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Tom Phillips

2 April 1981
English Art and Modernism 1900-1939 
by Charles Harrison.
Allen Lane, 416 pp., £20, February 1981, 0 7139 0792 4
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... is now more likely to be seen savouring the small pungent epiphanies of Howard Hodgkin than gazing at a Rauschenberg, however huge. It is almost as if the younger gallery-goer had already digested CharlesHarrison’s salutary and illuminating study of the theory and practice of Modernist art in England, with its detailed clinical case-histories of groups and individuals. Sniffing its moment, this ...

At the Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: ‘Faces in the Crowd: Picturing Modern Life from Manet to Today’

6 January 2005
... are not particularly productive visually, but do make you think about what, at a point in time, artists have felt they were able, or not able, to do.In an essay in the exhibition catalogue, CharlesHarrison describes one kind of artistic inhibition with reference to Mark Rothko. In 1958 Rothko explained that although he belonged ‘to a generation that was preoccupied with the human figure’, and ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken

30 April 2009
... Buildings of England, London 5: East.) You would hardly guess anything was missing; the building is a showpiece, Whitechapel High Street’s strongest and most interesting frontage. The architect, CharlesHarrison Townsend, designed similar heavily moulded round-arched entrances for the Bishopsgate Institute and the Horniman Museum. The spaces inside were much less emphatic – almost industrial in ...

On Richard Hollis

Christopher Turner: Richard Hollis

24 May 2018
... Gallery, built in 1901, was the brainchild of a local curate, Samuel Barnett, who wanted to bring culture, as well as religion, to the slums. The distinctive Art Nouveau structure was designed by CharlesHarrison Townsend, and is dominated by a squat, Romanesque arch, placed, rather eccentrically, off-centre to make way for a modest door that used to lead to the upper galleries. It is clad in glazed ...

At Tate Britain

T.J. Clark: Paul Nash

2 February 2017
... sweet tint. Something about its headlong purpose recalled Picasso. It was eminently bovine and yet scarcely male. Surely this must be the cow of Guernica’s bull. It seemed as mystical and as dire.CharlesHarrison, who quotes these lines in his excellent English Art and Modernism, immediately cautions us against reading Nash’s painting in the light of his prose. ‘As a writer,’ Harrison says ...

Balls and Strikes

Charles​ Reeve: Clement Greenberg

5 April 2007
Art Czar: The Rise and Fall of Clement Greenberg 
by Alice Goldfarb Marquis.
Lund Humphries, 321 pp., £25, April 2006, 0 85331 940 5
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... that he saw purity and flatness as modern art’s defining achievement. Greenberg came to distance himself from a belief in art’s purity. ‘I don’t believe in purity at all,’ he told CharlesHarrison in 1983. ‘It acts as some kind of beacon. It’s there but it’s not possible.’ It wasn’t possible because all good paintings use more than one colour and thereby necessarily convey a sense of ...

Hackney

W.G. Runciman

20 October 1983
Inside the Inner City 
by Paul Harrison.
Pelican, 444 pp., £3.95, August 1983, 9780140224191
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Brighton on the Rocks: Monetarism and the Local State 
Queens Park Rates Book Group, 192 pp., £3.95, May 1983, 0 904733 08 4Show More
The Wealth Report 
edited by Frank Field.
Routledge, 164 pp., £6.95, June 1983, 0 7100 9452 3
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... Paul Harrison is at pains to make clear that his impassioned report on poverty and social conflict in the Borough of Hackney is not an academic survey. It is journalism, and proud of it. It would be totally ...

The Wives of Herr Bear

Julia Briggs: Jane Harrison

21 September 2000
The Invention of Jane Harrison 
by Mary Beard.
Harvard, 229 pp., £23.50, July 2000, 0 674 00212 1
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... They brew a concoction of ivy leaves, and embark on the ritual frenzy that culminates in the ‘omophagy’, a feast of raw flesh to be eaten by initiates. Their experiment is informed by Jane Harrison’s researches into the figure of Bacchus and the ‘thiasos’, his band of ecstatic worshippers. Harrison had read her Nietzsche and set off in pursuit of the ‘darker, older’ shapes to be ...

