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Squealing

Ian Buruma

13 May 1993
GowerThe Autobiography 
by David Gower and Martin Johnson.
Collins Willow, 256 pp., £14.99, September 1992, 0 00 218413 3
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... DavidGower was this year’s most popular victim, the English underdog, the handsome knight sacrificed by knaves. But good news is at hand: the hero has announced a brilliant season full of runs. In the ...

In for the Kill

Inigo Thomas: Photographing Cricket

16 August 2017
... with his Leica of someone he’d never heard of: Oskar Schindler. ‘It is not an exciting shot,’ he once said. ‘But it exists. It is just about the only photograph I have seen of Schindler.’ David Bailey, or Antonioni’s Blow-Up, was one model to follow, but Eagar went to Vietnam. When he returned he got a job at Which? magazine, where he says he ‘tested’ red wine. But photography was ...

Diary

Mike Selvey: Dumping Gower

24 September 1992
... our Kenco, the three of us, and nattered of the game, which mercifully at that point we couldn’t see, of our plans for the evening and the rest of the season. And of the impending publication of DavidGower’s autobiography.* This had been ghosted by Martin Johnson, a man who, since he began following Leicestershire for the Leicester Mercury back in 1973, two years before Gower’s first-class ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: Bookshops

14 December 2000
... haven’t had a very good year. On 4 January, the first working day of the new millennium, Ben Rogers wrote in the Guardian that he was ‘surprised to wander into the philosophy section’ of their Gower Street store: not very surprising behaviour for a philosopher, you might think, except that he discovered ‘someone’ had ‘divided the whole of post-medieval Western philosophy into two classes ...

Dunbar’s Disappearance

Sally Mapstone: William Dunbar

24 May 2001
The Poems of William Dunbar 
edited by Priscilla Bawcutt.
Association for Scottish Literary Studies, £70, May 1999, 0 948877 38 3
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... poetic contexts it often also indicates a recognition of a shared literary heritage in which English writers had pride of place. In ‘The Goldyn Targe’ Dunbar goes on to praise Chaucer, and then Gower and Lydgate, who were also English, for their triumphant positions in the rhetorical tradition ‘in Britane’, in which he is also seeking to situate himself. For his poetic purposes the ‘isle ...

Rotten, Wicked, Tyrannical

Bernard Porter: The Meek Assassin

5 July 2012
Why Spencer Perceval Had to Die: The Assassination of a British Prime Minister 
by Andro Linklater.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £18.99, May 2012, 978 1 4088 2840 3
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... and the fatal act that brought them together, Andro Linklater thinks, is more significant and also more mysterious. They have been the subject of two previous books, by Mollie Gillen (1972) and David Hanrahan (2008), both called The Assassination of the Prime Minister. Linklater doesn’t add much information or evidence about the event itself, but he puts it in context, and provides fascinating ...

Toss the monkey wrench

August Kleinzahler: Lee Harwood’s risky poems

19 May 2005
Collected Poems 
by Lee Harwood.
Shearsman, 522 pp., £17.95, May 2004, 9780907562405
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... North Central and My Life by Water, and George Oppen’s Collected Poetry. Of British poets, apart from Bunting, Montgomery published four collections by Roy Fisher, one by Ian Hamilton Finlay, David Jones’s The Tribune’s Visitation, an early collection by Christopher Middleton, and three by Lee Harwood. The publishing provenance of an outsider poet like Harwood can tell you a lot about his ...

