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The Eng. Lit. Patient

Jeremy Noel-Tod: Andrew Motion

11 September 2003
The Invention of Dr Cake 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 142 pp., £12.99, February 2003, 0 571 21631 5
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Public Property 
by Andrew Motion.
Faber, 112 pp., £6.99, May 2003, 0 571 21859 8
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... Motion imagines the least imaginative route Keats, had he lived, could have taken: usefulness. Anthony Burgess suggested a wittier alternative in his fictional account of Keats’s last days, Abba Abba (1977), which posited a poet turning from archaic lushness to colloquial bawdiness: an idea cleverly founded on a non-canonical side of Keats – his ...

Fictbites

Peter Campbell

18 May 1989
Any Old Iron 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 339 pp., £12.95, March 1989, 0 09 173842 3
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The Ragged End 
by John Spurling.
Weidenfeld, 313 pp., £11.95, April 1989, 0 297 79505 8
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Higher Ground 
by Caryl Phillips.
Viking, 224 pp., £11.95, April 1989, 0 670 82620 0
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The Flint Bed 
by Christopher Burns.
Secker, 185 pp., £10.95, April 1989, 0 436 09788 5
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Stark 
by Ben Elton.
Joseph, 453 pp., £13.95, March 1989, 0 7181 3302 1
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... and globules of pure fact rise to the surface, the dishomogeneity annoys. Some reviewers of Anthony Burgess’s new novel say it has curdled: ‘so let’s say he does know all Walton’s percussion parts by heart, and has the Hebrew or the Russian word for almost anything, is he able to use them to tell a better story?’ I think he is. In Any Old ...

Concierge

John Lanchester

16 November 1995
Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... down, Robert Lowells (d. 1977, with the Collected Poems coming next year) are a good buy; stock in Anthony Burgess (d. 1993) should probably be held for a year or two; Borgeses (d. 1986) will surge once the editing and republishing are sorted out; James Merrills (d. 1995) should be sold now and rebought later; Becketts (d. 1989) look a little iffy (though ...

Diary

Susannah Clapp: On Angela Carter

12 March 1992
... is rarely, if ever, mentioned in the same breath, or even the same paragraph, as such peers as Anthony Powell or Iris Murdoch. Fans such as Kingsley Amis and Anthony Burgess praise Ballard to the skies but they themselves are classified differently, as, God help us, “serious writers” in comparison.’ She won ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Everybody loves the OED

20 April 1989
... perfectly smooth improvisation.It emerged that everybody loves the OED, not always as devotedly as Anthony Burgess, who was absent but often mentioned, but with a decent fervour all the same. Certainly all the speakers loved it, not least Daniel Boorstin, ex-Librarian of Congress, who came right out with it, in so many words. Could they have felt this way ...
25 October 1979
... and his brilliant book The Speakers attracted the admiration of Harold Pinter, William Burroughs, Anthony Burgess, V.S. Pritchett and more, he has gradually achieved the status of super-wizard in a community of nomads, pilgrims and seekers after truth. For two years he successfully ran the Ruff, Tuff, Cream Puff Estate Agency (founded by Wat Tyler in ...

Diary

Robert Walshe: Bumping into Beckett

7 November 1985
... and easily stop you getting on with whatever it is you are supposed to be doing if you are not Anthony Burgess. About as quickly as I managed to get a foot inside the door, I was sent a copy of Byzantium endures – Michael Moorcock. That one, icons iconing, balalaikas balalaikaing, kept me up nights marking pages, memorising passages, and dreaming ...
16 September 1982
Double Yoke 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Dgwugwu Afor, 163 pp., £3, September 1982, 0 9508177 0 8
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The Aerodrome 
by Rex Warner.
Bodley Head, 304 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 9780370309262
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AVery British Coup 
by Chris Mullin.
Hodder, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 340 28586 9
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An Ice Cream War 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10868 3
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Tempting Fate 
by Michael Levey.
Hamish Hamilton, 220 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10801 2
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... respect. Anyone who has read my other books will know that I do not even aim at realism.’ But Anthony Burgess, in his interesting new foreword, holds that The Aerodrome ‘functions, in spite of the author’s disclaimer, as a realistic work with larger overtones’. When I first read this symbolic novel, thirty years ago, it seemed almost ...

