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Sanjay Subrahmanyam: Gabriel García Márquez

27 August 2009
Gabriel García Márquez: A Life 
by Gerald Martin.
Bloomsbury, 668 pp., £25, October 2008, 978 0 7475 9476 5
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... four hundred years ago. At the very end of his long book on the life of one of the 20th century’s great creative writers, who has also been an unceasing and relentless manipulator of his own image, GeraldMartin writes of Gabriel García Márquez: ‘Literature and politics have been the two most effective ways of achieving immortality in the transient world that Western civilisation has created for ...

Men in Love

Paul Delany

3 September 1987
Women in Love 
by D.H. Lawrence, edited by David Farmer, Lindeth Vasey and John Worthen.
Cambridge, 633 pp., £40, May 1987, 0 521 23565 0
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The Letters of D.H. Lawrence: Vol. IV, 1921-24 
edited by Warren Roberts, James Boulton and Elizabeth Mansfield.
Cambridge, 627 pp., £35, May 1987, 0 521 23113 2
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... its foundations? Lawrence goes far to stack the dice against Birkin and make him a hero who is hard to like. He surrounds Birkin with intimates – Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen, Hermione Roddice, Gerald Crich – who keep telling him that he is a crackpot preacher who should face up to his own unhappy consciousness. Further, Lawrence excludes from the novel the Great War – the adequate cause of ...

The Beast on My Back

Gerald​ Weissmann

6 June 1996
The Harmony of Illusions: Inventing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder 
by Allan Young.
Princeton, 327 pp., £28, March 1996, 0 691 03352 8
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... The anthropologist found life at the centre rather monotonous, ‘full of unending hours of talk, punctuated by the incessant drip-drop of tiny signifying moments’. Some of these he recorded: MARTIN: Well, you gel orders to burn a village, and a gook tries to put the fire out while you’re trying to burn his hootch. He fucks with you, and you show him that you can fuck with him. You can push ...

Seven Days

R.W. Johnson

4 July 1985
The Pick of Paul Johnson: An Anthology 
Harrap, 277 pp., £9.95, May 1985, 0 245 54246 9Show More
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... which works up the troops on both sides and generally creates a deal of heat, sound and fury. This style of writing was the sole (and rather measly) contribution to English letters made by Kingsley Martin, and has been imitated by successive New Statesman columnists – Richard Crossman, Paul Johnson, Gerald Kaufman, Matthew Coady et al. (One only has to listen to the Parliamentary speeches of Gerald ...


Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire

22 September 1994
... scene: the Falls Road, Belfast, just after midnight; one of the most dangerous corners in Europe if you happen to be unaccompanied and of the wrong religion. I assume it’s an adaptation of some Gerald Seymour novel and reach over to turn the radio off. Then I recognise the voice – it’s John Humphrys on Today. I concentrate. On the Falls, apparently, men with hard, cold eyes used to stare ...


Julian Critchley

11 December 1997
Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... beginning to lose patience with Harold Macmillan. I thought him the most influential of Tory backbenchers, more so than Major Morrison, the bucolic chairman of the 1922 Committee, or buffoons like Gerald Nabarro. After the ‘Night of the Long Knives’, when Macmillan was panicked by a typical Rab Butler indiscretion into sacking the dead wood in his Cabinet, Deedes was brought in to oversee the ...

Long March

Martin​ Pugh

2 June 1983
Renewal: Labour’s Britain in the 1980s 
by Shadow Cabinet, edited by Gerald​ Kaufman.
Penguin, 201 pp., £2.50, April 1983, 0 14 052351 0
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Socialism in a Cold Climate 
edited by John Griffith.
Allen and Unwin, 230 pp., £2.95, April 1983, 9780043350508
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Liberal Party Politics 
edited by Vernon Bogdanor.
Oxford, 302 pp., £17.50, April 1983, 0 19 827465 3
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... attempts to demolish it. Peter Shore displays the greatest awareness of such an approach when he writes what is a remarkably frank eulogy of both Labour and Conservative governments after 1945. Gerald Kaufman, who, incidentally, is going to restore Rutland and the Soke of Peterborough, is also alive to the openings offered by high-handed Tory reform in local government and the dictatorial ...

Living Doll and Lilac Fairy

Penelope Fitzgerald

31 August 1989
Carrington: A Life of Dora Carrington 1893-1932 
by Gretchen Gerzina.
Murray, 342 pp., £18.95, June 1989, 0 7195 4688 5
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Lydia and Maynard: Letters between Lydia Lopokova and John Maynard Keynes 
edited by Polly Hill and Richard Keynes.
Deutsch, 367 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 233 98283 3
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Mazo de la Roche: The Hidden Life 
by Joan Givner.
Oxford, 273 pp., £18, July 1989, 0 19 540705 9
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Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby: A Working Partnership 
by Jean Kennard.
University Press of New England, 224 pp., £24, July 1989, 0 87451 474 6
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Dangerous by Degrees: Women at Oxford and the Somerville College Novelists 
by Susan Leonardi.
Rutgers, 254 pp., $33, May 1989, 0 8135 1366 9
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The Selected Letters of Somerville and Ross 
edited by Gifford Lewis.
Faber, 308 pp., £14.99, July 1989, 0 571 15348 8
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... eyes, ‘a thought unnaturally wide open,’ or, at best, as a child. Neither Duncan Grant nor Vanessa Bell were seriously interested in her pictures. When, after Lytton’s death, she shot herself, Gerald Brenan said that her suicide was not a great tragic act ‘but had something childish and thoughtless and pitiful about it’. Perhaps, if pathos is the tragedy of the bewildered, Carrington might be ...

