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Two Spots and a Bubo

Hugh Pennington: Use soap and water, 21 April 2005

Return of the Black Death: The World’s Greatest Serial Killer 
by Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan.
Wiley, 310 pp., £16.99, May 2004, 0 470 09000 6
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The Great Plague: The Story of London’s Most Deadly Year 
by Lloyd Moote and Dorothy Moote.
Johns Hopkins, 357 pp., £19.95, April 2004, 0 8018 7783 0
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Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World’s Most Dangerous Disease 
by Wendy Orent.
Free Press, 276 pp., £17.99, May 2004, 0 7432 3685 8
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... records of the symptomatology and mortality of the disease, have persuaded Susan Scott and Christopher Duncan (and others) that another parasite must have been at work. There can be no doubt that not everyone who died during these outbreaks died of the plague itself. But the sceptics dismiss strong evidence of Yersinia pestis too lightly. Pepys ...

Hitting the buffers

Peter Wollen, 8 September 1994

Early Modernism: Literature, Music and Painting in Europe 1900-1916 
by Christopher Butler.
Oxford, 318 pp., £27.50, April 1994, 0 19 811746 9
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... the French stage pioneer, who had just founded his Théâtre du Vieux Colombier in Paris, wrote to Duncan Grant asking him to prepare the costumes and design for an innovative production of Twelfth Night. Grant completed the commission, using fabrics from the Omega Workshop for the costumes, and went over to Paris the following February to attend rehearsals ...

Deep Down in the Trash

Robert Crawford, 21 August 1997

God’s Gift to Women 
by Don Paterson.
Faber, 64 pp., £6.99, May 1997, 9780571177622
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... Younger Scottish writers seem to be preoccupied by gender. It is a theme crucial equally to Duncan McLean’s novel Bunker Man and to Kathleen Jamie’s poetry collection The Queen of Sheba. It is insistent in W.N. Herbert’s poem ‘Featherhood’ and Janice Galloway’s Foreign Parts. It bridges writing as different as the poetry of Carol Ann Duffy, Kate Clanchy or David Kinloch, and the fiction of Christopher Whyte or A ...

Heir to Blair

Christopher Tayler: Among the New Tories, 26 April 2007

... Party under William Hague, who led it to defeat in 2001; his successor, the tragi-farcical Iain Duncan Smith, who lasted until November 2003; and Michael Howard, who stayed on after losing a third general election in 2005 in order to oversee an extended leadership contest. Duncan Smith had himself been a minor ...

Echoes

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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... those defects and spots of nature which grow within a man marked for decline. Artists such as Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, John Piper and Graham Sutherland depart from his text, and while it is tempting to quote the manner of their going it is more illuminating to give a sample of the way in which he addresses himself to the much more difficult task of ...

Vita Longa

Mary-Kay Wilmers, 1 December 1983

Vita: The Life of V. Sackville-West 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 430 pp., £12.50, September 1983, 0 297 78306 8
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... love. I have never ceased to love her from that moment.’ The person who said that was known as Christopher St John, though her real name was Christabel Marshall. We know how she felt about the object of her passion, Vita Sackville-West, because she kept a ‘love-journal’ in Vita’s honour. Miss Sackville-West, who had recently (and most unusually) been ...

Best Known for His Guzzleosity

Helen Hackett: Shakespeare’s Authors, 11 March 2010

Contested Will: Who Wrote Shakespeare? 
by James Shapiro.
Faber, 367 pp., £20, April 2010, 978 0 571 23576 6
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... of the works published in his name: not Sir Francis Bacon, or Edward de Vere, Earl of Oxford, or Christopher Marlowe, living on in secret after his apparent death in a brawl in 1593 (before most of Shakespeare’s works were written), or one of the more than 50 alternative candidates who have been proposed since the mid-19th century. The case for Shakespeare ...

Pillors of Fier

Frank Kermode: Anthony Burgess, 11 July 2002

Nothing like the Sun: reissue 
by Anthony Burgess.
Allison and Busby, 234 pp., £7.99, January 2002, 0 7490 0512 2
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... Poet of Sonnet 86 remains George Chapman, not, as some think, Samuel Daniel or Michael Drayton or Christopher Marlowe or Ben Jonson or, since his was assuredly an ‘alien pen’ (Sonnet 78), Torquato Tasso. Candidates for the doubtful honour of being the Dark Lady are discussed (so far as the list went in 1970) and a slight preference is registered for Mary ...

