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Et in Alhambra ego

D.A.N. Jones, 5 June 1986

Agate: A Biography 
by James Harding.
Methuen, 238 pp., £12.95, April 1986, 0 413 58090 3
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Subsequent Performances 
by Jonathan Miller.
Faber, 253 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 571 13133 6
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... respecting Agate’s talent. After reading the biography, I turned up two of Agate’s essays in Arnold Hinchliffe’s anthology of 1979, Drama Criticism: Developments since Ibsen. It is evident that Agate was always conscious of the workings of Time and Fashion: his awareness is apparent in his 1924 first-night review of Saint Joan (not an easy ...

Off with her head

John Lloyd, 24 November 1988

Office without Power: Diaries 1968-72 
by Tony Benn.
Hutchinson, 562 pp., £16.95, October 1988, 0 09 173647 1
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... think so now (though that belief has been hard tested – especially when, after just losing to Denis Healey in Labour’s Deputy Leadership contest in 1980, he claimed in a television interview that he was the deputy leader of the Party, since more people had defected from it to form the SDP than made up Healey’s margin of victory. In this role, he urged ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Bennett’s Dissection, 1 January 2009

... to a similar protest meeting at the old Mechanics’ Institute, where one of the speakers was Mrs Arnold Kettle. The Kettles were well-known left-wingers, Arnold Kettle a Communist and lecturer in English at the university. They lived not far from us in Headingley and were eventually, though not I think at this ...

Masters

Christopher Ricks, 3 May 1984

Swift: The Man, His Works and the Age: Vol III. Dean Swift 
by Irvin Ehrenpreis.
Methuen, 1066 pp., £40, December 1983, 0 416 85400 1
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Swift’s Tory Politics 
by F.P. Lock.
Duckworth, 189 pp., £18, November 1983, 0 7156 1755 9
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Jonathan Swift: Political Writer 
by J.A. Downie.
Routledge, 391 pp., £25, March 1984, 0 7100 9645 3
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The Character of Swift’s Satire 
edited by Claude Rawson.
Associated University Presses, 343 pp., £22.50, April 1984, 0 87413 209 6
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... are here extraordinary in nothing but the articulate energy with which Swift felt and voiced them. Denis Donoghue has complained that Ehrenpreis, in presenting Swift as more ordinary, has made him less interesting and less intelligent. But since complementarily the power and powers of Swift are sensed on every page, there is something at once moving and ...

Hey, Mister, you want dirty book?

Edward Said: The CIA, 30 September 1999

Who Paid the Piper? The CIA and the Cultural Cold War 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Granta, 509 pp., £20, July 1999, 1 86207 029 6
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... friendly and endlessly voluble. Some of their hangers-on were third-rate intellectual goons like Arnold Beichmann (former Communist, rabid anti-Communist, now an aged relic of the Hoover Institution). No one then called them the New York intellectuals, as they have since become, and no one, except the dashing and iconoclastic Fred Dupee (who had their number ...

Not a Pretty Sight

Jenny Diski: Who Are You Calling Ugly?, 24 January 2008

On Ugliness 
edited by Umberto Eco.
Harvill Secker, 455 pp., £30, October 2007, 978 1 84655 122 2
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... century BC, to Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, 1960); Adonis Nude (a sixth-century Greek statue to Arnold Schwarzenegger in Commando, 1985); Adonis Clothed (2000 BC silver statuette from Aleppo to George Clooney, 2002); Portraits of Adonis (bronze head of Sargon from Akkad 2500-2000 BC to Denis Rodman c.1998 – no, I ...

In and Out of the Panthéon

Thomas Laqueur: Funerals, politics and memory in France, 20 September 2001

Funerals, Politics and Memory in Modern France 1789-1996 
by Avner Ben-Amos.
Oxford, 425 pp., £55, October 2000, 0 19 820328 4
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Monumental Intolerance: Jean Baffier, a Nationalist Sculptor in Fin-de-Siècle France 
by Neil McWilliam.
Pennsylvania State, 326 pp., £58.95, November 2000, 0 271 01965 4
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... a replacement for what had been France’s most hallowed resting place, the Cathedral at St Denis, where monarchs had been crowned and buried for many centuries. The Panthéon was manifestly for the bodies of exemplary citizens, not kings; its place in the political spectrum was set firmly and for ever. And so in 1815 the Restoration Government of Louis ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I Did in 2015, 7 January 2016

... is wearing). One of the saints, Bartholomew in the penultimate room, has always looked to me like Arnold Bennett (the author, not my cousin the policeman) but somehow I miss seeing one of my favourites, the Kenwood self-portrait against its two circles, which is there but I pass it by. I also miss because it is not there at all The Return of the Prodigal Son ...

Diary

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

... hardest to cope with, never knowing if it was piss-taking quite. It’s stated in the book that Denis Brogan, fellow of Peterhouse, broadcaster and expert on the USA, used to boast that he had fucked in 46 of the 50 states. I wish I’d known this in 1952, when in my first weeks of National Service Basic Training I was in the next bed to a boy called ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Notes on 1997, 1 January 1998

... could scarcely do better (or worse) than the one which circumstances have devised. 6 March. Sir Denis Mahon has been paying frequent visits to Discovering the Italian Baroque, the exhibition of his collection at the National Gallery, to whom he has bequeathed many of the pictures that are on show. The other day a warder watched him for some time then came ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... came from Drum magazine in South Africa. Philip Toynbee arrived after his father, the historian Arnold Toynbee, called to wonder if Astor could rescue his son from drink, depression and riotous behaviour. Colin Legum, expelled from his native South Africa, joined the paper after working as a psychologist at the Tavistock Clinic, becoming the writer who did ...

Different Speeds, Same Furies

Perry Anderson: Powell v. Proust, 19 July 2018

Anthony Powell: Dancing to the Music of Time 
by Hilary Spurling.
Hamish Hamilton, 509 pp., £25, October 2017, 978 0 241 14383 4
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... creation, Widmerpool, on the colonel who hired and fired him in the wartime Cabinet Office, Denis Capel-Dunn, an ‘undistinguished’ lawyer in civil life who perished on a flight back from the founding conference of the UN in San Francisco, to no great distress on Powell’s part. With the completion of Hearing Secret Harmonies, the last volume of A ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... smoke travelled from there into the common areas and the stairwell. In Flat 111 on the 14th floor, Denis Murphy, 56, dialled 999 and was told to stay inside his flat and that firefighters would soon reach him. He called his brother at 1.30 and left a message saying there was black smoke everywhere. People could have made for the stairs at that point, but they ...

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