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The Garden Goddess

David Harsent, 29 January 2009

... your journal as ‘slick, like a scar in velvet’. As for why rain works round her, or how things green when she moves among them, or what music hangs in the air, these things must remain, as always, her secret, as must the true tale of the love of her life, who saw her exactly as you see her now, and took her kiss and changed, so we’re told, in a moment ...

Emotional Sushi

Ian Sansom: Tony, Nick and Simon, 9 August 2001

One for My Baby 
by Tony Parsons.
HarperCollins, 330 pp., £15.99, July 2001, 0 00 226182 0
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How to Be Good 
by Nick Hornby.
Viking, 256 pp., £16.99, May 2001, 0 670 88823 0
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Little Green Man 
by Simon Armitage.
Viking, 246 pp., £12.99, August 2001, 0 670 89442 7
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... beauty’. In Man and Boy Cyd and Harry attended an awards ceremony where Cyd wore ‘a green cheongsam in Chinese silk – high-necked, tight as a second skin, the greatest dress I have ever seen in my life’. In One for My Baby Jackie and Alfie attend a dinner party, where Jackie wears ‘some western designer’s idea of a cheongsam. It’s ...


David Craig: Barra Microcosm, 24 May 2001

... the Border hills near Beattock on the way to South Uist and Barra. At Oban I’ll rendezvous with David Paterson, a landscape photographer, who’s working with me on a book on the Highland Clearances. As I overtake a worn blue Audi estate, I look sideways and see Dave’s face and grizzled beard. We exchange incoherent signs, pull in a little later on the ...

Green Pastel Redness

Colin Kidd: The Supreme Court Coup, 24 March 2022

Dissent: The Radicalisation of the Republican Party and Its Capture of the Supreme Court 
by Jackie Calmes.
Twelve, 478 pp., £25, July 2021, 978 1 5387 0079 2
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Justice on the Brink: The Death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Rise of Amy Coney Barrett, and Twelve Months that Transformed the Supreme Court 
by Linda Greenhouse.
Random House, 300 pp., £22.50, November 2021, 978 0 593 44793 2
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... push the court into the public eye than abortion. In Britain abortion was legalised as a result of David Steel’s Abortion Bill of 1967, but in the US abortion rights have never had democratic legitimacy of this kind, resting instead on the 7-2 decision reached by nine male judges in Roe v. Wade (1973). The justices managed to establish abortion rights in the ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman: Power v. Power, 9 April 2015

... like you tear us apart.’ Then there was the meta-kerfuffle that attended the attempt by the Green leader, Natalie Bennett, to launch her party’s manifesto. She came unstuck during an interview with Nick Ferrari on LBC, during which she started spluttering and coughing to cover up her inability to answer a question about how she would fund a commitment ...

Profits Now, Costs Later

David Woodruff: Mariana Mazzucato, 22 November 2018

The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy 
by Mariana Mazzucato.
Allen Lane, 384 pp., £20, April 2018, 978 0 241 18881 1
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... the truth about serious and repeated sexual harassment, racist abuse and bullying’, Philip Green gave a self-congratulatory interview to the Guardian. Swaggering through his high-street stores, journalist in tow, he showed off his knowledge of the stock, his attention to product display, his grace while accepting customers’ compliments, and his ...

I want to be a star

Peter Green: Bedazzling Alcibiades, 24 January 2019

Nemesis: Alcibiades and the Fall of Athens 
by David Stuttard.
Harvard, 380 pp., £21.95, April 2018, 978 0 674 66044 1
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... various modern scholars and writers, makes an impressive list. The best place to start – as David Stuttard does in his new biography – is family background. For all its democratic politics, Athenian society was intensely class-conscious. Although Alcibiades was a product of that complex network of upper-crust intermarried families which produced most ...

