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Had we lived …

Jenny Diski: The Afterlife of Captain Scott, 9 February 2006

Scott of the Antarctic: A Life of Courage and Tragedy in the Extreme South 
by David Crane.
HarperCollins, 637 pp., £25, November 2005, 0 00 715068 7
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... in between about Britishness, heroism and the purpose of exploration. Now, another ten years on, David Crane has produced a huge new biography, five years in the researching, no document left unexamined, which aims to reassess the achievements and failures of Captain Scott. Crane wants to lose the underlying political ...

A Mile or Two outside Worthing

Richard Jenkyns: Edward Trelawny, 26 November 1998

Lord Byron’s Jackal: A Life of Trelawny 
by David Crane.
HarperCollins, 398 pp., £19.99, July 1998, 0 00 255631 6
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... And shall Trelawny die? It seems not, since David Crane’s book is the fourth life of him to have been published in the last sixty years. Yet it is an odd sort of immortality which leaves a man with someone else’s name in the title of his biography. It was Joseph Severn, the amiable artist whose kindness sweetened Keats’s last months, who referred to Trelawny as ‘Lord Byron’s jackal ...

Hoo-Hooing in the Birch

Michael Hofmann: Tomas Tranströmer, 15 June 2016

Bright Scythe: Selected Poems 
by Tomas Tranströmer, translated by Patty Crane.
Sarabande, 207 pp., £13, November 2015, 978 1 941411 21 6
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... in Edinburgh) and Robin Robertson, or the Irishman John F. Deane, or now the American Patty Crane. They were drawn by the small vocabulary, the short sentences, the largely transferable word-order, the language that seems to pay twenty shillings to the pound – darkness, stone, light, tree, cold. You feel the poet trotting through the woods, jotting ...

At Tate Britain

David Craig: Mountain Art, 25 April 2002

... near Penrith. It’s big, about 15 feet square, and it hangs high above the viewers, making them crane up as though at an impending cliff. It’s unfinished, and the quite large figure of a hillwalker recently brushed in at the head of the gully suggests that the painter would like to show people grappling with the mountains. The final painting in the Mind ...

Fade to Greige

Elaine Showalter: Giorgio Armani, 4 January 2001

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion 
by Holly Brubach.
Phaidon, 232 pp., £19.95, October 1999, 9780714838878
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Fashion Today 
by Colin McDowell.
Phaidon, 511 pp., £39.95, September 2000, 0 7148 3897 7
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Fashion and Its Social Agendas: Class, Gender and Society in Clothing 
by Diana Crane.
Chicago, 294 pp., £19, August 2000, 0 226 11798 7
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Historical Fashion in Detail: The 17th and 18th Centuries 
by Avril Hart and Susan North.
Victoria & Albert Museum, 223 pp., £19.95, October 2000, 1 85177 258 8
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Don We Now Our Gay Appalrel: Gay Men’s Dress in the 20th Century 
by Shuan Cole.
Berg, 224 pp., £42.99, September 2000, 1 85973 415 4
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The Gallery of Fashion 
by Aileen Ribeiro.
Princeton, 256 pp., £60, November 2000, 0 691 05092 9
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Giorgio Armani 
by Germano Celant and Harold Koda.
Abrams, 392 pp., £40, October 2000, 0 8109 6927 0
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... style bought off the peg at Harvey Nicks? In Fashion and Its Social Agendas, Diana Crane, who teaches sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, suggests that clothing is about the ‘social construction of identity’, and traces its economic, class and consumer implications in France, England and the United States over the past two ...

Overloaded with Wasps

James Wood: Tales from Michigan, 17 March 2005

The Secret Goldfish 
by David Means.
Fourth Estate, 211 pp., £14.99, February 2005, 0 00 716487 4
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... the reason novelists and short-story writers are often quite distinct breeds). The American writer David Means will have none of this. His highly original stories are coats that have been reversed to show their linings. Rather than lightly hint at an exquisite pattern or organising symbol, he likes to accentuate the pattern, to dash it in the reader’s ...

At the New Whitechapel

Peter Campbell: Isa Genzken, 30 April 2009

... would, it seems, have been the front’s major decorative element – a terracotta panel by Walter Crane showing Art attended by Labour, Time, History, Poesie, Truth and Beauty, was excluded – which explains the blank painted space between the two attached towers that frame the upper storey. (The design for Crane’s panel ...

