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21 March 1991
Intertextual Dynamics within the Literary Group: Joyce, Lewis, Pound and Eliot 
by Dennis Brown.
Macmillan, 230 pp., £35, November 1990, 9780333516461
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An Immodest Violet: The Life of Violet Hunt 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 205 pp., £14.99, November 1990, 0 233 98639 1
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... Dennis Brown concludes his celebration of Anglo-American Modernism with an account of Ezra Pound’s death on 30 October 1972. ‘That year I ended an obituary of Pound in a Canadian student newspaper: Pound is now dead and no poet remains of his stature. But poetry is “NEWS that stays NEWS”. READ him: Read HIM ...

Brown v. Salmond

Colin Kidd: The Scottish Elections

26 April 2007
... Edinburgh University Student Publications and edited by the university’s student rector, Gordon Brown. Brown did not succumb to nationalism, of course, but he attempted to reformulate the Labour agenda to take account of Scotland’s national peculiarities. The Red Paper had an immediate impact on party politics. In 1976 ...
16 March 2000
Fast Food: Roadside Restaurants in the Automobile Age 
by John Jakle and Keith Sculle.
Johns Hopkins, 394 pp., £27, January 2000, 0 8018 6109 8
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... that I thought never really existed, having been assured by the revisionists that the heyday of Dennis the Menace and ‘Father Knows Best’ was all about building a military economy, chasing pinkos and, of course, repression. I wasn’t there, and I’m glad I wasn’t. But there is nothing self-important about their earnestness, nor their nostalgia, and ...

Institutional Hypocrisy

David Runciman: Selling the NHS

21 April 2005
Restoring Responsibility: Ethics in Government, Business and Healthcare 
by Dennis Thompson.
Cambridge, 349 pp., £16.99, November 2004, 0 521 54722 9
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NHS plc: The Privatisation of Our Healthcare 
by Allyson Pollock.
Verso, 271 pp., £15.99, September 2004, 1 84467 011 2
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Brown’s Britain 
by Robert Peston.
Short Books, 369 pp., £14.99, January 2005, 1 904095 67 4
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... In an essay entitled ‘Hypocrisy and Democracy’ in his wonderfully measured new collection, Dennis Thompson quotes Judith Shklar, who described the politics of anti-hypocrisy as an ‘unending game of mutual unmasking’, in which everyone is bound to lose. Because democracy is a system of government that institutionalises distrust, as the price we pay ...

Make for the Boondocks

Tom Nairn: Hardt and Negri

5 May 2005
Multitude 
by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri.
Hamish Hamilton, 426 pp., £20, January 2005, 0 241 14240 7
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... the Serbs a lesson they’ll never forget For shooting Archduke Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo Carl Dennis, ‘World History’1 The cover of Multitude invites bookshop browsers not just to read it, but to ‘Join the many. Join the Empowered.’ The missionary tone is underlined by Naomi Klein’s blurb – ‘inspiring’ – and a frisson added by the ...
16 September 1982
Double Yoke 
by Buchi Emecheta.
Dgwugwu Afor, 163 pp., £3, September 1982, 0 9508177 0 8
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The Aerodrome 
by Rex Warner.
Bodley Head, 304 pp., £6.95, July 1982, 9780370309262
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AVery British Coup 
by Chris Mullin.
Hodder, 220 pp., £6.95, September 1982, 0 340 28586 9
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An Ice Cream War 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 370 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10868 3
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Tempting Fate 
by Michael Levey.
Hamish Hamilton, 220 pp., £7.95, September 1982, 0 241 10801 2
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... of Nicky, posing in his bathing trunks. When clothed, we learn, he wears ‘a denim jacket (brown, not blue), bearing my “I love paedophilia” badge. Dennis was taking me to the Reform Club for lunch ...’ Dennis is one of Nicky’s lovers, formerly his teacher at his ...

Shtum

John Lanchester: Alastair Campbell’s Diaries

16 August 2007
The Blair Years: Extracts from the Alastair Campbell Diaries 
edited by Alastair Campbell and Richard Stott.
Hutchinson, 794 pp., £25, July 2007, 978 0 09 179629 7
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... know: let’s find our angriest, shoutiest, most tribal, most aggressive party loyalist. As Craig Brown joked in the Mail on Sunday, it is as if, instead of turning to Doctor Watson for advice, Sherlock Holmes had instead consulted the Hound of the Baskervilles. Campbell is a political journalist who, as part of a not-all-that-complex self-loathing, despises ...

