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From Plato to Nato

Christopher Norris, 7 July 1983

Literary Theory: An Introduction 
by Terry Eagleton.
Blackwell, 244 pp., £15, May 1983, 0 631 13258 9
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Essays on Fiction 1971-82 
by Frank Kermode.
Routledge, 227 pp., £9.95, May 1983, 0 7100 9442 6
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Deconstructive Criticism: An Advanced Introduction 
by Vincent Leitch.
Hutchinson, 290 pp., £15, January 1983, 0 09 150690 5
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Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies 
by Peter Wollen.
Verso, 228 pp., £15, March 1983, 0 86091 055 5
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Knowing the Poor: A Case-Study in Textual Reality Construction 
by Bryan Green.
Routledge, 221 pp., £12.95, February 1983, 0 7100 9282 2
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... a kind of intellectual tourism saved from superficiality by its clear-eyed impressionistic grasp. Bryan Green’s Knowing the Poor pursues another, more systematic set of claims about the relation between text, theory and reality. Again it draws on a wide range of current ‘discourses’ – Althusserian ...

Prodigals

John Sutherland, 19 August 1982

A Prodigal Child 
by David Storey.
Cape, 319 pp., £7.50, June 1982, 0 224 02027 7
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The Prodigal Daughter 
by Jeffrey Archer.
Hodder, 447 pp., £7.95, July 1982, 0 340 27687 8
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Ralph 
by John Stonehouse.
Cape, 318 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 224 02019 6
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The Man from St Petersburg 
by Ken Follett.
Hamish Hamilton, 292 pp., £7.95, May 1982, 0 241 10783 0
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The Patriot Game 
by George Higgins.
Secker, 237 pp., £7.50, July 1982, 0 436 19589 5
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... They have two children. Alan inherits his father’s energies and stupidities; the other son, Bryan, is gifted and has talents which he apparently owes to neither parent. Through visits to the farm where his father works (other Lawrentian echoes here), Bryan meets Fay Corrigan, the coquettish younger wife of a ...

In qualified praise of Stephen Vizinczey

Bryan Appleyard, 24 July 1986

Truth and Lies in Literature: Reviews and Essays 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 399 pp., £12.95, June 1986, 0 241 11805 0
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In Praise of Older Women: The Amorous Recollections of A.V. 
by Stephen Vizinczey.
Hamish Hamilton, 192 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 241 11378 4
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... touch nutty if you don’t. It could be the dedication of one of those bundles of paper covered in green ink with which unhappy souls wander into newspaper offices, convinced they have found the meaning of life. But the few occasions when Vizinczey falls off his rhetorical tightrope are worth ignoring for the pleasure of watching him stay up there the rest of ...

World Cup

A.J. Ayer, 24 July 1986

... was that the referees had been instructed to penalise any appearance of it. Their showing of a green card to a player served as a warning; the showing of a second green card in the same match procured his dismissal; a single red card had the same effect. The accumulation of two ...

Grass Green Stockings

Eleanor Hubbard: A Spinster’s Accounts, 21 March 2013

The Business and Household Accounts of Joyce Jeffreys, Spinster of Hereford, 1638-48 
edited by Judith Spicksley.
Oxford, 413 pp., £90, March 2012, 978 0 19 726432 4
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... to see children dressed in bright colours, and later gave Beatrice gowns of scarlet, orange and green. As well as gifts to peers and dependants Jeffreys also made regular if not especially generous charitable donations: she paid eight shillings a year for the poor of her parish, All Saints, Hereford, fulfilling her obligation under the Poor Laws. Parish ...

Rachel and Her Race

Patrick Parrinder, 18 August 1994

Constructions of ‘the Jew’ in English Literature and Society: Racial Representations, 1875-1945 
by Bryan Cheyette.
Cambridge, 301 pp., £35, November 1993, 0 521 44355 5
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The Jewish Heritage in British History: Englishness and Jewishness 
edited by Tony Kushner.
Cass, 234 pp., £25, January 1992, 0 7146 3464 6
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... Jew, like Karl Marx or Lord Beaconsfield. On the other hand, she did not originate what Bryan Cheyette would call a ‘semitic discourse’, though she certainly became the object of one. Disraeli rhapsodised over the ‘semitic principle’ which, he thought, ensured that true Jews were also true-blue Conservatives. Marx, most notoriously in his ...

Diary

Anne Enright: Boys’ Aliens and Girls’ Aliens, 21 September 1995

... details are roughly the same but the emotional effect on the abductee varies. According to C.D.B. Bryan’s incredibly lazy book, * in which he details the findings of a recent conference on the phenomenon, abductees are 94 per cent Caucasian, 75 per cent female, and have 1.9 children. All of them arrive at the therapist’s frightened, distressed, and with a ...

