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Good Things

Colin McGinn, 5 September 1996

Virtues and Reasons: Philippa Foot and Moral Theory 
edited by Rosalind Hursthouse, Gavin Lawrence and Warren Quinn.
Oxford, 350 pp., £35, July 1996, 0 19 824046 5
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... reason is concerned by its nature with values as such: they are its proper subject-matter. Gavin Lawrence arrives at a similar position, though in a more diffuse way and at greater length. It is odd that he makes no mention of Quinn’s work in view of the similarity between them and the fact that they were colleagues until Warren’s tragic early ...

Common Sense

Sally Mapstone: James Kelman, 15 November 2001

Translated Accounts 
by James Kelman.
Secker, 322 pp., £15.99, June 2001, 0 436 27464 7
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... through the book, in Patrick’s case during a drinking session with his unemployed elder brother, Gavin, and a couple of Gavin’s mates. Gavin refers to teachers as ‘middle-class wankers’. What do you mean middle-class wankers? said Pat. ...

Blacks and Blues

E.S. Turner, 4 June 1987

The Life of My Choice 
by Wilfred Thesiger.
Collins, 459 pp., £15, May 1987, 9780002161947
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Worlds Apart: Travels in War and Peace 
by Gavin Young.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £14.95, April 1987, 0 09 168220 7
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... suspect him of a proud pose. By coincidence, Thesiger’s book appears along with Worlds Apart by Gavin Young, of ‘slow boat’ fame, who once aspired to follow him into the Empty Quarter of Arabia, but settled instead for a stint in the lands of Sumer and Babylonia, which yielded him a book on the Marsh Arabs too. Young gives us a closeup of Thesiger ...
Under Fire: An American Story 
by Oliver North and William Novak.
HarperCollins, 446 pp., £17.99, October 1991, 0 06 018334 9
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Terry Waite: Why was he kidnapped? 
by Gavin Hewitt.
Bloomsbury, 230 pp., £15.99, November 1991, 0 7475 0375 3
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... involvement began ... on the afternoon of 17 November 1985.’ The BBC’s Panorama journalist Gavin Hewitt, who is not an admirer of the Colonel, seems to back him up at least in this important detail. ‘Oliver North,’ he assures us, ‘hadn’t been party initially to the arms deals with the Iranians.’ So there were ‘arms deals with the ...

Only the Camels

Robert Irwin: Wilfred Thesiger, 6 April 2006

Wilfred Thesiger: The Life of the Great Explorer 
by Alexander Maitland.
HarperCollins, 528 pp., £25, February 2006, 0 00 255608 1
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... mounted in gold by Asprey. When the ill-fated writer and Thesiger’s future travelling companion Gavin Maxwell first met him in London, he was startled: ‘The bowler hat, the hard collar and black shoes, the never-opened umbrella, all these were a surprise to me.’ Then there were books. What sorts of books did empire builders and explorers read? Those of ...

Such Little Trousers

Lavinia Greenlaw: Pamela Hansford Johnson, 21 March 2019

This Bed Thy Centre 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 288 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7985 6
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An Impossible Marriage 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7980 1
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The Last Resort 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 352 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7994 8
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The Holiday Friend 
by Pamela Hansford Johnson.
Hodder, 272 pp., £8.99, October 2018, 978 1 4736 7987 0
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... grew almost beyond bearing – a wonder and a pain.’ The novel also records the death of D.H. Lawrence. Aldous Huxley ‘flattered our intellects’ but ‘Lawrence made us face what was in the dark of ourselves, whether we liked it or not.’ Ned is dismissive: ‘Anyone could do that if they put in all the dirty ...

Beach Poets

Blake Morrison, 16 September 1982

The Fortunate Traveller 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 99 pp., £3.95, March 1982, 0 571 11893 3
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Sun Poem 
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite.
Oxford, 104 pp., £4.95, April 1982, 0 19 211945 1
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Collected Poems 
by Bernard Spencer, edited by Roger Bowen.
Oxford, 149 pp., £8.50, October 1981, 0 19 211930 3
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Selected Poems 
by Odysseus Elytis.
Anvil, 114 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 85646 076 1
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Poems from Oby 
by George MacBeth.
Secker, 67 pp., £4, March 1982, 9780436270178
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The New Ewart: Poems 1980-1982 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 115 pp., £4.95, March 1982, 0 09 146980 5
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The Apple-Broadcast 
by Peter Redgrove.
Routledge, 133 pp., £3, November 1981, 0 7100 0884 8
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... a train during one of his blackouts). Spencer’s reputation as a poet, like Robert Graves’s and Lawrence Durrell’s, has always been tainted by his association with the Mediterranean, an injustice which the Collected Poems, intelligently edited by Roger Bowen, seeks to put right. The volume shows how travel encouraged in Spencer both a casual, accumulative ...

