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Brigid Brophy, 2 December 1982

Bernard Shaw: The Darker Side 
by Arnold Silver.
Stanford, 353 pp., $25, January 1982, 0 8047 1091 0
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Bernard Shaw and Alfred Douglas: A Correspondence 
edited by Mary Hyde.
Murray, 237 pp., £15, November 1982, 0 7195 3947 1
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... me.’ Although he makes no mention of it, this is the fair but discouraging challenge that Arnold Silver has taken up. The ‘darker side’ alluded to by his title consists not, as Shaw himself might have expected, of the ‘crudely erotic’ but of the violent aspect of Shaw’s imagination. This is precisely the point where, I argued twenty ...

So much for shame

Colm Tóibín, 10 June 1993

Haughey: His Life and Unlucky Deeds 
by Bruce Arnold.
HarperCollins, 299 pp., £17.50, May 1993, 0 00 255212 4
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... He had everything going for him until the first crisis arose and the North blew up in 1969. Bruce Arnold has been a commentator on Irish political and cultural life for the past thirty years. He writes about politics using logic and reason, which is unusual in Ireland. He is able to write about certain Irish political figures with a respect which the rest of ...

The Trouble with Nowhere

Martin Jay, 1 June 2000

The End of Utopia: Politics and Culture in an Age of Apathy 
by Russell Jacoby.
Basic Books, 256 pp., £17.95, April 1999, 0 465 02000 3
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Utopias: Russian Modernist Texts 1905-40 
edited by Catriona Kelly.
Penguin, 378 pp., £9.99, September 1999, 0 14 118081 1
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The Faber Book of Utopias 
edited by John Carey.
Faber, 560 pp., £20, October 1999, 9780571197859
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The Nazi War on Cancer 
by Robert Proctor.
Princeton, 390 pp., £18.95, May 1999, 0 691 00196 0
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... the outcome is a bit of a let-down, for he turns out – hang onto your hats – to be Matthew Arnold. ‘The 19th-century critic denounced the culture of his day in the name of something better, a more thoughtful and graceful culture,’ Jacoby approvingly notes. ‘Today most observers and scholars reject this as naive and élitist. In confounding ...


Arnold Rattenbury: Hamish Henderson, 23 January 2003

Collected Poems and Songs 
by Hamish Henderson, edited by Raymond Ross.
Curly Snake, 163 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 1 902141 01 6
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... on a candle. Let me watch the lighthouse rise out of shore-mist. Let me seek on uplands the grey-silver elegy of olives. This desire to be taken back and the images of ‘prophetic grief . . . Charge . . . concealed/in the sockets of these hills’, in the ‘parched trough of the Simeto’ clearly relate to the increasingly grievous troughs of belief in ...

Getting back

Adrian Poole, 1 July 1982

A crowd is not company 
by Robert Kee.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780224020039
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by Clive Sinclair.
Allison and Busby, 109 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 454 2
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New Writing and Writers 19 
John Calder, 262 pp., £6.95, April 1982, 0 7145 3811 6Show More
Zhenia’s Childhood 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Alec Brown.
Allison and Busby, 115 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 466 6
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... the story when the messenger of the gods hovers above the holocaust of London: ‘His helmet was silver, his body was glass, mercury filled his veins.’ The thermometer is an apt emblem for these stories, with its implications both of the feverish and of the clinical. The point of explosion towards which the temperature is constantly rising often takes a ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... enough: On the day the war ended The sun laced through the avenues with lime-tree scent The silver birches danced on the sidewalk And the girls came out like tulips in their colours . . . Then the poem enlarges itself: ‘tanks, tamed elephants/Wallowed among the crowds in the square’. And then the cry: Only the soldier, snatched by the sudden ...

Touching the music

Paul Driver, 4 January 1996

Stravinsky: Chronicle of a Friendship 
by Robert Craft.
Vanderbilt, 588 pp., £35.95, October 1994, 0 8265 1258 5
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... to Craft from Aldous Huxley and Gerald Heard are newly included. Letters (also to Craft) from Arnold Schoenberg, Luigi Dallapiccola, Glenn Gould and other musical luminaries are also published for the first time; and most of the illustrations are new. Gone are the itineraries that laboriously prefaced each chapter-year in the original edition and the ...


