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21 August 1980
Governments and Trade Unions: The British Experience 1964-79 
by Denis Barnes and Eileen Reid.
Heinemann, 240 pp., £12.50, May 1980, 0 435 83045 7
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... Accused of committing a form of national suicide, the British in the Sixties and Seventies merely raised their eyebrows, as if this was the way of the industrialised world. Wasn’t everybody? Sir DenisBarnes spent his entire civil service life (apart from one brief early interlude) at what was the Ministry of Labour and is now the Department of Employment. He rose from being Ernest Bevin’s ...


Stephen Fender

23 June 1988
by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis​ Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... novels: it was the fiction that Hemingway and others had made of his life that held the attention – the text of the man, not of his art. As the writer and war correspondent William Walton said to Denis Brian, ‘a man who has spent all his life inventing fiction keeps on inventing it in his private life.’ The reaction started with the publication of Death in the Afternoon in 1932, the hero of ...

Just a smack at Grigson

Denis​ Donoghue

7 March 1985
Montaigne’s Tower, and Other Poems 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 72 pp., £5.95, October 1984, 0 436 18806 6
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Collected Poems: 1963-1980 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 256 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 557 3
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The Faber Book of Reflective Verse 
edited by Geoffrey Grigson.
Faber, 238 pp., £7.95, October 1984, 0 571 13299 5
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Blessings, Kicks and Curses 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 279 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 0 85031 558 1
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The Private Art: A Poetry Notebook 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Allison and Busby, 231 pp., £4.95, October 1984, 9780850315592
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Before the Romantics: An Anthology of the Enlightenment 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Salamander, 349 pp., £5.95, September 1984, 0 907540 59 7
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... curlews, turtledoves, bullfinches, owls, Thomas Moore’s ‘Thee, Thee, Only Thee’ and much that France still offers. There are writers he likes, most of them dead: Ronsard, John Clare, William Barnes (‘love of whose poems seems to me a litmus paper of the genuine’), Auden (‘the greatest of my contemporaries’), George Herbert, Vaughan, Crabbe, Hopkins, Whitman, Campion, Morris, Christina ...
21 November 1991
Time to declare 
by David Owen.
Joseph, 822 pp., £20, September 1991, 0 7181 3514 8
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... Denis Healey, a politician who long ago established that the hobnailed boot can be wielded with just as much delicacy and skill as the épée, once said of David Owen that the Good Fairy who attended his ...


Denis​ Donoghue: Karlin’s collection of Victorian verse

4 June 1998
The Penguin Book of Victorian Verse 
edited by Danny Karlin.
Allen Lane, 851 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780713990492
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... narrative has been found to accommodate the diverse poetries of Tennyson, Browning, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti, Arnold, Hopkins, Hardy and Yeats. There are suggestive affiliations, as between Barnes and Hopkins, but no single narrative has explanatory power. A study of the emergence of modern poetry would need at least six lines of affiliation, by my count. More, if we included the American ...

At the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Julian Barnes: The Shchukin Collection

19 January 2017
... to be? Shchukin bought other painters whose reputations have shifted, some up, some down: nine pictures by Marquet, four by Carrière, three by Marie Laurencin (from her best period), four by Maurice Denis (who doubtless looked the most avant-garde of the Nabis, and is now on his way back up), three by Forain, and two by Puvis de Chavannes (has anyone’s reputation fallen further in the last hundred ...
9 December 1999
... and because he was sorry for her tried to make it sound as if she was justified), ‘you get on because you both despise me.’ ‘Listen.’ She brought him away from the door and closed it. Mrs Barnes next door, who had once described their marriage as uninhibited, was putting out a few opportune clothes. ‘Your father is 74. He is dying. Considering the time you’ve been hanging about here he ...

A City of Sand and Puddles

Julian Barnes: Paris

22 April 2010
Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 476 pp., £18.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 45244 1
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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps 
by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84467 411 4
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... Europe are busy attracting the attention of lorry drivers parked in the side streets. This is the most deprived part of Paris.’ Hazan, like Robb, spares a few sentences for the church of Saint-Denis-de-la-Chapelle, ‘buried in a cape of sick concrete’; then mentions a brief non-adventure of André Breton’s in the area. But even here he finds a ‘hidden charm’ in the little Chinese ...

The Necessary Talent

Julian Barnes: The Morisot Sisters

12 September 2019
Berthe Morisot 
Musée d’Orsay (until 22 September)Show More
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... great men, she has become an artist!’ Once she hit her stride, those artists she encountered – Monet, Pissarro, Degas, and even non-Impressionists like Puvis, Léon Bonnat, Sargent and Maurice Denis – recognised Morisot’s quality and treated her as an equal. Durand-Ruel, the pioneering dealer who (a century before Saatchi) batch-bought rising artists, took four of her pictures in 1872. Even ...
17 December 1981
... In twain than see the age-old hoodoo pass. Without it the West End would be bereft Of half its drama and of all its farce, And think of all those books gone down the drain By Amis, Amis, Bainbridge, Barnes, Bragg, Braine ... But artists of all kinds can be excused For cherishing a stratified society. Their privilege, which exists to be abused, Is to lay hold of life in its variety. Granted they do it ...

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