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Water’s water everywhere

Jerry Fodor, 21 October 2004

Kripke: Names, Necessity and Identity 
by Christopher Hughes.
Oxford, 247 pp., £35, January 2004, 0 19 824107 0
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... philosophers) reads (Anglophone, analytic) philosophy these days. But, having just worked through Christopher Hughes’s Kripke: Names, Necessity and Identity, I am no longer puzzled. That may sound as though I’m intending to dispraise the book, but to the contrary; I think it’s a fine piece of work in lots of ways. To begin with, the topic is ...

Attending Poppy

Christopher Tayler: David Grand, 9 December 1999

Louse 
by David Grand.
Quartet, 255 pp., £10, April 1999, 9780704381155
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... In its fifties heyday 7000 Romaine was the operations centre of Howard Hughes’s organisation, and lent its name to an unusual document known as the ‘Romaine Street Procedures Manual’, an attempt to codify both Hughes’s memoranda and the instructions set down by his compliant lieutenants ...

War and Pax

Claude Rawson, 2 July 1981

War Music. An Account of Books 16 to 19 of Homer’s ‘Iliad’ 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 83 pp., £3.95, May 1981, 0 224 01534 6
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Ode to the Dodo. Poems from 1953 to 1978 
by Christopher Logue.
Cape, 176 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 224 01892 2
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Under the North Star 
by Ted Hughes and Leonard Baskin.
Faber, 47 pp., £5.95, April 1981, 9780571117215
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Ted HughesThe Unaccommodated Universe 
by Ekbert Faas.
Black Swallow Press, 229 pp., June 1983, 0 87685 459 5
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Myth in the Poetry of Ted Hughes 
by Stuart Hirschberg.
Wolfhound, 239 pp., £8.50, April 1981, 0 905473 50 7
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Ted HughesA Critical Study 
by Terry Gifford and Neil Roberts.
Faber, 288 pp., £9.50, April 1981, 0 571 11701 5
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... Christopher Logue’s War Music is not ‘a translation in the accepted sense’. It’s not clear why, having said this, he should invoke Johnson’s remark that a translation’s merit should be judged by ‘its effect as an English poem’, since Johnson was talking about translations, whereas Logue’s poem is a variety of ‘poetical imitation’ and belongs to a perfectly good tradition of English poems based on or played off against an older (often Classical) original ...

Pretending to write ‘Vile Bodies’

Christopher Hitchens, 9 January 1992

Lost Property: Memoirs and Confessions of a Bad Boy 
by Ben Sonnenberg.
Faber, 217 pp., £14.99, November 1991, 0 571 16545 1
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... Far from being a lounge lizard, he is a renowned Stoic. Shall I forget the evening with Ted Hughes where Ben, confined to a wheelchair by a cruel sclerosis, listened to the poet describing a faith healer he knew? The rest of us sat congealed with awkwardness as Hughes told of crooked spines made straight, wholeness ...

Entrepreneurship

Tom Paulin: Ted Hughes and the Hare, 29 November 2007

Letters of Ted Hughes 
edited by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 756 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 571 22138 7
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... Between leaving school and going to Cambridge, Ted Hughes did his National Service in the RAF. Writing from RAF West Kirby, in the Wirral, to a friend, Edna Wholey, in 1949 – characteristically there is no date on the letter – he exults in the wild weather:Edna, I’ve seen rain and I tell you this isn’t rain, – a steady river, well laced with ice, tempest and thunder, covers all this land, and what isn’t concrete has reverted to original chaos of mud water fire and air ...

Damn all

Scott Malcomson, 23 September 1993

Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America 
by Robert Hughes.
Oxford, 224 pp., £12.95, June 1993, 0 19 507676 1
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... or I find I lose ground ‘I am nothing, if not critical.’ The predicament is one which Robert Hughes shares with Hazlitt, of whom Keats gamely wrote: ‘if ever I am damn’d – damn me if I shouldn’t like him to damn me.’ In Culture of Complaint (a bestseller in the US), Hughes damns damn near everybody. He ...

