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Marilyn Butler

18 November 1982
The Trouble of an Index: Byron’s Letters and Journals, Vol. XII 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 166 pp., £15, May 1982, 0 7195 3885 8
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Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals 
edited by Leslie Marchand.
Murray, 404 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 7195 3974 9
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Byron 
by Frederic Raphael.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £8.95, July 1982, 0 500 01278 4
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Byron’s Political and Cultural Influence in 19th-Century Europe: A Symposium 
edited by Paul Graham Trueblood.
Macmillan, 210 pp., £15, April 1981, 0 333 29389 4
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Byron and Joyce through Homer 
by Hermione de Almeida.
Macmillan, 233 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 333 30072 6
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Byron: A Poet Before His Public 
by Philip Martin.
Cambridge, 253 pp., £18.50, July 1982, 0 521 24186 3
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... that has it easiest. It is a story set glamorously among rich and famous people, and spiced with sex, scandal and more sex. Even if Byron had written no best-sellers, he would have lived one. FredericRaphael’s re-telling in Byron makes, predictably, a good read, but not by taking the easy course, which would have relied on Byron’s own racy descriptions of his life and loves. On the contrary ...

Humiliations

Michael Irwin

4 December 1980
Collected Short Stories 
by Kingsley Amis.
Hutchinson, 303 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 09 143430 0
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World’s End 
by Paul Theroux.
Hamish Hamilton, 211 pp., £6.50, October 1980, 0 241 10447 5
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Packages 
by Richard Stern.
Sidgwick, 151 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 283 98689 1
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Oxbridge Blues 
by Frederic Raphael.
Cape, 213 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 9780224018715
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The Fat Man in History 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 186 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 571 11619 1
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... totally pointless. Well-wishers may have affected to believe the tale through a good-natured desire to humour a good man they feared might be under stress. I wish I could like Oxbridge Blues more. FredericRaphael is a skilful mimic of speech styles, both British and American. He can write well and is quite often quite witty. ‘Welcome aboard’, a farcical sketch about flying fears, I found very ...

Quite a Night!

Michael Wood: Eyes Wide Shut

30 September 1999
Eyes Wide Open: A Memoir of Stanley Kubrik and ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ 
by Frederic Raphael.
Orion, 186 pp., £12.99, July 1999, 0 7528 1868 6
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Dream Story 
by Arthur Schnitzler, translated by J.M.Q. Davies.
Penguin, 99 pp., £5.99, July 1999, 0 14 118224 5
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... think of the words ‘subtle’ and ‘interesting’ as close to each other in meaning, Kubrick’s work makes us think again. We need to understand how the crass and the clunky can be interesting. FredericRaphael’s memoir doesn’t help us much here. Raphael began writing what was to become Eyes Wide Shut in 1994, and describes in detail the harrowing job of producing draft pages for the scrutiny of ...
7 August 1986
Mating Birds 
by Lewis Nkosi.
Constable, 184 pp., £8.95, July 1986, 0 00 946724 6
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Lost Time 
by Catharine Arnold.
Hodder, 220 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 340 38783 1
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The Bridge 
by Iain Banks.
Macmillan, 259 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 333 41285 0
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Incidents at the Shrine 
by Ben Okri.
Heinemann, 130 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 434 53230 4
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Things fall apart 
by Chinua Achebe.
Heinemann, 150 pp., £3.50, July 1986, 0 435 90526 0
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The Innocents 
by Carolyn Slaughter.
Viking, 219 pp., £9.95, May 1986, 0 670 81016 9
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... to take as much pleasure in highbrow flourishes as the characters themselves do. Lost Time conforms stylishly to the requirements of the Varsity novel: a genre patronised by Dorothy Sayers and FredericRaphael, and to be distinguished from the campus novels (more academic, not so upper-class) of, say, Malcolm Bradbury and David Lodge. Miles Tattershall lectures, with moderate success, in 17th ...
7 March 1985
The Final Passage 
by Caryl Phillips.
Faber, 205 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 571 13437 8
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Merle, and Other Stories 
by Paule Marshall.
Virago, 210 pp., £9.95, February 1985, 0 86068 665 5
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Heaven and Earth 
by Frederic Raphael.
Cape, 310 pp., £8.95, February 1985, 0 224 02294 6
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The Tenth Man 
by Graham Greene.
Bodley Head, 157 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780370308319
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... it again’. Merle suffers a similar yearning, and it furnishes this remarkable collection. She departs to gather up the fragments of her identity, ‘as it had been in the beginning’. Like Merle, FredericRaphael’s characters don’t act or feel much, but do an awful lot of talking, albeit after a fashion few of us would recognise. The ordinary functions of conversation are subsumed in bouts of ...

Home Stretch

John Sutherland: David Storey

17 September 1998
A Serious Man 
by David Storey.
Cape, 359 pp., £16.99, June 1998, 9780224051583
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Saville 
by David Storey.
Vintage, 555 pp., £6.99, June 1998, 0 09 927408 6
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... uncertain. As used to be said of Hardy, he demonstrates that you don’t have to be a good writer to be a good novelist, though there are other, snootier survivors from the Fifties and Sixties, like FredericRaphael, the Charterhouse toff, hatcheting this novel in the TLS, who see Storey as a semi-literate, who should have stuck to his 14-pound hammer and jockstraps. The end of Saville is more uplifting ...

