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Diary

Paul Laity: Henry Woodd Nevinson, 3 February 2000

... go to the Slade, as John had done. There he knocked around with Stanley Spencer, Mark Gertler and Edward Wadsworth in the Slade Coster Gang. They went to music halls, held parties with naked dancing girls and got into fights on Tottenham Court Road. It was a remarkable time at the Slade – his other classmates included Paul Nash, Ben Nicholson, David Bomberg ...

Flirting

P.N. Furbank, 18 November 1982

The English World: History, Character and People 
edited by Robert Blake.
Thames and Hudson, 268 pp., £14.95, September 1982, 0 500 25083 9
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The English Gentleman: The Rise and Fall of an Ideal 
by Philip Mason.
Deutsch, 240 pp., £9.95, September 1982, 9780233974897
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... art and popular taste (Quentin Bell), the evolution of the English landscape (Richard Muir) – are excellent and briskly-written popularising surveys. But the whole enterprise, I do think, is compromised by those gestures towards ‘the English Spirit’, ‘the making of a tradition’ etc. (They come thickest, it is true, in the unsigned ...

How Does It Add Up?

Neal Ascherson: The Burns Cult, 12 March 2009

The Bard: Robert Burns, a Biography 
by Robert Crawford.
Cape, 466 pp., £20, January 2009, 978 0 224 07768 2
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... it. Nowhere is it more difficult to observe than in the matter of Robert Burns. Long ago, Edwin Muir said that ‘for a Scotsman to see Burns simply as a poet is almost impossible.’ Robert Crawford, himself an admired and graceful poet, writes on the closing page of The Bard that ‘Burns’s poetry carries so much of its maker with it that it seems to ...

Fiction and E.M. Forster

Frank Kermode: At the Cost of Life, 10 May 2007

... and remembered the book disparagingly in the introductory chapter of Aspects of the Novel. Edwin Muir’s Structure of the Novel (1928) came just too late for him, and indeed shows an acquaintance with Aspects. Muir shared his enthusiasm for Proust, saying that Proust had written a novel resembling Gide’s in that it was ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... been so keen to be a Hugh not a Christopher, and a MacDiarmid not a Grieve.MILLER: It was Edwin Muir’s great joke about MacDiarmid’s acolytes. ‘Men of sorrow and acquainted with Grieve.’Lichen covered the wet stone. We went inside the church and signed the book. The place seemed recently abandoned. A Bible was open on an oak table and dead flowers ...

The Old, Bad Civilisation

Arnold Rattenbury: Second World War poetry, 4 October 2001

Selected Poems 
by Randall Swingler, edited by Andy Croft.
Trent, 113 pp., £7.99, October 2000, 1 84233 014 4
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British Writing of the Second World War 
by Mark Rawlinson.
Oxford, 256 pp., £35, June 2000, 0 19 818456 5
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... true that Keith Douglas was always conscious of Isaac Rosenberg behind his shoulder, Alun Lewis of Edward Thomas. But the idea of modern warfare as one thing and of poetic response to it as another seems, in retrospect, almost Churchillian in its fixedness. Back then, although we loved the old rogue for the rodomontade and sheer cheek of his rhetoric, we got ...

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