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Nothing in a Really Big Way

James Wood: Adam Mars-Jones, 24 April 2008

Pilcrow 
by Adam Mars-Jones.
Faber, 525 pp., £18.99, April 2008, 978 0 571 21703 8
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... tradition that has linked homosexuality with illness or deformity of one kind or another; Denton Welch, the patiently analytical English miniaturist, devoted to slow descriptions of his surroundings, physically impaired by a cycling accident and frankly homosexual, breathes his close, liberating air all over Mars-Jones’s novel of disability and gay ...

Wire him up to a toaster

Seamus Perry: Ordinary Carey, 7 January 2021

A Little History of Poetry 
by John Carey.
Yale, 303 pp., £14.99, March 2020, 978 0 300 23222 6
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... Jim Dixon wishes he could direct at his own appalling head of department – he wants ‘to tie Welch up in his chair and beat him about the head and shoulders with a bottle’ and so on. It is very English, completely wrapped up in absurdities of class, and probably untranslatable into any other culture. As it happens, around the same time Carey’s book ...

Lemon and Pink

David Trotter: The Sorrows of Young Ford, 1 June 2000

Return to Yesterday 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Bill Hutchings.
Carcanet, 330 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 397 1
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War Prose 
by Ford Madox Ford, edited by Max Saunders.
Carcanet, 276 pp., £14.95, August 1999, 1 85754 396 3
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... the son of a German father and an English mother, got his commission as a second lieutenant in the Welch Regiment (Special Reserve). He arrived in France in July 1916, during the Battle of the Somme, but was thought too old for frontline duty, and soon found himself with the battalion transport in Bécourt Wood, near Albert. On 28 or 29 July, a shell exploded ...

Friendly Fire

Bernard Porter: Torching the White House, 21 February 2008

Fusiliers: Eight Years with the Redcoats in America 
by Mark Urban.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 571 22486 9
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1812: War with America 
by Jon Latimer.
Harvard, 637 pp., £22.95, October 2007, 978 0 674 02584 4
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... Mark Urban’s book is about the experiences of one British regiment – the Royal Welch Fusiliers – in that campaign. (Most of them weren’t Welsh, incidentally.) The second war scarcely anyone in Britain has heard of, and even Americans seem to be hazy about it. It ran from 1812 to 1815; the peace that formally settled it was signed on ...

Invidious Trumpet

Thomas Keymer: Find the Printer, 9 September 2021

The Paper Chase: The Printer, the Spymaster and the Hunt for the Rebel Pamphleteers 
by Joseph Hone.
Chatto, 251 pp., £18.99, November 2020, 978 1 78474 306 2
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... by a mob including, it was said, men in the livery of the secretary of state Henry Bolingbroke. David Edwards, the fugitive printer of the Memorial, was wise to lie low. It would have surprised Edwards to be told, while in hiding, that state censorship was a thing of the past, but for many years that is what historians of the period argued. In 1695 the ...

Trouble down there

Ferdinand Mount: Tea with Sassoon, 7 August 2003

Siegfried Sassoon: The Making of a War Poet 1886-1918 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 600 pp., £9.99, September 2002, 0 7156 2894 1
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Siegfried Sassoon: The Journey from the Trenches 1918-67 
by Jean Moorcroft Wilson.
Duckworth, 526 pp., £30, April 2003, 0 7156 2971 9
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Sassoon: The Worlds of Philip and Sybil 
by Peter Stansky.
Yale, 295 pp., £25, April 2003, 0 300 09547 3
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... the deaths of his younger brother Hamo at Gallipoli and his beloved ‘poor Tommy’, his fellow Welch Fusilier David Thomas – nourished his Homeric rage, which, in a uniquely Sassoonian way, led him to take the whole burden of war on himself as a kind of cosmic personal insult: I want to smash someone’s skull; I want ...

