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At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘Wonder Woman’, 13 July 2017

Wonder Woman 
directed by Patty Jenkins.
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... who seems to have been both for and against the armistice, expertly and unctuously represented by David Thewlis in his Harry Potter schoolmaster mode, and who appears to Diana as the god himself, levitating, changing forms and throwing thunderbolts. Finally, and this is probably the film’s low point, he abandons all ...

In Letchworth

Gillian Darley: Pevsner's Hertfordshire, 2 January 2020

... on the site of the former Leavesden aerodrome at Abbots Langley – they’re now home to Harry Potter World. How can knobbly Knebworth House, which looks as though it’s built of papier-mâché, compete? In 1843 Edward Bulwer-Lytton had the Tudor manor house remodelled – in Pevsner’s words – as a ‘romantic paraphrase of the Gothic ...

Vindicated!

David Edgar: The Angry Brigade, 16 December 2004

The Angry Brigade: The Cause and the Case 
by Gordon Carr.
ChristieBooks, 168 pp., £34, July 2003, 1 873976 21 6
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Granny Made Me an Anarchist 
by Stuart Christie.
Scribner, 423 pp., £10.99, September 2004, 0 7432 5918 1
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... Various documentary compilations were produced by left-wing publishing houses. A play by Dennis Potter, which he intended to call ‘The Angrier Brigade’, was commissioned by the BBC but abandoned due to a recurrence of the author’s psoriasis. A book by Tom Vague, published in 1997, was dismissed by one of the convicted Angry Brigaders as ‘a ...

You know who

Jasper Rees, 4 August 1994

Jim Henson – The Works: The Art, the Magic, the Imagination 
by Christopher Finch.
Aurum, 251 pp., £20, April 1994, 1 85410 296 6
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... Lewis Carroll. (The fact that the latter also represented the indisputable nadir in the career of David Bowie is, for the purposes of this review, neither here nor there.) In the film Dreamchild, the cinematic meditation on the life of the real Alice directed by Gavin Millar and scripted by Dennis Potter, Henson was the ...

What are we telling the nation?

David Edgar: Thoughts about the BBC, 7 July 2005

Uncertain Vision: Birt, Dyke and the Reinvention of the BBC 
by Georgina Born.
Vintage, 352 pp., £10.99, August 2005, 0 09 942893 8
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Building Public Value: Renewing the BBC for a Digital World 
BBC, 135 pp.Show More
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... not just for Edge of Darkness, but for Alan Bleasdale’s Boys from the Blackstuff (1981), Dennis Potter’s sexually provocative and formally challenging Singing Detective (1986) and Richard Eyre’s film of Charles Wood’s anti-Falklands Tumbledown (1988). When a newly aggressive ITV, freed from its franchise limitations by the 1990 Act, decided to make ...

Kelpers

Claude Rawson, 17 June 1982

St Kilda’s Parliament 
by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 87 pp., £3, September 1981, 0 571 11770 8
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Airborn/Hijos del Aire 
by Octavio Paz and Charles Tomlinson.
Anvil, 29 pp., £1.25, April 1981, 0 85646 072 9
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The Flood 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 55 pp., £3.95, June 1981, 0 19 211944 3
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Looking into the Deep End 
by David Sweetman.
Faber, 47 pp., £3, March 1981, 0 571 11730 9
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Independence 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 28 pp., £5, December 1981, 0 907540 05 8
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... volatile, become permanently fixed for the poet to work on at leisure. Perhaps this lies behind David Sweetman’s recent remark about photography as an art that helps people to ‘see what they had previously merely looked at’: a role Romantic theorists sometimes reserved for poetry itself. Viewed thus, the photograph, itself a work of art, performs in a ...

