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Attending Poppy

Christopher Tayler: David Grand, 9 December 1999

Louse 
by David Grand.
Quartet, 255 pp., £10, April 1999, 9780704381155
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... no talking, coughing, clearing of the throat, or any movement whatsoever of the lips. As David Thomson remarks in his Biographical Dictionary of Film, this was a life ‘so primed for legend, it leaves one feeling that the doleful, suspicious Hughes had some hygienic plan for missing life altogether and going straight into myth’. Hughes was, after ...

At the Grand Palais

Andrew O’Hagan: The Lagerfeld Fandango, 18 July 2019

... a swimwear convention was going overboard on the right bank of the Seine. When I arrived at the Grand Palais, I had already gone 12 rounds with the black limousines, trying to cross the road, so I was happy to encounter the young models willing to show me inside. The gargoyle count at Paris fashion events is always high and that is part of the ...

A Grand and Disastrous Deceit

Philippe Sands: The Chilcot Report, 28 July 2016

The Report of the Iraq Inquiry 
by John Chilcot.
HMSO, 12 vols, 6275 pp., £767, 1 4741 3331 2
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... did mislead. It was the product of calculated manipulation enabled by silences and lies, a grand and disastrous deceit. Second, on the basis of material I have seen but isn’t in the public domain, I believe the inquiry may have been excessively generous in its characterisation of evidence. I offer one example, in relation to the events of 31 January ...

Diary

David Gascoyne: Notebook, New Year 1991, 25 January 1996

... p.m. approx. Continental time) by Jean-Claude Masson and Annick, who drove us in their car to the Grand Hotel Français, boulevard Voltaire, XIIème – a quarter little known to me. Windy, showery, as at home; mild. Pleasant enough double room on the fifth floor – very slow lift. Feeble lighting as usual. After settling in, crossed the boulevard to local ...

Floreat Eltona

David Starkey, 19 January 1984

Tudor Rule and Revolution: Essays for G.R. Elton from his American Friends 
edited by DeLloyd Guth and John McKenna.
Cambridge, 418 pp., £27.50, February 1983, 0 521 24841 8
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Essays on Tudor and Stuart Politics and Government. Vol III: Papers and Reviews 1973-1981 
by G.R. Elton.
Cambridge, 512 pp., £27.50, March 1983, 0 521 24893 0
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Which road to the past? Two Views of History 
by Robert William Fogel and G.R. Elton.
Yale, 136 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 300 03011 8
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... 1983 was Professor Elton’s ‘grand climacteric’. For though the crucial age in astrology is 63 and he is only 61, there can be no doubt when a few short months saw the publication of a ‘birthday book’ by his American friends, his appointment to the Regius Chair of History at Cambridge, the appearance of the third volume of his own collected essays, and a short book in which Elton and Robert Fogel, doyen of American quantitative historians, debate ‘which road to the past?’ In these circumstances to go beyond a mere review to ask ‘whither Elton’ is a duty – and for some reviewers a pleasure ...

Late Picasso at the Tate

David Sylvester, 1 September 1988

... consent, more aggressive and explosive and electric, here more luminous, more beautiful, more grand. The differences in the selection, the hang and the ground-plan have not been crucial enough to account for so extreme a difference of effect. Clearly the Tate’s having daylight, a light that is soft and diffuse, must be relevant, but the difference has ...

At the Met

David Hansen: Richard Serra, 30 June 2011

... My wife had never been to New York before, so we decided we’d walk to the Met from Grand Central Station. On Fifth Avenue, just near Rockefeller Centre, we stopped to watch some roadworks: a guy in a front-end loader was laying down a line of inch-thick, six-foot-long steel plates. He would pick up a stack of half a dozen in his bucket, then reverse while raising the lift arms, so that the rectangles fell neatly end to end ...

Princes, Counts and Racists

David Blackbourn: Weimar, 19 May 2016

Weimar: From Enlightenment to the Present 
by Michael Kater.
Yale, 463 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 0 300 17056 6
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... von Lenbach and Arnold Böcklin, two of the first teachers at the painting academy established by Grand Duke Carl Alexander, would later become major artists, but both left within a few years, repelled by the philistinism of local notables and the formality of the court. A generation later the 25-year-old Richard Strauss was hired, but like others before him ...