Royal Anxiety

Gabriele Annan, 9 June 1994

The Queen 
by Kenneth Harris.
Weidenfeld, 341 pp., £20, April 1994, 0 297 81211 4
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Divine Right: The Inglorious Survival of British Royalty 
by Richard Tomlinson.
Little, Brown, 357 pp., £17.50, June 1994, 0 316 91119 4
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... that the actions of the press’ – in publishing topless photographs of Fergie with Mr Bryan – ‘have aroused so little public indignation. It shows how low is the standing of the Duchess.’ Harris is fair to the point of paying tribute to Christopher Hitchens, but too much impartiality can be lethal: The Queen is a bore, even when it ...

At Tate Britain

James Cahill: Frank Bowling, 15 August 2019

... a picture of a grimacing woman slumped against a mattress, bisected by windowpanes. The curator Bryan Robertson wrote shortly afterwards that Bacon’s work had made Bowling ‘realise that a tragic sensibility could engender a commensurate use of paint and handling of colour’. But even early on it was clear that Bowling’s sensibility allowed for other ...

Aunt Twackie’s Bazaar

Andy Beckett: Seventies Style, 19 August 2010

70s Style and Design 
by Dominic Lutyens and Kirsty Hislop.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £24.90, November 2009, 978 0 500 51483 2
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... featuring boutiques and nightclubs and fashionable homes, and upwardly mobile stars such as Bryan Ferry and Liza Minnelli and Ossie Clark. The London clothes shop Biba gets more entries in the index than anything else. How far the trends portrayed spread beyond the metropolis is rarely clear. A single photograph of a glamorous young Liverpool shop-owner ...

Ideologues

Peter Pulzer, 20 February 1986

The Redefinition of Conservatism: Politics and Doctrine 
by Charles Covell.
Macmillan, 267 pp., £27.50, January 1986, 0 333 38463 6
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Thinkers of the New Left 
by Roger Scruton.
Longman, 227 pp., £9.95, January 1986, 0 582 90273 8
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The Idea of Liberalism: Studies for a New Map of Politics 
by George Watson.
Macmillan, 172 pp., £22.50, November 1985, 0 333 38754 6
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Socialism and Freedom 
by Bryan Gould.
Macmillan, 109 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 333 40580 3
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... the state. Those writers who were influenced by Continental ideas – Coleridge, Carlyle or T.H. Green – remained on the margin, at least when it came to politics. Britons gloried in the non-doctrinal nature of their politics. ‘Britain is not governed by logic,’ Disraeli proclaimed, ‘she is governed by parliament.’ And Balfour, no stranger to the ...

What a Lot of Parties

Christopher Hitchens: Diana Mosley, 30 September 1999

Diana Mosley: A Biography 
by Jan Dalley.
Faber, 297 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 571 14448 9
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... a Waugh. Auberon’s father dedicated his novel Vile Bodies, and his travel-book Labels, to Bryan and Diana Guinness. He was certainly in love with the latter and probably derived the scene in A Handful of Dust about the complaisant husband’s fakery of a compromising situation in Brighton from Bryan Guinness’s ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: The Hearing of Rosemary West, 9 March 1995

... high on the Six O’Clock News. ‘There’s And, look,’ she trilled, ‘next to the tree in the green. Whooo! Go on. They didn’t half get her with them eggs.’ Barbara was really getting into the case as well; she came to court on the Thursday morning and sat in her jogging pants all through the afternoon, staring ahead, unable to blink. After seeing the ...

What a carry-on

Seamus Perry: W.S. Graham, 18 July 2019

W.S. Graham: New Selected Poems 
edited by Matthew Francis.
Faber, 144 pp., £12.99, September 2018, 978 0 571 34844 2
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W.S. Graham 
edited by Michael Hofmann.
NYRB, 152 pp., £9.99, October 2018, 978 1 68137 276 1
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... Mor Light flashes asternDead on its second.‘I wanted to write about the sea and make it a grey green sea, not a chocolate box sea,’ he told Charles Causley, and he clearly considered himself to have succeeded on those terms, whatever else the poem might also convey about the mysteries of being. It was, he said, ‘the most definite sea poem in the ...

How did he get it done?

John Jones: Leigh Hunt’s sense of woe, 22 September 2005

Fiery Heart: The First Life of Leigh Hunt 
by Nicholas Roe.
Pimlico, 428 pp., £14.99, January 2005, 0 7126 0224 0
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The Wit in the Dungeon: A Life of Leigh Hunt 
by Anthony Holden.
Little, Brown, 448 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 316 85927 3
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... that libertas is ‘from the Latin word for freedom’, but on the same page introduces the poet Bryan Waller Proctor without adding that he wrote under the pseudonym Barry Cornwall. He has an unprofessorial habit of vague assertion: ‘At the close of the 18th century the economic status of the middle class was insecure.’ His logical grasp can’t be ...

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