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Denying Dolores

Michael Mason, 11 October 1990

Children’s Sexual Encounters with Adults 
by C.K. Li, D.J. West and T.P. Woodhouse.
Duckworth, 343 pp., £39.95, July 1990, 0 7156 2290 0
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Child Pornography: An Investigation 
by Tim Tate.
Methuen, 319 pp., £14.99, July 1990, 0 413 61540 5
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... in our society. It falls into two quite separate sections: the first part, written by Professor West and Mr Woodhouse, reports research into adult males’ recollections of their juvenile sexual encounters with grown-ups, of both sexes, and the second part, by Dr Li, which is more ambitious and novel, centres on a series of interviews with 20 male ...

The Land of Serendipity

D.J. Enright, 23 September 1993

The True Paradise 
by Gamini Salgado.
Carcanet, 192 pp., £14.95, May 1993, 1 85754 007 7
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... Dickens, Burns, Shakespeare and the Romantics, and, of course, that reciprocal compliment from the West, Sir Edwin Arnold’s poem, ‘The Light of Asia’. How these books, and the Victorian editions peddled from door to door, came to reach Ceylon was a mystery to the boy. His mother grumbled that his father already had enough of them to last him through who ...


Karl Miller: Ten Years of the LRB, 26 October 1989

... Conroy made friends, and a lot of money, with his show at the Malborough Gallery in London’s West End. An attractive amber restaurant scene is reproduced in the magazine, and the picture is accompanied by a page of extracts from published notices of Conroy’s work. These extracts are charged with insulting language. Punch talks about a ‘fat ...

Tribal Lays

D.J. Enright, 7 May 1981

The Hill Station 
by J.G. Farrell.
Weidenfeld, 238 pp., £6.50, April 1981, 0 297 77922 2
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... McNab would yield to mystical transports, or that Farrell would have encouraged him in East-West religious eclecticism. Not on the evidence of the novels we have, at any rate. True, in Krishnapur McNab had a reputation for ‘fanciful notions’, but that was largely the doing of his implacable opponent, Dr Dunstaple, and when, some twenty years after ...

How to Kowtow

D.J. Enright: The thoughts of China, 29 July 1999

The Chan’s Great Continent: China in Western Minds 
by Jonathan Spence.
Penguin, 279 pp., £20, May 1999, 0 7139 9313 8
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... and retain the attention of others. This capacity has been evident from the very beginnings of the West’s encounter with China; the passing centuries have never managed to obliterate it altogether, even though vagaries of fashion and shifting political stances have at times dulled the sheen.’ In The Chan’s Great Continent Jonathan Spence reflects on 48 ...


Blake Morrison, 1 April 1982

by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, £3.95, November 1982, 0 86036 159 4
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The Oresteia 
by Aeschylus, translated by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, 120 pp., £3.50, November 1981, 0 86036 178 0
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US Martial 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 29 0
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A Kumquat for John Keats 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 31 2
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... round here now, forget flat caps! They’ve taken over everything bar t’CO-OP. Pork’s gone west, chitt’lins, trotters, dripping baps! Living speech, authentically and it might seem artlessly rendered, but one notices the poet in that slang ‘gone west’ – nicely pertinent when all is going east. If Continuous ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 19 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... arrested and thrown off the ship at Aden. He would die soon afterwards in an ambush at the North-West Frontier.So, a nicely damaging early life for Barbara, setting her up for a wrecked adulthood. ‘The roster of [her] boyfriends in the early part of the war … runs comfortably into double figures,’ Taylor tells us. One of those boyfriends was the ...


Gillian Darley: John Evelyn and his gardens, 8 June 2006

... corner of Surrey which Evelyn could justifiably claim as his, in all but ownership, is a few miles west, at Albury. Across the valley from a later house, and beyond the church where William Oughtred the mathematician was vicar for fifty years, is a stunning 17th-century Italianate garden. Evelyn designed it for Henry Howard, the grandson of his mentor, the ...

