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D.A.N. Jones, 5 November 1992

Death in Chile: A Memoir and a Journey 
by Tony Gould.
Picador, 277 pp., £15.99, July 1992, 0 330 32271 0
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Some write to the future 
by Ariel Dorfman, translated by George Shivers and Ariel Dorfman.
Duke, 271 pp., £10.95, May 1992, 0 8223 1269 7
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... For the British, South America is perhaps the darkest of the continents: only rarely and faintly has it entered our history, provoked our armies, disturbed our empire and commonwealth. ‘Ford Cortina,’ said the late Poet Laureate, rather sniffily: ‘it sounds like a South American.’ We can’t easily imagine what it’s like to be one: their fiction is obscured by the charms of Magical Realism ...

Sunday Mornings

Frank Kermode, 19 July 1984

Desmond MacCarthy: The Man and his Writings 
by David Cecil.
Constable, 313 pp., £9.95, May 1984, 9780094656109
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... Dickens laughed, ‘the surprise of it was like the change in a whitebeam “when a gust of wind shivers it to silver”.’ Not bad for an old man in the course of two hours’ chat. Hardy (reported in what sounds like a broadcast – bibliographical data are skimpy) obligingly asked: ‘Do you think if I lived in London I would become clever, too?’ Among ...

On Nicholas Moore

Peter Howarth: Nicholas Moore, 24 September 2015

... In 1968, the Sunday Times ran a competition to translate Baudelaire’s sonnet ‘Spleen’, with George Steiner as judge. Steiner found himself receiving ‘fantastically mottoed’ envelopes from a variety of increasingly improbable authors and sources, all in the same green ink: W.H. Laudanum, Kenelme Sexnoth Pope, H.N. (Helga Nevvadotoomuch, c/o Lord ...

Who was he?

Charles Nicholl: Joe the Ripper, 7 February 2008

The Fox and the Flies: The World of Joseph Silver, Racketeer and Psychopath 
by Charles van Onselen.
Cape, 672 pp., £20, April 2007, 978 0 224 07929 7
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... Jewish suspects were John Pizer, a shoemaker known as ‘Leather Apron’; Severin Klosowski alias George Chapman; Michael Ostrog, described by a police investigator as ‘a mad Russian doctor and convict, and unquestionably a homicidal maniac’; and Joseph Isaacs. A few brief sightings of the Ripper, of varying reliability, concur in certain aspects: a man ...


John Dunn, 4 April 1991

by Norman Hampson.
Blackwell, 245 pp., £27.50, January 1991, 9780631162339
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... enthusiasm as Hampson, showing him calling implacably for the death of Louis XVI and sending shivers of joy through the ranks of a Convention whose favourite speakers up to this point had been des parleurs, des prêcheurs, des pédagogues. Ici, c’était un tyran. But by the time Saint-Just goes to his execution, Michelet has clearly fallen under his ...

The Devil upon Two Sticks

Charles Nicholl: Samuel Foote, 23 May 2013

Mr Foote’s Other Leg: Comedy, Tragedy and Murder in Georgian London 
by Ian Kelly.
Picador, 462 pp., £18.99, October 2012, 978 0 330 51783 6
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... of a royal house guest, the stage-struck Edward Augustus, Duke of York, the younger brother of George III. It seems that Foote, in his cocksure way, had been boasting his prowess as a horseman. As some kind of test or wager he was given one of the duke’s most ‘mettlesome’ stallions to ride. At the first touch of the spur the horse reared ...

Shades of Peterloo

Ferdinand Mount: Indecent Government, 7 July 2022

Conspiracy on Cato Street: A Tale of Liberty and Revolution in Regency London 
by Vic Gatrell.
Cambridge, 451 pp., £25, May, 978 1 108 83848 1
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... a great fool for being detected’), but the operation was another successful exercise in sending shivers down the spines of the respectable classes and in justifying further acts of repression.The third and most famous would-be insurrection, launched in 1820 from a dismal stable in Cato Street, just off the Edgware Road, was an even more scandalous ...

Forms and Inspirations

Vikram Seth, 29 September 1988

... in Wind’ (which is again – at the first level – about trees and reveries) is to send shivers down my spine. It is, to my mind, a great poem, one of the deathless poems of the language, and one of the many curious things about it is that it was written by Timothy Steele when he was an undergraduate – it was, in fact, the first poem by himself ...


Sylvia Lawson, 18 February 1988

Australians: A Historical Library 
Fairfax, Syme and Weldon, AUS $695Show More
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... imagining than most. Post-colonial? Not really – we are re-colonised over and over. Wall Street shivers, the Australian dollar gets pneumonia; Japan revises its shopping-list, and our coal industry verges on collapse. Britain’s hold began to loosen after World War Two, but our cultural colonisation by the United States was probably effective at least ...


Andrew O’Hagan: The Bournemouth Set, 21 May 2020

... Overt, a ‘student of fine prose’, is keen to learn what he can from an older writer, Henry St George. Early in the story, Overt meets St George’s wife. He ‘would never have taken the important little woman in the aggressively Parisian dress for the domestic partner of a man of letters’, James writes. Such wives ...

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