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Short Cuts and Half Cuts

Luke Kennard: ‘Early Work’

20 June 2019
Early Work 
by Andrew Martin.
Picador, 256 pp., £14.50, July, 978 1 250 21501 7
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... AndrewMartin​ ’s Early Work functions simultaneously as a celebratory autofiction about literary life in the United States and an indictment of the generation that populates it. ‘Most of the people I ...


Patrick Parrinder

25 October 1990
Notes on the Underground: An Essay on Technology, Society and the Imagination 
by Rosalind Williams.
MIT, 265 pp., £22.50, March 1990, 9780262231459
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The Mask of the Prophet: The Extraordinary Fictions of Jules Verne 
by Andrew Martin.
Oxford, 222 pp., £27.50, May 1990, 0 19 815798 3
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... sweep rather than in any great subtlety of close textual reading. Verne’s texts, in any case, have recently been the subject of a whole series of influential and subtle reinterpretations. While AndrewMartin’s work marks an innovation in the English criticism of Verne, he is much indebted to such Parisian predecessors as Roland Barthes, Michel Butor and Michel Serres. Moreover, The Mask of the ...


Christopher Andrew

22 January 1987
Sword and Shield: Soviet Intelligence and Security Apparatus 
by Jeffrey Richelson.
Harper and Row, 279 pp., £11.95, February 1986, 0 88730 035 9
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The Red and the Blue: Intelligence, Treason and the University 
by Andrew​ Sinclair.
Weidenfeld, 240 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 297 78866 3
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Inside Stalin’s Secret Police: NKVD Politics 1936-39 
by Robert Conquest.
Macmillan, 222 pp., £25, January 1986, 0 333 39260 4
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Conspiracy of Silence: The Secret Life of Anthony Blunt 
by Barrie Penrose and Simon Freeman.
Grafton, 588 pp., £14.95, November 1986, 0 246 12200 5
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... never heard of the Apostles, graduated with an ordinary degree, and felt an ‘outcast’ when he encountered what he called the ‘social hierarchy’ in which Burgess and Blunt moved so easily. Andrew Sinclair helps to cut the moles down to size. The real intellectual élite in inter-war Cambridge, he reminds us, were not the moles or their contemporaries (mostly from the arts faculties) in the ...


Nicholas Spice

15 March 1984
The Fetishist, and Other Stories 
by Michel Tournier, translated by Barbara Wright.
Collins, 220 pp., £8.95, November 1983, 0 00 221440 7
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My Aunt Christina, and Other Stories 
by J.I.M. Stewart.
Gollancz, 207 pp., £8.95, May 1983, 0 575 03256 1
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Mr Bedford and the Muses 
by Gail Godwin.
Heinemann, 229 pp., £7.95, February 1984, 0 434 29751 8
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Alexandra Freed 
by Lisa Zeidner.
Cape, 288 pp., £8.95, January 1984, 0 224 02158 3
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The Coffin Tree 
by Wendy Law-Yone.
Cape, 195 pp., £8.50, January 1984, 0 224 02963 0
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... gloves. ‘They were as supple and warm as fresh, living skins, and the child swathed his body in their empty hands, Mama’s hands, and fell asleep under their caress.’ This is a solace that Martin, the fetishist, would keenly appreciate. It is in a glove, so to speak, that he experiences his first sensual encounter with Antoinette, the love of his life: ‘that little fabric hand that I could ...

Short Cuts

Andrew​ O’Hagan: The Oscars

26 February 2009
... who seemed to thrive on his ‘extraordinarily ordinary’ looks.) Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and In the Heat of the Night both starred Sidney Poitier, who always looks nice, but in the year of Martin Luther King’s death – an event which held up the ceremony by two days – it was quite something to see two films in which a black man appeared not only to assert himself but to do so with a ...

The Things We Throw Away

Andrew​ O’Hagan: The Garbage of England

24 May 2007
... and living as sincerely as possible. Instead of using money and all that I wanted to tread more lightly on the earth. I took everything to extremes in my old life.’ Alf is 33 years old. His friend Martin, a fellow Freegan, popped his head through from the back of the van and pushed his glasses up his nose. Martin is 36 and comes from Sydney. He said he was disillusioned as a teenager by the way ...


