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Larks

Patricia Craig

19 September 1985
But for Bunter 
by David Hughes.
Heinemann, 223 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 434 35410 4
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Bunter Sahib 
by Daniel Green.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 340 36429 7
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The Good Terrorist 
by Doris Lessing.
Cape, 370 pp., £9.50, September 1985, 0 224 02323 3
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Unexplained Laughter 
by Alice Thomas Ellis.
Duckworth, 155 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7156 2070 3
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Polaris and Other Stories 
by Fay Weldon.
Hodder, 237 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 340 33227 1
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... Bunter’s to run headlong into things, with preposterously beneficial results for all concerned. David Hughes, in his latest novel, takes this trait and turns it on its head: the outcome of Bunter’s intervention in certain notable episodes of the 20th century is very serious indeed. By this account, Bunter is personally responsible for the arrest of ...

Cover Stories

Patrick Parrinder

4 April 1985
Lives of the Poets: A Novella and Six Stories 
by E.L. Doctorow.
Joseph, 145 pp., £8.95, April 1985, 0 7181 2529 0
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The Pork Butcher 
by David Hughes.
Constable, 123 pp., £5.95, April 1984, 0 09 465510 3
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Out of the Blue 
by John Milne.
Hamish Hamilton, 309 pp., £8.95, March 1985, 0 241 11489 6
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... is silence, or rather, the rest should be another (and conceivably much more memorable) story. David Hughes’s The Pork Butcher is a worthy winner of the W.H. Smith award, the latest of the series of literary prizes awarded to novels published in 1984. In this, his ninth novel, Hughes has written a moral ...

At the V&A

Jenny Turner: Ballgowns

5 July 2012
... Upstairs at the V&A exhibition, the layout is that of the digital panopticon. Arty photos – by David Hughes – are projected on the walls all around of the same ugly, theatrical dresses you can see life-size on display, worn by skinny department-store mannequins, with books and lampshades and hedges for faces. The fabrics themselves are digitally ...

What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann

7 January 1999
John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... Neo-Romantic illustrators, Keith Vaughan and John Minton excelled. Minton decorated Elizabeth David’s first book, A Book of Mediterranean Food with tipsy Breton sailors, market girls, lobster pots, fruits de mer, as a kind of delicious ballet in and out of the dedicated text. As Wright says, when you take up a book published by Lehmann you get the sense ...

Attending Poppy

Christopher Tayler: David Grand

9 December 1999
Louse 
by David Grand.
Quartet, 255 pp., £10, April 1999, 9780704381155
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... In its fifties heyday 7000 Romaine was the operations centre of Howard Hughes’s organisation, and lent its name to an unusual document known as the ‘Romaine Street Procedures Manual’, an attempt to codify both Hughes’s memoranda and the instructions set down by his compliant lieutenants ...

Fit and Few

Donald Davie

3 May 1984
The Making of the Reader: Language and Subjectivity in Modern American, English and Irish Poetry 
by David Trotter.
Macmillan, 272 pp., £20, March 1984, 0 333 30632 5
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... but himself. If he is in earnest – and if he isn’t we’ll not bother with him, any more than David Trotter does – he thought that he was testing his society by moving out to the periphery of that society, speaking for and with the disaffected, the vagabonds, the ill-adjusted. How disconcerting, then, to find that the disaffection he thought he was ...
28 May 1992
Barcelona 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 575 pp., £20, May 1992, 0 00 272078 7
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Barcelonas 
by Manuel Vazquez Montalban, translated by Andrew Robinson.
Verso, 210 pp., £17.95, May 1992, 0 86091 353 8
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Cities of Spain 
by David Gilmour.
Murray, 214 pp., £17.95, March 1992, 0 7195 4833 0
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Red City, Blue Period: Social Movements in Picasso’s Barcelona 
by Temma Kaplan.
California, 266 pp., $30, April 1992, 0 520 07507 2
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... associates it with solidarity. ‘The man of seny,’ we learn from a Catalan writer quoted by Hughes, ‘renounces neither salvation nor experience, and is always trying to set up a fruitful integration between both opposed, warring extremes.’ Sounds altogether reasonable, but not as if it needs a special word. What the concept actually seems to do is ...