Praising God

David Underdown

10 June 1993
Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars 1638-1651 
by Charles​ Carlton.
Routledge, 428 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 415 03282 2
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... as a young chaplain in the army of the Parliament. After some fierce fighting, panic suddenly set in among the Royalists on the opposite hill. Standing next to Baxter was the godly Major Thomas Harrison. As the Cavaliers broke and fled, Baxter heard him ‘with a loud voice break forth into the praises of God with fluent expressions, as if he had been in a rapture’. Exultant vengefulness was ...

Consequences

Christopher Reid

15 May 1980
Renga 
by Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti and Charles​ Tomlinson.
Penguin, 95 pp., £1.95, November 1979, 0 14 042268 4
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Kites in Spring 
by John Hewitt.
Blackstaff, 63 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 0 85640 206 0
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The Island Normal 
by Brian Jones.
Carcanet, 91 pp., £2.95, February 1980, 9780856353406
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New Poetry 5 
edited by Peter Redgrove and Jon Silkin.
Hutchinson, 163 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 09 139570 4
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... as ‘property-owner’ of his work, was an important part of the Surrealist campaign. The Renga composed in Paris more than ten years ago by Octavio Paz, Jacques Roubaud, Edoardo Sanguineti and Charles Tomlinson has recently been published here. This work, the result of five days’ collaboration in the basement of the Hôtel St Simon on the left Bank, has both oriental and occidental ancestry. The ...
9 July 1992
Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... is supposed to be deeply satisfying to the English themselves. Robert Crawford, who pursues the argument on behalf of the Scots, avoids this mistake, detecting in a provincial Englishman like Tony Harrison a fury and resentment not surpassed by any Scot. But this is hardly a novel perception, for Harrison has achieved fame on the strength of it. In fact, it’s hard to find any English writer who isn ...

The Virgin

David Plante

3 April 1986
... Elizabeth was in bed. The dog had its front paws between her breasts, and, its tongue out, it stared at her as she spoke to it. Charles, the husband, undressed and hung his clothes askew on the silent butler. When he took off his underpants, he held them in his hands a moment, expecting his wife to look towards him naked. She didn ...

Callaloo

Robert Crawford

20 April 1989
Northlight 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles​ Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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Birthmarks 
by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... Where do you come from?’ asks one of the most important questions in contemporary poetry – where’s home? Answering the pulls and torsions of that question produces much of the verse of Heaney, Harrison and Dunn, but it also produces very different kinds of poetry. Martianism had nothing to do with Mars, everything to do with home, the place where Craig Raine (like Murray or Dunn) feels richest ...

Sexual Tories

Angus Calder

17 May 1984
The Common People: A History from the Norman Conquest to the Present 
by J.F.C. Harrison.
Croom Helm and Flamingo, 445 pp., £12.95, March 1984, 0 7099 0125 9
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British Society 1914-45 
by John Stevenson.
Allen Lane/Penguin, 503 pp., £16.95, March 1984, 0 7139 1390 8
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The World We Left Behind: A Chronicle of the Year 1939 
by Robert Kee.
Weidenfeld, 369 pp., £11.95, April 1984, 0 297 78287 8
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Wigan Pier Revisited: Poverty and Politics in the Eighties 
by Beatrix Campbell.
Virago, 272 pp., £4.50, April 1984, 0 86068 417 2
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... man as if it was just a moment before yesterday. What she sang seemed to her to be fact, or at any rate truth, and her historical sense collapsed chronology. I was moved to remember this by J.F.C. Harrison’s ‘coda’ to his fine new book: ‘As writers like Thomas Hardy have noted, there is a certain timelessness about the common people, which means that in the last resort their experience can be ...

Prize Poems

Donald Davie

1 July 1982
Arvon Foundation Poetry Competion: 1980 Anthology 
by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Kilnhurst Publishing Company, 173 pp., £3, April 1982, 9780950807805
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Burn this 
by Tom Disch.
Hutchinson, 63 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... a sentimental fit, take down this book and blow the dust off it recalling: ‘Bosley was quite keen on me.’ What on earth were they looking for – Ted Hughes and Philip Larkin, Seamus Heaney and Charles Causley – that they should have rated Bosley’s heart-warming dexterity (feelingful as well as formal) below, for instance, 18 solid unpunctuated pages of pornographic daydream: Kenneth Bernard ...

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