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Southern Belle

Russell Davies, 21 January 1982

Elvis 
by Albert Goldman.
Allen Lane, 598 pp., £9.95, December 1981, 0 7139 1474 2
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... as the traditional illiterate half-coma of popular culture. Elvis Presley is merely the focus for Albert Goldman’s contempt – a contempt for a kind of regional sub-man or mass personality devised by himself. Goldman is palpably scared by the vitality of non-intellectual life among humankind, above all in his own ...

Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... memoirist. Scenes from it have already been itemised and painfully rehearsed, most colourfully by Albert Goldman. His 1982 Elvis mixed diatribe on the subject of American society with a famously unfriendly portrait of the singer as a pervert and fiend. Although unmentioned, Goldman influences the villain of ...

End of the Century

John Sutherland, 13 October 1988

Worlds Apart 
by David Holbrook.
Hale, 205 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 9780709033639
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Story of My Life 
by Jay McInerney.
Bloomsbury, 188 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 7475 0180 7
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Forgotten Life 
by Brian Aldiss.
Gollancz, 284 pp., £11.95, September 1988, 0 575 04369 5
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Incline Our hearts 
by A.N. Wilson.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £11.95, August 1988, 0 241 12256 2
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... Petworth Lampitt is an Edwardian belletristic biographer who has done a stylish life of Prince Albert. He is hero-worshipped by Julian’s clergyman uncle Roy, the whole of whose life has been an act of fawning homage to the Lampitt family. He is a mine of biographical information about the Lampitts, and knows secrets that he would no more think of ...

Mary, Mary

Christopher Hitchens, 8 April 1993

Official and Confidential: The Secret Life of J. Edgar Hoover 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 576 pp., £18.99, March 1993, 0 575 04236 2
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... crusade of postwar repression and deportation. He took personal credit for the expulsion of Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, adding (in what was then perhaps only a tic rather than a full-fledged disorder) that Emma Goldman’s private love-letters made ‘spicy reading’. Always there was the connection – sometimes ...

Bristling with Diligence

James Wood: A.S. Byatt, 8 October 2009

The Children’s Book 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 617 pp., £20, May 2009, 978 0 7011 8389 9
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... muffled and mysterious.’ The South Kensington Museum is being converted into the Victoria and Albert Museum, and Prosper reflects on this for nearly a page: ‘It ate up his life, but he took pleasure in it.’ Then a new paragraph announces a change of direction: ‘His children delighted and worried him. Julian seemed to have settled for the life of a ...

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