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On the horse Parsnip

John Bayley, 8 February 1990

Boris Pasternak: The Tragic Years 1930-1960 
by Evgeny Pasternak.
Collins Harvill, 278 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 272045 0
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Boris Pasternak 
by Peter Levi.
Hutchinson, 310 pp., £17.95, January 1990, 0 09 173886 5
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Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography. Vol.I: 1890-1928 
by Christopher Barnes.
Cambridge, 507 pp., £35, November 1989, 0 521 25957 6
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Poems 1955-1959 and An Essay in Autobiography 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Michael Harari and Manya Harari.
Collins Harvill, 212 pp., £6.95, January 1990, 9780002710657
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The Year 1905 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Richard Chappell.
Spenser, £4.95, April 1989, 0 9513843 0 9
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... approach of Guy de Mallac and others, worthy as their pioneering studies have been. But Christopher Barnes’s ‘Literary Biography’, of which this solid work is the first of two volumes, will certainly become the standard and indispensable guide for students not only of the poet but of his age and literary milieu. The popular Western image ...

Like choosing between bacon and egg and bacon and tomato

Christopher Tayler: The Wryness of Julian Barnes, 15 April 2004

The Lemon Table 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 213 pp., £16.99, March 2004, 9780224071987
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... Julian Barnes’s new book of short stories is concerned with old age and death. Barnes – who was born in 1946 – should have a few years to go before he experiences either condition, but his fiction has always been precociously interested in both. He visited the afterlife, in the person of a cartoon suburbanite, in A History of the World in 10½ Chapters (1989 ...

‘Oh no Oh No OH NO’

Thomas Jones: Julian Barnes, 17 February 2011

Pulse 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 228 pp., £16.99, January 2011, 978 0 224 09108 4
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Nothing to Be Frightened Of 
by Julian Barnes.
Vintage, 250 pp., £8.99, March 2009, 978 0 09 952374 1
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... The 21-year-old narrator of Julian Barnes’s first novel, Metroland (1980), suggests that ‘everyone has a perfect age to which they aspire, and they’re only truly at ease with themselves when they get there. I suppose with most people it’s between 25 and 35.’ For him, though, he imagines it’s ‘a sprightly 65 ...

A Review of Grigson’s Verse

Graham Hough, 7 August 1980

History of Him 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 96 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 436 18841 4
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... and art historian – it is as a sympathetic critic of some of the quieter poets (Clare, Barnes, Christopher Smart) and an acrid critic of many others, including most of his contemporaries, that Grigson is first thought of. Not Mr Grigson the poet, his eye in a fine frenzy rolling, but Mr Grigson the critic, his ...

Looking back

John Sutherland, 22 May 1980

Metroland 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 176 pp., £4.95, March 1980, 0 224 01762 4
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The Bleeding Heart 
by Marilyn French.
Deutsch, 412 pp., £6.50, May 1980, 9780233972343
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Creator 
by Jeremy Leven.
Hutchinson, 544 pp., £6.95, April 1980, 0 09 141250 1
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... in the face of the permissive Sixties, Humanae Vitae and the abolition of National Service. Julian Barnes’s very much à la mode Metroland is divided into three sections: I Metroland (1963), II Paris (1968), III Metroland (1977). Current fashions apart, the narrative circuit is familiar from Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying: both novels record a young ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels, 23 August 2001

... Stephen Moss, that paper’s former literary editor, has asked: ‘Why do Rushdie, McEwan, Barnes and Amis still dominate Britain’s literary scene?’ Without so much as a flutter of irony, Moss quotes an anonymous ‘leading critic’ denouncing ‘the media’s obsession’ with Rushdie etc for ‘blocking the emergence of new writers’. The ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: On the Original Non-Event , 20 April 1995

... rather frightening when people ignore, or don’t understand, jokes made at their expense. Julian Barnes once wrote a salutary essay on this, recalling the great Monty Python sketch about an obscure island completely inhabited by men sounding and looking like Alan Whicker. They paced to and fro, droning horribly and trailing microphones. It was, as ...
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... Auberon Waugh in the Daily Mail; John Wells twice, once in Harper’s and once in the Times; Christopher Booker in the Spectator; Malcolm Muggeridge in the Daily Telegraph; Candida Lycett-Green (who was in love with Ingrams at Oxford, speaks adoringly of him in this book, and once worked for the Eye) in the Standard. Nor are the paper’s smallest ...

