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Don’t Die

Jenny Diski: Among the Handbags

1 November 2007
Deluxe: How Luxury Lost Its Lustre 
by Dana Thomas.
Allen Lane, 375 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7139 9823 8
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... or receive medical treatment, but you know what they mean.) Luxury can and must be anyone’s now, and ‘everyone’ wants it or they’ll die. In order to accommodate this novel notion of deluxe, DanaThomas, in her startling and richly informative book, draws a line between luxury and ‘the luxury industry’: The luxury industry has changed the way people dress. It has realigned our economic ...

Making up

Julian Symons

15 August 1991
Lipstick, Sex and Poetry 
by Jeremy Reed.
Peter Owen, 119 pp., £14.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0817 1
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A poet could not but be gay 
by James Kirkup.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, June 1991, 0 7206 0823 6
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There was a young man from Cardiff 
by Dannie Abse.
Hutchinson, 211 pp., £12.99, April 1991, 0 09 174757 0
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String of Beginners 
by Michael Hamburger.
Skoob Books, 338 pp., £10.99, May 1991, 1 871438 66 7
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... seen’, which is described movingly, although with some characteristic exaggeration. (‘I could be both Verlaine and Rimbaud. He was always Rimbaud.’) The two wrote poems together, and for a time Dana seemed to be not only a lover but that perfect friend whom Kirkup, like Frederick Rolfe, was always seeking. Kirkup’s book is liberally sprinkled with poems, most of them rather humdrum and low ...

Do, Not, Love, Make, Beds

David Wheatley: Irish literary magazines

3 June 2004
Irish Literary Magazines: An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography 
Irish Academic, 318 pp., £35, January 2003, 0 7165 2751 0Show More
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... he took over the Irish Homestead in 1905, and not, as Clyde says, 1897.) A cardinal point of Joycean myth was the provincial self-absorption of Revivalist Ireland, but the record of a journal like Dana suggests anything but general literary paralysis: as well as rejecting Joyce’s inchoate ‘A Portrait of the Artist’ in 1904, it outspokenly attacked the Church and the Revival, as well as ...

No Law at All

Stephen Sedley: The Governor Eyre Affair

2 November 2006
A Jurisprudence of Power: Victorian Empire and the Rule of Law 
by R.W. Kostal.
Oxford, 529 pp., £79.95, December 2005, 0 19 826076 8
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... the fact that it was through legal controversy and the courts that these issues were channelled. Where else does an argument about illegality and injustice go? When in 1869 the Boston lawyer Richard Dana added a postscript to his celebrated narrative Two Years before the Mast, reflecting on the brutality which he had witnessed a quarter of a century earlier as a boy at sea, he was quick to insist ...

At Dulwich Picture Gallery

Peter Campbell: Norman Rockwell

20 January 2011
... America to itself. Yet there are aspects of American reality that do belong to painters: to Hopper, or Eakins, or Hood, or Bierstadt, or Winslow Homer, or to quite thin commercial art like Charles Dana Gibson’s Edwardian girls, or to Thomas Hart Benton’s agrarian patriotism. That older work shows illustrators and painters finding things no one else had quite seen, things that would thereafter ...

Sheer Enthusiasm

Thomas​ Chatterton Williams: Zadie Smith

30 August 2018
Feel Free: Essays 
by Zadie Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 464 pp., £20, February 2018, 978 0 241 14689 7
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... movie Get Out but also a set of reflections on racial authenticity and cultural appropriation. It culminates in an intervention into the feverish controversy surrounding the white American artist Dana Schutz’s painting Open Casket, depicting the lynched black teenager Emmett Till, on show at the Whitney Biennial. Halfway through the essay, Smith quotes Baldwin on the fundamental absurdity of ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck

16 November 2000
The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... met any of them – whether through shyness or negligence or something else is not clear. Dickens called on Halleck on arrival in New York in 1842, but later wrote him off as a mere imitator. Richard Dana thought his ‘Marco Bozzaris’ was America’s best lyric poem. John Quincy Adams referred to one of his poems in a speech to the House of Representatives in 1836. Most inexplicable of all, on 15 ...

