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My Friend Sam

Jane Miller

16 August 1990
The rock cried out 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 303 pp., £5.99, June 1990, 1 85381 140 8
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Can’t quit you, baby 
by Ellen Douglas.
Virago, 256 pp., £12.95, June 1990, 1 85381 149 1
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... The landscape of EllenDouglas’s Mississippi is designed to keep us out, to resist recognition; and the lines of its knobs and bluffs and ridges may be deciphered only by those who have been born and bred amongst them. For the ...

Love in a Dark Time

Colm Tóibín: Oscar Wilde

19 April 2001
The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde 
edited by Merlin Holland and Rupert Hart-Davis.
Fourth Estate, 1270 pp., £35, November 2000, 1 85702 781 7
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... The first two months of 1895 were busy for Oscar Wilde. In late January he was in Algiers with Alfred Douglas. He wrote to Robert Ross: ‘There is a great deal of beauty here. The Kabyle boys are quite lovely. At first we had some difficulty procuring a proper civilised guide. But now it is all right and ...

Diary

Alan Hollinghurst: In Houston

18 March 1999
... a hotel to a masonic temple to a private home: an odd recension. The Loisaux are perfectionists, bringing down their prey with the minimum of charge in the exactest area. We see them demolish the Douglas Building in downtown Omaha: rough brick side-walls and grandiose corniced and pilastered street façades. One set of charges weakens the building, a second set brings it down. Each victim looks ...
6 February 1997
Heaven’s Coast: A Memoir 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 305 pp., £16.99, October 1996, 0 224 04390 0
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Atlantis 
by Mark Doty.
Cape, 95 pp., £7, July 1996, 0 224 04400 1
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This Wild Darkness: The Story of My Death 
by Harold Brodkey.
Fourth Estate, 177 pp., £14.99, November 1996, 1 85702 546 6
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PWA: Looking Aids in the Face 
by Oscar Moore.
Picador, 185 pp., £6.99, November 1996, 0 330 35193 1
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... everyone,” she paused to reply when the nurses tried to reason with her.’ The heroine of this book, acting in the same way almost as the natural world in Mark Doty’s book, is Brodkey’s wife, Ellen Schwamm. ‘She insists that she regrets nothing. This is her discipline and self-assertion when, openly or not, one is in her charge.’ And: ‘I lived through Ellen’s will from time to time ...
9 June 1994
Addicted to Romance: The Life and Adventures of Elinor Glyn 
by Joan Hardwick.
Deutsch, 306 pp., £20, June 1994, 0 233 98866 1
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Mother of Oscar: The Life of Jane Francesca Wilde 
by Joy Melville.
Murray, 308 pp., £19.99, June 1994, 0 7195 5102 1
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... She was a bulky, old-fashioned figure, apparently clad, as Wodehouse would say, by Omar the Tentmaker. A gently teasing picture of her appears in The Picture of Dorian Gray. According to Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar greatly exaggerated his mother’s mental powers and social standing, but ‘really adored her and spoke of her always with the greatest reverence and respect’. Her literary earnings ...
15 September 1988
Bernard Shaw. Vol. I: The Search for Love, 1856-1898 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatto, 486 pp., £16, September 1988, 0 7011 3332 5
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Bernard Shaw: Collected Letters. Vol. IV 
edited by Dan Laurence.
Bodley Head, 946 pp., £30, June 1988, 0 370 31130 2
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Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies. Vol. VIII 
edited by Stanley Weintraub.
Pennsylvania State, 175 pp., $25, April 1988, 0 271 00613 7
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Shaw’s Sense of History 
by J.L. Wisenthal.
Oxford, 186 pp., £22.50, April 1988, 0 19 812892 4
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Collected Letters of Joseph Conrad. Vol. III: 1903-1907 
edited by Frederick Karl and Laurence Davies.
Cambridge, 532 pp., £35, April 1988, 0 521 32387 8
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Joseph Conrad: ‘Nostromo’ 
by Ian Watt.
Cambridge, 98 pp., £12.50, April 1988, 0 521 32821 7
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... especially after her marriage) and Florence Farr, for whom he had a rival in Yeats. Another whose marriage he triangulated was Janet Achurch: yet another, on whom he worked mostly by letter, was Ellen Terry. And there were more actresses, among them Mrs Patrick Campbell, some married and some not. He had a taste for actresses, and for other distinguished women. He refused to follow the way of the ...

You gu gu and I gu gu

Andrew O’Hagan: Vaslav Nijinsky

20 July 2000
The Diary of Vaslav Nijinsky 
edited by Joan Acocella and Kyril Fitzylon.
Allen Lane, 312 pp., £20, August 1999, 0 7139 9354 5
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Rites of Spring: The Great War and the Birth of the Modern Age 
by Modris Eksteins.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £12, May 2000, 0 333 76622 9
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... rose, Cocteau remarked that Nijinsky was like ‘some melancholy, imperious scent’, that ‘evaporates through the window in a jump so poignant, so contrary to all the law of flight and balance’. Ellen Terry, in her book The Russian Ballet, says this taking on of parts was the only way for Nijinsky to be even remotely himself: ‘A puppet, a half-animal creature, a faun, a character from the ...
22 March 2018
... had happened. Had one of those ‘wicked bitches’ just fucked Elliot Rodger he wouldn’t have had to kill anyone. (Nikolas Cruz, who gunned down 17 students and staff members at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on Valentine’s Day, vowed in a comment on a YouTube video that ‘Elliot Rodger will not be forgotten.’) Feminist commentators were quick to point out what should ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... the reputation of the legal system and the morale of the police. The evidence for the prosecution had been uncovered by a team of Avon and Somerset detectives originally formed in August 1987 after Douglas Hurd, then Home Secretary, asked Jim Sharples, then Deputy Chief Constable of the Avon and Somerset Force, to investigate new alibi evidence submitted on behalf of Paul Hill. Two years later, as a ...

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