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The Good Old Days

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Dacha-Owning Classes

9 October 2003
Summerfolk 1710-2000: A History of the Dacha 
by Stephen Lovell.
Cornell, 259 pp., £18.95, April 2003, 0 8014 4071 8
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Socialist Spaces: Sites of Everyday Life in the Eastern Bloc 
edited by David Crowley and Susan Reid.
Berg, 261 pp., £15.99, November 2002, 1 85973 533 9
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Caviar with Champagne: Common Luxury and the Ideals of the Good Life in Stalin’s Russia 
by Jukka Gronow.
Berg, 179 pp., £15.99, October 2003, 1 85973 633 5
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The Unmaking of Soviet Life: Everyday Economies after Socialism 
by Caroline Humphrey.
Cornell, 265 pp., £13.95, May 2002, 0 8014 8773 0
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... the story is complex and he has done a lot of research (if readers want to try something less demanding first, they can go to his article, ‘Soviet Exurbia: Dachas in Postwar Russia’, in the Crowley and Reid collection).1 But it shows Lovell to be a first rate social as well as cultural historian. Like his mentor, Catriona Kelly (whose recent study of Russian advice literature is an essential ...

Uncle Max

Patricia Craig

20 December 1984
The man who was M: The Life of Maxwell Knight 
by Anthony Masters.
Blackwell, 205 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 631 13392 5
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Unreliable Witness: Espionage Myths of the Second World War 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 166 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 297 78481 1
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The Great Betrayal: The Untold Story of Kim Philby’s Biggest Coup 
by Nicholas Bethell.
Hodder, 214 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 340 35701 0
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... 20 May, is the date of Kent’s arrest. Where else does he slip up? He mentions that Knight and John le Carré knew one another, but doesn’t see fit to add that le Carré – under his real name, David Cornwell – illustrated one or two of Knight’s post-war publications (e.g. Talking Birds, 1961): a not uninteresting detail in a story that includes spies and intrigues among its ingredients, just ...

Tankishness

Peter Wollen: Tank by Patrick Wright

16 November 2000
Tank: The Progress of a Monstrous War Machine 
by Patrick Wright.
Faber, 499 pp., £25, October 2000, 0 571 19259 9
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... role of prophet and iconoclast. Wright enjoys describing the weirdness of Fuller’s first published book – The Star in the West (1907), a study of the sexual and philosophical ideas of Aleister Crowley, the notorious occultist – and notes its sinister relationship to Fuller’s later transfer of allegiance from the ‘Great Beast’ to Sir Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists. Anti ...

Dependencies

Elizabeth Young

25 February 1993
The Case of Anna Kavan 
by David​ Callard.
Peter Owen, 240 pp., £16.95, January 1993, 0 7206 0867 8
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... She cast doubts, she lied, she fabricated, she spoke the truth, she was most honest. But where did it begin and where did it end?’ wrote her close friend Raymond Marriott. In such circumstances David Callard should be congratulated for completing the project al all. It is not a very satisfactory biography but she was not a very satisfactory subject. Callard’s previous book, Pretty Good for a ...

Glaucus and Ione

Hugh Lloyd-Jones

17 April 1980
The Last Days of Pompeii 
by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton.
Sidgwick, 522 pp., £6.95, December 1979, 0 283 98587 9
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... Winckelmann, the first scholar to distinguish the different styles of ancient art to whose writings artists paid attention. After Vien, the representative artists of the new movement were Mengs and David; it was not from literature but from art that André Chénier learned the importance of the buried cities. His work was affected by this knowledge; so was the Anacharsis of the Abbé Barthélemy ...
5 February 1987
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David​ Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... What they have in common is unease, a refusal to content themselves with the themes of individuality and the social condition, a conviction that social conditions are epiphenomena. Aldiss cites David Lodge’s argument that Tony-Bungay is a better novel than it appears because it insists on spreading its focus from the Ponderevos and Bladesover House to ‘the Condition of England’ itself. In ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry

1 July 1999
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... that the murder was racially motivated. Within a few days four names had emerged by dint of repetition from among the large volume of information that the police received: Jamie Acourt, Neil Acourt, David Norris and Gary Dobson. The names came from unreliable sources – an ex-girlfriend, youths with grudges against them. All four had been suspects in connection with previous acts of racial violence ...
23 July 1992
Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero 
by Charles Sprawson.
Cape, 307 pp., £15.99, June 1992, 0 224 02730 1
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... against the swimmers where green water shimmered over blue mosaic tiles. Now it is weedy and frog-infested, an Arab lavatory, but Gide loved it, and so did Norman Douglas and the magician Aleister Crowley. Although male love and sexual competitiveness swarm about the bather like gladiatorial shades, a contrasting impulse – Rupert Brooke’s at Granchester – wants to be free of all that, ‘like ...

So Ordinary, So Glamorous

Thomas Jones: Eternal Bowie

5 April 2012
Starman: David​ Bowie, the Definitive Biography 
by Paul Trynka.
Sphere, 440 pp., £9.99, March 2012, 978 0 7515 4293 6
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The Man Who Sold the World: David​ Bowie and the 1970s 
by Peter Doggett.
Bodley Head, 424 pp., £20, September 2011, 978 1 84792 144 4
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... year-old on Camber Sands, wearing no make-up and very few clothes, grinning through her freckles and pointy teeth, all at once so English, so ordinary and so glamorous. And it’s four decades since David Bowie – wearing a lot of make-up and very few clothes, grinning through his pointy teeth, all at once so English, so ordinary and so glamorous – released The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and ...
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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... Abbey footage? Bennett, required to audition for the John Betjeman slot, couldn’t bring himself to deliver much more than formulaic world-weariness, a drone like a miraculously articulate David Hockney impersonator. Jonathan Meades does this schtick so much better, performs himself with lip-smacking relish. Gossip has its charms, but not when it’s dragged out over three interminable ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2004

6 January 2005
... Boys has nothing to say about this as I felt it was another play entirely, and also, I suppose, because I have no experience of it. 25 February. With Nick Hytner and the designer of the play, Bob Crowley, to the London Nautical School in Stamford Street just behind the National. It’s a naval school in origin, one of several set up after the sinking of the Titanic to improve standards of seamanship ...

One Summer in America

Eliot Weinberger

26 September 2019
... prefers to appoint acting heads, who do not require the confirmation process where their often unusual beliefs and dubious pasts might be questioned.*Among those who do not need confirmation, Monica Crowley, a Fox regular, is appointed as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Treasury Department. Crowley is best known for her claim that Obama was an ‘Islamic community organiser’ tied to the ...

Diary

Jeremy Harding: My ’68

19 July 2018
... they scowled together, counting the days till the end of term. Their politics, as I came to see later, was a kind of eclectic hip. Their extra-mural education had led to odd reading habits (Aleister Crowley, Hermann Hesse); they had been to obscure movies (Herostratus by Don Levy, Black God, White Devil by Glauber Rocha) and customised their TV intake with the ease of any digital-era couch potato. They ...

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