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Adipose Tumorous Growths and All

Kevin Kopelson, 18 May 2000

Franz Liszt. Vol. III: The Final Years, 1861-86 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 594 pp., £45, February 1998, 0 571 19034 0
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The Romantic Generation 
by Charles Rosen.
HarperCollins, 720 pp., £14.99, March 1999, 0 00 255712 6
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Franz Liszt: Selected Letters 
edited by Adrian Williams.
Oxford, 1063 pp., £70, January 1999, 0 19 816688 5
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... To be fair to Alan Walker, I should confess that I’m an amateur pianist who loves playing – or trying to play – some of the virtuoso music Liszt both composed and, of course, performed: relatively easy pieces like Waldesrauschen and Un Sospiro, which are concert études, and also the three ‘Petrarch’ Sonnets ...
African Exodus: The Origins of Modern Humanity 
by Chris Stringer and Robin McKie.
Cape, 267 pp., £18.99, March 1996, 0 224 03771 4
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Humans before Humanity 
by Robert Foley.
Blackwell, 238 pp., £25, December 1995, 0 631 17087 1
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The Day before Yesterday: Five Million Years of Human History 
by Colin Tudge.
Cape, 390 pp., £18.99, January 1996, 0 224 03772 2
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The Wisdom of Bones: In Search of Human Origins 
by Alan Walker and Pat Shipman.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £18.99, April 1996, 0 297 81670 5
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The Neanderthal Enigma: Solving the Mystery of Modern Human Origins 
by James Shreeve.
Viking, 369 pp., £20, May 1996, 0 670 86638 5
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... a world with close relatives, the australopithecines, who were equally specialist vegetarians. As Alan Walker shows in The Wisdom of Bones, to view Homo erectus as a kind of missing link would be a mistake. Walker’s is a case-history of a startling find, the nearly complete skeleton of an African adolescent ...

A Single Crash of the Cymbals

Roger Parker, 7 December 1989

Franz Liszt. Vol. II: The Weimar Years 1848-1861 
by Alan Walker.
Faber, 626 pp., £35, August 1989, 0 571 15322 4
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Franz Liszt: A Chronicle of his Life in Pictures and Documents 
by Ernst Burger, translated by Stewart Spencer.
Princeton, 358 pp., £45, October 1989, 0 691 09133 1
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... The second part of Alan Walker’s projected three-volume life of Liszt opens with events any biographer would relish. At the height of an immensely successful, indeed unprecedented career as an international virtuoso of the piano, Liszt, aged 35 and (as he felt) nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita, decided on a complete change ...

Doing something

Barry Supple, 3 June 1982

Getting and Spending: Public Expenditure, Employment and Inflation 
by Leo Pliatzky.
Blackwell, 232 pp., £12, March 1982, 0 631 12907 3
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Inside the Treasury 
by Joel Barnett.
Deutsch, 200 pp., £8.95, February 1982, 9780233973944
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Public Expenditure and Social Policy: An Examination of Social Spending and Social Priorities 
edited by Alan Walker.
Heinemann, 212 pp., £7.50, March 1982, 0 435 82906 8
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... themes of the collection of essays on Public Expenditure and Social Policy, assembled by Alan Walker. Its authors – practising or preaching social workers and administrators almost to a man – share the view that public expenditure policies are dominated by an economic and financial narrow-mindedness, and a bureaucratic crudeness which sees ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy, 9 April 2015

Hollywood 
by Don Bachardy.
Glitterati, 368 pp., £45, October 2014, 978 0 9913419 2 4
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... I was reading – and then reviewing for this very publication – a biography of Franz Liszt by Alan Walker.* I was also reading – for amusement – the biography of Lytton Strachey by Michael Holroyd and one of Dorothy Parker by Marion Meade. In Holroyd’s book, I was most struck by some portraits – reproduced in full colour – that had been ...

Falling Stars

Alan Coren, 5 November 1981

Richard Burton 
by Paul Ferris.
Weidenfeld, 212 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77966 4
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Peter Sellers 
by Alexander Walker.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 297 77965 6
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... Not, mind, that in the case of Peter Sellers such slivers of pillow-watching as come Mr Walker’s way bring us much closer. Indeed, there is a strong suggestion that the isobutyl nitrate he was taking to help weld the nocturnal bond between him and the sprightly Britt Ekland contributed directly to that first heart attack which led, as they sadly ...

