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Blue Suede Studies

Hugh Barnes, 19 December 1985

Elvis and Me 
by Priscilla Beaulieu Presley and Sandra Harman.
Century, 320 pp., £9.95, October 1985, 0 7126 1131 2
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Are you lonesome tonight? 
by Alan Bleasdale.
Faber, 95 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 571 13732 6
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Elvis and Gladys 
by Elaine Dundy.
Weidenfeld, 353 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 9780297782100
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The Johnny Cash Discography 
by John Smith.
Greenwood, 203 pp., £29.95, May 1985, 0 313 24654 8
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Horse’s Neck 
by Pete Townshend.
Faber, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1985, 9780571138739
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Like Punk Never Happened 
by Dave Rimmer.
Faber, 191 pp., £4.95, October 1985, 0 571 13739 3
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Starlust: The Secret Fantasies of Fans 
by Fred Vermorel and Judy Vermorel.
Comet, 253 pp., £4.95, August 1985, 0 86379 004 6
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The Beatles 
by Hunter Davies.
Cape, 498 pp., £12.95, December 1985, 0 224 02837 5
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... secrets with the delicacy and attention to detail that soap opera is famous for. Meanwhile Elaine Dundy’s Elvis and Gladys and Alan Bleasdale’s Are you lonesome tonight? – which has arrived in the West End from Liverpool – concentrate respectively on the early and final chapters of the life. Both are sober and reflective, anxious to ...

Skating Charm

James Wolcott: Kenneth Tynan, 13 December 2001

The Diaries of Kenneth Tynan 
edited by John Lahr.
Bloomsbury, 439 pp., £25, October 2001, 0 7475 5418 8
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... rude manifesto of the Angry Young Men. His rock-’em, sock-’em first marriage to the novelist Elaine Dundy, their drunken rows rivalling Scott and Zelda’s. His snap conversion to Marxism after seeing Mother Courage. His hero-worship of Castro and his defence of the Cuban revolution, which led to his being summoned before the United States Senate ...


Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... decision she does not say) at comparing notes with her predecessor, the previous title-holder, Elaine Dundy. Before she dwindled into a wife, Kathleen Halton was an excellent journalist, from a family of some renown in the business, and she has done her leg-work conscientiously and well, excavating all the truth she could uncover about the ...

St Jude’s Playwright

Michael Church, 5 September 1985

The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams 
by Donald Spoto.
Bodley Head, 409 pp., £12.95, May 1985, 0 370 30847 6
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Tennessee Williams on File 
by Catherine Arnott.
Methuen, 80 pp., £7.95, May 1985, 0 413 58550 6
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... film. But back, for a moment, to Orpheus, and over to a hypothesis advanced not by Spoto but by Elaine Dundy in her new biography Elvis and Gladys. She points out that Williams’s reaction to an encounter with Presley was to drop what he was doing and go feverishly back to work on Orpheus. She suggests that the fellow-Mississippian Elvis was the model ...

Sisyphus at the Selectric

James Wolcott: Undoing Philip Roth, 20 May 2021

Philip Roth: The Biography 
by Blake Bailey.
Cape, 898 pp., £30, April 2021, 978 0 224 09817 5
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Philip Roth: A Counterlife 
by Ira Nadel.
Oxford, 546 pp., £22.99, May 2021, 978 0 19 984610 8
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Here We Are: My Friendship with Philip Roth 
by Benjamin Taylor.
Penguin, 192 pp., £18, May 2020, 978 0 525 50524 2
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... wise in the ways of men, had advised Bloom not to consort with Roth, just as he had cautioned Elaine Dundy not to return to Kenneth Tynan. ‘You have already had Portnoy’s complaint [i.e. Elkins],’ he told Bloom. ‘Do not involve yourself with Portnoy.’ As for Roth, he expressed too great an appetite for adultery to be faithful to ...

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