Messages from the Mafia

Federico Varese: Berlusconi’s underworld connections

6 January 2005
Berlusconi’s Shadow: Crime, Justice and the Pursuit of Power 
by David​ Lane.
Allen Lane, 336 pp., £18.99, August 2004, 0 7139 9787 7
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Silvio Berlusconi: Television, Power and Patrimony 
by Paul Ginsborg.
Verso, 189 pp., £16, June 2004, 1 84467 000 7
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... than the historical kind – which had failed completely to unify the country’s various cultures – because it both ‘assimilates and homogenises’. Two foreign observers of Italy, David Lane, the Economist correspondent in Rome, and Paul Ginsborg, who teaches at Florence University, are now also arguing that fascism has returned to the country. Lane begins his book on the beaches of ...
6 March 2014
In It Together: The Inside Story of the Coalition Government 
by Matthew D’Ancona.
Penguin, 414 pp., £25, October 2013, 978 0 670 91993 2
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... but National Liberal and Conservative, or Liberal and Conservative. This was not merely an eccentric fringe. Michael Heseltine entered politics as an unsuccessful National Liberal candidate in Gower at the general election of 1959, and Sir John Nott, Thatcher’s secretary of defence during the Falklands crisis, started his career in the Commons as National Liberal MP for St Ives. Only in 1968 ...
18 August 1983
English Literature in History: 1730-80: An Equal, Wide Survey 
edited by Raymond Williams, by John Barrell.
Hutchinson, 228 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149820 1
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English Literature in History: 1350-1400: Medieval Readers and Writers 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Janet Coleman.
Hutchinson, 337 pp., £12, July 1981, 0 09 144100 5
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English Literature in History: 1780-1830: Pastoral and Politics 
edited by Raymond Williams, by Roger Sales.
Hutchinson, 247 pp., £13.50, March 1983, 0 09 149830 9
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The Cambridge Guide to English Literature 
by Michael Stapleton.
Cambridge/Newnes Books, 992 pp., £15, April 1983, 9780521256476
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... and by implication on the anonymous complaint genre of the century’. Lydgate and Langland also gain a context from her description of a mass of topical writing, prose as well as verse. But it is Gower among named writers who here arrives centre-stage, not because he has a distinctive voice (the literary critic’s usual criterion of merit), but because he is typical. Especially in the Vox ...

Diary

Frank Kermode: Being a critic

27 May 1999
... Sutherland provides a historical sketch to show that the literary as opposed to the linguistic appointments at UCL have often gone to people with a foot in the literary world outside the academy. David Masson, who succeeded Arthur Hugh Clough at UCL, wrote an immense Life of Milton, ran his department with great success, and in his spare time edited Macmillan’s Magazine. His successor Henry ...

Labour dies again

Ross McKibbin

3 June 2015
... events: the formation of the first (minority) SNP government in 2007; then the SNP’s success in winning a majority in the Parliament in 2011; the mobilising effects of the independence referendum; David Cameron’s decision (presumably well prepared) to use the result as an excuse to push for ‘English votes for English measures’, which allowed the SNP to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015

7 January 2016
... from Cambridge, Michael Frayn. Oliver said that he had fried and eaten a placenta. At that time I don’t think I knew what a placenta was except that I knew it didn’t come with chips.11 September. David Cameron has been in Leeds preaching to businessmen the virtues of what he calls ‘the smart state’. Smart to Mr Cameron seems to mean doing as little as one can get away with and calling it ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: My 2006

4 January 2007
... of the table to the other as each in turn slowly toppled off her chair. Duff Cooper’s philanderings are often quite funny. Having rekindled an old flame, Lady Warrender, he adjourns with her to his Gower Street house, now emptied of furniture and up for sale. Suddenly, while they’re at it, there’s a loud banging on the door downstairs which Duff Cooper eventually has to answer and it’s the ...

Crocodile’s Breath

James Meek: The Tale of the Tube

5 May 2005
The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How It Changed the City For Ever 
by Christian Wolmar.
Atlantic, 351 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 1 84354 022 3
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... Road, in 1858, that the Underground – before it was even built – got its first quiet bit of public subsidy. The company trying to raise money for the Metropolitan was on the verge of collapse. David Wire, the lord mayor, allowed himself to be persuaded by Pearson – then the Corporation of the City of London’s solicitor – of the case for public transport in the capital, the one that’s ...

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