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Jonathan Barnes, 23 January 1986

The Prehistory of Flight 
by Clive Hart.
California, 279 pp., £29.75, September 1985, 0 520 05213 7
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... with a few broken bones – and never travelled more than a yard or so in the horizontal plane. Clive Hart’s Prehistory of Flight lists in an appendix some fifty attempts at heavier-than-air flight undertaken – or allegedly undertaken – before 1783. The second and more lively half of his book, on ‘Practice’, recounts the histories of some of ...


Marina Warner: Airborne Females, 30 August 2018

Women Who Fly: Goddesses, Witches, Mystics and Other Airborne Females 
by Serinity Young.
Oxford, 432 pp., £19.99, May 2018, 978 0 19 530788 7
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... a wonderful gallery of flyers – a kind of panangelium – from cultures far and wide. Whereas Clive Hart’s Images of Flight (1988) didn’t distinguish its subjects by gender, Young focuses on female figures. Hers is a festive anthology, arranged in two main categories – Supernatural Women and Human Women – which teem with divine and prodigious ...


Clive James, 5 April 1984

... sun Fill up his tinted visor like white wine. Few poets get the face that they deserve Or, like Hart Crane, can travel in a tear. Of course Villeneuve was handsome anyway – The Rimbaud of the wheel just oozed romance – But where his class showed was in how that beast Ferrari drew sweet curves at his behest Instead of leading him St Vitus’ dance. He ...

Like a row of books by Faber

Peter Porter, 22 January 1987

Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 
by Clive James.
Cape, 221 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 224 02422 1
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... in verse. This nostrum begs many questions, but it remains a good rule-of-thumb. By this test, Clive James is a true poet. Line after line of his has a characteristic personal tone, a kind of end-stopped singingness which is almost independent of what it says. The following are taken at random from Other Passports: Like injured ozone to angelic wings ...

In Farageland

James Meek, 9 October 2014

... my peers were conceived. ‘The town used to double, treble, quadruple in size in summer,’ said Clive Hart, one of Cliftonville’s Labour councillors. ‘Birmingham used to close down and send everybody here for a fortnight. I was born in a council house a mile from the sea. In the summer months my mum had to put a sign in the window saying “No ...

So Much Smoke

Tom Shippey: King Arthur, 20 December 2018

King Arthur: the Making of the Legend 
by Nicholas Higham.
Yale, 380 pp., £25, October 2018, 978 0 300 21092 7
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... phrases.)The Sarmatian theory was taken up in Antoine Fuqua’s movie King Arthur (2004), starring Clive Owen and Keira Knightley, which must rank as one of the silliest films ever to have come out of Hollywood. Its tenuous grip on history is best exemplified by the claim in its tie-in novel that ‘the victory of Arthur at Badon Hill was so complete and so ...

Say thank you

Clive James: Witty Words in Pretty Mouths, 23 May 2002

Fast-Talking Dames 
by Maria DiBattista.
Yale, 365 pp., £19.95, June 2001, 0 300 08815 9
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... in Rouben Mamoulian’s Love Me Tonight in 1932. Ginger Rogers is rightly praised for Roxie Hart, Carole Lombard for Twentieth Century, Irene Dunne for The Awful Truth, Rosalind Russell for His Girl Friday. Apart from these recognised talents, which even a dullard can assess correctly just by agreeing with everybody else, there are unrecognised talents ...

What Nanny Didn’t Tell Me

Bernard Porter: Simon Mann, 26 January 2012

Cry Havoc 
by Simon Mann.
John Blake, 351 pp., £19.99, November 2011, 978 1 84358 403 2
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... interventions. As Mann puts it, ‘regime change is in vogue.’ He had links, through David Hart (a Thatcher adviser and plotter), with leading American neocons. He even took on an important piece of neocon ideology: the belief that if democracy were established in one part of (in this case) Africa it would naturally spread. ‘ARC’ – assisted ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... it could have been a tram.9 March. I am reading Colm Tóibín’s New Ways to Kill Your Mother. Of Hart Crane’s suicide he writes: ‘He walked on deck … took off his coat, folded it neatly over the railing (not dropping it on deck) … then suddenly he vaulted over the railing and jumped into the sea.’ This was in 1932. At Calverley on the outskirts of ...

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