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Paul Foot: The Impotence of Alan Clark, 5 August 1993

... 1990 – Clark, the tycoon James Goldsmith and the zoo-keeper John Aspinall arranged a dinner with Conrad Black, owner of the Telegraph, to try to persuade him to order his (entirely independent) editor to stop backing Heseltine. Black refused, but we are left in no doubt that it is at dinner parties such as these that ...

Vote for the Beast!

Ian Gilmour: The Tory Leadership, 20 October 2005

... with its proprietor’s economic interests and opinions, and the Telegraph, owned then by Conrad Black, a Canadian by birth, reflected Black’s far right American views. Both Murdoch and Black were and are extreme Europhobes. Major resigned on the morning of his defeat in ...


Christopher Hitchens: On Peregrine Worsthorne, 4 November 1993

... cliché-laden element in that credo were the worst part of it. Here’s an editor, admittedly a Conrad Black editor but nonetheless a national editor, openly saying that nothing was wrong with the BCCI/Westland/Peter Wright/Guinness/Lloyds of London period that could not be corrected by attacks on trend-crazed clergymen. Populism isn’t gentlemanly ...

Nerds, Rabbits and a General Lack of Testosterone

R.W. Johnson: Major and Lamont, 9 December 1999

The Autobiography 
by John Major.
HarperCollins, 774 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 00 257004 1
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In Office 
by Norman Lamont.
Little, Brown, 567 pp., £20, October 1999, 0 316 64707 1
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... On 5 October 1990, Britain entered the ERM: on 16 September 1992, ‘Black Wednesday’, Britain left the ERM. These two events and the years between them were crucial in recent British politics. They are the source of the divisions in the contemporary Tory Party and all the leading participants are obliged to state and restate what they said and did then in much the same way that the members of an earlier Tory generation had to spell out the position they’d taken over Munich ...
Joseph ConradA Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Murray, 320 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 7195 4910 8
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Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper 
by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.
Oxford, 218 pp., £30, August 1991, 9780198117858
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... and now find a place in the story. The greasy trilby hat Ford Madox Ford put to dry in Jessie Conrad’s oven, provoking the only outburst of wrath ever seen on the part of that placid lady; the ‘good sandwiches’ which the soon-to-be-cast-off Hadley Hemingway promised to make for her husband’s outing to the races at Longchamps; ‘...

Conrad’s Complaint

Frank Kermode, 17 November 1983

The Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. I: 1861-1897 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 446 pp., £19.50, September 1983, 0 521 24216 9
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... A great many Conrad letters have already been published, notably in Jean-Aubry’s Life and Letters, but also in smaller collections containing his correspondence with one or more persons – for example, Edward Garnett, William Blackwood and Cunninghame Graham. Early letters to Polish friends and relations have been translated, and a series of about a hundred to Marguerite Poradowska appeared in the original French ...

Room Theory

Adam Mars-Jones: Joseph O’Neill, 24 September 2014

The Dog 
by Joseph O’Neill.
Fourth Estate, 241 pp., £16.99, July 2014, 978 0 00 727574 8
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... inheritance, but it’s near his own core. On the book’s last page there is a passage about Conrad Black, for whom X. feels ‘a certain respect and sympathy – and, is it possible, envy’. Black is ideally disgraced, defined by his downfall and thereby somehow exonerated, exempt from the imperative to struggle ...

1 x 30

Anne Carson, 5 March 2020

... that morning. He was alone. He flicked his eyes on me, off me. He had a furtive tinge and a swank black overcoat – I thought at once of Joseph Conrad, as he is in formal photographs, with the not-quite-Western eyes and virtuosic goatee.Once I attended a christening at a farmhouse in a country far away. I saw a stack of ...

Omnipresent Eye

Patrick Wright: The Nixon/Mao Show, 16 August 2007

Seize the Hour: When Nixon Met Mao 
by Margaret MacMillan.
Murray, 384 pp., £25, October 2006, 0 7195 6522 7
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... of Richard Nixon and his presidency – a project she appears to share with her acknowledgee, Conrad Black. She was surely never among the Western students who took to wearing Mao jackets in honour of the Cultural Revolution (and in imagined solidarity with the distant peoples who had long been projected as ‘blue ants’ in anti-Communist ...

A Whale of a Time

Colm Tóibín, 2 October 1997

Roger Casement’s Diaries. 1910: The Black and the White 
edited by Roger Sawyer.
Pimlico, 288 pp., £10, October 1997, 9780712673754
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The Amazon Journal of Roger Casement 
edited by Angus Mitchell.
Anaconda, 534 pp., £40, October 1997, 9781901990010
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... Jessie Conrad remembered his visit: Sir Roger Casement, a fanatical Irish protestant, came to see us, remaining some two days our guest. He was a very handsome man with a thick, dark beard and piercing, restless eyes. His personality impressed me greatly. It was about the time when he was interested in bringing to light certain atrocities which were taking place in the Belgian Congo ...

Time and the Sea

Fredric Jameson, 16 April 2020

... of a rarely seen film by Andrzej Wajda, Smuga cienia, from 1976. It is an adaptation of Joseph Conrad’s short, openly autobiographical novel The Shadow-Line (1916). Wajda conceived the film as a modest docudrama based on Conrad’s last mission at sea. The British government, in the thick of the First World War, had ...

A Man of No Mind

Colm Tóibín: The Passion of Roger Casement, 13 September 2012

The Dream of the Celt 
by Mario Vargas Llosa and Edith Grossman.
Faber, 404 pp., £18.99, June 2012, 978 0 571 27571 7
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... of these who stand out most are Henry Morton Stanley, who explored the route, the novelist Joseph Conrad, and the Irish patriot and human rights activist Roger Casement. It was Casement and a Frenchman living in England, E.D. Morel, who first drew attention to the crimes committed in the Congo in the name of progress and trade. Mario Vargas Llosa wrote about ...

Running on Empty

Christopher Hitchens: The Wrong Stuff, 7 January 1999

A Man in Full 
by Tom Wolfe.
Cape, 742 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 224 03036 1
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... wall. The Bonfire of the Vanities They were living in a duet, a form of cheap housing Conrad had never heard of before he and Jill moved in a year ago ... Duets were rows of small one-storey houses about twelve feet apart, with patchy little strips of yard between them. In each house a wall ran right down the middle, the long way, dividing it into ...

Firm Lines

Hermione Lee, 17 November 1983

Bartleby in Manhattan, and Other Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 297 78357 2
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... There is, throughout these essays, an interest in symbolic occasions. Three black convicts come out to sweep the Alabama street where a group of Civil Rights demonstrators is standing. A girl in Professor Adorno’s classroom in Frankfurt takes off all her clothes as he discourses on the dangers of spontaneity. Lee Harvey Oswald is ...

Dark Pieces on Dark Places

Malcolm Deas, 3 July 1980

The Return of Eva Peron with The Killings in Trinidad 
by V.S. Naipaul.
Deutsch, 227 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 233 97238 2
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... Michael X murders in Trinidad, five on Argentina and Uruguay, one on the Congo and one on Joseph Conrad – are held together by Conradian preoccupations. They represent an ‘effort of thought and sympathy’, an effort that ‘does not stop with the aspect of the land. It extends to all men in these dark and remote places who, for whatever reason, are ...

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