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His Only Friend

Elaine Showalter

8 September 1994
Hardy 
by Martin Seymour-Smith.
Bloomsbury, 886 pp., £25, February 1994, 0 7475 1037 7
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... In the midst of writing his biography of Philip Larkin, Andrew Motion was contacted by a spiritualist who claimed to have been speaking to Larkin in the Beyond; later Larkin sent a posthumous word of approval for the book. Could the cosmic wires have been crossed and could the spiritualist have been talking to Martin Seymour-Smith? For this massive biography of Hardy – or ‘Tom’, as Seymour-Smith chummily calls him – has the vehemence of divine revelation and the fervour of personal mission ...

Most Sincerely, Folks

Michael Wood: Andrew O’Hagan

5 June 2003
Personality 
by Andrew O’Hagan.
Faber, 328 pp., £16.99, May 2003, 0 571 19501 6
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... About a third of the way through his first book, The Missing, Andrew O’Hagan pauses over a perception he thinks his readers may find ‘a bit surprising’. It’s an intricate moment, since he thinks we are going to be surprised at the surprise he is describing. He is telling us that people who moved from Glasgow to the Scottish New Towns springing up in the 1960s hadn’t expected to take so much of the old city with them: ‘the older habits, the darker tints ...

Snubs

E.S. Turner

19 August 1993
The Descent of Manners: Etiquette, Rules and the Victorians 
by Andrew St George.
Chatto, 330 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 7011 3623 5
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... of good behaviour. The ‘Christless code’ of pistols at dawn does not rate a mention in Andrew St George’s The Descent of Manners, a study of ‘the subtle binding codes that ruled all aspects of 19th-century life’. His concern is only with the middle classes, who had their own sense of honour but were less ready to create widows and orphans ...

Ecoluxury

John Gray

20 April 1995
The Fading of the Greens: The Decline of Environmental Politics in the West 
by Anna Bramwell.
Yale, 224 pp., £18.95, September 1994, 0 300 06040 8
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The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life: Nature’s Debt to Society 
by Andrew Ross.
Verso, 308 pp., £18.95, October 1994, 0 86091 429 1
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Green Delusions: An Environmentalist Critique of Radical Environmentalism 
by Martin Lewis.
Duke, 288 pp., $12.95, February 1994, 0 8223 1474 6
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... been economic. It is to the surprising, and perhaps ominous, recrudescence of biologism that Andrew Ross devotes some of the most interesting chapters of The Chicago Gangster Theory of Life. Ross makes some shrewd and witty criticisms of recent exclusions by natural scientists into sociobiology, such as those of Richard Dawkins, the behaviour of whose ...

Drones, baby, drones

Andrew Cockburn

8 March 2012
... in Military Affairs’. The phrase had been popularised in defence circles in the 1980s by Andrew Marshall, a former Rand analyst who headed the Pentagon’s Office of Net Assessment. Marshall believed that new technologies in surveillance, communication and missile targeting had fundamentally changed the nature of warfare because they made it possible ...

Disgrace under Pressure

Andrew O’Hagan: Lad mags

3 June 2004
Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men's Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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Stag & Groom Magazine 
edited by Perdita Patterson.
Hanage, 130 pp., £4, May 2004
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Zoo 
edited by Paul Merrill.
Emap East, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
Show More
Nuts 
edited by Phil Hilton.
IPC, 98 pp., £1.20, May 2004
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Loaded 
edited by Martin Daubney.
IPC, 194 pp., £3.30, June 2004
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Jack 
edited by Michael Hodges.
Dennis, 256 pp., £3, May 2004
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Esquire 
edited by Simon Tiffin.
National Magazine Company, 180 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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GQ 
edited by Dylan Jones.
Condé Nast, 200 pp., £3.20, June 2004
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Men’s Health 
edited by Morgan Rees.
Rodale, 186 pp., £3.40, June 2004
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Arena Homme Plus: ‘The Boys of Summer’ 
edited by Ashley Heath.
Emap East, 300 pp., £5, April 2004
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... gay for men to blow-dry their hair. This went on for a while until one day he made the point to Martin Amis that it was actually quite gay to sleep with a woman. GQ is gay in that way: it appears to envy women more than lust for them, and its pages are full of tips on how men should depilate, breast-enlarge, slicken, tart up, and generally make themselves a ...
5 April 1990
Henry Fielding: A Life 
by Martin Battestin and Ruthe Battestin.
Routledge, 738 pp., £29.50, October 1989, 0 415 01438 7
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New Essays 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Martin Battestin.
Virginia, 604 pp., $50, November 1989, 0 8139 1221 0
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The Wesleyan Edition of the Works of Henry Fielding. The True Patriot, and Related Writings 
edited by W.B. Coley.
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An Enquiry into the Causes of the Late Increase of Robbers, and Related Writings 
edited by Malvin Zirker.
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The Covent-Garden Journal and A Plan of the Universal Register Office 
by Henry Fielding, edited by Bertrand Goldgar.
Oxford, 446 pp., £50, December 1988, 0 19 818511 1
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Fielding and the Woman Question: The Novels of Henry Fielding and the Feminist Debate 1700-1750 
by Angela Smallwood.
Harvester, 230 pp., £35, March 1989, 0 7108 0639 6
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... sympathies and even antithetical to them. His first two works of prose fiction, Shamela and Joseph Andrews, were triggered by his dislike of one of the earliest English novels, Richardson’s Pamela, and both treated its author as a low vulgarian, in a manner plainly derived from the older satirists’ treatment of the dunces and Grub Street hacks. One of the ...

