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Insupportable

John Bayley, 19 February 1987

A Choice of Kipling’s Prose 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 448 pp., £12.50, January 1987, 0 571 13735 0
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Kipling’s Kingdom: His Best Indian Stories 
by Charles Allen.
Joseph, 288 pp., £14.95, January 1987, 0 7181 2570 3
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... Kipling studies, Harry Ricketts, who, like Mrs Bathurst herself, lives and works in New Zealand. Charles Allen, whose great-grandfather brought the 16-year-old Kipling out to Lahore to work on the Civil and Military Gazette, has made a good selection of the Indian stories, including one or two previously uncollected ones, and reminds us in his ...

Paralysed by the Absence of Danger

Jeremy Harding: Spain, 1937, 24 September 2009

Letters from Barcelona: An American Woman in Revolution and Civil War 
edited by Gerd-Rainer Horn.
Palgrave, 209 pp., £50, February 2009, 978 0 230 52739 3
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War Is Beautiful: An American Ambulance Driver in the Spanish Civil War 
by James Neugass.
New Press, 314 pp., £16.99, November 2008, 978 1 59558 427 4
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We Saw Spain Die: Foreign Correspondents in the Spanish Civil War 
by Paul Preston.
Constable, 525 pp., £9.99, June 2009, 978 1 84529 946 0
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... Lois and Charles Orr, an inquisitive, left-of-left couple, arrived in Barcelona in the autumn of 1936. Charles was 30, a serious fellow from Michigan; Lois was 19, more or less fresh from Kentucky. They had married earlier in the year and decided on a honeymoon in Europe. In Catalonia, a matter of weeks after Franco’s military uprising against the Second Spanish Republic, they settled happily into a political climate of intrigue and rivalry among the variegated species of anti-Fascists who failed, in the end, to hold the pass: bourgeois democrats and left republicans, socialists, anarchists and Marxists, as well as a host of foreigners, many in tune with the doctrines of the Communist International ...

Talking to the Radiator

Andrew Saint, 2 October 1997

Corbusier’s Formative Years 
by H. Allen Brooks.
Chicago, 506 pp., £51.95, June 1997, 0 226 07579 6
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... high in a bowl of the Jura, it is fringed by mountains and pines, in which Emeritus Professor Allen Brooks, musing from the tranquillity of retirement, revels at leisure. ‘Allow time to climb the road,’ he admonishes readers eager to tick off the Villa Fallet, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret’s first house, on the ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: Meeting the Royals, 19 February 2015

... It was​ in Charles Dickens’s upstairs sitting room that I met the future king of England. The Duchess of Cornwall was wearing a red paisley silk coat and dress by Anna Valentine. I know that because I was peeping out of the window and heard a lady from the Daily Mail say so into her mobile phone while she stalked the pavement outside ...

Kooked

Mark Ford, 10 March 1994

Selected Poems 
by Charles Olson, edited by Robert Creeley.
California, 225 pp., $25, December 1993, 0 520 07528 5
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Selected Poems 
by Robert Duncan, edited by Robert Bertholf.
Carcanet, 147 pp., £9.95, October 1993, 1 85754 038 7
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... variety of claimants. A list of poets who have profited from his achievement would include Allen Ginsberg and Louis Zukofsky (both Jewish), the Lowell of Notebook, the Orientally-minded Kenneth Rexroth and Gary Snyder on whom Cathay made such an impact, British poets as different from each other as Donald Davie and Jeremy Prynne, Objectivists like ...
Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs and an Interview 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 571 17196 6
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... Fame is difficult for a writer to deal with,’ Thom Gunn writes in his essay on Allen Ginsberg’s poetry. ‘It dries you up, or it makes you think you are infallible, or your writing becomes puffed out with self-esteem. (Victor Hugo thought himself superior to both Jesus and Shakespeare.) It is a complication that the imagination can well do without ...