Big Daddy

Linda Nochlin

30 October 1997
American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America 
by Robert Hughes.
Harvill, 635 pp., £35, October 1997, 9781860463723
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... stylistic precedence and traditional modes of expression are common to both. In the case of Robert Hughes, author of the monumental American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America, the artist of choice would be John Singer Sargent, brilliant pictorial chronicler of the beau monde of the 19th century. Like Sargent, ...

Damn all

Scott Malcomson

23 September 1993
Culture of Complaint: The Fraying of America 
by Robert Hughes.
Oxford, 224 pp., £12.95, June 1993, 0 19 507676 1
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... or I find I lose ground ‘I am nothing, if not critical.’ The predicament is one which Robert Hughes shares with Hazlitt, of whom Keats gamely wrote: ‘if ever I am damn’d – damn me if I shouldn’t like him to damn me.’ In Culture of Complaint (a bestseller in the US), Hughes damns damn near everybody. He ...
22 August 1996
The Dictionary of National Biography 1986-1990 
edited by C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 607 pp., £50, June 1996, 0 19 865212 7
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... of incense and a fine model of a Russian destroyer of 1912’. There is a withering account by Sir David Hunt of the reputed master-spy Sir William Stephenson, who encouraged the writing of best-selling works of fantasy about himself, in the best tradition of Buffalo Bill. Earlier volumes of the DNB tell of disreputable divines in George Ill’s time who ...

Seeing double

Patrick Hughes

7 May 1987
The Arcimboldo Effect 
by Pontus Hulten.
Thames and Hudson, 402 pp., £32, May 1987, 0 500 27471 1
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... back of them so that they can be physically turned the other way up. In Upon the Pun Hammond and Hughes argue that a more promising way for them to have been presented is with a mirror on a table beneath the picture. Arcimboldo’s patron, Rudolf II, would have said: ‘Come and see my new painting of the vegetable gardener.’ The visitor replies: ‘I see ...

Attercliffe

Nicholas Spice

17 May 1984
Present Times 
by David Storey.
Cape, 270 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 224 02188 5
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The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Modern Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle 
edited by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin.
Open University, 296 pp., £15, December 1982, 9780335101818
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The Hawthorn Goddess 
by Glyn Hughes.
Chatto, 232 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7011 2818 6
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... on the game below, he chats to his fellow journalists: ‘the pug-nosed, the pug-eared Morgan’, Davidson-Smith (‘overcoated’, ‘deerstalker-hatted’) and Freddie Fredericks, Frank Attercliffe’s aging and alcoholic mentor, and co-author with him of Pindar’s Weekend Round-up, a sports column on the Northern Post. After the match, in the Buckingham ...

Meltdown

Anthony Thwaite

26 October 1989
Bitter Fame: A Life of Sylvia Plath 
by Anne Stevenson.
Viking, 413 pp., £15.95, October 1989, 0 670 81854 2
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... difficulty as well. A prefatory Author’s Note acknowledges ‘a great deal of help from Olwyn Hughes, literary agent to the Estate of Sylvia Plath. Ms Hughes’s contributions to the text have made it almost a work of dual authorship.’ The proof copy I was originally sent phrases it rather differently: ‘This ...

Entrepreneurship

Tom Paulin: Ted Hughes and the Hare

29 November 2007
Letters of Ted Hughes 
edited by Christopher Reid.
Faber, 756 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 571 22138 7
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... Between leaving school and going to Cambridge, Ted Hughes did his National Service in the RAF. Writing from RAF West Kirby, in the Wirral, to a friend, Edna Wholey, in 1949 – characteristically there is no date on the letter – he exults in the wild weather:Edna, I’ve seen rain and I tell you this isn’t rain, – a steady river, well laced with ice, tempest and thunder, covers all this land, and what isn’t concrete has reverted to original chaos of mud water fire and air ...

Winterlude

Janette Turner Hospital

1 August 1996
Talking to the Dead 
by Helen Dunmore.
Viking, 224 pp., £16, July 1996, 0 670 87002 1
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... I read it in Heinemann’s Best Short Stories, the annual selection edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes. I made a mental note of the author’s name, Helen Dunmore, because I’d never heard of her before. A name to watch for, I thought, and watched for it in The Best of Best Short Stories, 1986-95. Dunmore was not included, which I thought a ...

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