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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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... up from the general mass of popular literature only by a positive effort of style. Beside Stanislaw Lem, an Old Master in this respect, we can legitimately place the more recently achieved mastery of GeorgeTurner, 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 ...
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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... the 99 go by. Is Science Fiction, then, always a metaphoric reflection of (or on) society? And what in this context might ‘metaphoric’ mean? There can be no doubt, at least initially, about GeorgeTurner’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 ...
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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... The chronicler of that glorious cad Flashman, last encountered as General 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 ...

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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... the nom de plume of Teodor Korzeniowski) and that there was a copy of The Secret Agent on his 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 ...

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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... 3 September 1980 (Vol. 2, No 16). Mr Jenkyns is a Classical scholar and a smooth and polished writer; 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 ...
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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... the notion that the working lives, talk and attitudes of the vast majority of the population in past 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 ...

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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... in. ‘The Watering Place’ after Peter Paul Rubens by John Browne (1770) There is, however, 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 ...

The Chase

Inigo Thomas: ‘Rain, Steam and Speed’

19 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 ...

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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... materialist. It was not that he held the boring view that there is nothing but matter. His materialism 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 ...

Are you a Spenserian?

Colin Burrow: Philology

6 November 2014
Philology: The Forgotten Origins of the Modern Humanities 
by James Turner.
Princeton, 550 pp., £24.95, June 2014, 978 0 691 14564 8
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... but that we should seek precepts which will help us, utterance of courage and spirit which may at once be turned into facts. We should so learn them that words may become deeds. In Philology James Turner attempts a heroic defence of this misunderstood breed. He argues that philology lies at the heart of all the academic disciplines currently called ‘humanities’. He suggests that subjects as ...

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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... fell to a trickle, but there were many who saw its decline as a fatal blow to the maintenance of 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 ...
14 May 1992
Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... festschrift contributions largely unrelated to the thought of the figure whom they honour. Three of the contributors do, however, engage Kermode’s thought in a fairly serious way: John Stokes, George Hunter and Patrick Parrinder. Two ways of doing so were possible. Either Kermode’s general view of the critic’s task or his ideas concerning specific texts or groups of texts could have been the ...

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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... that British sappers had blown the top off the German-held Messines ridge. The sound came through 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 ...

Very like St Paul

Ian Sansom: Johnny Cash

9 March 2006
The Man Called Cash: The Life, Love and Faith of an American Legend 
by Steve Turner.
Bloomsbury, 363 pp., £8.99, February 2006, 0 7475 8079 0
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Walk the Line 
directed by James Mangold.
November 2005
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... with the self usually only available to religious novitiates, madmen or very young children. Fame, with all of its fleshly temptations and attendant despairs, is an obvious incitement to grace; thus, George Harrison’s Concert for Bangladesh, and Rock Against Racism, and Live Aid, and Farm Aid, and Red Wedge, and Rock the Vote, and Live 8, Coldplay, U2, the late and the later John Lennon, and perhaps ...
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 ...

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