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1 October 1998
Bodies of Law 
by Alan Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... But ‘Adam’ differs in two crucially late millennial respects from his antecedents in formaldehyde: first, he is science’s current Everyman (and, until he’s joined by a promised ‘Eve’, this is taken at all-embracing, generic force), whereas the 18th-century cabinets sought to define the norm through ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with AlanThe Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... I had homesickness.’ Had she perhaps kept a diary? ‘Of course.’ And here it is. Life with Alan has not been Eva Haraszti’s only life. She was 55 when, in 1978, she left Budapest to come to London as A.J.P. Taylor’s third wife: she was a widow, a scholar, and the mother of two grown-up sons. Her diary reports on the time she has spent as an amateur ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012

3 January 2013
... without a smile R. feels that for this alone they deserve to win. Brian, Stewie, David Mamet, Alan Bennett and Yasmina Reza in Family Guy. 25 April. At five a car comes to take me down to Silk studios on Berwick Street to record a voiceover (of my own voice) for an episode of Family Guy, the story being that Brian, the dog, has written a ...
21 September 1995
Secret Affairs: Franklin Roosevelt, Cordell Hull and Sumner Welles 
by Irwin Gellman.
Johns Hopkins, 499 pp., $29.95, April 1995, 0 8018 5083 5
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Closest Companion: The Unknown Story of the Intimate Friendship between Franklin Roosevelt and Margaret Suckley 
edited by Geoffrey Ward.
Houghton Mifflin, 444 pp., $24.95, April 1995, 0 395 66080 7
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No Ordinary Time. Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War Two 
by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Simon and Schuster, 759 pp., £18, June 1995, 0 671 64240 5
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The End of Reform 
by Alan Brinkley.
Knopf, 371 pp., $27.50, March 1995, 0 394 53573 1
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... explained to Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau (whose own undercutting we can follow in Alan Brinkley’s The End of Reform). This method of human relations worked, paradoxically, better with the women in the President’s private life than with the men in politics. Whereas the men had their own ambitions and agendas, the women were entirely devoted ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014

8 January 2015
... en gâteaux might be – the late Freddie Trueman I would guess, Michael Parkinson possibly and Alan Titchmarsh (who’s so amiable he might even do it). A candidate for pâtisserie posterity would once have been that son of Yorkshire Jimmy Savile who seemed made from marzipan. But not now. No cake for James.7 August, Oxford. To Oxford and the Holywell ...

Welly-Whanging

Thomas Jones: Alan Hollinghurst

6 May 2004
The Line of Beauty 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Picador, 501 pp., £16.99, April 2004, 9780330483209
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... takes a lively movement in making it with pen or pencil. Hogarth, The Analysis of Beauty (1753) Alan Hollinghurst’s first novel, The Swimming Pool Library (1988), is set during the summer of 1983. The narrator, William Beckwith, is a young aristocrat of leisure. He lives in Holland Park, swims at the Corinthian Club, a gay gym on Great Russell Street ...

State of the Art

John Lanchester

1 June 1989
Manchester United: The Betrayal of a Legend 
by Michael Crick and David Smith.
Pelham, 246 pp., £14.95, May 1989, 0 7207 1783 3
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Football in its Place: An Environmental Psychology of Football Grounds 
by David Canter, Miriam Comber and David Uzzell.
Routledge, 173 pp., £10.95, May 1989, 0 415 01240 6
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... Seventies. Several of the players – Billy Bremner, Norman Hunter, Johnny Giles, Peter Lorimer, Alan ‘Sniffer’ Clarke – had a lot of ability, but they also tended to have Jekyll-and-Hyde natures, the Hyde component of which their manager, Don Revie, did nothing to suppress. The ...
5 March 1981
Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... Very little, perhaps, unless ‘Thrawn Janet’ or the melodramatic boldness of Jekyll and Hyde left their mark. Edwin Morgan has chosen well from the earlier satirical poetry of Scotland, the strengths of which show up his contemporary selection to its distinct disadvantage. Henryson, Dunbar, Lyndsay and Montgomerie blaze off the page. Drummond’s ...
16 October 1980
Sydney Smith 
by Alan Bell.
Oxford, 250 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 19 812050 8
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Burke and Hare 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 300 pp., £7.95, August 1980, 0 904919 27 7
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... England and Ireland. The books can be said to stand at opposite ends of a spectrum of emotion. Alan Bell’s is cool, elegant, efficient, eminently printable, while the other smacks of excitement, adrenalin, and of an oral tradition. Smith is present in the Burke book, as an ideological partner of the Whig advocates who were briefed in the legal ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993