Old America

W.C. Spengemann

7 January 1988
Look homeward: A Life of Thomas​ Wolfe 
by David Herbert Donald.
Bloomsbury, 579 pp., £16.95, April 1987, 0 7475 0004 5
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From this moment on: America in 1940 
by Jeffrey Hart.
Crown, 352 pp., $19.95, February 1987, 9780517557419
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... subjects – no matter how remote – as places the writers remember and long to revisit. Historical nostalgia need not imply a desire simply to flee the bewildering present, to go back home, as Thomas Wolfe put it, ‘to the escapes of Time and Memory’: the historian’s purpose in going home is to recover something left there, some knowledge or power or psychic condition which, brought back to ...
14 June 1990
Selected Poems 1990 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 176 pp., £6.95, March 1990, 0 19 282625 5
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Life by Other Means: Essays on D.J. Enright 
edited by Jacqueline Simms.
Oxford, 208 pp., £25, March 1990, 0 19 212989 9
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Vanishing Lung Syndrome 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by David Young and Dana​ Habova.
Faber, 68 pp., £10.99, April 1990, 0 571 14378 4
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The Dimension of the Present Moment, and Other Essays 
by Miroslav Holub, edited by David Young.
Faber, 146 pp., £4.99, April 1990, 0 571 14338 5
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Poems Before and After: Collected English Translations 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by Ewald Osers and George Theiner.
Bloodaxe, 272 pp., £16, April 1990, 1 85224 121 7
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My Country: Collected Poems 
by Alistair Elliot.
Carcanet, 175 pp., £18.95, November 1989, 0 85635 846 0
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1953: A Version of Racine’s ‘Andromaque’ 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 89 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14312 1
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by Jean Racine, translated by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14249 4
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... and part from Enright’s earnestness about poetry’s duty to adhere to the commonplace. In ‘Saying no’ (1960), for instance, Enright elevates his rejection of the flamboyance of Dylan Thomas and the Apocalyptics into a moral injunction: Epochs of parakeets, of peacocks, of paradisiac birds – Then one bald owl croaked, No. Such table-thumping seems a bit dated now – one is ...
20 November 1980
Joyce’s Politics 
by Dominic Manganiello.
Routledge, 260 pp., £12.50, October 1980, 0 7100 0537 7
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... to begin by modelling themselves on some established poet, but not one of the first class lest he affect them hypnotically, adding that he had done this himself, carefully choosing the minor poet, Thomas Hardy? Would Dear Reader bear with me while I retire to reread A Portrait now? I shall not delay him more than two seconds, as when one reads a cassette letter from a friend whereon he says he must ...


Paul Henley: The EU

14 January 2002
... John Hume, who are merely adding a third Parliamentary seat to those they already hold at Westminster and in the Northern Ireland Assembly. A number of MEPs first achieved celebrity in other fields: Dana, the Irish Eurovision popstar, Michael Cashman, one-time star of EastEnders, as well as sportspersons of various kinds: a Finnish world champion rally driver, an Italian mountaineer, a Spanish ...

The Person in the Phone Booth

David Trotter: Phone Booths

28 January 2010
... Adventure (1989) had a curious retractable tripod fizzing with static on top, but no sign of insanitary behaviour below. The star of that film, Keanu Reeves, also appears in The Matrix (1999) as Thomas Anderson, a.k.a. Neo, a company man turned hacker turned messiah. At the film’s conclusion, Neo phones in a proclamation of defiance from a booth on a busy street in the virtual world into which ...

Neutered Valentines

David Bromwich: James Agee

7 September 2006
‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’, ‘A Death in the Family’, Shorter Fiction 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 818 pp., $35, October 2005, 1 931082 81 2
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Film Writing and Selected Journalism 
by James Agee.
Library of America, 748 pp., $40, October 2005, 1 931082 82 0
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Brooklyn Is 
by James Agee.
Fordham, 64 pp., $16.95, October 2005, 0 8232 2492 9
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... same mood and not to reality. The calls of children out of doors are never soft. The whole essay is in this key. And in a certain phase of life – with male adolescents it may come from a reading of Thomas Wolfe – the gratification of such writing can be immense. How much of Agee is like this? Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is the most ambitious and fully worked of his books, and the solemnities of ...

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