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Regrets

Michael Wood

17 December 1992
The Art of Cinema 
by Jean Cocteau, André Bernard and Claude Gauteur, translated by Robin Buss.
Marion Boyars, 224 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 7145 2947 8
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Jean Renoir: A Life in Pictures 
by Célia Bertin, translated by Mireille Muellner and Leonard Muellner.
Johns Hopkins, 403 pp., £20.50, August 1991, 0 8018 4184 4
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Jean Renoir: Projections of Paradise 
by Ronald Bergan.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 7475 0837 2
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Malle on Malle 
edited by Philip French.
Faber, 236 pp., £14.99, January 1993, 0 571 16237 1
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Republic of Images: A History of French Film-Making 
by Alan Williams.
Harvard, 458 pp., £39.95, April 1992, 0 674 76267 3
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... in the book is the one he makes about his return to his own early years in Le Souffle au coeur, 1969: ‘It’s not that I consciously went back to my childhood; my childhood came back to me.’ AlanWilliams’s Republic of Images will become a standard work on the French cinema, and deservedly so. It is thorough, and intelligent, and its generalisations have clearly been hesitated over, thought ...

Moooovement

R.W. Johnson

8 February 1990
Resources of Hope: Culture, Democracy, Socialism 
by Raymond Williams, edited by Robin Gable.
Verso, 334 pp., £29.95, February 1989, 0 86091 229 9
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The Alien Mind of Raymond Williams 
by Jan Gorak.
Missouri, 132 pp., $9.95, December 1988, 0 8262 0688 3
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Raymond WilliamsWriting, Culture, Politics 
by Alan​ O’Connor.
Blackwell, 180 pp., £27.50, June 1989, 0 631 16589 4
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Raymond Williams​ on Television: Selected Writings 
edited by Alan​ O’Connor.
Routledge, 223 pp., £7.95, April 1989, 9780415026277
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News from Nowhere: No 6. Raymond Williams: Third Generation 
edited by Tony Pinkney.
Oxford English Limited, 108 pp., £3.50, February 1989
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Raymond WilliamsCritical Perspectives 
edited by Terry Eagleton.
Polity, 235 pp., £29.50, September 1989, 9780745603841
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... Raymond Williams’s death in January 1988 has been followed by an avalanche of obituarial tribute. To some extent, the tributes were a matter of the Left giving a last, sad cheer for one of its most versatile and ...

Hard Man

Ian Hamilton

16 October 1980
Walk Don’t Walk The Camp From Scenes Like These 
by Gordon Williams.
Allison and Busby, 264 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 85031 309 0
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... Gordon Williams, formerly Gordon M. Williams: born 1934, educated at the John Neilson Institution in Paisley. Worked in Scotland as a farm labourer and newspaper reporter before undergoing National Service in Germany with the RAF. Has worked as ...

I just let him have his beer

Christopher Tayler: John Williams​ Made it Work

9 December 2019
The Man who Wrote the Perfect Novel: John Williams, ‘Stoner’ and the Writing Life 
by Charles Shields.
Texas, 305 pp., £23.99, October 2018, 978 1 4773 1736 5
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Nothing but the Night 
by John Williams.
NYRB, 144 pp., $14.95, February 2019, 978 1 68137 307 2
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... In​ the summer of 1963, between the appearance of Thomas Pynchon’s first book and the Beatles’ second long-player, John Williams, a professor at the University of Denver, sent his agent in New York a draft of his latest novel, which detailed the unhappy marriage, undistinguished career and early death from cancer of an ...

Tales of Hofmann

Blake Morrison

20 November 1986
Acrimony 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 79 pp., £8.95, October 1986, 0 571 14527 2
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Idols 
by Stephen Romer.
Oxford, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1986, 0 19 281984 4
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Opia 
by Alan​ Moore.
Anvil, 83 pp., £4.50, August 1986, 9780856461613
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New Chatto Poets 
edited by Andrew Motion.
Chatto, 79 pp., £4.95, September 1986, 0 7011 3080 6
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A.D. Hope: Selected Poems 
edited by Ruth Morse.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £3.95, April 1986, 0 85635 640 9
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The Electrification of the Soviet Union 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 69 pp., £8.95, August 1986, 0 571 14539 6
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... about his begetter, especially when that begetter is a public figure. Hofmann’s book comes in the footsteps of Tony Harrison’s Continuous, Craig Raine’s Rich, Paul Muldoon’s Quoof and Hugo Williams’s Letters Home, all of which voyage round the paterfamilias: that tradition is much more pious and affectionate. The Williams offers the closest comparison: it too is about an overbearing writer ...