Wolfing it

Angela Carter

23 July 1987
Honey from a Weed: Fasting and Feasting in Tuscany, Catalonia, the Cyclades and Apulia 
by Patience Gray.
Prospect, 374 pp., £17.50, November 1986, 0 907325 30 0
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A Table in Provence: Classic Recipes from the South of France 
collected and illustrated by Leslie Forbes.
Webb and Bower/Joseph, 160 pp., £12.95, April 1987, 0 86350 130 3
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The Joyce of Cooking: Food and Drink from James Joyce’s Dublin 
by Alison Armstrong, foreword by Anthony Burgess.
Station Hill Press, 252 pp., $18.95, December 1986, 0 930794 85 0
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... I bought my first cookery book in 1960, as part of my trousseau. It was called Plats du Jour, or Foreign Food by Patience Gray and Primrose Boyd, a Penguin paperback with a seductive pink jacket depicting a large family at table – evidently not a British family, for its members, shirt-sleeved, aproned, some of them children, were uncorking bottles, slicing bread, eagerly tucking their napkins under their chins, faces aglow with the certain knowledge their dinners would not disappoint, which was, in those days, extremely rare in this country ...

Aardvark

John Bayley: In defence of Larkin

22 April 1993
... innocence, an instinctive respect for individuality. Post-war events have certainly seen that off. Anthony Burgess remembered in his review of the Larkin biography attending a fancy-dress party in 1941 dressed as an SS officer. Nobody took much notice. Today it would seem a vicious provocation or an act of tasteless bravado. Humour and ridicule, antidote ...

Diary

Blake Morrison: On the Independent on Sunday 

27 May 1993
... Lurie’s obituary of Mary McCarthy, Salman Rushdie on Graham Greene, Claire Tomalin on Coleridge, Anthony Burgess on Fielding, other reviews by Anita Brookner, Peter Conrad, Roy Foster and Hilary Mantel), and as the limits on the new paper’s resources became apparent I thought how hard it would be to put together pages of comparable stature. There was ...
19 October 1995
The Blue Suit 
by Richard Rayner.
Picador, 216 pp., £9.99, July 1995, 0 330 33821 8
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The Liar’s Club 
by Mary Karr.
Picador, 317 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 330 33597 9
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... them. He steals ‘Heinemann firsts of Enderby Outside, Tremor of Intent and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. The Collected Poems of A.E. Housman, Cape 1939, buckram bound. A cased Cassell edition of The Father Brown Stories ... Black Mischief, another old Chapman & Hall first, no dj, but handsome mottled brown boards.’ We may choose to believe ...

Gallivanting

Karl Miller: Edna O’Brien

22 November 2012
Country Girl: A Memoir 
by Edna O’Brien.
Faber, 339 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 0 571 26943 3
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... restaurateurs. ‘You aul whore you, you can’t write,’ he informs her, reminding her ‘of how Anthony Burgess had slated me, had said that after Joyce and Yeats and Co, after the giants, came “the little people”, such as me’. Sean Kenny, the silent theatre designer, another compatriot, might have challenged him, but was now gone, having ...

Going Straight

Neal Ascherson

17 March 1983
After Long Silence 
by Michael Straight.
Collins, 351 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 00 217001 9
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A Matter of Trust: MI5 1945-72 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 196 pp., £8.95, December 1982, 0 297 78253 3
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... ought to be wound up after the publication of Michael Straight’s contribution. Very possibly, Anthony Blunt will one day write such a book himself. But the names have almost all been named, the questions of motive worn smooth, the titles and pensions (some of them) stripped like epaulettes, the spell in the pillory served. Let’s get the blanket over ...

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