Lord Fitzcricket

P.N. Furbank: The composer’s life

21 May 1998
Lord Berners: The Last Eccentric 
by Mark Amory.
Chatto, 274 pp., £20, March 1998, 1 85619 234 2
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... that somebody said. Much the same must be true of a story about Penelope Betjeman: ‘Her most famous addition to Faringdon was her Arab horse, Moti, which used to come into the drawing-room. “Gerald loved having him there. He was so domesticated.” ’ We need to translate this. ‘Gerald loved having him there’ is (need one say?) a joke, Penelope Betjeman being a wag. What is true is that ...

Favourite without Portfolio

Jonathan Meades: Designs for the Third Reich

4 February 2016
Hitler at Home 
by Despina Stratigakos.
Yale, 373 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 0 300 18381 8
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Speer: Hitler’s Architect 
by Martin​ Kitchen.
Yale, 442 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 0 300 19044 1
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... the persona burnished during Speer’s long lucubrations in Spandau. A persona that has had a toxic appeal for a particular sensibility: gullible, cheek-turning, risibly generous, smugly liberal. Martin Kitchen does not possess that sensibility. Speer: Hitler’s Architect is not a biography. It is a 200,000-word charge sheet. Kitchen is steely, dogged and attentive to the small print. He shows ...

I had no imagination

Christian Lorentzen: Gerald​ Murnane

4 April 2019
Tamarisk Row 
by Gerald​ Murnane.
And Other Stories, 281 pp., £10, February, 978 1 911508 36 6
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Border Districts 
by Gerald​ Murnane.
And Other Stories, 144 pp., £8.99, January, 978 1 911508 38 0
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... Gerald Murnane​ was named after a racehorse. His father, Reginald, was a front man for Teddy Estershank, a professional punter who was banned from being a licensed trainer or registered owner of horses by ...

Close Shaves

Gerald​ Hammond

31 October 1996
Thomas Cranmer: A Life 
by Diarmaid MacCulloch.
Yale, 692 pp., £29.95, May 1996, 0 300 06688 0
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... stripped away, were important consequences of Cranmer’s need to establish his Church. Before he adapted his Eucharistic doctrine (only his insofar as he championed it: the intellectual source was Martin Bucer), Cranmer presided over a succession of English Bibles; and soon afterwards, in 1549, came his own great contribution, the Book of Common Prayer. Again, MacCulloch’s analysis is a challenging ...

Yes, die

Gerald​ Hammond

23 May 1996
The Five Books of Moses 
translated by Everett Fox.
Harvill, 1024 pp., £25, March 1996, 1 86046 142 5
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... from a much more interesting source than religious fundamentalism. Everett Fox, whose Pentateuch is as literal a piece of Bible translation as anything else in English I know, cites as his precursors Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig. Their German Bible was produced between 1925 and 1962 (it was largely Buber’s: Rosenzweig died in 1929), and its guiding idea was to ‘mimic the particular rhetoric of ...

Likeable People

John Sutherland

15 May 1980
Book Society 
by Graham Watson.
Deutsch, 164 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 233 97160 2
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The Publishers Association Annual Report 1979-80 
73 pp.Show More
Private Presses and Publishing in England since 1945 
by H.E. Bellamy.
Clive Bingley, 168 pp., £15, March 1980, 0 85157 297 9
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... shop to set up in the book trade, automatically attracts sneers – sneers, of course, once directed at the ‘tradesman’ publisher. Watson relates a Johnsonian anecdote about his dealings with Gerald Nabarro which catches the ambiguous social status of the agent as he emerged into professional respectability: I climbed up a flight of narrow stairs into a small partitioned outer office. The girl ...

Making strange

John Sutherland

19 March 1981
Other people 
by Martin​ Amis.
Cape, 223 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 224 01766 7
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The Magic Glass 
by Anne Smith.
Joseph, 174 pp., £6.50, March 1981, 9780718119867
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The Book of Ebenezer Le Page 
by Gerald​ Edwards.
Hamish Hamilton, 400 pp., £7.50, March 1981, 0 241 10477 7
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Sharpe’s Eagle 
by Bernard Cornwell.
Collins, 266 pp., £6.50, February 1981, 0 00 221997 2
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by Len Deighton.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 09 144570 1
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... Since Success, Martin Amis has been involved in a spectacular case of alleged plagiarism. As the apparently aggrieved author, Amis showed himself notably unresentful and unlitigious. Indeed, he took the offence as an ...

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