Imbalance

Michael Hofmann: The Charm of Hugo Williams

22 May 2003
Collected Poems 
by Hugo Williams.
Faber, 288 pp., £20, September 2002, 0 571 21233 6
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... It is a curious thing that of the three judges offering superlatives on the jacket of Hugo Williams’s Collected Poems – Edna Longley, Douglas Dunn and Peter Porter – none is English. And yet Williams, born in Windsor during World War Two, the son of the English actor Hugh Williams, schooled by Life and Eton, a youthful toiler for Alan Ross’s London Magazine, an erstwhile globetrotter and a ...

Let’s to billiards

Stephen Walsh: Constant Lambert

22 January 2015
Constant Lambert: Beyond the Rio Grande 
by Stephen Lloyd.
Boydell, 584 pp., £45, March 2014, 978 1 84383 898 2
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... Schoenberg and especially Berg, loathed Stravinsky, preferred Satie to Debussy, thought Sibelius the greatest symphonist since Beethoven, had no interest in folksong (though he studied with Vaughan Williams and liked and respected him), adored jazz for its virtuosity and instrumental sound but had little patience with most of the so-called symphonic jazz of the 1920s. The key to this apparent ragbag of ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s

18 July 2013
Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... he does have to say about public affairs. A not uncritical leftish feeling can be surmised for the romantic socialism of Aneurin Bevan, and for the romantic sociology of Michael Young and Raymond Williams, as the views of these three have been characterised. One of the best sayings culled for the new volume is drawn from Bevan, and is as good as the ‘poetry’ heard by someone in his speeches ...
12 October 1989
A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan​ Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... David Owen might have the stature to recognise that the Alliance could not continue as two parties and then the grace to accept the outcome of a membership ballot. We were wrong. In their book, the Williams brothers discuss the character of David Owen, of whom they are warm admirers. Straying onto very dangerous ground, they refer to Owen as ‘certainly the cleverest and toughest politician out-of ...

Diary

Giles Gordon: Experimental Sideshows

7 October 1993
... achievements as writer and film-maker. Surprisingly, D.J. Taylor doesn’t even mention him in his new survey of post-war fiction. In the late Fifties and after, Kingsley Amis, Johns Wain and Braine, Alan Sillitoe and Co struck a new, demotic note. The ‘traditional’ English novel of good and bad manners was radicalised and updated. Karl Miller helped to institute a new criticism which seemed to ...

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 ...
1 October 1998
England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... steal (‘after the Our Counties Jig-Saw Puzzle, Tower Press’). The blurb is a cliché (‘As every schoolboy knows ...’: Macaulay out of Auden). The central plot device is borrowed (from Clough Williams-Ellis’s terrible vision in On Trust for the Nation). The central character is a composite caricature (part Robert Maxwell, part Mohamed al-Fayed). The story is as old as the hills (love, betrayal ...
1 October 1998
Bodies of Law 
by Alan​ Hyde.
Princeton, 290 pp., £39.50, July 1997, 0 691 01229 6
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... shuffling off’ hints at snakes, or even insects: crickets, for example). These complex shifts have been accompanied – and deepened – by a myriad interpretative moves. The originality of Alan Hyde’s Bodies of Law is that he is trying to apply psychoanalytic, structuralist, poststructuralist and feminist theories of the embodied individual to the analysis of American law. His approach ...

Keep quiet about it

Alan​ Ryan: Henry Sidgwick’s Anxieties

2 June 2005
Henry Sidgwick: Eye of the Universe 
by Bart Schultz.
Cambridge, 858 pp., £40, June 2004, 0 521 82967 4
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... Sidgwick relied on a mixture of intuitionism and rationalism. What he is best remembered for is that he asked his readers to consider matters ‘from the point of view of the universe’. Bernard Williams was only one of the recent critics who have argued that the universe has no point of view. In any case, the question is not what the universe thinks, but what we think, and even if the universe had a ...

Community

Raymond Williams

24 January 1985
The Taliesin Tradition: A Quest for the Welsh Identity 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Black Raven, 245 pp., £10.95, April 1984, 0 85159 002 0
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Jones: A Novel 
by Emyr Humphreys.
Dent, 144 pp., £8.95, July 1984, 0 460 04660 8
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Wales! Wales? 
by Dai Smith.
Allen and Unwin, 173 pp., £9.95, March 1984, 0 04 942185 9
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The Matter of Wales: Epic Views of a Small Country 
by Jan Morris.
Oxford, 442 pp., £12.50, November 1984, 0 19 215846 5
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... fy ngwynfyd – fy mhryder  Fy mhradwys hyfryd;Ei charu’r wyf yn chwerw hefydA’i chasau’n serchus o hyd.                                            Alan Llwyd This englyn, as so often, is dependent on particular Welsh assonances, but in at least some cases, and certainly in Dafydd ap Gwilym and the Mabinogi, the achievements are accessible in ...

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