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Gehenna

Walter Kendrick

2 August 1984
The Brothers Singer 
by Clive Sinclair.
Allison and Busby, 176 pp., £8.95, April 1983, 0 85031 275 2
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The Penitent 
by Isaac Bashevis Singer, translated by Joseph Singer.
Cape, 170 pp., £7.95, March 1984, 0 224 02192 3
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... When Isaac Bashevis Singer won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, not everyone was gratified. CliveSinclair begins The Brothers Singer with a quotation from a BBC radio interview broadcast minutes after the award had been announced: the ‘astounded’ interviewer suspected that ‘some kind of American ...

Getting back

Adrian Poole

1 July 1982
A crowd is not company 
by Robert Kee.
Cape, 240 pp., £7.50, May 1982, 9780224020039
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Bedbugs 
by Clive Sinclair.
Allison and Busby, 109 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 454 2
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New Writing and Writers 19 
John Calder, 262 pp., £6.95, April 1982, 0 7145 3811 6Show More
Zhenia’s Childhood 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Alec Brown.
Allison and Busby, 115 pp., £6.95, May 1982, 0 85031 466 6
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... left on earth, the memory quickens of what has been lost, swells to a promise too vivid for reason, and he struggles off the ground with renewed desire. The shade of Radnoti materialises in one of CliveSinclair’s short stories in Bedbugs. Joshua Smolinsky, private eye, is being interrogated by the Czech secret police; he is wilting and his guardian angel intervenes to encourage him by introducing ...

Downhill

David Marquand

19 September 1985
Years of Recovery: British Economic Policy 1945-51 
by Alec Cairncross.
Methuen, 527 pp., £35, April 1985, 0 416 37920 6
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The Politics of Recession 
by R.W. Johnson.
Macmillan, 275 pp., £20, January 1985, 0 333 36786 3
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The Labour Government 1974-79: Political Aims and Economic Reality 
by Martin Holmes.
Macmillan, 206 pp., £25, May 1985, 0 333 36735 9
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New Jerusalems: The Labour Party and the Economics of Democratic Socialism 
by Elizabeth Durbin and Roy Hattersley.
Routledge, 341 pp., £16.95, March 1985, 9780710096500
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... habits and assumptions, and she shows her ambivalence by talking the language of innovation. The ghost of Samuel Smiles prowls the corridors of No 10 Downing Street, arm in arm with the ghost of Sir CliveSinclair. But, despite occasional half-hearted lunges in that direction, she has been unable – perhaps unwilling – to break the chains of the Tory culture which shackle and sustain her party ...

O Wyoming Whipporwill

Claire Harman: George Barker

3 October 2002
The Chameleon Poet: A Life of George Barker 
by Robert Fraser.
Cape, 573 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 224 06242 5
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... he had a pretty easy life, holding court in Fitzrovia, Italy, France, Ireland and New York at other people’s expense. In his later years, he attracted some bizarre sinecures: the entrepreneur CliveSinclair paid him £1000 a year to be ‘cultural adviser’ to his Cornish computer business and a Norwich tailoring firm made him their ‘cultural consultant’. Barker did some teaching at North ...

What was new

Eric Griffiths

19 December 1985
Theoretical Essays: Film, Linguistics, Literature 
by Colin MacCabe.
Manchester, 152 pp., £17.50, September 1985, 0 7190 1749 1
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A Reader’s Guide to Contemporary Literary Theory 
by Raman Selden.
Harvester, 153 pp., £15.95, August 1985, 0 7108 0658 2
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... of swift advances and even more rapid supersessions, new equipment almost daily offering horizons more extensive than had previously seemed possible. There are several contenders for the role of Sir CliveSinclair in this industry of intellectual growths but nobody deserves the title more than Colin MacCabe. For few owe so much to so many as he does, or exploit their debts with such dexterity; few ...
17 October 1985
Secret Service: The Making of the British Intelligence Community 
by Christopher Andrew.
Heinemann, 616 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 02110 5
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The Secret Generation 
by John Gardner.
Heinemann, 453 pp., £9.95, August 1985, 0 434 28250 2
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Two Thyrds 
by Bertie Denham.
Ross Anderson Publications, 292 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 86360 006 9
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The Ultimate Enemy: British Intelligence and Nazi Germany 1933-1939 
by Wesley Wark.
Tauris, 304 pp., £19.50, October 1985, 1 85043 014 4
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... fiction. What is one to make of an organisation whose leaders have names like Dummy Oliver, Blinker Hall, Biffy Dunderdale, Lousy Payne, Buster Milmo, Pay Sykes, Tar Robertson, Barmy Russel and Quex Sinclair (not to be confused with his successor but one, Sinbad Sinclair)? It’s no good reassuring the reader that in the transition from Victorian days, when men called even their closest friends by their ...

Colloquially Speaking

Patrick McGuinness: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945

1 April 1999
The Penguin Book of Poetry from Britain and Ireland since 1945 
edited by Simon Armitage and Robert Crawford.
Viking, 480 pp., £10.99, September 1998, 0 670 86829 9
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The Firebox: Poetry from Britain and Ireland after 1945 
edited by Sean O’Brien.
Picador, 534 pp., £16.99, October 1998, 0 330 36918 0
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... about modern things. What we will not find in these books is much in the way of counter-narratives of British poetry. We will not find, on the one hand, poets such as J.H. Prynne and Iain Sinclair, or (apart from Roy Fisher) any of the poets collected in Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville’s 1987 anthology, A Various Art. Nor, at the other end of the spectrum, will we find poets such as Peter ...

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