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Funny Old Fame

Patrick Parrinder

10 January 1991
Things: A Story of the Sixties, 
by Georges Perec, translated by David Bellos and Andrew Leak.
Collins Harvill, 221 pp., £12.50, July 1990, 0 00 271038 2
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Parcours Peree 
edited by Mireille Ribière.
Presses Universitaires de Lyon, 162 pp., frs 125, July 1990, 2 7297 0365 9
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Women 
by Philippe Sollers, translated by Barbara Bray.
Columbia, 559 pp., $24.95, December 1990, 0 231 06546 9
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... Once upon a time, before the Channel Tunnel was built, there were two contemporary French novelists. Georges Perec died in 1982 at the age of 45, and nobody in England who was not a French specialist had ever heard of him. With Philippe Sollers it was different. Editor of the avant-garde theoretical journal Tel Quel, and associate of literary and psycho-analytic thinkers such as Barthes, Kristeva and ...

Lust for Leaks

Neal Ascherson: The Cockburns of Cork

1 September 2005
The Broken Boy 
by Patrick Cockburn.
Cape, 312 pp., £15.99, June 2005, 0 224 07108 4
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... in St Finbarr’s, an old Cork workhouse now converted to a polio reception hospital for the duration of the epidemic. A few days later, Patrick was joined in hospital by his nine-year-old brother, Andrew. Their older brother, Alexander, had felt the same headache and pricking in the fingers as their father but, like him, did not fall ill. Andrew seemed at first to be severely affected in his muscles ...
6 September 1984
The Missing Dimension: Governments and Intelligence Communities in the 20th Century 
edited by Christopher Andrew and David Dilks.
Macmillan, 300 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 333 36864 9
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... intelligence becomes really important – that is, when there is a war on – large numbers of outside ‘amateurs’ have to be recruited into the machine – and in the long term such people leak. Without doubt, the richness of the Andrew and Dilks collection owes much to such factors. Most of the essays are concerned with the 1900-45 period, and one learns of such fascinating byways as ...

Text-Inspectors

Andrew​ O’Hagan: The Good Traitor

24 September 2014
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA and the Surveillance State 
by Glenn Greenwald.
Hamish Hamilton, 259 pp., £20, May 2014, 978 0 241 14669 9
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... but fear of losing a story or missing a vital exclusive. But MacAskill was not put off by Greenwald and Poitras’s protectionism and they went to Hong Kong in a posse. Compared to any other major leak in recent times, the material passed on was not only of the highest order but beautifully organised. If there was a Zen prize for whistleblowers, Snowden would win without trying: he checks and ...

Short Cuts

Mary-Kay Wilmers: Remembering Paul Foot

19 August 2004
... the LRB; the first, published pretty much exactly twenty years ago, was a review of Peter Taylor’s Smoke Ring: The Politics of Tobacco – ‘a marvellous book’. Later in the piece a ‘glorious leak’ undoes an attempt by the makers of Marlboro cigarettes to stop the world seeing film of the Marlboro cowboys dying of lung cancer. Marvellous, glorious, terrific, delightful: Paul enjoyed the ...
7 February 1980
The Climate of Treason 
by Andrew​ Boyle.
Hutchinson, 504 pp., £8.95, November 1980, 9780091393403
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... him off. The worst that can happen now is abuse by newspapers, and that will only hasten the process of reconciliation with his friends. Newspapers are ‘they’ and we, after all, are ‘we’. As Andrew Boyle relates, it turned out that a great many old acquaintances of Burgess and Maclean were much more horrified – felt, indeed, much more betrayed – by the fact that the late Goronwy Rees gave a ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: Narcissistic Kevins

6 November 2014
... Pietersen never lost his hold over the crowd but the report from the dressing room was that no one who spent extended periods of time in his company could stand him: ‘a complete cunt’, as Andrew Strauss let slip in the commentary box this summer. That, incidentally, was a word that tended to attach itself to Rudd as well. Accused of describing Rudd in those terms, the former Australian ...

