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8 March 1990
Louise Brooks 
by Barry Paris.
Hamish Hamilton, 640 pp., £20, February 1990, 0 241 12541 3
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... evokes her personal logo, that haircut, those eyebrows. There are sumptuous photographs on the front and back flaps – oh! the patented Brooks version of the Giaconda smile, the one that, as BarryParis 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 ...

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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... progress. Rather, we may use star chronicles as springboards for philosophical investigations, however careless and impromptu, into our own sightlines. The new biography of Audrey Hepburn, by BarryParis, 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 ...

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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... and a chapter on women who masqueraded as men, including a subset whom Stoker deemed the most implausible 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 ...

Proudly Reptilian

Nicole Flattery: Kevin Barry

12 September 2019
Night Boat to Tangier 
by Kevin Barry.
Canongate, 224 pp., £14.99, June, 978 1 78211 617 2
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... of-factly by the farmer, John, to his wife: ‘Mary? I’ll ask you again. How many times did you come?’ 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 ...
6 October 1983
... Snails in the letterbox. It is a surrealist image which might have been cooked up by Dali 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 ...

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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... life; whereas Du Camp, as time, renown and social position took their toll, became increasingly conservative 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 ...
1 September 1983
by Barry​ Tuckwell.
Macdonald, 202 pp., £10.95, April 1983, 0 356 09096 5
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... creator saw further than the follower of Chatterton. However quaint the ‘slug-horn’ may seem in 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 ...

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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... slings his fellow freak back into the sea. Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned is Tower’s first 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 ...

At the Grand Palais

Barry​ Schwabsky: Christian Boltanski

11 February 2010
... less direct ways to evoke this ungraspable individuality. Old clothes have long been a favourite material 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 ...
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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... the unparalleled works of the ancients on the basis of Classical literary accounts alone. Such 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 ...

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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... The day he first met Wyndham Lewis, shortly after the end of the 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 ...

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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... to his obsession with flesh and freaks, he might resemble his carnival master in ‘The Electric Girl’, 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 ...

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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... Between 1947 and 1950 Samuel Beckett and Francis Stuart produced a 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 ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation

7 September 2016
... were published in the 1960s, but he only really sputtered to life again in 1990 with an autobiography, and died a few years later. Peter Orlovsky and Allen Ginsberg at the Hotel de Londres, Paris in 1957. Bob Thompson, ‘LeRoi Jones and his Family’ (1964) Brion Gysin, ‘Calligraphy’ (1960) Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs, Untitled (Primrose Path, the Third Mind, p.12, 1965) Ettore ...


Alex Clark: Andrew Miller

18 October 2001
by Andrew Miller.
Sceptre, 323 pp., £14.99, September 2001, 0 340 72825 6
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... an emotion he could not quite identify’, is not the favoured boy: that honour goes to louche Larry, a former tennis professional of minor distinction, a TV actor recently sacked from his part as Dr Barry Catchpole in Sun Valley General, a man slithering down the ladder of celebrity into alcoholism, divorce and the humiliations of the ‘glamour industry’. In Paris, the playwright László Lázár ...

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