It makes yer head go

David Craig: James Kelman and Gordon Legge, 18 February 1999

The Good Times 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 246 pp., £14.99, July 1998, 0 436 41215 2
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Near Neighbours 
by Gordon Legge.
Cape, 218 pp., £9.99, June 1998, 0 224 05120 2
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... from Illinois, described how the word would run down the auto assembly line that the overhead crane driver was about to ‘drop a car’, for the relief, the retaliation, the change ... So Kelman taps into the mainstream of working life: never to render it inertly, by way of naturalism, always to dramatise a phase or moment where character declares itself ...

Performing Seals

Christopher Hitchens: The PR Crowd, 10 August 2000

Partisans: Marriage, Politics and Betrayal Among the New York Intellectuals 
by David Laskin.
Simon and Schuster, 319 pp., $26, January 2000, 0 684 81565 6
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... Norman Podhoretz). Queenie Leavis of course became an official widow, and it is les veuves on whom David Laskin relies most heavily in this relatively orderly account of sexual and matrimonial chaos. Diana Trilling outlived Lionel by many a book; Mary McCarthy enjoyed the same revenge on Edmund Wilson; the witches of Eastwick (lacking only their Hardwick) have ...

At the Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: David Goldblatt, 25 April 2018

... South Africa through a European-style industrial revolution compressed into twenty years. David Goldblatt (b.1930) began taking photographs in the gold-mining areas in his teens. Many of them, and the ones that followed, tell the story of South Africa’s labouring classes, predominantly black, in a world shaped by race laws and extractive ...

One Does It Like This

David A. Bell: Talleyrand, 16 November 2006

Napoleon’s Master: A Life of Prince Talleyrand 
by David Lawday.
Cape, 386 pp., £20, September 2006, 0 224 07366 4
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... there. The two most familiar images of the men express the contrast eloquently. First, there is David’s brilliant portrait of Napoleon on his rearing charger in the Alps, seemingly master of the wind, rocks and sky; second, Chateaubriand’s acid description of Talleyrand hobbling into the presence of Louis XVIII with the help of Napoleon’s sinister ...

You’ve got to get used to it

John Bayley: David Piper, 15 October 1998

I am well, who are you? 
by David Piper, edited by Anne Piper.
Anne Piper, 96 pp., £12, March 1998, 0 9532123 0 0
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... be made use of in ways that are contextually effective, and surprisingly original. That is what David Piper contrived to do in a brilliant one-off war novel, Trial by Battle. It describes the experiences of a young officer, the reverse of professional, during the 1941 Malayan campaign between the British-Indian Army and the Japanese: the campaign which led ...

Strange Stardom

David Haglund: James Franco, 17 March 2011

Palo Alto: Stories 
by James Franco.
Faber, 197 pp., £12.99, January 2011, 978 0 571 27316 4
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... Actors don’t lodge in the culture as once they did,’ David Thomson writes in the entry on Heath Ledger in the latest edition of his Biographical Dictionary of Film. ‘They are a type of celebrity now.’ He contrasts Ledger, who died three years ago at the age of 28, with James Dean, who died 55 years ago at the age of 24 and became the standard against which all young, handsome, would-be acting geniuses in Hollywood are measured ...

Muted Ragu Tones

Michael Hofmann: David Szalay, 20 April 2016

All That Man Is 
by David Szalay.
Cape, 437 pp., £14.99, April 2016, 978 0 224 09976 9
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... two days. Then I bought and read in a similar manner – none took me any longer than two days – David Szalay’s three previous novels: London and the South-East (one of the great mocking titles, up there with Evelyn Waugh’s The Loved One, or Updike’s Memories of the Ford Administration), The Innocent and Spring. I want to say that here is a ...

Diary

Kevin Kopelson: Confessions of a Plagiarist, 22 May 2008

... shove it into my own prose regardless of how tiresome that is. Take my last book, on the satirist David Sedaris. Not only do you get more Proust than you’d ever care for, you get an awful lot of Sedaris – pure, unadulterated Sedaris. It’s not that I’m lazy. Or rather, it’s not just that I’m lazy. I do much more in Sedaris than quote Sedaris, much ...

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