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Stephen Wall, 26 March 1992

Surviving: The Uncollected Writings of Henry Green 
edited by Matthew Yorke.
Chatto, 302 pp., £18, February 1992, 0 7011 3900 5
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Pack my bag 
by Henry Green.
Hogarth, 242 pp., £9.99, February 1992, 0 7012 0988 7
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by Henry Green.
Harvill, 225 pp., £6.99, February 1992, 0 00 271185 0
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... that the gift of celebrating place had not been altogether lost. By 1960 Green was confessing to Alan Ross that he found composition ‘so exhausting now I simply can’t do it any more’. He was not in good shape physically, was troubled by his increasing deafness, and the steady intake of gin can’t have helped. Even so, he continued to read a novel ...

The analyst is always right

Mark Ford: Tessimond and Spencer, 17 November 2011

Collected Poems with Translations from Jacques Prévert 
by A.S.J. Tessimond.
Bloodaxe, 188 pp., £10.95, November 2010, 978 1 85224 857 4
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Complete Poetry, Translations and Selected Prose 
by Bernard Spencer.
Bloodaxe, 351 pp., £15, February 2011, 978 1 85224 891 8
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... brutalities was to find ways of not brutalising thought and language. His poems, he insisted to Alan Ross, were ‘always factual’; but that’s not to imply that there is anything merely journalistic about them. The facts are marshalled not only to preserve the scene Spencer presents, but to investigate the larger contingencies of memory and ...

Extraordinary People

Anthony Powell, 4 June 1981

The Lyttelton – Hart-Davis Letters 
edited by Rupert Hart-Davis.
Murray, 185 pp., £12.50, March 1981, 0 7195 3770 3
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... well-read men of different generations. There is rather too much cricket for my own taste, but Alan Ross – perhaps the only writer on cricket I can assimilate – is extolled early on as ‘the first poet’ to report an MCC tour in Australia. Hart-Davis, professionally involved, has naturally a special point of view, and a wider tolerance (seasoned ...


Craig Raine: In Moscow, 22 March 1990

... Stephen Spender (because of his experience de-Nazifying German libraries after the war) and Alan Ross. When I mention that Ross served in the Navy and, in poems like ‘Murmansk’, recalls the war in the Baltic, Stabnikov seems satisfied. We pass the now famous queue outside McDonald’s, where, I am ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: War Talk, 6 February 2003

... Guide to America’s New War (NYU, $16.95), a collection of essays edited by John Collins and Ross Glover about the uses to which language has been put by the Bush Administration since 11 September 2001. Each chapter considers a different word – e.g. anthrax, cowardice, freedom, jihad – but the overall argument is against propaganda and ...

Heavy Sledding

Chauncey Loomis, 21 December 1989

The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the Northwest Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909 
by Pierre Berton.
Viking, 672 pp., £16.95, May 1989, 0 670 82491 7
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Overland to Starvation Cove: With the Inuit in Search of Franklin 1878-1880 
by Heinrich Klutschak and William Barr.
Toronto, 261 pp., £17.50, February 1988, 0 8020 5762 4
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Frozen in Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition 
by Owen Beattie and John Geiger.
Bloomsbury, 180 pp., £12.95, November 1987, 0 7475 0101 7
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... explorers, famous in their day, but now known only to Arctic buffs, such as John and James Clark Ross, Rae, Pullen, Collinson, M’Clure, Austin, Ommanney, Richardson, Penny, DeHaven, Kane, Forsyth, Bellot, Kennedy, Belcher, Inglefield, M’Clintock – and names of ships, such as ...
... Chatterley for a reference for a gamekeeper. The magazine sort of launched me on a career, because Alan Pryce-Jones, who was then the editor of the TLS, gave me a lot of reviewing work. AH: How did you see your future then? FW: I suppose I feebly wanted to be a writer, but, apart from those stories, I couldn’t think what on earth I was going to do. I got my ...