Brown and Friends

David Runciman, 3 January 2008

... Party in Scotland. Balls’s wife, Yvette Cooper, sits with him in cabinet. Miliband’s brother, David, is foreign secretary. Brothers and sisters, husbands and wives: the Brown government is a family affair, and it marks a shift to ever more intimate political relationships at the centre of power, even compared to the days when Tony Blair was ruling the ...

Taking the hint

David Craig, 5 January 1989

The King’s Jaunt: George IV in Scotland, 1822 
by John Prebble.
Collins, 399 pp., £15, November 1988, 0 00 215404 8
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... before the levee at Holyrood, when he had worn ‘full Highland dress’, described by the painter David Wilkie as kilt and hose ‘with a kind of flesh-coloured pantaloons underneath’ and by a Lowland laird as ‘the Royal Tartan Highland dress with buff-coloured trowsers like flesh to imitate his Royal knees, and little bits of Tartan stocking like other ...

Vous êtes belle

Penelope Fitzgerald, 8 January 1987

Alain-Fournier: A Brief Life 1886-1914 
by David Arkell.
Carcanet, 178 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 85635 484 8
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Henri Alain-Fournier: Towards the Lost Domain: Letters from London 1905 
translated by W.J. Strachan.
Carcanet, 222 pp., £16.95, November 1986, 0 85635 674 3
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The Lost Domain 
by Henri Alain-Fournier, translated by Frank Davison.
Oxford, 299 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 0 19 212262 2
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... saw her, she was his Mélisande, and (transferred to the deep country) the Yvonne de Galais of Le Grand Meaulnes, which was published in 1913. Meanwhile, Fournier – he used the pen-name Alain-Fournier from 1905, partly to avoid confusion with a racing driver – had become a journalist and had a succession of mistresses, the last being the strong-minded ...

Fallen Idols

David A. Bell, 23 July 1992

The Fabrication of Louis XIV 
by Peter Burke.
Yale, 242 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 300 05153 0
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... Saatchi. He has a superb eye for detail. One learns that the equestrian statue on Place Louis-le-Grand was ‘so huge that 20 men could sit down to lunch inside the horse – and in fact did so while the statue was being installed’. The principal complaint from poets celebrating Louis’s victories in the Low Countries came from having to fit ...

Deal of the Century

David Thomson: As Ovitz Tells It, 7 March 2019

Who Is Michael Ovitz? 
by Michael Ovitz.
W.H. Allen, 372 pp., £20, September 2018, 978 0 7535 5336 7
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... of ‘Whatever happened to … ?’ So who was he? Michael Ovitz was born in Chicago in 1946 to David, the son of Jewish Romanian immigrants. David was a liquor salesman for Seagram’s but he worked weekends too, selling patio furniture to support his family after they moved to Encino in the San Fernando Valley. ‘The ...

Messages from the 29th Floor

David Trotter: Lifts, 3 July 2014

Lifted: A Cultural History of the Elevator 
by Andreas Bernard, translated by David Dollenmayer.
NYU, 309 pp., £21.99, April 2014, 978 0 8147 8716 8
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... reversal of ‘hierarchic order’, while the worst went in the opposite direction. In Europe’s grand hotels, for example, the worst rooms had traditionally been at the top, since only poor people and hotel staff could be expected to climb all those flights of stairs. Lifts, however, ‘freed the upper storeys from the stigma of inaccessibility and lent ...

Pushy Times

David Solkin, 25 March 1993

The Great Age of British Watercolours 1750-1880 
by Andrew Wilton and Anne Lyles.
Prestel, 339 pp., £21.50, January 1993, 3 7913 1254 5
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... little better for those landscape draughtsmen who produced visual records of foreign scenery for Grand Tourists or other wealthy travellers to more exotic lands. In 1799, for example, when Thomas Girtin was nearing the height of his fame as a landscape ‘genius’, Lord Elgin offered him £30 a year to carry out a pictorial survey of Greek monuments in what ...

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