Jenny Diski: On Palm Island, 22 April 1993

... the swamp, is, of course, a white, long-necked swamp-wading bird. I am here under false pretences. Arnold, the young man who picks me up from Union Island, a mile across the bay, seems mysteriously over-excited to see me, and asks in the launch: ‘You’re in the movies, aren’t you?’ I tell him I’m not. He insists; he knows he’s seen me in a movie. I ...

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 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 sleeplessness and nervous debility; Jeffrey’s urging of Edwin’s carefully plotted suicide (‘I aspire to the condition of ...

Studied Luxury

Margaret Anne Doody, 20 April 1995

No Gifts from Chance: A Biography of Edith Wharton 
by Shari Benstock.
Hamish Hamilton, 546 pp., £20, October 1994, 0 241 13298 3
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Edith Wharton: An Extraordinary Life 
by Eleanor Dwight.
Harry Adams, 335 pp., $39.95, May 1994, 0 8109 3971 1
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... successful, both critically and commercially. Benstock takes her title from a snatch of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Resignation’ copied by Wharton into her Commonplace Book in 1908: ‘They believe me, who await/No gifts from chance have conquered fate’. What Arnold is celebrating is that markedly Victorian duty to bustle ...

Happy Knack

Ian Sansom: Betjeman, 20 February 2003

John Betjeman: New Fame, New Love 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 736 pp., £25, November 2002, 0 7195 5002 5
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... secretary Tory Dennistoun is connected, like almost everyone else in the book, to her own silver-lined and gloriously inevitable parenthesis: ‘Tory Dennistoun (now Lady Oaksey)’. Suffering from a sebaceous cyst Betjeman attended the Acland Nursing Home, and ‘he was nursed there by the historical novelist Mary Renault,’ the lucky thing: the ...

Who Knows?

Meehan Crist: The Voynich Manuscript, 27 July 2017

The Voynich Manuscript 
edited by Raymond Clemens.
Yale, 336 pp., £35, November 2016, 978 0 300 21723 0
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... queen might represent the alchemical process of conjunction – the physical joining of gold and silver – or suggest an analogy for the mysterious and unseen bonds between substances, now envisioned in terms of human desire.’ Naked men and women, sometimes pictured in hexagonal stone baths, were used to represent substances undergoing dissolution or ...

Getting on

Humphrey Carpenter, 18 July 1985

In the Dark 
by R.M. Lamming.
Cape, 230 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 9780224022927
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A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory 
by Isabel Colegate.
Hamish Hamilton, 153 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 241 11532 9
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Midnight Mass 
by Peter Bowles.
Peter Owen, 190 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 7206 0647 0
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The Silver Age 
by James Lasdun.
Cape, 186 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 0 224 02316 0
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The House of Kanze 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 7126 0850 8
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... Late Call): so one admires Ms Lamming’s decision to build her story round a half-senile widower, Arnold Lawson, who has just moved into a new district and is exciting the curiosity of the local newspaper (‘Grand Old Eccentric Comes to Woodburn’). Lawson is a miser, hoarding books rather than cash, and the novel’s excellent jacket-picture by Emma ...

The Cow Bells of Kitale

Patrick Collinson: The Selwyn Affair, 5 June 2003

... ceased to exert himself on behalf of his sister-in-law. Geoffrey’s great-grandfather was Thomas Arnold of Rugby, which meant that Matthew Arnold was a great-uncle. Geoffrey was born in the spring of 1888 at Toxteth, where his father was principal of Liverpool College. His mother, one of the daughters of Thomas ...


P.N. Furbank, 15 October 1981

Ford Madox Ford: Prose and Politics 
by Robert Green.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £16.50, July 1981, 9780521236102
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... novel be metamorphosed into the German shelling of Tietjens’ unit’, and ‘the extravagant silver service of the Duchemins will be conjured into the “candlestick”, a metal bar inside a shrapnel shell, which is to destroy Pte Morgan.’ Another virtue in his book is that it presents a comprehensive and coherent argument – one which demands, if you ...

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