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Paradise Lost

Stephen Bann, 17 March 1983

Deadeye Dick 
by Kurt Vonnegut.
Cape, 224 pp., £7.50, February 1983, 0 224 02945 2
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Bluebeard 
by Max Frisch, translated by Geoffrey Skelton.
Methuen, 142 pp., £5.95, February 1983, 0 413 51750 0
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The Entropy Exhibition: Michael Moorcock and the British ‘New Wave’ in Science Fiction 
by Colin Greenland.
Routledge, 244 pp., £11.95, March 1983, 0 7100 9310 1
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More Tales of Pirx the Pilot 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Louis Iribarne, Magdalena Majcherczyk and Michael Kandel.
Secker, 220 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 9780436244117
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Yesterday’s Men 
by George Turner.
Faber, 234 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 571 11857 7
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Rebel in Time 
by Harry Harrison.
Granada, 272 pp., £7.95, February 1983, 0 246 11766 4
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Three Six Seven: Memoirs of a Very Important Man 
by Peter Vansittart.
Peter Owen, 236 pp., £8.95, February 1983, 0 7206 0602 0
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... an Old Master in this respect, we can legitimately place the more recently achieved mastery of George Turner, whose ironically titled Yesterday’s Men is the third of a trilogy of novels set in the world of the 21st century. Ingenuity in devising new types of midway meeting between man and machine is at a premium in ...

Melbourne’s Middle Future

Tom Shippey, 7 January 1988

The Sea and Summer 
by George Turner.
Faber, 318 pp., £10.95, August 1987, 0 571 14846 8
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The Dragon in the Sword 
by Michael Moorcock.
Grafton, 283 pp., £10.95, July 1987, 0 246 13129 2
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Fiasco 
by Stanislaw Lem, translated by Michael Kandel.
Deutsch, 322 pp., £11.95, August 1987, 0 233 98141 1
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... what in this context might ‘metaphoric’ mean? There can be no doubt, at least initially, about George Turner’s gripping and mordant The Sea and Summer, certainly his best book so far. It is set very much in a Science Fiction landscape, that of the ‘drowned world’ of the middle future, where the abandoned tower blocks of Melbourne stick up out of ...

E.S. Turner shocks the sensitive

E.S. Turner, 20 August 1992

Quartered Safe Out Here: A Recollection of the War in Burma 
by George MacDonald Fraser.
Harvill, 255 pp., £16, June 1992, 0 00 272660 2
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Tyrants and Mountains: A Reckless Life 
by Denis Hills.
Murray, 262 pp., £19.95, June 1992, 0 7195 4640 0
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... Sir Harry Flashman VC, was himself a man at arms. As a one-striper in General Slim’s 14th Army George MacDonald Fraser took part in ‘the last great battle in the last great war’, a showdown which was also ‘the final echo of Kipling’s world’. More specifically, it was the struggle for Meiktila and Pyawbwe on the Rangoon road which settled ...

The Virtues of Topography

John Barrell: Constable, Gainsborough, Turner, 3 January 2013

Constable, Gainsborough, Turner and the Making of Landscape 
Royal Academy, until 17 February 2013Show More
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... nothing irrelevant about the new show at the Royal Academy, featuring Gainsborough, Constable and Turner; not because of anything it has to say about ‘the making of landscape’, but because it is so evidently a show for an Age of Austerity, a show of our favourite artists intended to raise as much money as possible for as little as possible. It’s very ...

Higher Man

John Sutherland, 22 May 1997

The Turner Diaries 
by ‘Andrew Macdonald’.
National Vauguard Books, 211 pp., $12.95, May 1978, 0 937944 02 5
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... bookshelf. In the Oklahoma bombing case, now being tried in Denver, the book in question is The Turner Diaries. The FBI, who have labelled William L. Pierce’s prudently pseudonymous novel ‘the bible of the racist right’, didn’t take long to leak the information that it accompanied Timothy McVeigh on his (alleged) bombing raid on 19 April ...

Eminent Athenians

Hugh Lloyd-Jones, 1 October 1981

The Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain 
by Frank Turner.
Yale, 461 pp., £18.90, April 1981, 0 300 02480 0
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... I wrote that he ‘offers a great deal of information, clearly and pleasingly’. Professor Turner is a historian, the author of a study of the impact of scientific naturalism on Victorian England; he describes Macaulay’s style as ‘elegant’, and though he writes clearly enough, the adjective is not one that fits his own. He makes some mistakes ...