Customising Biography

Iain Sinclair, 22 February 1996

Blake 
by Peter Ackroyd.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 399 pp., £20, September 1995, 1 85619 278 4
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol I: Jerusalem 
editor David Bindman, edited by Morton D. Paley.
Tate Gallery, 304 pp., £48, August 1991, 1 85437 066 9
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. II: Songs of Innocence and Experience 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Andrew Lincoln.
Tate Gallery, 210 pp., £39.50, August 1991, 1 85437 068 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol III: The Early Illuminated Books 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Morris Eaves, Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 288 pp., £48, August 1993, 1 85437 119 3
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. IV: The Continental Prophecies: America, Europe, The Song of Los 
editor David Bindman, edited by D.W. Dörbecker.
Tate Gallery, 368 pp., £50, May 1995, 1 85437 154 1
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. V: Milton, a Poem 
series editor David Bindman, edited by Robert Essick and Joseph Viscomi.
Tate Gallery, 224 pp., £48, November 1993, 1 85437 121 5
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Collected Edition of William Blake’s Illuminated Books: Vol. VI: The Urizen Books 
 editor David Bindman, edited by David Worrall.
Tate Gallery, 232 pp., £39.50, May 1995, 9781854371553
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... minders begged for copies of Barbara Pym, while Gregory spoke wistfully of Philip Larkin. Denton Welch was William Burroughs’s main intellectual squeeze. Ferlinghetti had high hopes for Jeremy Reed. The Beats were now heritage fodder, a potential Bloomsbury group. There was even talk of James Ivory optioning a Neal Cassady property. I wondered, thinking of ...

Mulishness

Paul Keegan: David Jones removes himself, 7 November 2019

David Jones: Engraver, Soldier, Painter, Poet 
by Thomas Dilworth.
Vintage, 448 pp., £14.99, January 2019, 978 0 7847 0800 2
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Epoch and Artist Selected Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 320 pp., £18.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33950 1
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‘The Dying Gaul’ and Other Writings 
by David Jones, edited by Harman Grisewood.
Faber, 240 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33953 2
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Dai Greatcoat A Self-Portrait of David Jones in His Letters 
edited by René Hague.
Faber, 280 pp., £17.99, April 2017, 978 0 571 33952 5
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... You​ ought to be in a kindergarten,’ a Canadian nurse exclaimed to David Jones, aged twenty, awaiting transfer home in July 1916 after being wounded in Mametz Wood. Even a decade later, photographs show a wary child or an understudy for an adult. Prudence Pelham, the staunchest of his extended female fellowship, described him as ‘completely unsexed ...

Red Pill, Blue Pill

James Meek, 22 October 2020

... speaker at this rally, supposedly organised to fly the flag of resistance to state oppression, was David Icke.Icke was a BBC sports presenter in the 1980s, smooth, bland and remarkable only for a certain glassy coldness of manner. Before that he’d been a professional footballer. At a time when Britain had a handful of TV channels, everyone knew his ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Didn’t Do in 2007, 3 January 2008

... a scene from the 1940s. It could be a Michael Powell film or a page from the diaries of Denton Welch. This isn’t wholly imagination either, as it turns out that there was a camp here during the war for American airborne troops, which makes the survival of these wonderfully elaborate pillars, still here despite all that must have been literally thrown at ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Finding My Métier, 4 January 2018

... someone else back and that’s what neither of them was good at.28 March. Another death, this time David Storey whom I liked and found sympathetic, though I might run into him only occasionally and most often in M&S. It was always cheering, even if these days he was often shuffling as much from the medicines he was taking as from old age. But he would call me ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story, 8 March 2007

... More Cecil Beaton?’ Norman showed her the book he was looking at, this time something on David Hockney. She leafed through it, gazing unperturbed at young men’s bottoms hauled out of Californian swimming-pools or lying together on unmade beds. ‘Some of them,’ she said, ‘some of them don’t seem altogether finished. This one is quite ...

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