Getting on

Humphrey Carpenter

18 July 1985
In the Dark 
by R.M. Lamming.
Cape, 230 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 9780224022927
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A Glimpse of Sion’s Glory 
by Isabel Colegate.
Hamish Hamilton, 153 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 241 11532 9
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Midnight Mass 
by Peter Bowles.
Peter Owen, 190 pp., £8.95, June 1985, 0 7206 0647 0
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The Silver Age 
by James Lasdun.
Cape, 186 pp., £8.95, July 1985, 0 224 02316 0
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The House of Kanze 
by Nobuko Albery.
Century, 307 pp., £9.95, June 1985, 0 7126 0850 8
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... as she seeks to disentangle herself from marriage to her stuffy diplomat, proves the more ambitious dreamer. The whole thing doesn’t quite take off, and ends up feeling like some lesser piece of FredericRaphael university-and-after, not Colegate territory at all. Paul Bowles’s short stories concentrate almost entirely on sense of place, or at least of place dominating character and directing it ...

His Own Peak

Ian Sansom: John Fowles’s diary

6 May 2004
John Fowles: The Journals, Vol. I 
edited by Charles Drazin.
Cape, 668 pp., £30, October 2003, 9780224069113
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John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds 
by Eileen Warburton.
Cape, 510 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 224 05951 3
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... obviously, and he isn’t much keener on Jews, or foreigners, or other writers: all the standard prejudices, undistinguished even by his own high standards of unpleasantness. Hanging out with FredericRaphael and Wolf Mankowitz at a literary festival, he writes: ‘They like to feel rootless, of course, because Jews want always to be pitied.’ Nathaniel Tarn, a poet, is described as ‘a European ...

In Praise of Barley Brew

E.S. Turner: Combustible Belloc

20 February 2003
Old Thunder: A Life of Hilaire Belloc 
by Joseph Pearce.
HarperCollins, 306 pp., £20, July 2002, 0 00 274095 8
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... and in his own italics, an anti-semite was someone who wanted to get rid of the Jews, who hated Jews as Jews. ‘English fiction has made fools and scoundrels of the Jews,’ Pearce quotes FredericRaphael as saying, ‘but it has rarely attributed the ills of the world to their very existence. It needed Hilaire Belloc and Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, none of them native Britons, to introduce to English ...
17 March 1983
The Rare Art Traditions 
by Joseph Alsop.
Thames and Hudson, 691 pp., £30, November 1982, 0 500 23359 4
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... doctrinaire taste. What is striking today, however, is the low standard of critical discussion and the absence of genuine attempts at appraisal. The ‘superprice’ of $2,500,000 paid recently for Frederic Church’s Icebergs, a prime example of ‘Luminism’, when it was put up for auction by the Manchester convalescent home where it had long hung unadmired, seems to be enough to convince people of ...

Good enough for Jesus

Charlotte Brewer

25 January 1990
The State of the Language: 1990 Edition 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Leonard Michaels.
Faber, 531 pp., £17.50, January 1990, 9780571141821
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Clichés and Coinages 
by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 305 pp., £17.50, October 1989, 0 631 15691 7
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Rhetoric: The Wit of Persuasion 
by Walter Nash.
Blackwell, 241 pp., £25, October 1989, 0 631 16754 4
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... of advertising, Wall Street jargon, philanthropy, an extract from David Lodge’s Nice Work, articles on legal language and on Ronald Reagan’s speech-writer, a rant on modern television from FredericRaphael, and views on editing (John Gross), Post-Structuralism (Alison Lurie) and computers. ‘Art’ in particular contains some notable essays, among them Walter Ong on subway graffiti, and the ...

At the National Gallery

Julian Bell: Seduced by Art

3 January 2013
...  and others we still cannot, notably Oscar Rejlander, whose composite photo-allegory The Two Ways of Life (1857), replete with draped, earnest males, nude, lubricious females and deferences to Raphael, amused Queen Victoria. Kingsley is not however concerned with later ‘pictorialist’ photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz or F. Holland Day, who worked at the 20th century’s turn: still less ...

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

13 January 2020
... It’s​ not hard to think of painters who took up sculpture: Raphael (probably), Guido Reni (at least once), Frederic Leighton, Degas, Renoir (unfortunately), Picasso. But sculptors have less frequently turned to painting, which may explain why many art historians have found it so difficult to believe that the ...

Down the Telescope

Nicholas Penny: The Art of Imitation

24 January 2019
Modern Painters, Old Masters: The Art of Imitation from the Pre-Raphaelites to the First World War 
by Elizabeth Prettejohn.
Yale, 286 pp., £45, June 2017, 978 0 300 22275 3
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... late 15th-century Florence, especially those by Botticelli. But Prettejohn cautions against ‘the recidivist habit of the art historian’. The format was also familiar from engravings and copies of Raphael’s paintings (especially the Madonna della Sedia) and had been adopted in famous paintings by Thomas Lawrence and Ingres. Moreover, the style of Brown’s painting owes nothing to Botticelli. It ...

Mini-Whoppers

Patrick Parrinder

7 July 1988
Forty Stories 
by Donald Barthelme.
Secker, 256 pp., £10.95, April 1988, 0 436 03424 7
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Tiny Lies 
by Kate Pullinger.
Cape, 174 pp., £9.95, April 1988, 0 224 02560 0
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Ellen Foster 
by Kaye Gibbons.
Cape, 146 pp., £9.95, May 1988, 0 224 02529 5
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After the War 
by Frederick Raphael.
Collins, 528 pp., £11.95, April 1988, 0 00 223352 5
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... as a narrator she remains a hard, punchy character, defiantly herself. Ellen Foster is the traditional orphan’s tale with a new, Southern twist. There is nothing small-scale in the conception of FredericRaphael’s After the War: at more than five hundred pages it aspires to the status of a grand social saga à la Margaret Drabble or C.P. Snow. Michael Jordan, sensitive and Jewish, has his first ...

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