East Hoathly makes a night of it

Marilyn Butler, 6 December 1984

The Diary of Thomas Turner 1754-1765 
edited by David Vaisey.
Oxford, 386 pp., £17.50, November 1984, 0 19 211782 3
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John Clare’s Autobiographical Writings 
edited by Eric Robinson.
Oxford, 185 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 19 211774 2
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John Clare: The Journals, Essays, and the Journey from Essex 
edited by Anne Tibble.
Carcanet, 139 pp., £6.95, October 1980, 0 85635 344 2
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The Natural History Prose Writings of John Clare 
edited by Margaret Grainger.
Oxford, 397 pp., £35, January 1984, 0 19 818517 0
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John Clare and the Folk Tradition 
by George Deacon.
Sinclair Browne, 397 pp., £15, February 1983, 0 86300 008 8
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... times belong to what Peter Laslett calls, hauntingly, the world we have lost. The Diary of Thomas Turner claims notice as a sustained insider’s account of how ordinary people lived from day to day in a pre-industrial English village. On Thursday 27 December 1756 two of Turner’s neighbours, Thomas Fuller and William ...

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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... Romanticism – Shelley would be an instance – are Homeric in preference. But an artist such as Turner sees in Virgil the prophetic witness to the imperial politics and aesthetic tone of the times. Angles of incidence and of interpretation are complicated by the deepening understanding of the decisive but often oblique status of the Iliad and Odyssey ...

Snubs

E.S. Turner, 19 August 1993

The Descent of Manners: Etiquette, Rules and the Victorians 
by Andrew St George.
Chatto, 330 pp., £20, July 1993, 0 7011 3623 5
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... good behaviour. The ‘Christless code’ of pistols at dawn does not rate a mention in Andrew St George’s The Descent of Manners, a study of ‘the subtle binding codes that ruled all aspects of 19th-century life’. His concern is only with the middle classes, who had their own sense of honour but were less ready to create widows and orphans when ...

The Chase

Inigo Thomas: ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’, 20 October 2016

... Rain, Steam and Speed’ (1844) J.M.W. Turner’s​  Rain, Steam and Speed: The Great Western Railway hangs in a corner of Room 34 at the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square. The painting remains close to where it was first exhibited in 1844 when the Royal Academy occupied the gallery’s east wing. ‘There comes a train down upon you,’ Thackeray wrote after seeing the painting ...

Stormy Weather

E.S. Turner, 18 July 1996

Passchendaele: The Untold Story 
by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson.
Yale, 237 pp., £19.95, May 1996, 0 300 06692 9
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... on schedule. This was almost certainly the greatest man-made explosion of pre-nuclear times. Lloyd George later seemed unwilling to confirm that he had arranged to be woken for this occasion (it was a Press Association story) and the New Statesman thought it would have been ‘subversive of national dignity’ if he had. The eruption of Messines was a ...

Disappearing Acts

Terry Eagleton: Aquinas, 5 December 2013

Thomas Aquinas: A Portrait 
by Denys Turner.
Yale, 300 pp., £18.99, May 2013, 978 0 300 18855 4
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... was not some kind of brutal reductionism, any more than Marx’s was. On the contrary, as Denys Turner points out in this superb study, he understood that ‘there is a lot more to matter itself than meets the eye of today’s average materialist.’ His criticism of the materialists with whom he was acquainted was not that they were bad on the subject of ...

Earls’ Sons

E.S. Turner, 20 October 1983

The Man who was Greenmantle: A Biography of Aubrey Herbert 
by Margaret FitzHerbert.
Murray, 250 pp., £15, September 1983, 0 7195 4067 4
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A Classic Connection 
by Michael Seth-Smith.
Secker, 184 pp., £9.95, September 1983, 0 436 44705 3
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... now sided with a rebel group of Tories, which included Mosley, all united in a loathing for Lloyd George. Suddenly he became almost totally blind. Advised that it would help to have all his teeth out, he did so and contracted a fatal infection. He was 43. Meanwhile Lawrence (seen by Herbert as ‘an odd gnome, half-cad with a touch of genius’) had been ...

Educating Georgie

E.S. Turner, 6 December 1984

Matriarch: Queen Mary and the House of Windsor 
by Anne Edwards.
Hodder, 462 pp., £12.95, September 1984, 0 340 24465 8
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... pretty princess with the poodle hair-style, the switch to Prince Eddy’s younger brother, Prince George, was accomplished without perhaps too much pain. Had she married Eddy before he died, it would not have been so easy: there was as much feeling against marrying deceased husbands’ brothers as there was against marrying deceased wives’ sisters (the Act ...

The Staidness of Trousers

E.S. Turner, 6 June 1996

A Peculiar Man: A Life of George Moore 
by Tony Gray.
Sinclair-Stevenson, 344 pp., £20, April 1996, 1 85619 578 3
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... George Moore, ‘daring’ novelist and absentee landlord, sage and humbug of Ebury Street, seemed born to be insulted. ‘An over-ripe gooseberry, a great big intoxicated baby, a satyr, a boiled ghost, a gosling’ – these were among the Dublin epithets collected by his fellow writer Susan Mitchell and here passed on by Tony Gray ...

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