Martian Arts

Jonathan Raban, 23 July 1987

Home and Away 
by Steve Ellis.
Bloodaxe, 62 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240271
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The Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper 
by Blake Morrison.
Chatto, 48 pp., £4.95, May 1987, 0 7011 3227 2
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The Frighteners 
by Sean O’Brien.
Bloodaxe, 64 pp., £4.50, February 1987, 9781852240134
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... half the 35 contributors, few of whom bother to make it clear whether they mean Robert Lowell, or Allen Ginsberg, or the Black Mountain imitators of William Carlos Williams. ‘The Liverpool Poets’ are regarded with a mixture of fear and derision. ‘The ranks of the illiterate raise puerile and rhythmless voices,’ wrote Roy Fuller. ‘Infantile ...

Mysteries of Kings Cross

Iain Sinclair, 5 October 1995

Vale Royal 
by Aidan Dun.
Goldmark, 130 pp., £22.50, July 1995
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... work up much enthusiasm for the post-Olsonian outpourings of the Seventies, most notably Allen Fisher’s Place, Place was set largely south of the river, a nowhere defined by unnecessary particulars. Now Roy Fisher, he could do something with him – but the man had the poor taste to base his mythology on Birmingham. My problem was the contrary ...

Reviewers

Marilyn Butler, 22 January 1981

Three-Quarter Face 
by Penelope Gilliatt.
Secker, 295 pp., £7.95, September 1980, 9780436179587
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Show People 
by Kenneth Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 317 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 297 77842 0
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When the lights go down 
by Pauline Kael.
Boyars, 592 pp., £8.95, August 1980, 0 7145 2726 2
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... followed by Max Beerbohm, Sainte-Beuve and John Aubrey. A brusque kiss-off to Francis Bacon, Charles Lamb, La Bruyère and the best of Mencken, not to mention Svetonius’s Lives of the Caesars; and into the garbage goes Samuel Johnson’s Lives of the Poets, perhaps the finest book of profile-essays ever written ... I am not, of course, claiming a place ...

Diary

Adam Shatz: Ornette Coleman, 16 July 2015

... gave a stately reading on soprano saxophone of Coleman’s 1959 composition ‘Peace’, with Geri Allen on piano. The tenor saxophonists Joe Lovano and David Murray howled their way through Coleman’s most famous tune, ‘Lonely Woman’. There was a haunting duet between Henry Threadgill, on alto flute, and Jason Moran, on piano, and an electric dialogue ...

Diary

Mark Ford: Love and Theft, 2 December 2004

... bricolage and intertextuality. Their cases are analysed along with that of the Victorian novelist Charles Reade, and the American writer Jacob Epstein, whose first novel, Wild Oats (1979), included a number of sentences taken straight from The Rachel Papers by Martin Amis. These plagiarists, he found, nearly always used the notebook defence: they’d copied ...

Antic Santa

James Francken: Nathan Englander, 28 October 1999

For the Relief of Unbearable Urges 
by Nathan Englander.
Faber, 205 pp., £9.99, May 1999, 0 571 19691 8
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... that Saul Bellow has described, the rules that restrain ‘haughty, spinning, crazy spirit’. Charles Morton Luger, high-flying financial analyst and ‘Christian non-believer’, has an epiphany in the opening paragraph of The Gilgul of Park Avenue’. Not a sudden, dizzying revelation – colours are ‘no brighter or darker’ as he sits in the back of ...

Amigos

Christopher Ricks, 2 August 1984

The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... a parody of Yeats’s anthology piece, any more than Beckett’s Worstward Ho is a parody of Charles Kingsley’s Westward Ho!. Brett has therefore come up with almost the only way of being calumniatingly unjust to Ezra Pound. And, even-handedly, to Pound’s impugners. J.B. Morton was often funny and acute, but his philistine squib against ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann, 7 January 1999

John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... effortlessly since birth from one favourable literary atmosphere to another. His father had heard Charles Dickens read when he was six, had helped to found Granta and furiously defended the Liberal cause at the Punch table. John himself had been at Eton with Alan Pryce-Jones, Anthony Powell, Eric Blair and Cyril Connolly, who, we are told, stood at the door ...

Diary

Ruth Dudley Edwards: Peddling Books, 21 January 1988

... became a succès de scandale as well as modestly profitable for some years. Aubrey Beardsley and Charles Ricketts were among the illustrators who often delighted and sometimes shocked public opinion; the young Max Beerbohm and Oscar Wilde among the best-known of the writers. And with the often splendid Yellow Book, first published in 1894, the firm achieved ...

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