Kitty still pines for his dearest Dub

Andrew O’Hagan: Gossip, 6 February 2014

Becoming a Londoner: A Diary 
by David Plante.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £20, September 2013, 978 1 4088 3975 1
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The Animals: Love Letters between Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy 
edited by Katherine Bucknell.
Chatto, 481 pp., £25, September 2013, 978 0 7011 8678 4
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... can be tolerated, and might even be enjoyed, as piano-players in the funhouse of letters. Early in David Plante’s diaries, we find him tinkling away, dropping names in basso profundo, as if knowing people and knowing what they do in private can be the thing that makes one special. He is 28 years old when he comes to London from the US (a little younger than ...

With a Da bin ich!

Seamus Perry: Properly Lawrentian, 9 September 2021

Burning Man: The Ascent of D.H. Lawrence 
by Frances Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 488 pp., £25, May, 978 1 4088 9362 3
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... the artist,’ D.H. Lawrence wrote, ‘trust the tale.’ It must be his most famous aphorism – David Lodge even called it ‘a cardinal principle of modern hermeneutics’. It has proved especially popular with critics who want to deny authors the last word on their work. ‘What if a reader construes a poem in a way you felt you didn’t mean?’ an ...

Empire of the Doctors

C.A. Bayly, 8 December 1994

Colonising the Body: State Medicine and Epidemic Disease in 19th-Century India 
by David Arnold.
California, 354 pp., £40, September 1993, 0 520 08124 2
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Public Health in British India: Anglo-Indian Preventive Medicine 1815-1914 
by Mark Harrison.
Cambridge, 324 pp., £19.95, March 1994, 0 521 44127 7
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... to the Indian population, though often through the efforts of Indian doctors and philanthropists. David Arnold’s book covers the early 19th century in greater detail and includes a chapter on the anguished responses to the first cholera pandemic of 1818-25. He provides fascinating material on the period when Europeans were trying to come to grips with ...

Bananas

Jane Campbell, 20 April 1995

The Death of Old Man Rice: A Story of Criminal Justice in America 
by Martin Friedland.
New York, 423 pp., $29.95, October 1994, 0 8147 2627 5
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... they intended to use them all, but in order to prevent them from being hired by the defence. David Carvalho (described by a colleague as ‘the Paul Bunyon of document examiners’) had given an opinion in the Dreyfus case and was the author of Forty Centuries of Ink. He said that the signatures on the cheques were exactly like one another and that ...

Memories of Lindsay Anderson

Alan Bennett, 20 July 2000

... thoughts occur like ‘I bet Tom Stoppard doesn’t have to do this’ or ‘There is no doubt David Hare would have deputed this to an underling.’ So I was happy to read in Gavin Lambert’s Mainly about Lindsay Anderson* that Lindsay harboured similar thoughts about such self-imposed menialities. On the eve of filming O Lucky Man Lindsay has his ailing ...

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 ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... mother started worshipping it so I smashed it,’ he said. When his father introduced him to a potter friend, he said: ‘This wild animal is my son.’ The wild animal received helpful advice from some of his teachers, one of whom told him that the thing to do before parties is to ‘toss yourself off in the taxi to make your eyes shine.’ The same man ...

Haley’s Comet

Paul Driver, 6 February 1997

The Envy of the World: Fifty Years of the BBC Third Programme and Radio 3 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 431 pp., £25, September 1996, 0 297 81720 5
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... press, though it had already sent itself up in its inaugural programme, How to Listen, by Stephen Potter and Joyce Grenfell – the first of many satires, including Henry Reed’s high-camp Hilda Tablet comedies and Third Division, the comedy show that turned into the Goons. But mostly the press response was respectful. The social and political consensus that ...

Between the Raindrops

David Bromwich: The Subtlety of James Stewart, 12 December 2002

James Stewart at the NFT 
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... alone keeps the town of Bedford Falls out of the grip of the property and lending monopolies of Mr Potter, the evil tycoon played by Lionel Barrymore. One of Bailey’s projects is a co-operative low-income housing development for working-class families; Potter’s wish to eradicate that symbol of collective hope is a ...

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