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A Regular Grey

Jonathan Parry, 3 December 2020

Statesman of Europe: a Life of Sir Edward Grey 
by T.G. Otte.
Allen Lane, 858 pp., £35, November, 978 0 241 41336 4
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... East Africa in 1911: excited for the kill, he galloped too near his prey, missed and was mauled. Charles, having lost an arm and won an MC in the First World War, was felled by an angry buffalo in Tanganyika in 1928. Grey’s remaining brother, Alexander, a vicar in Trinidad, died aged 44, probably from the after-effects of a childhood cricket ...

Father and Son

Tony Gould, 23 June 1988

When the fighting is over: A Personal Story of the Battle for Tumbledown Mountain and its Aftermath 
by John Lawrence and Robert Lawrence.
Bloomsbury, 196 pp., £12.95, May 1988, 0 7475 0174 2
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by Charles Wood.
Penguin, 80 pp., £3.95, April 1988, 0 14 011198 0
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... first place. In the film he is very sympathetically played by David Calder: this may be truer to Charles Wood’s screenplay than to life. There is no hint in this portrayal of the boorishness which never seems far from the surface of his own account. His wife, Jean Lawrence, is a shadowy presence in both book and film. She is a senior lecturer at ...

In the Shady Wood

Michael Neill: Staging the Forest, 22 March 2018

The Shakespearean Forest 
by Anne Barton.
Cambridge, 185 pp., £75, August 2017, 978 0 521 57344 3
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... as ‘les quater Chivalers de la forrest salvigne’, emerged from an elaborate artificial wood, consisting of ‘12 hawthorns, 12 oaks, 12 maples, 10 birches, 16 dozen fern roots and branches, 60 broom stalks, and 16 furze bushes’. A century later the design for Lord Hay’s Masque – almost certainly devised by the pre-eminent artist of the ...

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... misanthropy, Inadmissible Evidence, or for that matter, Alpha Beta by Ted Whitehead, Veterans by Charles Wood, The Arbour by Andrea Dunbar, or Caryl Churchill’s plays directed by Max Stafford-Clark, or the plays of Christopher Hampton, Joe Orton, David Hare, Howard Brenton, Athol Fugard or Sam Shepard. The tradition of unmannered acting, devotion to ...
... novel – about a summer holiday he spent when he was 11 – as an adult book. But his publisher, Charles Darke, insists that it is a children’s book, that children will read it and understand that childhood is finite: ‘that it won’t last, it can’t last, that sooner or later they’re finished, done for, that their childhood is not for ever.’ ...

Two Poems

Aleksandar Ristovic, translated by Charles Simic, 13 May 1999

... in motion, purgatory is open for those of us holding a carving knife, a rope, and a hoop made of wood. Regarding Walking on Water I’m trying to walk on water, and you know, at times, somehow, I manage to do so. Believe me, the trick is to fix on something else besides one’s own gravity. And so, here I am teaching others to walk on water. They wet the ...

Whose Body?

Charles Glass: ‘Operation Mincemeat’, 22 July 2010

Operation Mincemeat: The True Spy Story that Changed the Course of World War Two 
by Ben Macintyre.
Bloomsbury, 400 pp., £16.99, January 2010, 978 0 7475 9868 8
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... of the war, by occupying the area before the Allies did. This own-goal-that-almost-was inspired Charles Cholmondeley, an eccentric RAF flight lieutenant seconded to MI5, to propose sending another corpse to Spain with papers that the Spanish would show to the Germans. Cholmondeley was secretary to the Twenty Committee, which ran double agents and whose ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Bad and the Beautiful’, 5 April 2012

The Bad and the Beautiful 
directed by Vincente Minnelli.
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... or rather the key doesn’t have to do with persons, but with stereotypes. Minnelli and his writer Charles Schnee have carefully anticipated not what we might know about Hollywood filmmaking but what we may imagine Hollywood figures ought to be like. This is all very intelligent and knowing, but also a little chaotic, because our imaginations foster various ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: Max Ophuls, 9 October 2008

... to think it was – and the shallows of the human heart are a great subject. In Madame de . . . Charles Boyer explains to his wife, in the lucid, pompous and intimately vulnerable manner that Ophuls keeps lending to his older men – the betrayed (and then philandering) husband in La Ronde, played by Fernand Gravey, talks in just the same way – that their ...

At the Royal Academy

Anne Wagner: America after the Fall , 4 May 2017

... There was once​ a time when, in the eyes of advanced American taste-makers, Grant Wood led the list of home-grown artists who ought to be dismissed. Clement Greenberg, for example, used his column in the Nation to make it clear that nothing by Wood and his fellow figurative painters, not even their most successful compositions, was anything like as interesting as an unsuccessful picture by an average abstractionist ...

The Crotch Thing

James Wood: Alan Hollinghurst, 16 July 1998

The Spell 
by Alan Hollinghurst.
Chatto, 257 pp., £15.99, July 1998, 0 7011 6519 7
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... version of caro, which was the Italian for expensive. Of course, the English for Carlo was Charles, which was the name of his estate-agent friend. That was a coincidence. Maybe Charles too was Massively VWE [Very Well Endowed]. It was hard to tell with those expansive pin-stripes. How would he put it? – ‘enjoys a ...

At the Ashmolean

Peter Campbell: Lucien and Camille Pissarro, 3 February 2011

... were mainly small, sometimes printed in red and black, though more often reproduced from colour wood engravings; some were traditional tales for children, some were by living writers; the texts were set close, often within flowery borders, the engravings ranged from peasant children in his first book, The Queen of the Fishes, to Italianate girls in long ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Mank’, 21 January 2021

... doesn’t get beyond a projection of self-pity. It’s sad and sloppy, but in part redeemed by Charles Dance’s performance as Hearst. He sits smiling grimly through Mank’s whole recital as, one by one, the guests, including Davies and Mayer, get up and leave. Then Hearst calmly escorts Mank to the door.Mank finishes his script, and Houseman collects ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: David Jones’s War, 19 March 2015

... when Jones embarked at Southampton, to the following summer, the last part unfolding in Mametz Wood where, on 10 July, more than a week into the Battle of the Somme, he and his comrades in the Royal Welch Fusiliers were finally committed (they had relieved Siegfried Sassoon’s battalion on 5 July). Once the attack on the ...

Black, White and Female

Betty Wood, 2 May 1985

The Limits of Liberty: American History 1607-1980 
by Maldwyn Jones.
Oxford, 696 pp., £22.50, November 1983, 0 19 913074 4
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America: A Narrative History 
by Charles Brown Tindall.
Norton, 1425 pp., £16.95, July 1984, 0 393 95435 8
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The Longman History of the United States 
by Hugh Brogan.
Longman, 740 pp., £19.95, March 1985, 0 582 35385 8
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American Tough: The Tough-Guy Tradition and American Character 
by Rupert Wilkinson.
Greenwood, 221 pp., £27.95, March 1984, 0 313 23797 2
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... and paid little regard to changes in the economic, social and cultural landscape. Maldwyn Jones, Charles Tindall and Hugh Brogan have played absolutely safe and settled for an orthodox approach. They neither dispute nor deviate significantly from the well-trodden paths of traditional historiography. If Professors Jones and Tindall are to be criticised, it is ...

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