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Brooksie and Faust

Angela Carter, 8 March 1990

Louise Brooks 
by Barry Paris.
Hamish Hamilton, 640 pp., £20, February 1990, 0 241 12541 3
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... front and back flaps – oh! the patented Brooks version of the Giaconda smile, the one that, as Barry Paris says, isn’t so much a ‘come hither’ look as a look that says, to each and every gender: ‘I’ll come to you.’ (If, that is, she likes the look of you – a big if, in fact.) That straightforward look of hers is what makes these ...

Audrey and Her Sisters

Wayne Koestenbaum, 18 September 1997

Audrey Hepburn 
by Barry Paris.
Weidenfeld, 454 pp., £20, February 1997, 0 297 81728 0
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... careless and impromptu, into our own sightlines. The new biography of Audrey Hepburn, by Barry Paris, a writer already praised for his books on Louise Brooks and Garbo, is an acute, tender-hearted and entertaining dish of Hepburn facts – he interviewed friends and family, and has a sharp eye for her film-work’s idiosyncrasies; more ...
... in the presence of Buñuel, by André Breton in the presence of Eluard. But the words were said by Barry Humphries in the persona of the ruminating convalescent Sandy Stone, and in the Australian context they are not surreal. They are real. Every Australian, even if he lives in Sydney’s Point Piper or Melbourne’s Toorak, has at some time or other found ...

A Vast Masquerade

Deborah Cohen: Dr James Barry, 2 March 2017

Dr James BarryA Woman ahead of Her Time 
by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield.
Oneworld, 479 pp., £16.99, August 2016, 978 1 78074 831 3
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... impostors of all: women who masqueraded as military men. The tyrannical army surgeon Dr James Barry – prone to picking quarrels and partial to red-heeled, thigh-high boots paired with an outsized dress sword – doesn’t figure in Stoker’s parade. It’s a strange omission – Barry’s story was well known to ...

Proudly Reptilian

Nicole Flattery: Kevin Barry, 12 September 2019

Night Boat to Tangier 
by Kevin Barry.
Canongate, 224 pp., £14.99, June 2019, 978 1 78211 617 2
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... This isn’t your average farm but a site of adultery, fecklessness, vice. This is a Kevin Barry short story because it could only be a Kevin Barry short story. There Are Little Kingdoms, the collection in which this story appeared, was published in October 2007. Two months later, the model Katy French died from a ...

At the Grand Palais

Barry Schwabsky: Christian Boltanski, 11 February 2010

... and they are the basis of Personnes, his new installation in the nave of the Grand Palais in Paris (until 21 February), which is the third instalment (following Anselm Kiefer in 2007 and Richard Serra in 2008) of the Monumenta series organised by the Ministry of Culture – the Parisian answer to the Unilever series at Tate Modern. In daylight under the ...

A horn-player greets his fate

John Kerrigan, 1 September 1983

Horn 
by Barry Tuckwell.
Macdonald, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1983, 0 356 09096 5
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... Chatterton’s ‘Battle of Hastings II’, it has a peculiar rightness in Browning’s poem. As Barry Tuckwell, its foremost living exponent, reminds us in his splendid new book, the horn began its history in utterance and has never shaken off its origins. The first horns sent signals across dark forests; they called the clan together, like Ralph’s conch ...

Guts Benedict

Adam Bradbury, 11 June 1992

The Wrecking Yard 
by Pinckney Benedict.
Secker, 195 pp., £7.99, March 1992, 0 436 20062 7
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Sacred Hunger 
by Barry Unsworth.
Hamish Hamilton, 630 pp., £14.99, February 1992, 0 241 13003 4
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The Butcher Boy 
by Patrick McCabe.
Picador, 217 pp., £14.99, April 1992, 9780330323581
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... who says: ‘Without me the freaks are just ugly. With me they got romance, they got dash.’ Barry Unsworth spent some time in Sugar and Rum having a laugh at the dash and romance turned out by his protagonist’s creative writing students and examining the writer’s propensity to make ‘meanings’. Early in that novel Benson was rebuked for trying to ...