Always the Same Dream

Ferdinand Mount: Princess Margaret

4 January 2018
Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret 
by Craig Brown.
Fourth Estate, 423 pp., £16.99, September 2017, 978 0 00 820361 0
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... is 15 years since she died, and memories of her are not as sharp as they were. Which makes Craig Brown’s enterprise not only a marvellous freak of literature but a matchless summoner of our yesterdays. It is a collage, montage or bricolage of glittery bits culled from two hundred biographies, authorised and unauthorised, written by cashiered gossip ...

Redheads in Normandy

R.W. Johnson: The 1997 election

22 January 1998
The British General Election of 1997 
by David Butler and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 343 pp., £17.50, November 1997, 0 333 64776 9
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Labour's Landslide 
by Andrew Geddes and Jonathan Tonge.
Manchester, 211 pp., £40, December 1997, 0 7190 5159 2
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Britain Votes 1997 
edited by Pippa Norris and Neil Gavin.
Oxford, 253 pp., £12.99, January 1998, 9780199223220
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Collapse of Stout Party: The Decline and Fall of the Tories 
by Julian Crtitchley and Morrison Halcrow.
Gollancz, 288 pp., £20, November 1997, 0 575 06277 0
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Les Election Legislatives, 25 Mai-1er Juin 1997: Le president desavoue 
Le Monde, 146 pp., frs 45, June 1998Show More
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... academic study of a French election. It is now evident that Butler’s (and, since 1974, Dennis Kavanagh’s) work is irreplaceable: each volume includes things a political historian needs to know and can find nowhere else. The lack of a stronger sociological and analytic perspective remains a vexation – the French are undoubtedly better at this ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2013

9 January 2014
... muddy underfoot, an illicit delight. It’s warm and windless, the stones of the abbey sodden and brown from the amount of moisture they’ve absorbed. Spectacular here are the toilet arrangements, the reredorter set above a narrow chasm with a stream still running along the bottom. Unique, though (or at least I haven’t seen another), is the tannery ...
4 March 1982
Evelyn Waugh, Writer 
by Robert Murray Davis.
Pilgrim Books, 342 pp., $20.95, May 1981, 0 937664 00 6
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... first read aloud from The Napoleon of Notting Hill, which was exchanged for The Wisdom of Father Brown at the same time that the quotation from the latter about ‘a twitch on the thread’ was inserted. These are scraps. There are more considerable changes, which make you wish Professor Davis had written a different book. For instance, Anthony ...

Deity with Fairy Wings

Emily Witt: Girlhood

7 September 2016
The Girls 
by Emma Cline.
Chatto, 355 pp., £12.99, June 2016, 978 1 78474 044 3
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... their centre Russell instead of Charles. The cult’s celebrity patron is called Mitch instead of Dennis Wilson, and the group lives rent-free on a ranch where they help raise llamas instead of renting out horses, as the Manson family did at Spahn Ranch. Cline also removes all reference to Helter Skelter – Manson’s delusional plan to incite a race war in ...

Seductress Extraordinaire

Terry Castle: The vampiric Mercedes de Acosta

24 June 2004
‘That Furious Lesbian’: The Story of Mercedes de Acosta 
by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 210 pp., £16.95, June 2004, 0 8093 2579 9
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Women in Turmoil: Six Plays 
by Mercedes de Acosta, edited by Robert Schanke.
Southern Illinois, 252 pp., £26.95, June 2003, 0 8093 2509 8
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... like a small marble park’, an infatuated Janet Flanner wrote, ‘in which her eyes lived as brown nightingales’. Her hair was a ‘lignous’ coiled black, like a ‘combed bush’. De Acosta boasted that she could steal any woman from any man. Garbo, who allowed herself to be briefly seduced then struggled for twenty years to extricate herself from ...

I want to be her clothes

Kevin Kopelson: Kate Moss

20 December 2012
Kate: The Kate Moss Book 
by Kate Moss, edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack.
Rizzoli, 368 pp., £50, November 2012, 978 0 8478 3790 8
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... ambition are opposites. The other exception is Kate Moss. Consider this description of her by Dennis Freedman, former creative director of the American magazine W: Kate has been our muse – ours and our photographers’ – for the simple reason that there are so many aspects to Kate’s personality. She’s a woman, she’s a child, she’s a ...

Man is the pie

Jenny Turner: Alasdair Gray

21 February 2013
Every Short Story 1951-2012 
by Alasdair Gray.
Canongate, 933 pp., £30, November 2012, 978 0 85786 560 1
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... agent sent down by a higher authority to save the world’. The name of the hero was to be Boreas Brown. Gray worked on this novel, off and on, for the next three decades, Boreas Brown turning into Obbly-Pobbly, Obbly-Pobbly into Gowan Cumbernauld. From Whitehill he went to Glasgow School of Art, then worked reluctantly as ...

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