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The Great Plant Collector

Alan Bold, 22 January 1987

... i.m. David Douglas, 1798-1834 Accompanied by eagles, David Douglas trecked Through forests and rivers in search of seed. Wet or wounded, he remained undaunted: His roots in Scone, his crown outside. The Indians called him ‘grassman’, Watched him paddle his own canoe. He went through rapids, escaped from a whirlpool, There seemed nothing he wouldn’t do ...

MacDiarmid’s Sticks

C.H. Sisson, 5 April 1984

Whaur Extremes Meet: The Poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid 1920-1934 
by Catherine Kerrigan.
James Thin, 245 pp., £12.50, June 1983, 0 901824 69 0
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Elemental Things: The Poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid 
by Harvey Oxenhorn.
Edinburgh, 215 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 85224 475 4
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Aesthetics in Scotland 
by Hugh MacDiarmid and Alan Bold.
Mainstream, 100 pp., £6.95, February 1984, 0 906391 60 1
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Annals of the Five Senses 
by Hugh MacDiarmid and Alan Bold.
Polygon, 161 pp., £6.50, July 1983, 0 904919 74 9
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Hugh MacDiarmid: The Terrible Crystal 
by Alan Bold.
Routledge, 251 pp., £9.95, August 1983, 0 7100 9493 0
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Hugh MacDiarmid (C.M. Grieve) 
by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 143 pp., £3.25, September 1982, 0 7073 0307 9
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The Thistle Rises: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose by Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 463 pp., £12.95, February 1984, 0 241 11171 4
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A Scottish Poetry Book 
by Alan Bold, Bob Dewar, Iain McIntosh and Rodger McPhail.
Oxford, 128 pp., £4.95, July 1983, 0 19 916029 5
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Edinburgh and the Borders in Verse 
by Allan Massie.
Secker, 97 pp., £5.95, August 1983, 0 436 27348 9
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... the hitherto unpublished Aesthetics in Scotland and from the trammels of which the editor Alan Bold cannot cut himself entirely free. Oxenhorn recognises the national character of MacDiarmid’s poetry, but he is seeking to judge it in international terms. This involves a certain deflation of the undeniable element of bombast and overwriting in ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... did not exist. And only Christopher Murray Grieve would have dared to invent him. Alan Bold’s valuable biography points out that when the 30-year-old Grieve began to write in the Scottish Chapbook under the pseudonym ‘M’Diarmid’, he was already editing the magazine under his own name, reviewing for it as ‘Martin ...

Unaccountables

Donald Davie, 7 March 1985

The Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 910 pp., £20, August 1984, 0 241 11220 6
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Between Moon and Moon: Selected Letters of Robert Graves 1946-1972 
edited by Paul O’Prey.
Hutchinson, 323 pp., £14.95, November 1984, 9780091557508
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... covered by this selection of his letters. (The earlier ones came out as In Broken Images in 1982.) Alan Bold’s index to the MacDiarmid volume has no entry for Graves, any more than Paul O’Prey’s has for MacDiarmid. The two poets, though contemporaries, might have been inhabiting different planets. And yet the impression one gets from the two books ...

The Fug o’Fame

David Goldie: Hugh MacDiarmid’s letters, 6 June 2002

New Selected Letters 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Dorian Grieve.
Carcanet, 572 pp., £39.95, August 2001, 1 85754 273 8
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... worked hardest to argue for a division between the role of MacDiarmid and the person of Grieve was Alan Bold, MacDiarmid’s biographer. He knew Grieve in the later stages of his life and respected the sometimes tender, gentlemanly man he knew. These views inform his 1984 edition of the Letters of Hugh MacDiarmid, a fact he emphasised in the introduction ...

Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones, 23 October 1986

The Casualty 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Chatto, 189 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780701129286
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Augustus 
by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 339 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 370 30757 7
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Gabriel’s Lament 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 331 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 224 02823 5
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The Mind and Body Shop 
by Frank Parkin.
Collins, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 217695 5
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... of Virgil, Horace and Cicero. Allan Massie is a Scotsman, applauded for his Scottishness by Alan Bold and Douglas Dunn, and he has adopted one of Scott’s devices for excusing the excesses of his imagination. Sir Walter would insert into his historical romances the pedantic objections of some imaginary fool, called Dryasdust or Cleishbottom: after ...

