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In the Teeth of the Gale

A.D. Nuttall, 16 November 1995

The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation 
edited by Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule.
Oxford, 606 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 19 214209 7
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... translators of the period to bowdlerise and sanitise, so that Aristophanes sounds like Gilbert and Sullivan in the metrically exuberant, sexually discreet translation of Benjamin Bickley Rogers. But the under-presence of the ancient freedom is everywhere, for those with ears to hear. The charge of not-quite-perfectly-concealed, intense homoerotic emotion in ...

Call a kid a zebra

Daniel Smith: On the Spectrum, 19 May 2016

In a Different Key: The Story of Autism 
by John Donvan and Caren Zucker.
Allen Lane, 670 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 1 84614 566 7
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NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and How to Think Smarter about People Who Think Differently 
by Steve Silberman.
Allen and Unwin, 534 pp., £9.99, February 2016, 978 1 76011 364 3
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... that Susan was autistic.) Appearing on The Oprah Winfrey Show shortly after Rain Man opened, Ruth Sullivan, the doyenne of American parent advocates, said that the movie had ‘advanced the field of autism by 25 years’. The new public fascination with autism, coupled with the rise in diagnoses, gave activist groups a long-awaited chance to secure funding ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... 18 November. Various letters about Telling Tales, some of them chiding me for putting Francis L. Sullivan alongside Leslie Howard in Escape to Happiness when it should have been in Pimpernel Smith. It might as well have been 49th Parallel so far as my memory is concerned as all the escape films of the early 1940s have run together in my mind. I had mentioned ...

Alas! Deceived

Alan Bennett: Philip Larkin, 25 March 1993

Philip Larkin: A Writer’s Life 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 570 pp., £20, April 1993, 0 571 15174 4
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... of course, not hers. Eva died in 1977 aged 91, after which the poems more or less stopped coming. Andrew Motion thinks this is no coincidence.Larkin pinpointed 63 as his probable departure date because that was when his father went, turned by his mother into ‘the sort of closed, reserved man who would die of some thing internal’. Sydney Larkin was the ...


Iain Sinclair: The Thames, 25 June 2009

Thames: Sacred River 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Vintage, 608 pp., £14.99, August 2008, 978 0 09 942255 6
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... There were messages of endorsement from Lady Antonia Fraser and the feisty historian Andrew Roberts; the Economist saluted the new edition as ‘impeccably postmodern’; 5000 free copies were distributed to schools, a Trojan horse for early indoctrination in traditional values that would be reinforced by emphatic TV explainers vamping through ...


Alan Bennett: A Shameful Year, 8 January 2004

... bus pass which he scrutinises as grimly as an Albanian border guard, even checking the likeness. Andrew Wilson sails through unchallenged.I walk back through the streets of Oxford and as always I have a sense of being shut out and that there is something going on here that I’m not a part of; not that I was a part of it even when I was a part of it.16 ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq, 5 January 2006

... are starting to take care of their own situation.’ I heard Rear Admiral William Sullivan report to Congress that there were 145,000 ‘combat-capable’ Iraqi forces. I heard Sabah Hadum, a spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior, say: ‘We are paying about 135,000, but that does not necessarily mean that 135,000 are actually ...

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