’: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta 
by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 210 pp., £16.95, June 2004, 0 8093 2579 9
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Women in Turmoil: Six Plays 
by Mercedes de Acosta, edited by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 252 pp., £26.95, June 2003, 0 8093 2509 8
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... Isadora Duncan, Alla Nazimova, Pola Negri, Tamara Karsavina, Katharine Cornell, Marie Laurencin, Michael Strange and Eva Le Gallienne in the 1920s and 1930s to Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Hope Williams, Libby Holman, Ona Munson (Belle Watling in Gone with the Wind), Poppy Kirk (a Schiaparelli model and prominent diplomat’s wife) and many others in ...

At the Movies

Andrew O’Hagan: M. Night Shyamalan, 17 July 2008

The Happening 
directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
June 2008
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... project to Warner Brothers. The whole cringe-making story is told in The Man Who Heard Voices by Michael Bamberger (Gotham, 2006). He describes a painful supper at which Shyamalan joins a group of Disney executives: ‘What are you saying, Nina? What are you saying the script needs? Three weeks? Three months?’ Nina said nothing. Her face said: Not three ...

Snap among the Witherlings

Michael Hofmann: Wallace Stevens, 22 September 2016

The Whole Harmonium: The Life of Wallace Stevens 
by Paul Mariani.
Simon and Schuster, 512 pp., £23, May 2016, 978 1 4516 2437 3
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... I am increasingly coming to think, of all the great modernist poets, of Pound and Eliot and Moore and Stevens? Most readers of the poems will have a pretty accurate sense of the life, though not one derived from the poems, which are quite unhelpful in that regard: Harvard; lawyer-poet; worked in insurance; wife and daughter; quiet life in ...

Bogey’s Clean Sweep

Michael Holroyd, 22 May 1980

The Life of Katherine Mansfield 
by Antony Alpers.
Cape, 466 pp., £9.50, May 1980, 0 224 01625 3
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... of names she gave herself and those near her (most famously changing Ida Baker into ‘I Lesley Moore’) was an indication of how she used her experiences as experiments to be made real through fiction. Her engagement to a musician, her strange one-day marriage to George Bowden, her subsequent pregnancy by the musician’s brother, her lesbian ...

How to vanish

Michael Dibdin, 23 April 1987

The Long Night of Francisco Sanctis 
by Humberto Costantini, translated by Norman Thomas di Giovanni.
Fontana, 193 pp., £3.50, January 1987, 0 00 654180 1
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Requiem for a Woman’s Soul 
by Omar Rivabella, translated by Paul Riviera.
Penguin, 116 pp., £2.95, February 1987, 0 14 009773 2
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Words in Commotion, and Other Stories 
by Tommaso Landolfi, translated by Ring Jordan and Lydia Jordan.
Viking, 273 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 80518 1
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The Literature Machine 
by Italo Calvino, translated by Patrick Creagh.
Secker, 341 pp., £16, April 1987, 0 436 08276 4
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The St Veronica Gig Stories 
by Jack Pulaski.
Zephyr, 170 pp., £10.95, December 1986, 0 939010 09 7
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Kate Vaiden 
by Reynolds Price.
Chatto, 306 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 7011 3203 5
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... of Manzoni’s The Betrothed by de Sade – and the itinerary is eclectic: Ariosto, Marianne Moore, Fourier, Northrop Frye, Stendahl and Cyrano de Bergerac (the author, not the play). But despite the occasional nature of the items the only one that disappoints is an autobiographical fragment. Calvino stutters when asked to talk about himself, and his way ...

A Preference for Torquemada

Michael Wood: G.K. Chesterton, 9 April 2009

Chesterton and the Romance of Orthodoxy: The Making of GKC 1874-1908 
by William Oddie.
Oxford, 401 pp., £25, November 2008, 978 0 19 955165 1
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The Man Who Was Thursday 
by G.K. Chesterton.
Atlantic, 187 pp., £7.99, December 2008, 978 1 84354 905 5
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... funny. ‘Mr Shaw is (I suspect) the only man on earth who has never written any poetry.’ George Moore ‘is in a perpetual state of temporary honesty’. Wells ‘is the only one of his many brilliant contemporaries who has not stopped growing. One can lie awake at night and hear him grow.’ As for arguing, Chesterton and Shaw quarrelled publicly for a ...

Donald Davie and the English

Christopher Ricks, 22 May 1980

Trying to Explain 
by Donald Davie.
Carcanet, 213 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 85635 343 4
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... it against what he himself then elicits from this Canto: the question about Binyon and Sturge Moore, ‘whether the two senior writers could not have established themselves – at least for some purposes – as masters of ateliers in which the two young hopefuls might have enrolled as apprentices’. For the answer to the question ‘could they not?’ is ...

Green Martyrs

Patricia Craig, 24 July 1986

The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse 
edited by Thomas Kinsella.
Oxford, 423 pp., £12.50, May 1986, 0 19 211868 4
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The Faber Book of Contemporary Irish Poetry 
edited by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 415 pp., £10.95, May 1986, 0 571 13760 1
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Irish Poetry after Joyce 
by Dillon Johnston.
Dolmen, 336 pp., £20, September 1986, 0 85105 437 4
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... always those potent emblems, discredited or not, like the harp sighed over so copiously by Thomas Moore. Moore of ‘Moore’s Maladies’ as Joyce called them, is well-represented in the part of Kinsella’s anthology given over to the 19th century, and many other standard works of the ...

Lucian Freud

Nicholas Penny, 31 March 1988

... in the way a teddy bear lies, opened up upon a child’s basket in the early pen drawing of Juliet Moore asleep. Equally, the stiff folds of the leather coat in the drawing (based on a self-portrait) of 1943 are distinguished with the same short parallel strokes that are frequently employed for the exciting fringes of sharp shadow in the etchings – these ...

Pushy Times

David Solkin, 25 March 1993

The Great Age of British Watercolours 1750-1880 
by Andrew Wilton and Anne Lyles.
Prestel, 339 pp., £21.50, January 1993, 3 7913 1254 5
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... career, Girtin had quite willingly accepted a commission from the publisher-cum-antiquarian James Moore to produce an extensive series of finished watercolours of castles and monastic ruins; these drawings were based on rough sketches done by Moore himself, who subsequently arranged for several of the Girtins to be issued ...

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