Travelling Hero

G.R. Wilson Knight, 19 February 1981

Coriolanus in Europe 
by David Daniell.
Athlone, 168 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 485 11192 6
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... Berlin, Munich and Zurich. The company were known to Europe from previous visits, but it was a bold adventure, the bolder for the play chosen. It is far from easy in style, and only too likely to baffle a foreign audience, but if fully understood it is instead likely to channel fierce political passions. It had already had a recent showing, in adaptations ...
... of The White Hotel offered itself: he knew Lisa would end up there. But why was it so obvious? The bold Eros/Thanatos diagram Thomas is intent on constructing is achieved at the expense of the sympathetic realism of the later parts of the novel, and the details of Lisa’s end conform to a literary and superimposed scheme. Thomas tries to justify this by ...

The Business of Revolution

Alan Knight, 10 November 1988

Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution 
by John Mason Hart.
California, 478 pp., $35, January 1988, 0 520 05995 6
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... peasant rebellion in south-western Mexico is important here). But he works on a big canvas, with bold brushstrokes. He does not involve himself much with the finer nuances of Mexican rural society, which have absorbed the attention of many recent historians (peasant subgroups, regional and local variations, considerations of mentalité); nor does he address ...

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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... countryman, who notices morning frost, a caterpillar looped in the road, sunset on the fells. Alan Bold overstates the case for Neill in his introduction, but this is the man’s sixth collection and it does seem remarkable that he is not known in England, even by exiled Scots. It can’t, however, surprise Neill, who would feel uncomfortable if ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... jaded, just more discriminating than he gave them credit for. He thought he was saying something bold and new in Britannia Hospital but even in 1982 he wasn’t – not in England anyway. One of his Polish friends said: ‘It’s the best Polish film I’ve seen in a long time.’ Of course his films provoked and when Britannia Hospital was shown at the ...
Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice 
edited by Alan Heuser.
Oxford, 279 pp., £19.50, March 1987, 0 19 818573 1
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... This is the first of two volumes in which Alan Heuser is making a selection of Louis MacNeice’s occasional writings. The first is mainly his reviews of Classical and modern literature; the second will bring together his fugitive pieces on philosophy, history, travel and autobiography. The currently renewed interest in MacNeice arises from two considerations: one, that he deserves better than to be regarded as merely one of Auden’s acolytes; two, that he may be seen as precursor to the young poets in Northern Ireland who have been making a stir, if not a Renaissance, since 1968 ...

‘Two in Torquay’

Alan Bennett: A short play, 10 July 2003

... MORTIMER: Making a will is a dangerous moment. Life, after all, is on the turn. The timid become bold, the faint-hearted draw courage. The act of writing a will will often induce a fit of insane benevolence towards anyone and everything except those who have properly deserved it – dogs, cats, sailors, donkeys, the widows of clergymen, the friends of Jane ...

Powerful People

D.A.N. Jones, 15 October 1987

Anthills of the Savannah 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 233 pp., £10.95, September 1987, 0 434 00604 1
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Familiar Wars 
by Julietta Harvey.
Joseph, 251 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 7181 2823 0
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Lenin: The Novel 
by Alan Brien.
Secker, 703 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 436 06840 0
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... how you de walk as to say you fear to kill ant for road. Nex time make you march for ground with bold face as to say your father na him get main road.’ In the capital, policemen have stormed the rebellious university ‘and settled into a fearful orgy of revenge, compounding an ancient sex-feud with today’s war of the classes’. A more sympathetic ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... him away. How long after this it was that Bowie had his breakthrough I’m not sure.15 January. Alan Rickman dies. In the first week of The Habit of Art at the National in 2009 Michael Gambon, playing Auden, was taken ill and rushed to St Thomas’s. He recovered quite quickly, and indeed got out of the ambulance saying: ‘I know what they’re all doing ...

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