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Boswell’s Bowels

Neal Ascherson

20 December 1984
James Boswell: The Later Years 1769-1795 
by Frank Brady.
Heinemann, 609 pp., £20, November 1984, 0 434 08530 8
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... the late 18th century, above all, for the Victorians. The Boswell industry at Yale University has given an ‘Age of Boswell’ to the 20th century. This second volume of the grand Frederick Pottle-FrankBrady biography marks the climax of that long achievement. Climax, but not end: in some country-house loft or uncleared bank vault, I would bet, lies the huge bundle which is the missing Johnson ...
25 January 1990
Boswell: The Great Biographer. Journals: 1789-1795 
by James Boswell, edited by Marlies Danziger and Frank Brady.
Heinemann, 432 pp., £25, November 1989, 0 434 89729 9
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... to the family turkey in Great Portland Street. The content of this last journal – previewed in the account of Boswell’s later life which was published six years ago by one of the present editors, FrankBrady – is the worse for its author’s frustrations, prostrations and despairs, interesting though he can sometimes make them appear; it conveys what can often seem like a bitter end for the ...


Gavin Millar

13 September 1990
Citizen Welles: A Biography of Orson Welles 
by Frank Brady.
Hodder, 655 pp., £18.95, January 1990, 0 340 51389 6
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If this was happiness: A Biography of Rita Hayworth 
by Barbara Leaming.
Weidenfeld, 312 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 297 79630 5
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Norma Shearer 
by Gavin Lambert.
Hodder, 381 pp., £17.95, August 1990, 0 340 52947 4
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Ava’s Men: The Private Life of Ava Gardner 
by Jane Ellen Wayne.
Robson, 268 pp., £14.95, November 1989, 0 86051 636 9
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Goldwyn: A Biography 
by Scott Berg.
Hamish Hamilton, 579 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 241 12832 3
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The Genius of the System: Hollywood Film-Making in the Studio Era 
by Thomas Schatz.
Simon and Schuster, 514 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 671 69708 0
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... but broken by the system, and by leading individuals within it (including politicians, newspaper magnates, journalists, gossip-columnists and even critics), he was possibly the least culpable. Even Brady, an admirer, in his exhaustive and occasionally exhausting coverage, fails from time to time to set the record straight aggressively enough, and falls victim to what we should regard as the received ...

Fox and Crow

David Craig: The Moors

30 July 2014
The Moor: Lives, Landscape, Literature 
by William Atkins.
Faber, 371 pp., £18.99, May 2014, 978 0 571 29004 8
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... or hectors. He is a fine reporter, not exactly impartial, letting the details speak for themselves. The moor near Saddleworth, just south of the M62, inevitably features the Moors murderers. Ian Brady is defined with characteristic justice as ‘pouting, imperious’, with a ‘facility for barbarism’. The land round Fylingdales is pocked with craters left by artillery exercises which are now ...

Lucky Lad

Geoffrey Wheatcroft: Harold Evans

17 December 2009
My Paper Chase: True Stories of Vanished Times – An Autobiography 
by Harold Evans.
Little, Brown, 515 pp., £25, September 2009, 978 1 4087 0203 1
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... way by an arbitrary readiness to stop the presses at any time for any reason or none, not to say by blackmail and sheer corruption. After 30 years Evans still burns with hatred at the name of ‘Reg Brady, a Communist “father of the chapel” in the pressroom’. He also admits that the paper’s management were well and truly outfought in this continual guerrilla warfare with the printers, sourly ...
29 July 2015
... that I was there, or was told first hand, and have remembered things thus and so, which might make what I recall a mite closer to the facts of the matter. Doris Lessing left behind two ex-husbands, Frank Wisdom and Gottfried Lessing, and the two young children of her marriage to Frank. Men do this all the time – desert the family, shall we say, in one form or another – but we assume, partly ...

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