A New Twist in the Long Tradition of the Grotesque

Marina Warner: The monstrousness of Britart, 13 April 2000

High Art Lite: British Art in the 1990s 
by Julian Stallabrass.
Verso, 342 pp., £22, December 1999, 1 85984 721 8
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This is Modern Art 
by Matthew Collings.
Weidenfeld, 270 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 297 84292 7
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... out when it comes to what art can be.’ As it pans the miasmic waters where the Chapman Brothers, Gavin Turk, Tracey Emin and of course Damien Hirst loom, High Art Lite finds the ark of art occupied, betrayed and shipwrecked. The principles that gave the avant-garde of the earlier part of the 20th century its energy and optimism have rebounded on themselves ...

Bugger me blue

Ian Hamilton, 22 October 1992

The Selected Letters of Philip Larkin 
edited by Anthony Thwaite.
Faber, 759 pp., £20, October 1992, 0 571 15197 3
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... Apart from Thwaite himself, the few who are spared include figures like Vernon Watkins, Gavin Ewart, Barbara Pym: allies who are genuinely liked and admired but who are nonetheless junior to Larkin in talent and repute. The really big hates tend to be reserved for sizable poetic rivals. Ted Hughes is a recurrent, near-obsessive target, with ...

Homer and Virgil and Broch

George Steiner, 12 July 1990

Oxford Readings in Vergil’s ‘Aeneid’ 
edited by S.J. Harrison.
Oxford, 488 pp., £45, April 1990, 0 19 814389 3
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... of Broch’s or Eliot’s Virgil and, say, a comparison between major English translations from Gavin Douglas and Dryden to today? Dare one even mention how stringently apposite an insight might be won from a contrastive look at the musical apprehension of the Aeneid in Berlioz’s Troyens and in Barraqué’s massive, if incomplete settings of ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... commentary requires the combined efforts of Colin Amery, Mary Lutyens, Jane Brown, John Cornforth, Gavin Stamp and John Summerson to do justice to an architect whose career, in its range, dimensions and achievements, outshines Wren, Vanbrugh and the Adam brothers. Cloud-capp’d towers, gorgeous palaces, solemn temples: Lutyens made them all. Prospero’s ...

The Best of Betjeman

John Bayley, 18 December 1980

John Betjeman’s Collected Poems 
compiled by the Earl of Birkenhead.
Murray, 427 pp., £2.50, June 1980, 0 7195 3632 4
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Church Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 63 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 7195 3797 5
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... No doubt the modish thing today would be to give Betjeman the same label that has been stuck on Gavin Ewart: ‘a deeply serious poet’. That is the mechanical accolade, the last infirmity of contemporary clichés. Its irrelevance consists in the fact that no good poetry can be other than serious, whereas poetry written to be serious today is seldom ...

Gaelic Gloom

Colm Tóibín: Brian Moore, 10 August 2000

Brian Moore: The Chameleon Novelist 
by Denis Sampson.
Marino, 344 pp., IR£20, October 1998, 1 86023 078 4
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... Ice-Cream, which he described as his most autobiographical novel, Moore dramatised the gap between Gavin’s idealism (and failure to study for exams) in the early years of the war and his family’s conservatism. Gavin’s mother thinks that General Franco is a saint and Gavin’s father ...

Pretoria gets ready

Heribert Adam, 9 July 1987

Black and Gold: Tycoons, Revolutionaries and Apartheid 
by Anthony Sampson.
Hodder, 280 pp., £12.95, January 1987, 0 340 39524 9
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The Crisis in South Africa 
by John Saul and Stephen Gelb.
Zed, 245 pp., £6.95, December 1986, 0 86232 692 3
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... capitals. How far South African business still lags behind a grasp of its crisis is reflected in Gavin Relly’s remark: ‘I don’t think that we have a role to get the government and the ANC together.’ Yet with the resurgence of the most widely-based resistance to Apartheid since 1984, the ANC/UDF coalition has re-emerged almost overnight as the ...

Sex’n’Love

Blake Morrison, 21 February 1991

The Chatto Book of Love Poetry 
edited by John Fuller.
Chatto, 374 pp., £13.99, August 1990, 0 7011 3453 4
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The Faber Book of Blue Verse 
edited by John Whitworth.
Faber, 305 pp., £14.99, October 1990, 0 571 14095 5
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Self-Portrait with a Slide 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 62 pp., £5.95, June 1990, 0 19 282744 8
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The Virago Book of Love Poetry 
edited by Wendy Mulford.
Virago, 288 pp., £6.99, November 1990, 1 85381 030 4
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Erotica: An Anthology of Women’s Writing 
edited by Margaret Reynolds, foreword by Jeanette Winterson .
Pandora, 362 pp., £19.99, November 1990, 9780044406723
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Daddy, Daddy 
by Paul Durcan.
Blackstaff, 185 pp., £5.95, August 1990, 0 85640 446 2
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... I feel about you. The most powerful and moving poem in Fuller’s anthology is, for this reason, Gavin Ewart’s ‘one-word love poem’, ‘You!’, which focuses on love-object, not poet, and which achieves the difficult feat of making a universal declaration while addressing itself to her eyes only. Ewart’s exclamation mark hints at a widely felt ...

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