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Maaaeeestro!

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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... creative writers, who has also been an unceasing and relentless manipulator of his own image, Gerald Martin 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 the planet; few would hold that political glory is ...

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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... 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 him away, or you can kick his ass, or you can do what we ...

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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... 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 his own despair and potentially of Birkin’s too. The book ...

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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... 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 ...

Diary

Ronan Bennett: The IRA Ceasefire, 22 September 1994

... 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 sullenly from behind the iron railings that surround the pubs ...

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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... 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 treatment of local authorities by the Heseltine-King ...

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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... 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 Berners got someone to ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

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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... 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 Government’s public relations. Spin-doctors were unheard ...

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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... 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 the Hebrew whenever possible, preserving such devices as ...

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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... 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 one. Rather than seeing its 1552 revision as a ...

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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... 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 called tragic. After her death, no one could remember ...

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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... 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 Speer no mercy, nailing his every exculpatory ruse and ...
The Bayreuth Ring 
BBC2, October 1982Show More
Parsifal 
directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg.
Edinburgh Film Festival, September 1982
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Parsifal 
by Lucy Beckett.
Cambridge, 163 pp., £9.95, August 1981, 0 521 22825 5
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Wagner and Literature 
by Raymond Furness.
Manchester, 159 pp., £14.50, February 1982, 0 7190 0844 1
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Wagner to ‘The Waste Land’: A Study of the Relationship of Wagner to English Literature 
by Stoddart Martin.
Macmillan, 277 pp., £20, June 1982, 0 333 28998 6
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Wagner and Aeschylus: ‘The Ring’ and ‘The Oresteia’ 
by Michael Ewans.
Faber, 271 pp., £12.50, July 1982, 0 571 11808 9
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... operas, here traces the allegedly strong Aeschylean influence on Wagner, while Furness and Martin discuss Wagner’s influence on others: but all three are too little concerned with the peculiar nature and conditions of Wagner’s own musical-dramatic achievement. Why do so many musical terms, like ‘composed’, ‘resolve’ or ‘tonic’, also ...

I had no imagination

Christian Lorentzen: Gerald Murnane, 4 April 2019

Tamarisk Row 
by Gerald Murnane.
And Other Stories, 281 pp., £10, February 2019, 978 1 911508 36 6
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Border Districts 
by Gerald Murnane.
And Other Stories, 144 pp., £8.99, January 2019, 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 racecourses around Melbourne. Estershank, an ‘evil genius’ according to Murnane, used friends like Reginald as dummy owners for the horses he bought, trained and bet on ...

Diary

Louise Foxcroft: W.B. Yeats and her great-uncle, 7 September 2000

... diary in January 1939 that they were ‘nicely settled in a charming hotel on the promenade of Cap Martin ... the beautiful blue sea under my window and oranges and lemons growing along the streets’. She described the distractions of the resort, in particular the casinos, and her ‘great difficulty’ in stopping ‘my husband in trying to break the ...

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