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Superior Persons

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1986

Travels with a Superior Person 
by Lord Curzon, edited by Peter King.
Sidgwick, 191 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 283 99294 8
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The Ladies of Castlebrae 
by A. Whigham Price.
Alan Sutton, 242 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 228 1
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Lizzie: A Victorian Lady’s Amazon Adventure 
by Tony Morrison, Anne Brown and Ann Rose.
BBC, 160 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 563 20424 9
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Miss Fane in India 
by [author], edited by John Pemble.
Alan Sutton, 246 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 240 0
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Explorers Extraordinary 
by John Keay.
Murray/BBC Publications, 195 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 7195 4249 9
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A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41 
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Grace Thornton.
Peter Owen, 182 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 7206 0636 5
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The Irish Sketch-Book 1842 
by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Blackstaff, 368 pp., £9.95, December 1985, 0 85640 340 7
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Mr Rowlandson’s England 
by Robert Southey, edited by John Steel.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 202 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 907462 77 4
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... We travellers are in very hard circumstances,’ said Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. ‘If we tell anything new we are laughed at as fabulous.’ This mistrust of the footloose is endorsed by the trenchant definition of ‘traveller’s tale’ in Chambers’ Dictionary: ‘an astounding lie about what one professes to have seen abroad’. To be sure, this batch of 19th-century travellers’ tales features some astounding liars, but there are also some reasonably honest witnesses ...
... Or merely left him without an immediate grudge As the hulk rolled and the stars fell and rose. Once in the Antipodes his conduct was not impeccable. I will not record the full roll of his crimes: One was to make ‘five pairs of boots on his own account, Without permission’. Was he not a shoemaker? That, certainly, had been his trade in Bristol, In ...

Cards on the Table

Mary Ann Caws: Robert Desnos and Surrealism for the masses, 3 June 2004

Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and the Marvellous in Everyday Life 
by Katharine Conley.
Nebraska, 270 pp., £37.95, March 2004, 0 8032 1523 1
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... of both Desnos’s life and the texts she chooses, clearly elucidating them and the stories behind Rose Selavy, the experiments in collective writing at the rue du Château, the split between the rather prudish Breton and the definitely not prudish Georges Bataille (‘Bataillean Surrealism’ insists on the carnal and the low: see Rosalind Krauss’s ...

Yak Sandwiches

Christopher Burns, 31 March 1988

Pleasure 
by John Murray.
Aidan Ellis, 233 pp., £10.50, October 1987, 0 85628 167 0
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Absurd Courage 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 254 pp., £11.95, October 1987, 0 7126 1149 5
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Laing 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 302 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 333 45633 5
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The Part of Fortune 
by Laurel Goldman.
Faber, 249 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 571 14921 9
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In the Fertile Land 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Carcanet, 212 pp., £10.95, November 1987, 0 85635 716 2
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... something wittier and far more substantial is struggling to free itself from the present text. Ann Schlee’s third novel begins in 1825. Its protagonist, Captain Alexander Laing, is part of the scramble for Africa. He arrives in Tripoli intent on being the first European to cross the Sahara, enter Timbuctoo and explore the Niger. The novel follows his ...

No wonder it ached

Dinah Birch: George Eliot, 13 May 1999

The Journals of George Eliot 
edited by Margaret Harris and Judith Johnston.
Cambridge, 447 pp., £55, February 1999, 0 521 57412 9
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George Eliot: The Last Victorian 
by Kathryn Hughes.
Fourth Estate, 384 pp., £20, November 1998, 1 85702 420 6
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... But Mary Anne sounds rather like a servant’s name (the White Rabbit’s housemaid is called Mary Ann). As the rising fortunes of the family gave her a lady’s education, she began to experiment and adapt – trying out Marianne, losing the final ‘e’, and later settling on Marian. Throughout her life, she accumulated ...

Digging up the Ancestors

R.W. Johnson, 14 November 1996

Hugh Gaitskell 
by Brian Brivati.
Cohen, 492 pp., £25, September 1996, 1 86066 073 8
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... his probably quite numerous affairs, particularly his long relationship with Ian Fleming’s wife, Ann – certainly the Gaitskells often dined with one or both Flemings, making one wonder quite what the mutual understandings were. Ann Fleming was a wealthy Tory – she had been married to Lord Rothermere – and while there ...

Her Body or the Sea

Ian Patterson: Ann Quin, 21 June 2018

The Unmapped Country: Stories and Fragments 
by Ann Quin.
And Other Stories, 192 pp., £10, January 2018, 978 1 911508 14 4
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... There​ is something generational about the recent revival of interest in the novelist Ann Quin. After scarcely even maintaining a cult reputation among writers in the years since her death, she’s reappeared like a revenant who’d been lurking in dark corners, and now everybody’s writing about her. Since the rediscovery of B ...

