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Bad Dreams

Robert Crawford: Peter Porter, 6 October 2011

The Rest on the Flight: Selected Poems 
by Peter Porter.
Picador, 421 pp., £12.99, May 2010, 978 0 330 52218 2
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... that he couldn’t do other voices. A bit like his more experimental contemporary, the late Edwin Morgan, another poet whose work catches the 1960s and 1970s splendidly, Porter enjoyed making poems that were consciously artificial – constructed – in their voicing. The best known of these is ‘Your Attention Please’, written in the flat tones of a ...

Short Cuts

Peter Geoghegan: On Greensill, 6 May 2021

... In a speech​  at the University of East London in February 2010 David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, promised to lift the lid on ‘secret corporate lobbying’. The ‘far too cosy relationship between politics, government, business and money’, he said, would end on his watch. The full text of his speech isn’t easy to find – the Conservative Party erased ten years’ worth of speeches and press releases from its website in 2013 – but the internet doesn’t forget ...

Agh, Agh, Yah, Boo

David Wheatley: Ian Hamilton Finlay, 4 December 2014

Midway: Letters from Ian Hamilton Finlay to Stephen Bann, 1964-69 
edited by Stephen Bann.
Wilmington Square, 426 pp., £25, May 2014, 978 1 905524 34 1
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... do not mean Hugh MacDiarmid’). Other Scottish writers were touchy subjects too: Edwin Morgan (‘Yeddie’) was a figure of suspicion, hitching a ride on the concrete bandwagon while blackening Finlay’s name as an ‘impossible’ person to the BBC and the Arts Council, though when Morgan proposed Finlay for ...

All hail, sage lady

Andrew O’Hagan: ‘The Crown’, 15 December 2016

... it costs these days to make England look like England. The show was created and written by Peter Morgan, its majesty and its wit are his – it would take an American ‘writers’ room’ of a dozen to do wrong what he does right – and a slew of British directing talent led by Stephen Daldry has brought it to the small screen. The British settings are ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... tough keeping track of all the debutantes promenading into print and creating a stir: Donna Tartt, David Leavitt, Mary Gaitskill, Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, Nancy Lemann, Susan Minot, Mary Robison, Anderson Ferrell – a cast of dozens. Many of those rookies trained at the literary dojo of the author, editor, creative writing teacher and guru-mentor-mindgamer ...

Cronyism and Clientelism

Peter Geoghegan, 5 November 2020

... in his Bromley and Chislehurst constituency. A couple of months earlier, another Conservative MP, David Morris, apologised for lobbying on behalf of an energy firm that had given him £10,000. Morris had urged the energy minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, to lobby Ofgem to change regulations in ways that could benefit Aquind Limited, which is seeking to build an ...


A.J.P. Taylor: Magdalen College Portraits, 3 May 1984

... to the distant time when I read a book a day. They begin with Lloyd George and the Generals by David Woodward,* a professor at Marshall University, which is somewhere in the New World. The difficult relations between Lloyd George, when prime minister, and the British generals from Haig onwards during the First World War have been a topic of long ...

Boomster and the Quack

Stefan Collini: How to Get on in the Literary World, 2 November 2006

Writers, Readers and Reputations: Literary Life in Britain 1870-1918 
by Philip Waller.
Oxford, 1181 pp., £85, April 2006, 0 19 820677 1
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... in which the publisher appears to have colluded with the author. Take the appearances of one John Morgan Richards. On page 65 we are introduced to him as an ‘American, domiciled in England since 1867 and now owner of the Academy’. On page 92 we are told that ‘the Academy had been bought in 1896 by the American patent-medicine advertiser John ...

Going Wrong

Michael Wood, 7 March 1996

directed by Martin Scorsese.
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directed by Michael Mann.
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directed by David Fincher.
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... and Mann thought they were doing, but it is what the manner of their directing solemnly suggests. David Fincher’s Seven is rather different, since it has a clever plot and enough violent action for a whole series of movies, and certainly isn’t an essay. But it doesn’t see itself as just gory entertainment either, and it, too, is keen on the big ...