Men in Aprons

Colin Kidd: Freemasonry

7 May 1998
Who’s Afraid of Freemasons? The Phenomenon of Freemasonry 
by Alexander Piatigorsky.
Harvill, 398 pp., £25, August 1997, 1 86046 029 1
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... Mystery of Freemasonry Discover’d (1724) and Samuel Prichard’s Masonry Dissected (1730) to Martin Short’s Inside the Brotherhood: Further Secrets of the Freemasons (1989), the dominant genre in Masonic literature has been the ‘exposure’. Rituals, passwords, oaths, handshakes and symbolic imagery pique the curiosity of the uninitiated, or ...

Success

Marilyn Butler

18 November 1982
The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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Byron 
by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... hero Sardanapalus as a model of regal behaviour. The books by Hermione de Almeida and Philip Martin are much more direct attempts to meet the challenge Byron makes to the literary critic. If he is a major poet, as not merely his reputation but the size and scope of his oeuvre insistently suggest, which are the great works? How far should we forgive his ...

Speaking Azza

Martin Jay: Where are you coming from?

28 November 2002
Situatedness; Or, Why We Keep Saying Where We’re Coming From 
by David Simpson.
Duke, 290 pp., £14.50, March 2002, 0 8223 2839 9
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... Simpson, who has written Situatedness in the hope of stemming the tide of what he calls, following Andrew Sullivan, ‘azza’ declarations – ‘as a colleague of David Simpson’; ‘as a white, middle-class male’ – in the age of identity politics. ‘Agonise’ is the right word here: every page of his book radiates anger, frustration and impotence at ...
20 August 1998
... profit out of the most hideous of crimes) to the pleasure she was said to have taken in murdering Martin Brown and Brian Howe? Again: how could anyone know? Given the profit that these papers were making out of their horror at her profit (an obvious point), not to say out of the horror they drew their readers into – given, that is, their own traffic in the ...
6 March 1986
Aspects of Feeling 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 251 pp., £10.95, January 1986, 0 7206 0637 3
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... singled out for praise by critics as diverse as Philip Toynbee, Francis King, Angus Wilson and Andrew Sinclair. All feel that he lacks the large audience he deserves. Yet the curious reader, anxious to gain more information about this somewhat enigmatic writer, of undoubted power (and above all vision), may easily find himself defeated. He is not even ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: Climate Change

5 April 2007
... the public pretends to care about when talking to pollsters, but doesn’t really. (As I write, Andrew Turnbull, former head of the Civil Service, has just said that Brown has ‘a very cynical view of mankind’.) His policies involve encouraging us to switch to low-energy light bulbs, eliminating standby on electrical appliances, and extending home ...

Frank Kermode

Mary-Kay Wilmers: On Frank Kermode

9 September 2010
... anthology of LRB pieces, for which Frank wrote a short introduction. In the course of it he said: Andrew O’Hagan, an echt LRB writer, displays all the best qualities of this kind of journalism: while writing about Scottish nationalism he has a go at a senior contributor, Neal Ascherson, along the way. In the same spirit Stefan Collini takes a disparaging ...
20 July 2000
Killer Algae: The True Tale of Biological Invasion 
by Alexandre Meinesz, translated by Daniel Simberloff.
Chicago, 360 pp., £17.50, December 1999, 0 226 51922 8
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... the patch had extended to a hectare. In July 1990, another colony of the same alga appeared at Cap Martin in France, 5 kilometres to the east, and in September of the same year it was found near Toulon, 150 kilometres to the west. In 1992, patches were discovered in the Balearics. By the following year, Caulerpa had spread to Italy, as far as the whirlpool of ...

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