Three Poems from ‘Marriage’

David Harsent, 26 November 1998

... this random throw of the bones, this coming together; it’s there in the music, there in the grey-green weather. Coming together too soon if not too late. He earns his bacon and beans with a coat or two of paint on the barn, or by cutting and stacking live oak for the stove. Remember the freckle of sweat along the faint line of down on her lip when she sits ...

Fire: a song for Mistress Askew

David Harsent, 19 December 2013

... in sunlight, that flare is the flare in her eye, that rising note in my ear the singing deep in green branches, that low rumble her blood at a rolling boil; and what she screams from the centre, now, as her hair goes up in a rush, as her fingers char, as the spit on her tongue bubbles and froths, as she browns from heel to head, as she cracks and splits, as ...

Perfectly Mobile, Perfectly Still

David Craig: Land Artists, 14 December 2000

by Andy Goldsworthy.
Thames and Hudson, 203 pp., £35, August 2000, 0 500 51026 1
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... down it. Was it a relic of old woodcraft or a necessary drain? It was Wooden Waterway (1978) by David Nash. What delighted me was the slender pour of the translucent water, and the way the thing looked almost like an accident of nature, a fallen sapling become a duct. A little further on, perched on a pair of ‘goalposts’ straddling a dip in the track ...

On Liking Herodotus

Peter Green, 3 April 2014

The Histories 
by Herodotus, translated by Tom Holland.
Penguin, 834 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7139 9977 8
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Herodotus: Vol. I, Herodotus and the Narrative of the Past 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 495 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958757 5
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Herodotus: Vol. II, Herodotus and the World 
edited by Rosaria Vignolo Munson.
Oxford, 473 pp., £40, August 2013, 978 0 19 958759 9
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Textual Rivals: Self-Presentation in Herodotus’ ‘Histories’ 
by David Branscome.
Michigan, 272 pp., £60.50, November 2013, 978 0 472 11894 6
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The Invention of Greek Ethnography: From Homer to Herodotus 
by Joseph Skinner.
Oxford, 343 pp., £55, September 2012, 978 0 19 979360 0
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... sophisticated thinking of a later age: for Herodotus the struggle is to retrieve actual facts. As David Branscome writes in Textual Rivals, ancient critics ‘found fault with Herodotus precisely at those times when they felt he did not live up to his perceived promise of delivering the truth’. It was no easy business for him: the real achievement of the ...


David Harsent, 6 October 1994

... dazzle, so I couldn’t tell if the hare became a man or that bugaboo lurched up from the deeper green to head me off, a dead one for sure, with his eyes like peeled eggs and his mossy smile. He took me at the elbow and barged the tide, towing me out half a mile or more, then down to darker water – just enough light to show a four-masted ship canted ...

The Queen Bee Canticles

David Harsent, 6 January 2011

... There you have it. Oh, and on one of the corbels a bee in flight, flanked by a jack-in-the-green and a manticore. They swarmed in heavy weather, low-slung and singing. Light touched the apostles window as they found their way down the transept and past the rood screen, then rose to the crucifix taking hold on the Man of Sorrows, his tallow flesh, until ...

Into the Future

David Trotter: The Novel, 22 March 2007

The Novel: Vol. I: History, Geography and Culture 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 916 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04947 5
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The Novel: Vol. II: Forms and Themes 
edited by Franco Moretti.
Princeton, 950 pp., £65, June 2006, 0 691 04948 3
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... texts as unlike each other, and as unlike Emma, as Pilgrim’s Progress and W.H. Hudson’s Green Mansions. No one’s arguing about Emma. But Pilgrim’s Progress is an allegorical dream-vision; while Green Mansions (a story set in the forests of western Guyana featuring a female spirit-presence, a lost tribe, and ...

On Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin

David Wheatley, 27 January 2022

... the intimacy and distance between languages by punning on the Irish word ‘glas’, meaning ‘green’ and ‘lock’, and on the English ‘gloss’. ‘The rags of language are streaming like weathervanes,’ as a scholar trawls through one of his dictionaries late at night, and a boy in a story has come to a small locked door: ‘Who is that he can ...

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