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Bags and Iron

Sylvia Lawson, 15 August 1991

Patrick White: A Life 
by David Marr.
Cape, 715 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 224 02581 3
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... not enough to confirm the greatness of greatness; we want to know our business with the dead. David Marr unfolds it, steadily, over seven hundred pages. The first vindication of his huge and wonderful book is that it offers ways into all of White’s work, uncovering materials which were taken up and transformed in the making of the novels, the ...

Diary

Peter Craven: On the Demidenko Affair, 16 November 1995

... win the Vogel Award, the most prominent prize for first novels in Australia; it was described by David Marr, Patrick White’s biographer, as ‘astonishingly talented’, and by Jill Kitson of the ABC as ‘a searingly truthful account of terrible wartime deeds that is also an imaginative work of extraordinary redemptive power’. Assuming, as we all ...

A Minor Irritant to the French Authorities

Fred Halliday, 20 February 1997

Vietnam 1945: The Quest for Power 
by David Marr.
California, 602 pp., $50, October 1995, 0 520 07833 0
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... a campaign to return to, to reestablish, the independent state that had briefly existed in 1945. Marr rescues this key date from the hands of those who have sought to appropriate it: from the opponents of the Vietnamese Communists who have tried to downplay their victory by representing it as a momentary breakdown of order prior to the re-entry of the ...

Mental Processes

Christopher Longuet-Higgins, 4 August 1988

The Computer and the Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science 
by P.N. Johnson-Laird.
Harvard/Fontana, 444 pp., £23.50, May 1988, 0 674 15615 3
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... of the military importance of mechanical contraptions that can see where they are going. The late David Marr, whose posthumous book Vision generated an upheaval in the subject, insisted that vision be regarded as an ongoing process of computation, which begins with the optical images formed at the back of each eye and culminates in a spatio-temporal ...

Foreign Body

Tim Winton, 22 June 1995

Patrick White: Letters 
edited by David Marr.
Cape, 678 pp., £35, January 1995, 0 224 03516 9
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... have taken it all so personally, since it’s difficult to find peers for White anywhere. David Marr’s excellent and sympathetic biography confirmed White’s singularity and perhaps even his greatness, but the recent Letters, astutely edited and accompanied by acerbic and timely interpolations, reveals the Nobel laureate as a man lagging well ...

Mindblind

Ian Hacking: Religion’s evolutionary origins, 21 October 2004

In Gods We Trust: The Evolutionary Landscape of Religion 
by Scott Atran.
Oxford, 348 pp., £20.99, November 2002, 0 19 514930 0
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... started with Chomsky and the idea of an inherited module for syntax. Then came perceptual modules (David Marr), modules for reasoning (Jerry Fodor) and finally modules for every mental ability great and small (Dan Sperber). Modularity gone mad, says Fodor. Atran is content with a modest menu of modules. In his own speciality, he has modules for ...

Dennett’s Ark

P.N. Johnson-Laird, 1 September 1988

The Intentional Stance 
by Daniel Dennett.
MIT, 388 pp., £22.50, January 1988, 9780262040938
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... the mentalists – philosophers such as Dretske and Fodor, and cognitive scientists from Craik to Marr – hold to the reality of representations and beliefs. They assume that there is a physical world in space and time, and that mental processes enable human beings to perceive that world, to have beliefs and feelings, and to be aware of themselves. These ...

Notes on the Election

David Runciman: Power v. Power, 9 April 2015

... is to put politicians on the spot and try to catch them out. They all have their own style. Andrew Marr’s Sunday show regularly ensnares the big beasts. Marr is courteous, intelligent and always sniffing out hypocrisy. How exactly are you any better, is the question behind most of his questions. Evan Davis on Newsnight is ...

Short Cuts

David Runciman: The Dirtiest Player Around, 10 October 2013

... claims it was because he was good at his job. He compares himself to Andy Coulson, whose time with David Cameron coincided with the most successful phase of Cameron’s leadership. This is bravado. McBride’s performance was too full of cock-ups and drunken mishaps to serve as a model of cut-throat professionalism. He admits that Brown would forgive him ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: The biography of stuff, 5 July 2001

... Announcing the winner of this year’s Samuel Johnson Prize, Andrew Marr was pleased to be able to say that none of the shortlisted books was the obvious result of a publisher’s ‘wheeze’, or the so-called biography of something which couldn’t in all honesty be said ever to have had a life. One of the more glaring recent additions to the latter category is Cocaine: An Unauthorised Biography by Dominic Streatfeild (Virgin, £20 ...

Cartwheels over Broken Glass

Andrew O’Hagan: Worshipping Morrissey, 4 March 2004

Saint Morrissey 
by Mark Simpson.
SAF, 224 pp., £16.99, December 2003, 0 946719 65 9
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The Smiths: Songs that Saved Your Life 
by Simon Goddard.
Reynolds/Hearn, 272 pp., £14.99, December 2002, 1 903111 47 1
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... and, more violently, how much they loved the heavily lipglossed singer in a band called Japan. David Sylvian was his name. The girls called him David. So far as I remember, the diary was a pretty spectacular fantasia of adolescent lusts and local hatreds: Dear Katherine, David came ...

Corbyn’s Progress

Tariq Ali, 3 March 2016

... candidate from the minuscule parliamentary left. This strategy had worked before: last time round David Miliband nominated Diane Abbott as a candidate. In 2015 they hoped a left candidate would take away support from Andy Burnham, who was what passed for leftish, leaving the door open for Liz Kendall or Yvette Cooper. Enter Jeremy Corbyn stage left. He may ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... he spoke at a mental health trust fun day in his constituency instead of going on the Andrew Marr Show. Later that day he was filmed as he hurried along the pavement outside Westminster in silence, refusing to answer reporters’ questions: it ‘looked like a perp walk’, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian. ‘He isn’t playing the game,’ the ...

At the Occupation

Joanna Biggs, 16 December 2010

... marker-penned slogans, or doodles, or quotes from Goethe; a sinister ballpoint-pen portrait of David Cameron and cards written by solicitors Birnberg Peirce explaining that you don’t need to give your name if searched. The walls are a sort of slogan competition, in the manner of a JCR suggestion book or a library toilet wall: which ones will last? In the ...

Who’s the real cunt?

Andrew O’Hagan: Dacre’s Paper, 1 June 2017

Mail Men: The Unauthorised Story of the ‘Daily Mail’, the Paper that Divided and Conquered Britain 
by Adrian Addison.
Atlantic, 407 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 78239 970 4
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... world’s population that doesn’t live in Cheam. This paper wasn’t invented by Dacre but by David English, variously described as the best editor on Fleet Street and the biggest liar since Herodotus. (English once invented a whole interview with Betty Ford and on another occasion pretended to have been in Dallas the day Kennedy was shot.) By the end of ...

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