Andrew​ O’Hagan: Orders of Service

18 April 2019
... but the tendency now is to have them authored by a committee of the sad and a PR guru. There was Bach for Larkin and a bit of Bix Beiderbecke. Ten years later, at Stephen Spender’s wingding in St Martin-in-the-Fields, there was Beethoven’s Quartet in A minor, an adagio from Haydn, a speech by Richard Wollheim, and no fewer than 13 of Spender’s own poems, read by Harold Pinter, Ted Hughes, James ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough

21 October 2015
... and already he wasn’t doing it right. What colour poppy, white or red, would he wear to the Cenotaph on Remembrance Day? Would he kneel to the queen when he was admitted to the Privy Council (see Martin Loughlin’s piece on p. 29)? On the day after he was elected, he spoke at a mental health trust fun day in his constituency instead of going on the Andrew Marr Show. Later that day he was filmed as ...

It’ll all be over one day

James Meek: Our Man in Guantánamo

8 June 2006
Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantánamo and Back 
by Moazzam Begg and Victoria Brittain.
Free Press, 395 pp., £18.99, February 2006, 0 7432 8567 0
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... light, witnessed the murder of two prisoners by US guards, and been constantly and repetitively questioned about fantastical crimes for which no evidence existed, Begg received a visit from ‘Martin’, of the Foreign Office. ‘Any complaints?’ Martin asked. This was not the first time Begg had met Martin. On the first occasion, Begg had been embarrassed at how badly dressed the diplomat was ...

The World Took Sides

Diarmaid MacCulloch: Martin​ Luther

10 August 2016
Brand Luther: How an Unheralded Monk Turned His Small Town into a Centre of Publishing, Made Himself the Most Famous Man in Europe – and Started the Protestant Reformation 
by Andrew​ Pettegree.
Penguin, 383 pp., £21.99, October 2015, 978 1 59420 496 8
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Martin​ Luther: Renegade and Prophet 
by Lyndal Roper.
Bodley Head, 577 pp., £30, June 2016, 978 1 84792 004 1
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Martin​ Luther: Visionary Reformer 
by Scott H. Hendrix.
Yale, 341 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 300 16669 9
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... since an event now so mythic that some have doubted it ever took place. If it did, the date was 31 October 1517. The main actor belonged to a religious Order known as the Hermits of Saint Augustine, Martin Luther by name, though he also tried out a hybrid Greek/Latin polish for his surname by dressing it up as ‘Eleutherius’, ‘the freed man’. This kind of personal rebranding was a humanist ...

At Tate Modern

Nicholas Spice: Agnes Martin

9 September 2015
... Agnes Martin​ ’s lifelong dedication to simplicity of mind was perhaps made easier (it was certainly not impeded) by the faint trace of simple-mindedness in her nature. Had she not had about her a touch of ...

Short Cuts

Andrew​ O’Hagan: The 1970s

18 November 2010
... a time when old-fashioned wars and new-fashioned money made the country seem ridiculous and exhausted. The 1990s don’t yet have a mood. They may forever be defined by the style they preceded, what Martin Amis, rather horrifically, called Horrorism. Others may see it as a last golden age of selling the silver and weeping over Diana and burning the dead cows, a Blairite meandering into the chaos of ...


Michael Rogin

5 September 1996
Imagineering Atlanta 
by Charles Rutheiser.
Verso, 324 pp., £44.95, July 1996, 1 85984 800 1
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... culminated in the procession that traditionally opens the Games. The parade paused only at the three sacred sites that anchor Atlanta’s claim to world fame – the homes of Margaret Mitchell, Martin Luther King Jr and Coca-Cola. Seen through Rutheiser’s ironic, cold eye these nodes mark the fault lines of a disintegrative urban history. Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind, the most ...


Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez

27 August 2009
Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... years ago. At the very end of his long book on the life of one of the 20th century’s great creative writers, who has also been an unceasing and relentless manipulator of his own image, Gerald Martin writes of Gabriel García Márquez: ‘Literature and politics have been the two most effective ways of achieving immortality in the transient world that Western civilisation has created for the ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Flirtation, Seduction and Betrayal

5 September 2002
... A distantish relation of mine, R. Ellis Roberts, was, for a few years from 1928, literary editor of the New Statesman, and a relatively undistinguished one at that. Kingsley Martin described Roberts (in Father Figures, his first volume of autobiography) as the ‘only writer on the NS whose contributions I could not stomach – I found his writing intolerable.’ Clifford Sharp ...

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