Keeping out and coming close

Michael Church, 3 October 1985

Here lies: An Autobiography 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 234 pp., £10.95, June 1985, 0 297 78588 5
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The Levanter 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 99521 9
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Doctor Frigo 
by Eric Ambler.
Weidenfeld, 250 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 297 76848 4
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The Other Side of the Moon: The Life of David Niven 
by Sheridan Morley.
Weidenfeld, 300 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780297787082
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Secrets: Boyhood in a Jewish Hotel 1932-1954 
by Ronald Hayman.
Peter Owen, 224 pp., £12, July 1985, 9780720606423
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A Woman in Custody 
by Audrey Peckham.
Fontana, 253 pp., £3.95, June 1985, 0 00 636952 9
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No Gangster More Bold 
by John Morgan.
Hodder, 179 pp., £9.95, July 1985, 0 340 26387 3
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... Ambler acknowledges that his second Army film owed its success in large part to its star, David Niven, who used his fame and connections to smooth its passage past the censors. What does not emerge in Ambler’s characteristically modest account, however, is the film’s importance (despite its ‘meaningless and vaguely optimistic title’, The Way ...

Karel Reisz Remembered

LRB Contributors, 12 December 2002

... film a year later, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. He went on to direct Night Must Fall, Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment, Isadora, The Gambler, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, Who’ll Stop the Rain?, Sweet Dreams and Everybody Wins. His work has influenced more than one generation of British film-makers, and what he did for the stage ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... did not edit the Bannatyne Manuscript. It was edited by his colleague in the Court of Session, Sir David Dalrymple, Lord Hailes, whose Annals led Sir Walter Scott to laud him as ‘the restorer of Scottish history’. Does it matter that the notorious cry of ‘Whaur’s yer Wullie Shakespeare noo?’ greeted Home’s tragedy in London, not Edinburgh? It ...

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 ...


Robert Crawford, 20 April 1989

by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £8.95, September 1988, 0 571 15229 5
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A Field of Vision 
by Charles Causley.
Macmillan, 68 pp., £10.95, September 1988, 0 333 48229 8
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Seeker, Reaper 
by George Campbell Hay and Archie MacAlister.
Saltire Society, 30 pp., £15, September 1988, 0 85411 041 0
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In Through the Head 
by William McIlvanney.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £9.95, September 1988, 1 85158 169 3
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The New British Poetry 
edited by Gillian Allnutt, Fred D’Aguiar, Ken Edwards and Eric Mottram.
Paladin, 361 pp., £6.95, September 1988, 0 586 08765 6
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Complete Poems 
by Martin Bell, edited by Peter Porter.
Bloodaxe, 240 pp., £12.95, August 1988, 1 85224 043 1
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First and Always: Poems for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital 
edited by Lawrence Sail.
Faber, 69 pp., £5.95, October 1988, 0 571 55374 5
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by Mick Imlah.
Chatto, 61 pp., £4.95, September 1988, 0 7011 3358 9
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... to see home as a ‘provincial’ bore, there have been poets around for some time, such as Edwin Morgan and Roy Fisher, who give the lie to that. Home is no longer ‘so sad’. At home few people speak Proper English all the time. Home-based poetry may be in dialect, which is present in nearly all the writers considered here: but it may also fuel itself ...


Thomas Sugrue: Civil Rights v. Black Power, 5 October 2006

Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice 
by Raymond Arsenault.
Oxford, 690 pp., £19.99, March 2006, 0 19 513674 8
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... creating a ‘beloved community’ of blacks and whites. Under a 1946 Supreme Court decision, Morgan v. Virginia, the racial separation of passengers on interstate buses and trains was illegal. Like many high court rulings that contravened social norms, Morgan was honoured in the breach. Fifteen years after the ...

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