Half-Fox

Seamus Perry: Ted Hughes, 29 August 2013

Poet and Critic: The Letters of Ted Hughes and Keith Sagar 
edited by Keith Sagar.
British Library, 340 pp., £25, May 2013, 978 0 7123 5862 0
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Ted and I: A Brother’s Memoir 
by Gerald Hughes.
Robson, 240 pp., £16.99, October 2012, 978 1 84954 389 7
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... and then, coming towards the nearer end of the line, the dark, odd and uncouth figure of Ted Hughes. In the superb doorstop of his Collected Poems, Hughes comes across as a more diverse poet than I remembered, and in many ways a more sympathetic and engaging presence. But it’s true that a good many of his poems ...

Fit and Few

Donald Davie, 3 May 1984

The Making of the Reader: Language and Subjectivity in Modern American, English and Irish Poetry 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 30632 5
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... had struck a loudly answering chord from the settled centre! That is the predicament of Larkin, of Hughes, of Heaney: each of them initially supposing himself a marginal person speaking up for marginal people, yet forced to recognise – as the royalty statements convey their gratifying yet unnerving message – that the stance he had thought of as special was ...

A Martian School of two or more

James Fenton, 6 December 1979

A Martian sends a postcard home 
by Craig Raine.
Oxford, 46 pp., £2.95
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Arcadia 
by Christopher Reid.
Oxford, 50 pp., £2.75
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Love-Life 
by Hugo Williams.
Whizzard Press/Deutsch, 40 pp., £2.95
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A Faust Book 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.25, September 1979, 0 19 211895 1
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Time 
by Yehuda Amichai.
Oxford, 88 pp., £3.50
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... its implications. This is a good period for English poetry. Not only is there Raine. There is also Christopher Reid, whose work bears a sufficient similarity to that of Raine for one to talk of a Martian school. Arcadia, Reid’s first collection, is an elegant and original book whose virtues remind one of the world of painting. It is not surprising ...

Bad White Men

Christopher Tayler: James Ellroy, 19 July 2001

The Cold Six Thousand 
by James Ellroy.
Century, 672 pp., £16.99, April 2001, 0 7126 4817 8
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... occupations include freelance entrapment and extortion, procuring girls and drugs for Howard Hughes, killing people for Jimmy Hoffa, and training Cuban mercenaries for the Bay of Pigs. Pete got in trouble with the Mafia in American Tabloid when he was caught stealing a shipment of heroin, and now has to work fairly hard to stay in their good books. In ...

In the Tart Shop

Murray Sayle: How Sydney got its Opera House, 5 October 2000

The Masterpiece: Jørn Utzon, a Secret Life 
by Philip Drew.
Hardie Grant, 574 pp., AUS $39.95, October 1999, 1 86498 047 8
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Jørn Utzon: The Sydney Opera House 
by Françoise Fromonot, translated by Christopher Thompson.
Electa/Gingko, 236 pp., £37.45, January 1998, 3 927258 72 5
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... in 1975 and died, a multi-millionaire, in 1981. Not so his minister for public works, Davis Hughes, a former schoolteacher from rural Orange who is the villain of Drew’s story and, like Utzon, is still with us. Drew charges, with convincing documentation, that Hughes intended even before the election to get Utzon ...

At the Movies

Christopher Tayler: ‘Four Lions’, 27 May 2010

Four Lions 
directed by Chris Morris.
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... about Morris’s ‘unspeakably sick’ activities – in the words of the then Labour MP Beverley Hughes – peaked in 2001, when a one-off Brass Eye episode that sent up the hysteria surrounding paedophilia resulted in a small-scale media frenzy. By then, though, he’d mostly abandoned fake news and moved on to more opaque, quasi-dramatic material ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen, 14 January 2002

Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... Over the next ten years he became a star. He initially worked as a contract player at Howard Hughes’s RKO. (Hughes, a control-freak, had Mitchum’s house bugged: Mitchum, with characteristic contrariness, always insisted he liked Hughes.) His best roles were largely in film noir ...

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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... well stocked 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 ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell, 2 December 2010

J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... indicators such as ‘presently’ (lifted, according to his friend John Spurling, from Richard Hughes). And he renders his characters’ inner voices oddly, sometimes putting thoughts in quotation marks, sometimes using free indirect style and sometimes forgetting which of the two he’s doing. From time to time this makes people think in the wrong ...

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