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Scoop after Scoop

Ian Jack: Chapman Pincher’s Scoops, 5 June 2014

Dangerous to Know: A Life 
by Chapman Pincher.
Biteback, 386 pp., £20, February 2014, 978 1 84954 651 5
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... Profumo, Lord Dilhorne, George Weidenfeld, Maurice Oldfield, Victor Rothschild, Lord Porchester, Andrew Parker Bowles: ideally they should be highlighted in bold type, as was the way in the Hickey column. The author lets us know a little about each. Mountbatten may have had an affair with Barbara Cartland; Prince Michael of Kent worked for British ...

Diary

Andrew O’Hagan: Orders of Service, 18 April 2019

... fiction. Alan Bennett’s ‘The Laying on of Hands’ opens in a High Anglican church, St Andrew Upchance near Shoreditch, for the star-studded funeral of Clive Dunlop, ‘quite young – 34 according to the dates given on the front of the Order of Service’, but ‘these days there was not much mystery about that.’ When I returned the folder ...

Debellicised

Andrew Bacevich: The Protean face of modern warfare, 3 March 2005

The Remnants of War 
by John Mueller.
Cornell, 258 pp., £16.50, September 2004, 0 8014 4239 7
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The Future of War: The Re-Enchantment of War in the 21st Century 
by Christopher Coker.
Blackwell, 162 pp., £50, October 2004, 1 4051 2042 8
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The New Wars 
by Herfried Münkler.
Polity, 180 pp., £14.99, October 2004, 0 7456 3337 4
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... arcane literature, to which Europeans have contributed considerably. The Future of War, by Christopher Coker, exemplifies this literature at its giddiest. Styling his book as a manifesto, Coker proclaims, contra Mueller, that ‘there is nothing to suggest that we will be going out of the war business – indeed, quite the opposite.’ As Coker sees ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... Before 1922 Hugh MacDiarmid did not exist. And only Christopher Murray Grieve would have dared to invent him. Alan Bold’s valuable biography points out that when the 30-year-old Grieve began to write in the Scottish Chapbook under the pseudonym ‘M’Diarmid’, he was already editing the magazine under his own name, reviewing for it as ‘Martin Gillespie’, and employing himself as its Advertising Manager (and occasional contributor), ‘A ...

The Bart

Gabriele Annan, 10 December 1987

Broken Blood: The Rise and Fall of the Tennant Family 
by Simon Blow.
Faber, 224 pp., £14.95, October 1987, 0 571 13374 6
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... among Pamela’s descendants’. The feature didn’t come out in her eldest surviving son, Christopher, the second Lord Glenconner: so Blow doesn’t devote much space to him, though he regrets that in 1963 he sold the family firm to Consolidated Goldfields. He has more to say about the two younger brothers, David and Stephen. David led a rackety life ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... the perennial murmur swelling to a growl – is currently in crisis (again). Earlier this year, Andrew Marr certified it dead. (He was announcing the shortlist for the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction at the time. His verdict may prove to be no less premature than Johnson’s pronouncement on Sterne: ‘Nothing odd will do long. Tristram Shandy did not ...

Making sense

Denis Donoghue, 4 October 1984

A Wave 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £4.95, August 1984, 9780856355479
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Secret Narratives 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 46 pp., £6, March 1983, 0 907540 29 5
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Liberty Tree 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 78 pp., £4, June 1983, 0 05 711302 5
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111 Poems 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 85635 457 0
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New and Selected Poems 
by James Michie.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2723 6
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By the Fisheries 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 79 pp., £4, March 1984, 0 224 02154 0
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Voyages 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2736 8
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... itself. The admission of rival sentiments comes to appear merely a nuance of the mind’s habit. Andrew Motion’s way of making sense is to imagine something, then something else apparently quite different, and let the poem accommodate both imaginings with or without specifying the relation between them. A girl and her father, quarrelling; the girl and a ...