Subjective Correlative

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 10 August 2016

... all the directors a blurb I’d written, saying: ‘Surely we can’t publish this.’ It was for Ann Jellicoe’s play The Knack and I’d said that the knack in question was the knack of getting girls into bed. Once, early on, I pointed out a discrepancy between two printings of one of his early poems – I can’t remember which. I was quite proud of ...

Deep Down in the Trash

Robert Crawford, 21 August 1997

God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... and Janice Galloway’s Foreign Parts. It bridges writing as different as the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Clanchy or David Kinloch, and the fiction of Christopher Whyte or A.L. Kennedy. Some of these poets and novelists are wary of each other. Jamie recently refused to read with Irvine Welsh because of what she saw as the misogyny of one of his short ...

Recribrations

Colin Burrow: John Donne in Performance, 5 October 2006

Donne: The Reformed Soul 
by John Stubbs.
Viking, 565 pp., £25, August 2006, 0 670 91510 6
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... 1597, he became secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, the Keeper of the Great Seal. Donne eloped with Ann More, Egerton’s niece by marriage, married her in 1601, and then wrote to his employer to apologise. His father-in-law, George More (whom Stubbs presents as a windbag, but who in this instance was surely only doing what fathers do), was furious, and Donne ...

Iraq, 2 May 2005

Andrew O’Hagan: Two Soldiers, 6 March 2008

... of Spahr and Hinz. The pilots left behind a series of signalmen scurrying on deck as each rose and tilted their $55 million plane over the empty horizon. Other pilots watched the pair ascend from the Carl Vinson: ‘There goes Dukes,’ said one of them whom I later spoke to. ‘He was the best Top Gun pilot of his generation, and what I would call a ...

Hunter-Capitalists

Roger Hodge: The Comanches, 15 December 2011

Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanche Tribe 
by S.C. Gwynne.
Constable, 483 pp., £9.99, July 2011, 978 1 84901 703 9
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... with Rachel and her son James were Elizabeth Kellog and Silas Parker’s children John and Cynthia Ann. John grew up to be a Comanche warrior, perhaps ending his life as a rancher in Mexico; Elizabeth was ransomed; Cynthia Ann became the wife of the war leader Peta Nocona and the mother of Quanah Parker, whom ...

Cartoon Quality

Zachary Leader, 6 December 1979

Edwin Mullhouse: The Life and Death of an American Writer 1943-1954 by Jeffrey Cartwright 
by Steven Millhauser.
Routledge, 305 pp., £4.95
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A Prize Paradise 
by Oliver Pritchett.
Eyre Methuen, 171 pp., £4.95
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A Revenger’s Comedy 
by Derwent May.
Chatto, 191 pp., £5.95
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... the encounter with Edward Penn, aged seven, muralist; Edwin’s doomed love for the sullen Rose Dorn, third-grade femme fatale; Rose’s fiery end; the improbable friendship with Arnold Hasselstrom, inarticulate playground psychopath; the romantically tortured genesis of Cartoons, complete with feverish bouts of ...

Belfast Book

Patricia Craig, 5 June 1986

Lonely the man without heroes 
by M.S. Power.
Heinemann, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 434 59960 3
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The Pearlkillers 
by Rachel Ingalls.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 571 13795 4
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The Girls 
by John Bowen.
Hamish Hamilton, 182 pp., £8.95, April 1986, 0 241 11867 0
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To have and to hold 
by Deborah Moggach.
Viking, 320 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 670 80812 1
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Vacant Possession 
by Hilary Mantel.
Chatto, 239 pp., £9.95, April 1986, 0 7011 3047 4
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Breaking the rules 
by Caroline Lassalle.
Hamish Hamilton, 280 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 241 11837 9
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The Bay of Silence 
by Lisa St Aubin de Teran.
Cape, 163 pp., £8.95, May 1986, 0 224 02345 4
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... stretched above the haze of smoke. Rows of red-brick houses radiated on all sides and above them rose blocks of factories with many of their windows catching the light.’ There’s a piece of scene-painting for the nostalgic to latch onto. A novel like McLaverty’s Call my brother back (1939) offers a view of Belfast as unpretentious as a game of hopscotch ...

Chamberlain for our Time

José Harris, 20 December 1984

Neville Chamberlain. Vol. I: 1869-1929 
by David Dilks.
Cambridge, 645 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 521 25724 7
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... with his father and stepmother until the age of 42, when he married the beautiful and ambitious Ann de Vere Cole, sister of that friend of Virginia Woolf who reviewed the Channel Fleet in disguise as the Emperor of Abyssinia (Neville was relieved to find that Ann wholly deplored such exploits). Aloof, reserved, devoted to ...

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