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Big Head, Many Brains

Colin Burrow: H.G. Wells, 16 June 2011

A Man of Parts 
by David Lodge.
Harvill, 565 pp., £18.99, March 2011, 978 1 84655 496 4
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... to have noticed that his readers won’t believe everything his persona says. This takes us to David Lodge. A Man of Parts complements his biographical novel about Henry James, Author, Author.* The sliding and evanescent ironies of Henry James tended to elicit from Lodge some over-heavy ironies at the Master’s expense, and as a result the book ...

Stag at Bay

Adam Phillips: Byron in Geneva, 25 August 2011

Byron in Geneva: That Summer of 1816 
by David Ellis.
Liverpool, 189 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 1 84631 643 2
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... as if they/Could master all things.’ All this has a bearing on the before and after story that David Ellis wants us to take more seriously as the real story of Byron’s life. In Ellis’s view the summer of 1816, which he spent in Geneva, marked a turning point in Byron’s life. He was, Ellis tells us, acutely unhappy there, though the unhappiness had a ...

No one hates him more

Joshua Cohen: Franzen on Kraus, 7 November 2013

The Kraus Project 
by Jonathan Franzen.
Fourth Estate, 318 pp., £18.99, October 2013, 978 0 00 751743 5
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... attributes. In Germany it became pedantic and moralising; in Austria-Hungary melodramatically moody and snobbishly refined. Kraus compared the sentimentality of Heine, a Jew from Düsseldorf, with the farce of Nestroy, the Catholic dramatist from Vienna, and it’s no surprise which of the two he found lacking. Kraus was a lifelong frustrated poet and ...

A Reparation of Her Choosing

Jenny Diski: Among the Sufis, 17 December 2015

... of behaviour. We all did then, they sat on bookshop shelves like a university course: Laing, David Stafford-Clark, Erving Goffman, Vance Packard, Michael Argyle, C.J. Adcock, Viktor Frankl. And more and more. They were all over the house, on tables, on the floor. She bought them, I bought them, Peter and his friends bought them. Somehow they were cheap ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... This is the case even among non-Jewish cartoonists. A particularly striking case is that of David B. (né Pierre-François Beauchard), whose autobiographical L’Ascension du haut mal (1996-2003) is available in a single-volume English translation called Epileptic. The ‘epileptic’ is Pierre-François’s elder brother, Jean-Christophe, and ...

Jane Austen’s Latest

Marilyn Butler, 21 May 1981

Jane Austen’s ‘Sir Charles Grandison’ 
edited by Brian Southam.
Oxford, 150 pp., £7.95, March 1981, 0 19 812637 9
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... as to maximise its literary importance. All Southam’s principal deductions are supported by Lord David Cecil, in a foreword written with that critic’s customary charm, his inimitable blend of middlebrow thoughts in upper-class tones. Though he cavils gently at Jane Austen’s taste for Grandison (‘I cannot help sympathising a little with Miss Andrews in ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... considerations must have lain behind the inclusion of the 19th-century evangelists Dwight Moody and Ira Sankey: though they were born, lived and died in the United States, their revivalist meetings were hugely popular during their visits to Britain in the 1870s and 1880s, leading David Bebbington to make the ...

American Manscapes

Richard Poirier, 12 October 1989

Manhood and the American Renaissance 
by David Leverenz.
Cornell, 372 pp., $35.75, April 1989, 0 8014 2281 7
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... of infamous goodies. Meanwhile, FDA criticism will probably earn a few more adherents thanks to David Leverenz’s Manhood and the American Renaissance. It is better than most such books because, for one thing, he is at times a competent if constricted close reader, while being at heart resentful that he is required to be one at all by certain of the ...

More a Voyeur

Colm Tóibín: Elton Took Me Hostage, 19 December 2019

Me 
by Elton John.
Macmillan, 376 pp., £25, October 2019, 978 1 5098 5331 1
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... to turn up at Elton’s gigs to check him and his band out. The album’s cover photo showed a moody, nerdy-looking guy with glasses; his face was lit, but the space around him was black. He could easily have been someone’s answer to Leonard Cohen, the songwriter as lonely, fucked-up guy. He looked like a recluse, introspective, overeducated; his voice ...
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James Goldsmith: The Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... but out of a piece of inaccurate gossip. The Goldsmith case, though presented in the usual David-and-Goliath terms, in fact confirmed the established strength of the Eye: Goldsmith, who hadn’t been much in the public view since his elopement with Isabel Patino, ran headfirst into the magazine’s rare power to make its opponents first notorious, then ...

’Oly, ’Oly, ’Oly

D.A.N. Jones, 20 December 1990

From Early Life 
by William Cooper.
Macmillan, 180 pp., £13.95, August 1990, 0 333 52367 9
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Son of Adam 
by Denis Forman.
Deutsch, 201 pp., £12.99, September 1990, 9780233985930
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A Welsh Childhood 
by Alice Thomas Ellis and Patrick Sutherland.
Joseph, 186 pp., £15.99, September 1990, 0 7181 3292 0
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Alarms and Excursions: Thirty Years in Israel 
by Naomi Shepherd.
Collins, 220 pp., £16, August 1990, 0 00 215333 5
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Birds of Ill Omen 
by Marie Seurat, translated by Dorothy Blair.
Quartet, 168 pp., £10.95, September 1990, 0 7043 2694 9
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... ruined houses in vast, numinous landscapes, properly illustrating some aspects of the author’s moody, rambling text. Alice Thomas Ellis, a Roman Catholic novelist, was brought up in Penmaenmawr, between Conwy and Bangor on the North Wales coast, facing the island of Anglesey. In one of her moods, she is inclined towards elegy for the ruined stone cottages ...

How not to do it

John Sutherland, 22 July 1993

The British Library: For Scholarship, Research and Innovation: Strategic Objectives for the Year 2000 
British Library, 39 pp., £5, June 1993, 0 7123 0321 9Show More
The Library of the British Museum: Retrospective Essays on the Department of Printed Books 
edited by P.R. Harris.
British Library, 305 pp., £35, June 1993, 0 7123 0242 5
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... the designer Frances Salisbury (sub-contracted, presumably). The photography (by Phil Starling) is moody, artfully under-exposed and obliquely-angled. Cumulatively the illustrations suggest a cathedral quiet and nobility of mission, combined with beyond-the-cutting-edge technology: less 2000 than 2001. The first plate shows ‘Analyst/Programmer Peter James at ...

Death in Florence

Charles Nicholl, 23 February 2012

... only a fraction survive, among them the grave and melancholy Last Supper in Sant’Apollonia; the moody St Julian in the Basilica della Santissima Annunziata (shown below); the equestrian portrait of Niccolò da Tolentino in the Duomo; and the windswept David, painted on a leather shield now in the National Gallery of Art ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self, 5 February 2004

Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... Sukenick and Paul West, as well as their heirs, such as T. Coraghessan Boyle, Lydia Davis, Rick Moody, William Vollmann and David Foster Wallace. None of these writers – however popular or influential, however frequently their writing appeared in the Paris Review or Conjunctions or the year-end Best American and ...

Ends of the Earth

Jeremy Harding: ‘Mimesis: African Soldier’, 6 December 2018

Mimesis: African Soldier 
by John Akomfrah.
Imperial War Museum, until 30 March 2018
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... the Boches as a pleasing omen of more to come of the same sort’.By the turn of the century, as David Olusoga explained in The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (2014), Britain had already sorted its Indian subjects into martial races (mostly hardy mountain types from the Punjab and Nepal) and effeminate races (typically people of the plateau and ...

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