On the horse Parsnip

John Bayley, 8 February 1990

Boris Pasternak: The Tragic Years 1930-1960 
by Evgeny Pasternak.
Collins Harvill, 278 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 272045 0
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Boris Pasternak 
by Peter Levi.
Hutchinson, 310 pp., £17.95, January 1990, 0 09 173886 5
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Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography. Vol.I: 1890-1928 
by Christopher Barnes.
Cambridge, 507 pp., £35, November 1989, 0 521 25957 6
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Poems 1955-1959 and An Essay in Autobiography 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Michael Harari and Manya Harari.
Collins Harvill, 212 pp., £6.95, January 1990, 9780002710657
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The Year 1905 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Richard Chappell.
Spenser, £4.95, April 1989, 0 9513843 0 9
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... back. The book is so compromised with the horrors of a time and place of which, at least in the West, it has become a sort of symbol that it is impossible to distinguish the facts behind it from the imagination of life which it presents. Peter Levi is both just and generous in concluding that ‘in spite of its faults it seems to me better and more tragic ...

Second Chances

Donald Davie, 22 July 1993

Collected Poems 
by Patricia Beer.
Carcanet, 216 pp., £18.95, July 1990, 9780856357886
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Friend of Heraclitus 
by Patricia Beer.
Carcanet, 59 pp., £6.95, March 1993, 1 85754 026 3
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... quite different from a reputation made in Hull and the North-East, or Liverpool and the North-West. (And this isn’t even to touch on the highly profitable pool of Irish poets, the less profitable Scots and Anglo-Welsh, the Caribbean, the Asian.) The canny publisher, thinking of roundabouts making up for loss-making swings, will devise a list where, if a ...

His Bonnet Akimbo

Patrick Wright: Hamish Henderson, 3 November 2011

Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. I: The Making of the Poet (1919-53) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 416 pp., £14.99, May 2009, 978 1 84697 132 7
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Hamish Henderson: A Biography. Vol. II: Poetry Becomes People (1954-2002) 
by Timothy Neat.
Polygon, 395 pp., £25, November 2009, 978 1 84697 063 4
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... school holidays to venture out. A ‘seasoned hitch-hiker’ by the age of 16, he visited the far west of England and the Welsh Marches, as well as Scotland: he cycled through the Highlands in 1935 and, a year later, attended a Bothy Nicht at the Imperial Hotel in Aberdeen where he heard the ballad singing and stories of John Strachan, an Aberdeenshire farmer ...

California Noir

Michael Rogin: Destroying Los Angeles, 19 August 1999

Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster 
by Mike Davis.
Picador, 484 pp., £18.99, June 1999, 9780330372190
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... in the recurrent fascination with Los Angeles apocalypse which begins well before Nathanael West’s The Day of the Locust (1939), extends through the Aryan racist tract The Turner Diaries (1978, the bible of the Oklahoma City Federal Office bomber, Timothy McVeigh), and which has managed to keep Ecology of Fear itself on bestseller lists in Los Angeles ...

Cartwheels over Broken Glass

Andrew O’Hagan: Worshipping Morrissey, 4 March 2004

Saint Morrissey 
by Mark Simpson.
SAF, 224 pp., £16.99, December 2003, 0 946719 65 9
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The Smiths: Songs that Saved Your Life 
by Simon Goddard.
Reynolds/Hearn, 272 pp., £14.99, December 2002, 1 903111 47 1
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... twenty years. I first clapped eyes on Morrissey on 22 September 1985. It was a cold night on the West Coast of Scotland at the Magnum Leisure Centre in Irvine, and The Smiths were brewing up a humongous storm on the converted badminton courts. The audience contained a fair number of what in that part of the world are called neds1 – razor-cropped hooligans ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... then I was helped by some of the actors in my first play, Forty Years On, which was running in the West End. One of the actors was George Fenton, who is doing the music for the film, and another was Keith McNally, the proprietor of Balthazar.15 January. The police officer who shot Mark Duggan is to be returned to firearms duty just as was the officer who shot ...

Kipling and Modernism

Craig Raine, 6 August 1992

... a supposition indubitably correct in his own case, as a glance at ‘East London’ and ‘West London’ will show. Kipling’s allegiance is rather with Baudelaire and Eliot, poets determined to write in the present, with its gamps, galoshes, gaslights, spats, stove-pipe hats and area gates. Kipling’s King is the spirit of Romance – a figure ...

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