Retro-Selfies

Iain Sinclair: Ferlinghetti, 17 December 2015

I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955–97 
edited by Bill Morgan.
City Lights, 284 pp., £11.83, July 2015, 978 0 87286 678 2
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Writing across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson.
Liveright, 464 pp., £22.99, October 2015, 978 1 63149 001 9
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... had once been a community art venture called King Ubu, operated by the Black Mountain poet Robert Duncan and his collagist partner Jess Collins. Duncan, removing his clothes at the conclusion of his verse play Faust Foutu, in order to demonstrate the meaning of nakedness, anticipated by a decade or so the Ginsberg party ...

Father-Daughter Problems

Michael Dobson: Shakespeare’s Bad Daughters, 8 May 2008

The Lodger: Shakespeare in Silver Street 
by Charles Nicholl.
Allen Lane, 378 pp., £20, November 2007, 978 0 7139 9890 0
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... Montjoy. Marie Mountjoy, of Silver Street, near the Barbican, ran a business with her husband, Christopher, making ‘tires’, ornamental headwear fashionable among ladies at court (‘tires’ were elaborate compounds of wire, jewellery and false hair). Thanks to a lawsuit brought in 1612 by their son-in-law, Stephen Belott, over the non-payment of the ...

Exit Humbug

David Edgar: Theatrical Families, 1 January 2009

A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and Their Remarkable Families 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 620 pp., £25, September 2008, 978 0 7011 7987 8
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... enthusiasm. Edward Gordon Craig fathered 13 children with eight different women, including Isadora Duncan. (When his and Isadora’s daughter, Deirdre, drowned in the Seine after a motoring accident, Craig failed to attend the funeral.) Like a number of his contemporaries, he welcomed the rise of Mussolini and Hitler (‘Exit humbug – enter men who are ...

At Kettle’s Yard

Eleanor Birne: The Reopening, 22 March 2018

... the yellow oval in the Miró painting that hangs nearby, and the yellow of the flowers in the Christopher Wood picture opposite. On a low table in Jim’s bedroom there’s a spiral of grey and white pebbles in a perfect grading of colour and size. Everything demands to be touched, and can’t be: visiting is excruciating, in the best way. Against one ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 7 September 2016

... The Thief’s Journal, Lolita, various unreadable works by Henry Miller, pornographic novels by Christopher Logue and Alexander Trocchi, a para-Beat from Glasgow, and Trocchi’s ghosted volume of the Frank Harris memoirs (Trocchi was Olympia’s ‘top all-out literary stallion’, according to Girodias). Olympia went on to publish two more works by ...

It’s great to change your mind

Christopher Ricks, 7 February 1985

Using Biography 
by William Empson.
Chatto, 259 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 7011 2889 5
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Seven Types of Ambiguity 
by William Empson.
Hogarth, 258 pp., £4.95, September 1984, 0 7012 0556 3
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Collected Poems 
by William Empson.
Hogarth, 119 pp., £3.95, September 1984, 0 7012 0555 5
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... that of Gilles de Rais, the craving to gloat over the torturing of a tender innocent. Mrs Duncan-Jones was quite right, in her Academy lecture, to point out the strangeness of it, but (I think) not nearly censorious enough.’ Empson’s magnanimity reserves the right to be censorious, and indeed there would be no claim to magnanimity if the right ...

Who Runs Britain?

Christopher Hitchens, 8 December 1994

The Enemy Within: MI5, Maxwell and the Scargill Affair 
by Seumas Milne.
Verso, 352 pp., £18.95, November 1994, 0 86091 461 5
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... in the bare-faced Special Branch framing of two of my journalist colleagues (Crispin Aubrey and Duncan Campbell – two of the then-celebrated ‘ABC’ defendants) and had written several editorials about torture in Ulster when Roy Mason was Callaghan’s minister for the Province and a Yorkshire area-sponsored NUM Member of Parliament. Forgive me this ...

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