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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 ...
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 ...
31 October 1996
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 male Homo ...

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 ...

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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... mustard? 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 ...

All about Me

Kevin Kopelson: Don Bachardy

8 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 ...
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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... did or failing to conceal his embarrassment at the consequences of what he cannot undo. In the balance between exalting the Thatcher years and distancing itself from them, the Major Government has slowly but inexorably moved towards the second option. This may prove to be an impossible task: as, indeed, it deserves to be, since only one member of the ...

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 ...

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 ...
2 April 1998
... black servant). On the right, Melchior is waiting with his presentation, rather precariously balanced in his limp hand. The detail is such that one can distinguish the hairs on the mole on Caspar’s cheek. Above the scene, and in another order of things, the angels crowd the sky, where the star that led the Wise Men to the manger is still shining. A dove ...

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 ...

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 ...
2 February 1984
The Oxford Companion to American Literature 
by James Hart.
Oxford, 896 pp., £27.50, November 1983, 0 19 503074 5
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The Modern American Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Oxford, 209 pp., £9.95, April 1983, 0 19 212591 5
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The Literature of the United States 
by Marshall Walker.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £14, November 1983, 0 333 32298 3
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American Fictions 1940-1980: A Comprehensive History and Critical Valuation 
by Frederick Karl.
Harper and Row, 637 pp., £31.50, February 1984, 0 06 014939 6
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Hugging the Shore: Essays and Criticism 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 919 pp., £21, January 1984, 0 233 97610 8
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... and a ‘List of Major Works’. Frederick Karl offers up columns of elaborate notes. Marshall Walker supplies a ‘chronological table’ that correlates authors and titles with events (Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone the same year that Henry James published Roderick Hudson; Carl Sandburg’s Chicago Poems coincided with Coca-Cola’s ...

Outside Swan and Edgar’s

Matthew Sweet: The life of Oscar Wilde

5 February 1998
The Wilde Album 
by Merlin Holland.
Fourth Estate, 192 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 1 85702 782 5
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Cosmopolitan Criticism: Oscar Wilde’s Philosophy of Art 
by Julia Prewitt Brown.
Virginia, 157 pp., $30, September 1997, 9780813917283
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The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde 
edited by Peter Raby.
Cambridge, 307 pp., £37.50, October 1997, 9780521474719
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Wilde The Novel 
by Stefan Rudnicki.
Orion, 215 pp., £5.99, October 1997, 0 7528 1160 6
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Oscar Wilde 
by Frank Harris.
Robinson, 358 pp., £7.99, October 1997, 1 85487 126 9
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Moab is my Washpot 
by Stephen Fry.
Hutchinson, 343 pp., £16.99, October 1997, 0 09 180161 3
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Nothing … except My Genius 
by Oscar Wilde.
Penguin, 82 pp., £2.99, October 1997, 0 14 043693 6
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... of aesthetic theory – a missing link between Kierkegaard and Adorno. For Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield, he’s the original Queer wit, who would today have been the toast of Sussex University and Old Compton Street. Oscar Wilde, posing as a Post-Modernist. Like the most obliging of renters, Wilde will be anything you want him to ...

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