Short Cuts

Christian Lorentzen: Fact-checking, 5 April 2012

... Luce’s taste for ‘relentless “departmental” organisation’, according to his biographer Alan Brinkley. Time was first to be called Facts, and its research department ‘was the only non-clerical area of the magazine to hire women … and for many years it hired only women.’ An editor wrote the young ladies a cheering memo: Checking is ...

The Iceman Cometh

Ross McKibbin: Tony Adams, 6 January 2000

by Tony Adams and Ian Ridley.
HarperCollins, 384 pp., £6.99, August 1999, 0 00 218795 7
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... Day but a culture which represents much of the reality of British life itself. Every time (say) Alan Hansen makes a general comment on the nature of British football he is in part making a general comment on Britain – a fact of which he is probably aware. Yet in one important respect it is still not universal. Although the huge numbers of people who play ...


Arnold Rattenbury: Hamish Henderson, 23 January 2003

Collected Poems and Songs 
by Hamish Henderson, edited by Raymond Ross.
Curly Snake, 163 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 1 902141 01 6
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... Nose (1996) – both edited by Alec Finlay – and Collected Poems and Songs, edited by Raymond Ross. All three books reveal Henderson, by then in his seventies and eighties, as he chose to be revealed. His only other publications had been fifty years earlier: Ballads of World War Two, collected and sometimes also written by himself, in 1947, and Elegies ...

The Reshuffle and After

Ross McKibbin: Why Brown should Resign, 25 May 2006

... mode of ‘election’ the chances of its becoming a genuinely elected body are even more remote. Alan Johnson replaces the pliable Ruth Kelly probably because, as a ‘traditional’ trade unionist, he might at least appear more sympathetic to comprehensive schools than she did. The appointment of the ineffable Hazel Blears, someone particularly associated ...

The Mess They’re In

Ross McKibbin: Labour’s Limited Options, 20 October 2011

... for them, but not, as it is showing every sign of doing, on account of their lack of severity. Alan Johnson, ex-home secretary, in an otherwise sensible interview in the Independent on Sunday, says that he didn’t like it when Ed Miliband said ID cards were a mistake, but admits that this particular policy is the leader’s ‘“civil ...

Non-Party Man

Ross McKibbin: Stafford Cripps, 19 September 2002

The Cripps Version: The Life of Sir Stafford Cripps 
by Peter Clarke.
Allen Lane, 574 pp., £25, April 2002, 0 7139 9390 1
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... he was a trained chemist as well as a lawyer – also at a premium in the 1940s. Field Marshal Sir Alan Brooke, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, no particular friend of the Left, and deeply averse to party politicians, wrote of Cripps in July 1944: ‘I like him more each time I meet him.’ Brooke could have written this comment for several reasons ...

Sweet Fifteen

James Campbell, 3 November 1983

Bad Blood: A Family Murder 
by Richard Levine.
Hutchinson, 351 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 09 152360 5
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The Glasgow Rape Case 
by Ross Harper and Arnot McWhinnie.
Hutchinson, 259 pp., £5.95, June 1983, 0 09 151731 1
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Notes from a Waiting-Room 
by Alan Reeve.
Heretic Books, 203 pp., £3.50, May 1983, 0 946097 09 7
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... the description – with my substitution of ‘boy’ where Mailer had ‘prisoner’ – fits Alan Reeve exactly. Notes from a Waiting-Room is a confused, anguished account of Reeve’s relatively short, troubled life up till the time two years ago when he shot and killed a Dutch policeman while on the run from Broadmoor. The unusual conditions of the ...

Skimming along

Ross McKibbin, 20 October 1994

The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... him paying tribute to Billy Wright on an ITV programme, evoking (as, according to Richard Holt and Alan Tomlinson in their essay, he often does) the lost world of a handful of heroes – Wright himself, Nat Lofthouse, Tom Finney, Stanley Matthews – it was impossible, even allowing for a certain artifice on Mr Major’s part, not to reflect on the tension ...

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