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Against Bare Bottoms

Simon Morrison: Prokofiev’s Diaries, 21 March 2013

Diaries 1924-33: Prodigal Son 
by Sergey Prokofiev, translated by Anthony Phillips.
Faber, 1125 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 571 23405 9
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... omitted vowels and redundant consonants. Volumes I, 1907-14, and II, 1915-23, were translated by Anthony Phillips and published in the UK in 2006 and 2008 respectively. The third and final volume, also translated by Phillips, came out at the end of last year. The set – 2735 pages – is produced as stylishly as the ...

Why Sakhalin?

Joseph Frank: Charting Chekhov’s career, 17 February 2005

Chekhov: Scenes from a Life 
by Rosamund Bartlett.
Free Press, 395 pp., £20, July 2004, 0 7432 3074 4
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Anton Chekhov: A Life in Letters 
translated by Rosamund Bartlett and Anthony Phillips.
Penguin, 552 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 14 044922 1
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... they occurred. The selection of letters edited and translated by Bartlett, in collaboration with Anthony Phillips, provides a valuable supplement to what she herself calls ‘an impressionistic approach’ (as well as being marvellous in their own right). The history of Taganrog, a southern city on the Sea of Azov, goes back to the Scythians and the ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate, 20 March 2003

All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... Howard told him sent Seabrook back to writers who are in the Oxford Companion, Waugh, Betjeman, Anthony Powell and Jocelyn Brooke. I’m not sure that any other critic is capable of enthusing, in one long breath, about Brooke and David Peace (author of a tersely written novel sequence from the era of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper). Nobody else would ...


John Sutherland, 5 November 1992

Keepers of the Flame: Literary Estates and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary Acts: Browning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... masks. Small print tells us that these selections are from Larkin’s Selected Letters, edited by Anthony Thwaite – one of the keepers of Larkin’s flame, an executor. The other executors are Andrew Motion, Larkin’s authorised biographer, and Monica Jones, Larkin’s longtime companion. It was Miss Jones who undertook the destruction of the 25 volumes of ...


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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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 Iron ...


Adam Phillips: Christopher Ricks, 22 July 2010

True Friendship: Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht and Robert Lowell under the Sign of Eliot and Pound 
by Christopher Ricks.
Yale, 258 pp., £16.99, February 2010, 978 0 300 13429 2
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... And then, with an ungrand dismissal of himself: ‘Read Eliot and Pound. Read Geoffrey Hill, Anthony Hecht and Robert Lowell, whether or not under the sign of Eliot and Pound.’ What Empson wonderfully said of Eliot, quoted in this book, could be said of Ricks by many people, at least of my generation, who read literature at university, or who just ...

He blinks and night is day

Adam Mars-Jones: ‘Light Perpetual’, 17 June 2021

Light Perpetual 
by Francis Spufford.
Faber, 336 pp., £16.99, February, 978 0 571 33648 7
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... at intervals of seven years. In 20 Sites n Years, a different sort of documentary project, Tom Phillips set out in 1973 to take pictures of twenty London streets on (roughly) the same day every year, at the same time of day and from the same position. There is only incidental human presence in the images, and at first the succession of years gives an ...

Beach Scenes

Gavin Millar, 1 August 1985

A Man with a Camera 
by Nestor Almendros, translated by Rachel Phillips Belash.
Faber, 306 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 571 13589 7
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Players of Shakespeare: Essays in Shakespearian Performance by 12 Players with the Royal Shakespeare Company 
edited by Philip Brockbank.
Cambridge, 179 pp., £12.50, June 1985, 0 521 24428 5
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Year of the King 
by Anthony Sher.
Chatto, 208 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 7011 2926 3
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... Nestor Almendros is one of the world’s most sought-after directors of cinematography. He is most closely associated with the French cinema, having shot nine of Truffaut’s films and seven of Rohmer’s, but recently his Oscar for Malick’s Days of Heaven has encouraged Americans to take a chance on this independent Spaniard who has three times been exiled – from Franco’s Spain, Batista’s Cuba and Castro’s Cuba ...

Closed Material

Nicholas Phillips, 17 April 2014

... case involving control orders heard in 2008, AF and Others v. Home Secretary. The majority, Sir Anthony Clarke, Master of the Rolls, and Lord Justice Waller, held that there is no principle that the hearing will be unfair in the absence of open disclosure to the controlee of an irreducible minimum of allegation or evidence. Alternatively, if there is, the ...

Yearning for Polar Seas

James Hamilton-Paterson: North, 1 September 2005

The Ice Museum: In Search of the Lost Land of Thule 
by Joanna Kavenna.
Viking, 334 pp., £16.99, February 2005, 0 670 91395 2
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The Idea of North 
by Peter Davidson.
Reaktion, 271 pp., £16.95, January 2005, 1 86189 230 6
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... in the United States. But this is to obscure a fundamental difference. As the historian R.A.J. Phillips observed in Canada’s North: ‘The ferment that led explorers to the Canadian frontier did not begin in the 15th-century courts of Lisbon and Madrid, or in the counting-houses of London and Bristol. It started much earlier, in Scandinavia.’ Half a ...

Which play was performed at the Globe Theatre on 7 February 1601?

Blair Worden: A Play for Plotters, 10 July 2003

... and of the killing of King Richard II.’ Third, on 18 February, one of the players, Augustine Phillips, in signed testimony given under oath, described the play as ‘the play of the deposing and killing of King Richard II’. Fourth, at Meyrick’s trial on 5 March, the Attorney-General, Sir Edward Coke, asserted that ‘the story of Henry IV being set ...

Defeated Armies

Scott Sherman: Castro in the New York Times, 5 July 2007

The Man Who Invented Fidel: Castro, Cuba, and Herbert L. Matthews of the ‘New York Times’ 
by Anthony DePalma.
PublicAffairs, 308 pp., £15.99, September 2006, 1 58648 332 3
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... way of letting the world know that the revolution continued. The New York Times bureau chief, Ruby Phillips, declined the invitation: had she written about Castro’s ongoing struggle, she would have been expelled from Cuba, and she enjoyed her lifestyle and connections there. Matthews was summoned from New York. At the end of a 16-hour journey from ...

Don’t Look Down

Nicholas Spice: Dull Britannia, 8 April 2010

Family Britain 1951-57 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 776 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 0 7475 8385 1
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... result that nothing was done. As the Labour Party’s leading intellectuals, Hugh Gaitskell and Anthony Crosland understood how pivotal private education was to the problem of power in the Britain of the 1950s. Gaitskell told the Labour Party Conference in 1953 that the system could not continue, and in The Future of Socialism Crosland recommended the ...

Miracle on Fleet Street

Martin Hickman: Operation Elveden, 7 January 2016

... received a total of £7500 for 39 tips: he told the paper about the theft of a handbag from Zara Phillips, and about Hans Rausing’s failure to stop after a traffic accident. Flattley’s handler, the Sun’s defence editor, Virginia Wheeler, made no secret of her source when she asked the paper’s news editors for cash. ‘Please could I get a £500 cash ...

Dummy and Biffy

Noël Annan, 17 October 1985

Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... time a considerable debt to the writers of spy stories – in particular to William Le Queux and Phillips Oppenheim. Le Queux’s hero, Duckworth Drew, whose name rhymed with his own and whose appearance matched his own self-image – ‘unobtrusive, of perfect manner, and a born gentleman’ – is first found outwitting the French Foreign Minister by ...

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