16 December 1993
... to photograph me outside. ‘Outside’ means that eventually I find myself perched up a tree in Hyde Park. Avedon’s assistants bustle round with lights, Avedon himself scarcely bothering to look through the lens, just enquiring from time to time where the edge of the frame is. He explains he wants me to seem to sit on the branch but actually to lean ...

Venice-on-Thames

Amanda Vickery: Vauxhall Gardens

7 February 2013
Vauxhall Gardens: A History 
by Alan Borg and David Coke.
Yale, 473 pp., £55, June 2011, 978 0 300 17382 6
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... The business flourished for two centuries, finally closing in 1859. Vauxhall’s special status, Alan Borg and David Coke argue in this hefty antiquarian tome, lies in its originality as a commercial venture, the changes it triggered in the social and cultural life of London, the extreme heterogeneity of the mingling crowds, the mass audience the gardens ...

On Some Days of the Week

Colm Tóibín: Mrs Oscar Wilde

10 May 2012
Constance: The Tragic and Scandalous Life of Mrs Oscar Wilde 
by Franny Moyle.
John Murray, 374 pp., £9.99, February 2012, 978 1 84854 164 1
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The Picture of Dorian Gray: An Annotated, Uncensored Edition 
by Oscar Wilde, edited by Nicholas Frankel.
Harvard, 295 pp., £25.95, April 2011, 978 0 674 05792 0
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... his peers. In January 1886 Robert Louis Stevenson published The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. It sold forty thousand copies in Britain in its first six months. ‘There is something almost impertinent,’ Henry James wrote, ‘in the way … Mr Stevenson achieves his best effects without the aid of the ladies.’ Was it, he asked, ‘a work of high ...

Give me the man

Stephen Holmes: The pursuit of Clinton

18 March 1999
Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis 
by Alan Dershowitz.
Basic Books, 275 pp., £15.95, January 1999, 0 465 01628 6
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The Case against Lameduck Impeachment 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Seven Stories, 80 pp., $8, February 1999, 1 58322 004 6
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... Goldman Sachs’s Robert Rubin to preside over the American economy, and retained and deferred to Alan Greenspan, Clinton has obviously been a good President for the business community. Indeed, he’s been so pro-business that he could not be successfully attacked by Republicans for his economic policies. So why should businessmen, who are nothing if not ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret

4 January 2018
Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... Russell Harty on his deathbed had his tracheotomy tube removed, in order to be able to tell Alan Bennett that the princess had asked how he was, twice. Every celebrity seems to have fantasised about sex with the princess. Eddie Fisher claimed that he had had an affair with her. When her marriage was breaking up, Peter Sellers was besotted with the idea ...

Phut-Phut

James Wood: The ‘TLS’

27 June 2002
Critical Times: The History of the ‘Times Literary Supplement’ 
by Derwent May.
HarperCollins, 606 pp., £25, November 2001, 0 00 711449 4
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... her to be sweet and gracious to powerful men, much as she had had to be when such men came to Hyde Park Gate for tea with her father; and yet ‘my real delight in reviewing is to say nasty things.’ The latter mood prevailed, and, in addition to the great manifestos she sent to the TLS (like ‘How It Strikes a Contemporary’), she worked more ...

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