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What is this Bernard?

Christopher Hitchens, 10 January 1991

Good and Faithful Servant: The Unauthorised Biography of Bernard Ingham 
by Robert Harris.
Faber, 202 pp., £14.99, December 1990, 0 571 16108 1
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... sodality, consisting at different times of Kingsley Amis, Bernard Levin, Robert Conquest, Anthony Powell, Russell Lewis and assorted others, and calling itself with heavy and definite self-mockery ‘Bertorelli’s Blackshirts’. The conversational scheme was simple (I think it had evolved from a once-famous letter to the Times defending Lyndon ...

Woof, woof

Rosemary Hill: Auberon Waugh, 7 November 2019

A Scribbler in Soho: A Celebration of Auberon Waugh 
edited by Naim Attallah.
Quartet, 341 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 0 7043 7457 7
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... relentless in pursuit of vendettas, one of the most successful of which was the campaign against Anthony Powell, which offered scope for every element of Waugh’s mixed feelings about literary life. He objected to Powell’s ‘abominable’ prose, to his pretentiousness in insisting that his name be pronounced ...

Blacking

John Bayley, 4 December 1986

Evelyn Waugh: The Early Years 1903-1939 
by Martin Stannard.
Dent, 537 pp., £14.95, October 1986, 0 460 04632 2
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... original story bears a striking resemblance to a very early effort of Waugh’s, a story called ‘Anthony, Who sought Things that were Lost’, written as an undergraduate for Harold Acton’s avant-garde student magazine Oxford Broom, and never afterwards republished. ‘Anthony’ is a typical undergraduate ...

Six Scotches More

Michael Wood: Anthony Powell, 8 February 2001

A Writer's Notebook 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 169 pp., £14.99, February 2001, 0 434 00915 6
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... to check page proofs against finished copies of books, and I do, I will. But the proofs of Anthony Powell’s A Writer’s Notebook provide, along with numerous unimportant oddities of phrase and spelling which seem to be errors of transcription from script to voice to type to print (‘I would like to thank my wife, who read the manuscript book ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... Ted Hughes (‘boring old monolith, no good at all – not a single solitary bit of good’) and Anthony Powell, aka ‘the horse-face dwarf’. There is even a ‘Hi, Ian’: he calls me ‘the Kerensky of poetry’. Not too bad, I thought at first. Alas, though, the book’s editor advises me that Larkin almost certainly meant to say Dzerzhinsky, or ...

No more alimony, tra la la

Miranda Carter: Somerset Maugham, 17 December 2009

The Secret Lives of Somerset Maugham 
by Selina Hastings.
John Murray, 614 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 0 7195 6554 0
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... he provoked that an attempt to publish a festschrift to him in 1954 was abandoned when only Anthony Powell and Raymond Mortimer agreed to contribute. He was deeply disappointed, that unlike Hardy and Galsworthy, he was never given the Order of Merit, having to settle instead for being made a Companion of Honour. ‘I am the greatest living ...

Snob Cuts

Rosemary Hill: Modern Snobbery, 3 November 2016

... and Spencer cardigans. One of the more recent sources to which Taylor has frequent recourse is Anthony Powell, the snob’s snob, whose obsession in his fiction and his life with heredity and recondite forms of etiquette was epitomised by his insistence that his name was pronounced ‘poel’. As his Telegraph obituary explained, this was because the ...

Inside Out

John Bayley, 4 September 1980

The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 412 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 09 141000 2
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Selected Poems and Prose 
by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb.
Carcanet, 205 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 85635 263 2
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... New Review, and the poem shows, with the kind of grim undemonstrative intelligence the novels of Anthony Powell know well how to reveal in horsey men, military men or men in bars (one of his characters called Odo Stevens writes Ewart-type poems), just how much Ewart as a poet owes to his attitude to other poets. I always try to dislike my poets, it’s ...
Friends of Promise: Cyril Connolly and the World of ‘Horizon’ 
by Michael Shelden.
Hamish Hamilton, 254 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 0 241 12647 9
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Coastwise Lights 
by Alan Ross.
Collins Harvill, 254 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 00 271767 0
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William Plomer 
by Peter Alexander.
Oxford, 397 pp., £25, March 1989, 0 19 212243 6
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... with the possibility. Probably the best account of his youthful self is in the first volume of Anthony Powell’s memoirs, Infants of the Spring. ‘He was one of those individuals – a recognised genus – who seem to have been sent into the world to be talked about. Such persons satisfy a basic human need. Connolly’s behaviour, love ...

Underlinings

Ruth Scurr: A.S. Byatt, 10 August 2000

The Biographer's Tale 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 224 pp., £14.99, June 2000, 0 7011 6945 1
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... So a good starting point might be John Aubrey, but perhaps it would be better to begin with Anthony Powell, the standard biographer of the first great English biographer. In his introduction to Aubrey’s Brief lives, Powell points out a significant difference between his approach to biographical writing and that ...

D&O

John Lanchester, 5 June 1997

Journals 1990-92 
by Anthony Powell.
Heinemann, 238 pp., £20, May 1997, 0 434 00430 8
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... to capture is the feeling that nothing much is happening. If I had to praise only one aspect of Anthony Powell’s work, it would be his ability to capture this dailiness and ordinariness, and to combine it with a range of incidents and characters as broad as that tackled by any English-language novelist this century. There is a stereotype of ...

Flower Power

P.N. Furbank: Jocelyn Brooke, 8 May 2003

'The Military Orchid’ and Other Novels 
by Jocelyn Brooke.
Penguin, 437 pp., £10.99, August 2002, 0 14 118713 1
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... An unjustly neglected author’? This was at least how Anthony Powell wrote of Jocelyn Brooke, none of whose books remained in print at the time of his death in 1966. But the neglect was to some degree remedied when, in 1981, Secker and Warburg reissued his Orchid Trilogy as a single volume, with an introduction by Powell, and it is nice to see this trilogy now reprinted as a Penguin Classic ...

Waving

Anthony Thwaite, 27 October 1988

Stevie Smith: A Critical Biography 
by Frances Spalding.
Faber, 331 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 571 15207 4
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... unblinking eyes at the whole thing: if Janet Adam Smith at the New Statesman wouldn’t print her, Anthony Powell at Punch would; a lull in Fleet Street somehow brought on a glut in Portland Place; and – ‘hey-ho’ – the villains in one publishing company would be succeeded by the angels at the next. Too much now is made of Stevie’s ...
... thing, with a ghastly woodcut on it. Nobody knew how this woodcut got on it. There was a piece by Anthony Powell called ‘A Reference for Mellors’, which was about somebody coming to Lady Chatterley for a reference for a gamekeeper. The magazine sort of launched me on a career, because Alan Pryce-Jones, who was then the editor of the TLS, gave me a ...

Superchild

John Bayley, 6 September 1984

The Diary of Virginia Woolf. Vol. V: 1936-1941 
edited by Anne Olivier Bell and Andrew McNeillie.
Chatto, 402 pp., £17.50, June 1984, 0 7012 0566 0
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Deceived with Kindness: A Bloomsbury Childhood 
by Angelica Garnett.
Chatto, 181 pp., £9.95, August 1984, 0 7011 2821 6
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... sense Shakespeare is Hamlet and Falstaff, Desdemona and Miranda; Dickens is Quilp and Mrs Gamp; Anthony Powell is Widmerpool; Henry James is Isabel Archer and Gilbert Osmond. The character as work of art has the closest possible relation with his creator’s projected being. He is an embodiment of all that is present in his author, but which his author ...

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