Life of Brian

Kevin Barry, 25 January 1990

No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien 
by Anthony Cronin.
Grafton, 260 pp., £16.95, October 1989, 0 246 12836 4
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... clutch of novels which extend Irish fiction into the world of Europe. Beckett’s life in wartime Paris is not irrelevant to Molloy, Malone dies and The Unnamable, nor is Stuart’s in wartime Berlin to The Pillar of Cloud, Redemption and The Flowering Cross. Ten years earlier Brian O’Nolan, alias Flann O’Brien, had written At Swim Two Birds and The Third ...

The Real Thing!

Julian Barnes: Visions of Vice, 17 December 2015

Splendeurs et misères: Images de la prostitution 1850-1910 
Musée d’Orsay, until 17 January 2016Show More
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
Grand Palais, until 11 January 2016Show More
Elisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 9 February 2016 to 15 May 2016Show More
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... and moralistic. Twenty years after landing in Egypt, he began publishing his six-volume Paris: ses organes, ses fonctions et sa vie (1869-75), a massive, Zolaesque account of the city, teeming with statistics and reportage, opinion and anecdote. In the third volume (1872), his chapter on the guillotine is immediately followed by one on ...

Fellow Freaks

Sam Thompson: Wells Tower, 9 July 2009

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned 
by Wells Tower.
Granta, 238 pp., £10.99, April 2009, 978 1 84708 048 6
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... book, but earlier versions of all nine of its stories have come out in periodicals, including the Paris Review, McSweeney’s and the New Yorker. He is also a journalist, specialising, like David Foster Wallace, in first-person-singular expeditions into curious reaches of American culture. Tower’s non-fiction adventures have included a bicycle odyssey along ...

A Republic of Taste

Thomas Crow, 19 March 1987

The Political Theory of Painting from Reynolds to Hazlitt: ‘The Body of the Public’ 
by John Barrell.
Yale, 366 pp., £16.95, October 1986, 0 300 03720 1
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... practices were fully consistent with period attitudes toward contemporary art. Eighteenth-century Paris possessed the most advanced and self-conscious audience for art in Europe, yet genuine enthusiasts and serious patrons remained exceptional. Reading through the cultural press of the time or in the journals of prominent society figures, one encounters a ...

Complaining

Brian Barry, 23 November 1989

The Company of Critics: Social Criticism and Political Commitment in the 20th Century 
by Michael Walzer.
Halban, 260 pp., £15.95, February 1989, 1 870015 20 7
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... brings Breytenbach within the fold of Walzer’s social critics is that, although he operates from Paris and has taken French citizenship, he continues to address himself to Afrikaners. Suppose he gave up on them and spent his time advocating international intervention to bring down the apartheid regime. He would, plainly, still be a critic of ...

A Most Consistent Man

Barry Schwabsky: Renoir, 13 September 2018

Renoir: An Intimate Biography 
by Barbara Ehrlich White.
Thames and Hudson, 432 pp., £24.95, October 2017, 978 0 500 23957 5
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... road to the fine arts. Born in 1841, the eldest son of a tailor, his family moved from Limoges to Paris when he was three and he grew up a quintessential urbanite. As an adult, it’s said, ‘he spoke like a working-class labourer with a rasping guttural Parisian accent.’ He was apprenticed in a porcelain painting workshop, where he graduated from doing ...

Apoplectic Gristle

David Trotter: Wyndham Lewis, 25 January 2001

Some Sort of Genius: A Life of Wyndham Lewis 
by Paul O'Keeffe.
Cape, 697 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 224 03102 3
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Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer 
by Paul Edwards.
Yale, 583 pp., £40, August 2000, 0 300 08209 6
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... First World War, Ernest Hemingway was teaching Ezra Pound how to box. The encounter took place in Paris, where Pound had a studio, and Lewis, impassive beneath his trademark wide black hat, seemed content to watch in silence. ‘Ezra had not been boxing very long and I was embarrassed at having him work in front of anyone he knew, and I tried to make him look ...

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