Faber Book of Groans

Christopher Ricks, 1 March 1984

Required Writing: Miscellaneous Pieces 1955-1982 
by Philip Larkin.
Faber, 315 pp., £4.95, November 1983, 0 571 13120 4
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... almost entirely to writers who are usually condescended to as ‘minor’ (Housman, William Barnes, de la Mare, Betjeman) is itself a various and sustained argument for inverting the usual priorities and for seeing these poets’ virtues as the truly important ones. Indeed, Larkin can retrieve the word ‘minor’ as an ally not to be underrated, saying ...

Saucy to Princes

Gerald Hammond: The Bible, 25 July 2002

The Book: A History of the Bible 
by Christopher de Hamel.
Phaidon, 352 pp., £24.95, September 2001, 0 7148 3774 1
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The Wycliffe New Testament 1388 
edited by W.R. Cooper.
British Library, 528 pp., £20, May 2002, 0 7123 4728 3
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... was any different. There, in its portable transparent box, was the earliest relic of the Book. In Christopher de Hamel’s history, the Rylands fragment is reproduced life-size in the final chapter: life-size but not, to my faulty memory at least, very true to its actual appearance. In the reproduction the papyrus is a kind of drab olive; in the Rylands, with ...

A Kind of Integrity

Jonathan Barnes, 6 November 1986

Philosophical Apprenticeships 
by Hans-Georg Gadamer, translated by Robert Sullivan.
MIT, 198 pp., £13.95, October 1985, 0 262 07092 8
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The Idea of the Good in Platonic-Aristotelian Philosophy 
by Hans-Georg Gadamer, translated by Christopher Smith.
Yale, 182 pp., £18, June 1986, 0 300 03463 6
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... Hans-Georg Gadamer ranks as one of Germany’s foremost philosophers. He occupied a chair at Heidelberg for quarter of a century, during which time his lecturing skills and a steady flow of publications brought him a reputation and a following second to none. Since his retirement he has divided his time between Germany and North America. Many of his writings have been translated, and the English version of his major work on Truth and Method has helped to extend his fame ...

Diary

Christopher Hitchens: The Salman Rushdie Acid Test, 24 February 1994

... from a monarchy whose sworn historic duty is the defence of the realm and its subjects?As Julian Barnes has recently pointed out, the same curious omission occurs in the memoirs of Baroness Thatcher. Never jollier than when seconding Good Queen Bess at Tilbury, and repudiating any foreigner who durst trespass on the rights of English subjects and ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’, 15 December 2011

... us much about the comings and goings at the magazine. The book is good on editorial tiffs. How Christopher Booker, the original editor, was fired while on holiday in 1963; how he went on, in 1976, to lay into the Eye just as Goldsmith, who had issued 63 writs against the magazine and its distributors and sought to bring a private suit for criminal ...

Mid-Century Male

Christopher Glazek: Edmund White, 19 July 2012

Jack Holmes and His Friend 
by Edmund White.
Bloomsbury, 390 pp., £18.99, January 2012, 978 1 4088 0579 4
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... with homosexuals; between Proust, Mann, Gide, Genet, Forster, Woolf, Stein, Langston Hughes, Djuna Barnes and Henry James, it may be more accurate to say that the modernist novel is a queer invention with a smattering of heterosexual imitators, many of them notably preoccupied with queer concerns. After the war, the mantle was passed from ...

Pseud’s Corner

John Sutherland, 17 July 1980

Duffy 
by Dan Kavanagh.
Cape, 181 pp., £4.95, July 1980, 0 224 01822 1
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Moscow Gold 
by John Salisbury.
Futura, 320 pp., £1.10, March 1980, 0 7088 1702 5
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The Middle Ground 
by Margaret Drabble.
Weidenfeld, 248 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 297 77808 0
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The Boy Who Followed Ripley 
by Patricia Highsmith.
Heinemann, 292 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 434 33520 7
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... or shame, for instance, that made Eric Blair rechristen himself at the start of his career? As Christopher Hollis tells us: ‘The reasons he gave for changing his name are oddly unconvincing. He complained that Blair was a Scots name and that he disliked Scotland because of its association with the deer forests about which his rich schoolfellows used to ...

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