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Bon Garçon

David Coward: La Fontaine’s fables

7 February 2002
Complete Tales in Verse 
by Jean de La Fontaine, translated by Guido Waldman.
Carcanet, 334 pp., £14.95, October 2000, 9781857544824
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The Fables of La Fontaine: Wisdom Brought down to Earth 
by Andrew Calder.
Droz, 234 pp., £36.95, September 2001, 2 600 00464 5
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The Craft of La Fontaine 
by Maya Slater.
Fairleigh Dickinson, 255 pp., $43.50, May 2001, 0 8386 3920 8
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... XIV, La Fontaine showed the vulnerability of social consensus to the subversions of individuality. His relationship with his sources, however, was more complex here than it is in the Contes. For AndrewCalder, in The Fables of La Fontaine, he was a late Humanist, the heir of Marot, Rabelais and Montaigne. Renaissance writers, who admired Socrates for bringing the wisdom of the gods down to earth ...

Quiet Sinners

Bernard Porter: Imperial Spooks

21 March 2013
Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire 
by Calder​ Walton.
Harper, 411 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 00 745796 0
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... It’s pretty obvious why British governments have been anxious to keep the history of their secret service secret for so long. In the case of decolonisation, which is the subject of Calder Walton’s book, revelations about dirty tricks even after fifty years might do irreparable damage to the myth carefully cultivated at the time: which was that for Britain, unlike France, say, or the ...

Joining up

Angus Calder

3 April 1986
Soldier, Soldier 
by Tony Parker.
Heinemann, 244 pp., £9.95, September 1985, 0 434 57770 7
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Echoes of the Great War: The Diary of the Reverend Andrew​ Clark 1914-1919 
edited by James Munson.
Oxford, 304 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 19 212984 8
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The Unknown Army: Mutinies in the British Army in World War One 
by Gloden Dallas and Douglas Gill.
Verso, 178 pp., £18.50, July 1985, 0 86091 106 3
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Soldiers: A History of Men in Battle 
by John Keegan and Richard Holmes.
Hamish Hamilton, 288 pp., £12.95, September 1985, 0 241 11583 3
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... of course, ‘contributed’ in this way during two world wars. The memory of the first remains especially mournful. The cost in one small Essex village is detailed in the diaries of the Reverend Andrew Clark, rector of Great Leighs. Clark was an obsessive scholar in the great tradition of mildly eccentric Anglican parsons. The son of a Scottish farm labourer who found his way via Dollar Academy to ...
9 November 1989
Stirrings Still 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 25 pp., £1,000, March 1989, 0 7145 4142 7
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Nohow On: Company, Ill Seen Ill Said, Worstward Ho 
by Samuel Beckett.
Calder, 128 pp., £10.95, February 1989, 0 7145 4111 7
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‘Make sense who may’: Essays on Samuel Beckett’s Later Works 
edited by Robin Davis and Lance Butler.
Smythe, 175 pp., £16, March 1989, 0 86140 286 3
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... reached a wider public. None of this is good news for the ordinary reader, though in view of his magnificent services to Beckett’s readers over the years one would not begrudge the publisher, John Calder (‘I finally arrived at Dover last Sunday with TV cameras waiting for me, the precious copies in my car,’ he confided in the Guardian when Stirrings Still was printed there), his moment of glory ...

The Reviewer’s Song

Andrew​ O’Hagan: Mailer’s Last Punch

7 November 2013
Norman Mailer: A Double Life 
by J. Michael Lennon.
Simon and Schuster, 947 pp., £30, November 2013, 978 1 84737 672 5
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... signed them on a tablet and a mechanical arm in Edinburgh followed his scrawl. He said he had fond memories of Edinburgh, having taken part in a famous literary scrap organised there in 1962 by John Calder. I loved Norman Mailer at school and was always writing letters to Time magazine saying he should win the Nobel Prize. They never printed any of them but they sent a nice typewritten postcard to the ...

Top Brands Today

Nicholas Penny: The Art World

14 December 2017
The Auctioneer: A Memoir of Great Art, Legendary Collectors and Record-Breaking Auctions 
by Simon de Pury and William Stadiem.
Allen and Unwin, 312 pp., £9.99, April 2017, 978 1 76011 350 6
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Rogues’ Gallery: A History of Art and Its Dealers 
by Philip Hook.
Profile, 282 pp., £20, January 2017, 978 1 78125 570 4
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Donald Judd: Writings 
edited by Flavin Judd and Caitlin Murray.
David Zwirner, 1054 pp., £28, November 2016, 978 1 941701 35 5
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... was engineered by several extraordinarily persuasive dealers, most notably Joseph Duveen, who ensured that some of the richest men in the US – Henry Clay Frick, Henry Huntington, Joseph Widener and Andrew Mellon among them – employed only two types of contemporary artist (often recommended by Duveen himself): the conservative decorator and the conservative architect. They provided appropriate ...

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