Higher Man

John Sutherland

22 May 1997
The Turner Diaries 
by Andrew​Macdonald’" class="underline">‘Andrew​ Macdonald’.
National Vauguard Books, 211 pp., $12.95, May 1978, 0 937944 02 5Show More
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... tried in Denver, the book in question is The Turner Diaries. The FBI, who have labelled William L. Pierce’s prudently pseudonymous novel ‘the bible of the racist right’, didn’t take long to leak the information that it accompanied Timothy McVeigh on his (alleged) bombing raid on 19 April 1995. Reference to The Turner Diaries was prominent in Rage and Betrayal, the highly prejudicial ABC ...

One for the road

Ian Hamilton

21 March 1991
Memoirs 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 346 pp., £16.99, March 1991, 0 09 174533 0
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... of his novels, not to go on about reviews and sales: writer’s-life data that nobody, he thinks, wants to know about – and if anybody does, too bad. As it happens, quite a bit of such data does leak through, and we are two or three times referred to page so-and-so of Stanley and the Women, or wherever, and he even lets fall the occasional bibliographer’s nugget, if you please: for instance ...
8 June 1995
Northern Antiquity: The Post-Medieval Reception of Edda and Saga 
edited by Andrew​ Wawn.
Hisarlik, 342 pp., £35, October 1994, 1 874312 18 4
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Heritage and Prophecy: Grundtvig and the English-Speaking World 
edited by A.M. Allchin.
Canterbury, 330 pp., £25, January 1994, 9781853110856
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... Northern literature, lay unknown to the rest of the world in an Icelandic farmhouse for some four hundred years till Bishop Brynjólfur Sveinsson acquired it in 1643. Then the news began, slowly, to leak out. The OED records ‘Viking’ as a word first used in 1807, and it had been well established by Longfellow, Bulwer-Lytton and others by mid-century. ‘Saga’ appeared a century earlier in ...
24 May 2001
The Tiananmen Papers 
by Zhang Liang, edited by Andrew​ Nathan and Perry Link.
Little, Brown, 513 pp., £20, January 2001, 0 316 85693 2
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... that The Tiananmen Papers were not first published there. Instead, the Compiler went on to the United States, still regarded in China as Enemy Number One, where two professors – Perry Link and Andrew Nathan – agreed to translate and edit the documents. Both men have been banned from China so, if this is a deliberate leak, they are an improbable choice. Perry Link, an expert on Chinese ...

Parkinson Lobby

Alan Rusbridger

17 November 1983
... version of events by the travelling troupe of Mr Parkinson’s friends, plus the odd insult, and the statement that Mr Parkinson had kept to his side of the agreement not to discuss the affair. Andrew Neil, the new editor, then had his conversation with Mr Parkinson, during which Rupert Murdoch, his proprietor, sat in a corner of the office drawing up the headlines that could run over the story in ...

Reasons for Being Nice and Having Sex

Andrew​ Berry: W.D. Hamilton

6 February 2003
Narrow Roads of Gene Land: The Collected Papers of W.D. Hamilton. Vol. II: The Evolution of Sex 
by W.D. Hamilton.
Oxford, 872 pp., £50, January 2001, 0 19 850336 9
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... seasonal floods produce a bizarre drowned world in which fish feed in the submerged crowns of trees. On one occasion, his boat started sinking: a naked Royal Society research professor repaired the leak in the course of several lengthy underwater explorations. Some of the most beguiling interstitial passages in Narrow Roads of Gene Land are accounts of life in the field. Hamilton was studying wasps ...

Will We Care When Labour Loses?

Ross McKibbin: Gordon Brown’s Failures

26 March 2009
... elections the system could have been allowed to heal itself. That is the capitalist way. Unfortunately, almost anywhere except China, the state can’t avoid elections, nor can any politician do what Andrew Mellon was reputed to have recommended in the 1930s – liquidate everything. We live, after all, in a democracy. To do nothing is politically impossible. To do something, however, requires a proper ...

Ghosting

Andrew​ O’Hagan: Julian Assange

6 March 2014
... he was being pushed onto the back foot over ‘redactions’. The issue was this: on 28 July 2010, Major General Campbell, a US commander in Afghanistan, said that ‘any time there’s any sort of leak of classified material, it has the potential to harm the military folks that are working out here every day.’ The notion got under the skin of many people, including many of the journalists dealing ...

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