Triumph of the Termites

Tom Nairn: Gordon Brown, 8 April 2010

The End of the Party: The Rise and Fall of New Labour 
by Andrew Rawnsley.
Viking, 802 pp., £25, March 2010, 978 0 670 91851 5
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What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown?: How the Dream Job Turned Sour 
edited by Colin Hughes.
Guardian, 294 pp., £8.99, January 2010, 978 0 85265 219 0
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Broonland: The Last Days of Gordon Brown 
by Christopher Harvie.
Verso, 206 pp., £8.99, February 2010, 978 1 84467 439 8
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... dithering photo of the prime minister fronts What Went Wrong, Gordon Brown? The cover of Christopher Harvie’s book features a cartoon from the Independent: an apocalyptic lightning flash strikes and anoints David Cameron, while Brown and Alistair Darling flee London as Parliament quakes against the background of a setting sun. ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... gossip? A taste for silliness is a capital virtue when it comes to considering the Isherwoods. Christopher was ‘Dobbin’, ‘Old Drub’, ‘Dearest Only Horse’, ‘My Horse’, or sometimes ‘Dub’. He lived mostly at the Casa de los Animales in Santa Monica. Don, thirty-odd years younger, was mainly in London when these letters were written and he ...

Artovsky Millensky

Andrew O’Hagan: The Misfit, 1 January 2009

Arthur Miller, 1915-62 
by Christopher Bigsby.
Weidenfeld, 739 pp., £30, November 2008, 978 0 297 85441 8
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... for years to come, while his plays began to establish social conscience at the level of style. Christopher Bigbsy, the author of this new biography, has a perfect ear for the manners and motions of Miller’s art, and he tells a gripping story of Miller’s hunt for truth. There are mysteries to bear and ironies to become invested in – all good ...

Ruling Imbecilities

Andrew Roberts, 7 November 1991

The Enemy’s Country: Words, Contexture and Other Circumstances of Language 
by Geoffrey Hill.
Oxford, 153 pp., £19.95, August 1991, 0 19 811216 5
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... his attack on the ‘vast apparatus of Opinion’ more specific, criticising Malcolm Bradbury and Christopher Bigsby for presenting Margaret Drabble and John Le Carré as ‘most important writers’. He goes on to reproach the same critics for appealing to a ‘supposed consensus’ and for the use of the phrase ‘our time’, which Hill glosses as ‘your ...

Exact Walking

Christopher Hill, 19 June 1980

Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649 
by R.T. Kendall.
Oxford, 252 pp., £12.50, February 1980, 0 19 826716 9
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... of assurance of salvation and the visibility of the elect. Young poets like Richard Crashawe (and Andrew Marvell for a short time) swung to an emotional Popery, others to the half-way house of the Laudian ‘beauty of holiness’. Liberal intellectuals like John Hales and William Chillingworth reacted towards an intellectual Socinianism. During the ...

Who’s the alpha male now, bitches?

Andrew O’Hagan, 22 October 2015

... Christopher Harper-Mercer​ wrote that he had no life. He had no girlfriend and no job; the world was against him. He lived with his mother only a few miles from the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg, Oregon, and he collected guns. He shot nine people dead at the college on 1 October and injured nine others before killing himself ...

Frank Kermode

Mary-Kay Wilmers: On Frank Kermode, 9 September 2010

... anthology of LRB pieces, for which Frank wrote a short introduction. In the course of it he said: Andrew O’Hagan, an echt LRB writer, displays all the best qualities of this kind of journalism: while writing about Scottish nationalism he has a go at a senior contributor, Neal Ascherson, along the way. In the same spirit Stefan Collini takes a disparaging ...

Hard Labour

Frank Kermode: Marvell beneath the Notes, 23 October 2003

The Poems of Andrew Marvell 
edited by Nigel Smith.
Longman, 468 pp., £50, January 2003, 0 582 07770 2
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... The Longman series has a distinguished history stretching over nearly half a century. It includes Christopher Ricks’s exemplary Tennyson volume, later much enlarged to include variants from the Trinity MS, still under ban at the time of the first edition; the Milton volumes of Alastair Fowler and John Carey; and a good many others, including, more ...

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