Alan Bennett chooses four paintings for schools

Alan Bennett: Studying the Form, 2 April 1998

... My third choice is Lorenzo and Isabella by Sir John Millais, painted in 1849 and now in the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool. Millais’s picture was inspired by Keats’s ‘Isabella and the Pot of Basil’, a story retold from Boccaccio. Lorenzo is in love with his master’s daughter, Isabella, and this arouses the resentment of her three brothers, who ...

Rubbishing the revolution

Hugo Young, 5 December 1991

Thatcher’s People 
by John Ranelagh.
HarperCollins, 324 pp., £15.99, September 1991, 0 00 215410 2
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Staying Power 
by Peter Walker.
Bloomsbury, 248 pp., £16.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1034 2
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... a disaster. This is what first bound together Ranelagh’s galère, ranging from Keith Joseph to Alan Walters, from Alfred Sherman to Denis Thatcher: the Institute of Economic Affairs competing the while with Enoch Powell for the role of the enduring spiritual godfather whose time had come. Ranelagh’s book is badly organised. Having begun as an attempt to ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: Pop Poetry, 25 July 2002

... no further encouragement. For one thing they were responsible for Truly, Madly, Deeply, in which Alan Rickman plays a ghost who tries to help his widow (Juliet Stevenson) come to terms with his untimely death. One of the tricks he tries is to recite Pablo Neruda’s ‘Dead Woman’ (‘I shall stay alive,/because above all things you wanted me’) – a ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Fresh Revelations, 20 October 1994

... At Birmingham I have a session with David Edgar’s playwrights’ class, then do another ‘Our Alan’ performance for a more general audience. 26 January. Run into Tristram Powell. Andrew Devonshire (sic) has done a diary for the Spectator mentioning the memoir of Julian Jebb (edited by Tristram) as one of the books he was putting in the guest bedrooms at ...

My Friend Sam

Jane Miller, 16 August 1990

The rock cried out 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 303 pp., £5.99, June 1990, 1 85381 140 8
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Can’t quit you, baby 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 256 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 1 85381 149 1
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... narrator cannot resist wondering whether Andromeda might not have been black, even an Ethiopian. Alan McClaurin looks back at himself as a young man in flight, first, from the Vietnam War and the draft, and then later, in 1971, when, ‘dreaming of solitude and inviting my soul’, he returns to the country where he grew up. Not the least of Douglas’s ...

Mortal on Hooch

William Fiennes: Alan Warner, 30 July 1998

The Sopranos 
by Alan Warner.
Cape, 336 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05108 3
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... Morvern Callar, the narrator of Alan Warner’s Morvern Callar (1995) and These Demented Lands (1997), reacts to the suicide of her boyfriend by lighting a Silk Cut, opening her Christmas presents and shaving her legs in a hot bath. The boyfriend is lying in a pool of blood but Morvern remains emotionally numb: ‘Trying to get in the oven to heat up the pizza ...

Iniquity in Romford

Bernard Porter: Black Market Britain, 23 May 2013

Black Market Britain 1939-55 
by Mark Roodhouse.
Oxford, 276 pp., £65, March 2013, 978 0 19 958845 9
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... Army who slips the buxom Mrs Fox a couple of sausages on the side. (In his LRB Diary for 2002, Alan Bennett cited a letter from a Grantham evacuee reporting the rumour that Alderman Roberts was ‘thought to be into the black market’. It is tempting to imagine that this was where Thatcher learned her neoliberal ethics, but ‘a bit under the ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin, 4 September 1997

Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... words – after the murder. In The Blue Dahlia, the net closes in on the returning veteran, Alan Ladd, suspected of killing the wife who betrayed him while he was at war. The murderer in Chandler’s script was the William Bendix character, Ladd’s war buddy, an amnesiac killer suffering from blackouts: playing Smerdyakov to ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1985, 5 December 1985

... in 1974. On the wall is an advertising calendar, ‘Textile Town Holidays 1974’, from Charles Walker and Sons, Beta Works, Leeds. Listed are all the vacation variations of Yorkshire and Lancashire, from the largest cities down to the smallest towns, Clayton le Moors, Littleborough, Tottingham, Todmorden, most of the works long gone, one long holiday ...

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