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Turf Wars

Andrew Sugden: Grass, 14 November 2002

The Forgiveness of Nature: The Story of Grass 
by Graham Harvey.
Vintage, 372 pp., £7.99, September 2002, 0 09 928366 2
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... technology and the history of the lawnmower, and firmly rooted in tradition and organic farming. Graham Harvey quite possibly contributes more to agricultural awareness than any other person in Britain. It is through him that many of us learn about rotations with red clover, the pros and cons of subsidies, even the health benefits of conjugated linoleic ...

Among Flayed Hills

David Craig, 8 May 1997

The Killing of the Countryside 
by Graham Harvey.
Cape, 218 pp., £17.99, March 1997, 0 224 04444 3
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... of their huge machines a metal label said ‘W.H.R. Contracting. Find Us In The Yellow Pages.’ Graham Harvey’s excellent polemic is one of those books which at first almost exhilarate you by the sheer awfulness of the crisis they confront, then leave you slumped in despondency at the gravity of the trouble and the injustice at its root. ...

Noddy is on page 248

Jay Griffiths: On the streets, 10 June 1999

The Penguin Book of 20th-Century Protest 
edited by Brian MacArthur.
Penguin, 440 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87052 8
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DIY Culture: Party and Protest in Nineties Britain 
edited by George McKay.
Verso, 310 pp., £11, July 1998, 1 85984 260 7
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... 23 pieces from 1990 to 1998. Some deserve inclusion: Aung San Suu Kyi, Tony Benn, Will Hutton and Graham Harvey. It’s right to have a protest against the Gulf War but why five of them? (Oh. MacArthur edited Gulf War Despatches.) Then there are two pieces about foxes and two about Princess Diana. Is the odd hunting of a fox more important than the ...

Unnatural Rebellion

Malcolm Gaskill: ‘Witches’, 2 November 2017

The Witch: A History of Fear, from Ancient Times to the Present 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 360 pp., £25, August 2017, 978 0 300 22904 2
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... to Siberian travellers in the spirit world, has ceased to be a definition and has become, as Graham Harvey puts it, more of a ‘semantic field’. To speak of witches, then, whether as a contemporary theologian or jurist, or a modern historian or anthropologist, is either to be confused and tripped up by taxonomy or to be confident about forcing ...

Old Testament Capers

Frank Kermode, 20 September 1984

The Only Problem 
by Muriel Spark.
Bodley Head, 189 pp., £7.95, September 1984, 0 370 30605 8
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... of suffering, he suffers the problem of argument.’ The central figure in the novel, a man called Harvey Gotham, is also working on a book about Job, and he finishes it, as, in a sense, Mrs Spark has finished hers, but thirty years on. ‘The only problem’ is what Harvey writes about, and it is simply the problem of ...

The End of British Farming

Andrew O’Hagan: British farming, 22 March 2001

... up, marshes filled in, woods and grasslands usurped by acreage-hungry crops – what the writer Graham Harvey refers to as ‘this once “living tapestry”’ was being turned into ‘a shroud … a landscape of the dead’.6 Government subsidies and grants in wartime, cemented in postwar policy, prepared British farmers for the lavish benefits they ...

Yeats and the Occult

Seamus Deane, 18 October 1984

The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats 
by Graham Hough.
Harvester, 129 pp., £15.95, May 1984, 0 7108 0603 5
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Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry 
by Cairns Craig.
Croom Helm, 323 pp., £14.95, January 1982, 9780856649974
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Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays 
edited by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £14, July 1984, 0 333 27422 9
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The Poet and his Audience 
by Ian Jack.
Cambridge, 198 pp., £20, July 1984, 0 521 26034 5
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A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 543 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 333 35214 9
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Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £17, August 1984, 0 333 36213 6
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... The first three of the four chapters in Graham Hough’s book were the Lord Northcliffe Lectures in Literature given at University College London in February 1983. The audience was general and the lectures were pitched accordingly. Yet all Yeatsian specialists will profit from this book and the ‘radical simplification’ of Yeats’s occult philosophy which it so lucidly achieves ...

Firm Lines

Hermione Lee, 17 November 1983

Bartleby in Manhattan, and Other Essays 
by Elizabeth Hardwick.
Weidenfeld, 292 pp., £8.95, September 1983, 0 297 78357 2
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... in Frankfurt takes off all her clothes as he discourses on the dangers of spontaneity. Lee Harvey Oswald is photographed holding up two guns, together with the Daily Worker and the Trotskyite Militant: ‘There he stands in the midst of his iconography.’ It is the job of the ‘defining imagination’ to explain such moments. (Of course there are ...

Knowing more

Rosalind Mitchison, 14 September 1989

Poets, Polities and the People 
by V.G. Kiernan, edited by Harvey Kaye.
Verso, 239 pp., £29.95, June 1989, 0 86091 245 0
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For King and Conscience: John Graham of Claverhouse, Viscount Dundee 
by Magnus Linklater and Christian Hesketh.
Weidenfeld, 244 pp., £16.95, June 1989, 0 297 79540 6
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... A welcome and better-informed picture of the Covenanting issue is supplied in the new life of Graham of Claverhouse, later Viscount Dundee, For King and Conscience by Magnus Linklater and Christian Hesketh. This book examines dispassionately the involvement of Claverhouse in the attempt to impose conformity on the South-West of Scotland, starting with his ...

He had it all

Alex Harvey: Fitzgerald’s Decade, 5 July 2018

Paradise Lost: A Life of F. Scott Fitzgerald 
by David S. Brown.
Harvard, 424 pp., £21.95, May 2017, 978 0 674 50482 0
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‘I’d Die for You’ and Other Lost Stories 
by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
Scribner, 384 pp., £9.99, April 2018, 978 1 4711 6473 6
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... bills, Fitzgerald became fixated on a golden-haired British gossip columnist called Sheilah Graham, who had, he said, the look of ‘a young Zelda’. The creator of Jay Gatsby wasn’t slow to see through her persona. Sheilah Graham was actually Lily Shiel, the youngest child of Ukrainian Jewish immigrants, who had ...

At the Wellcome

Peter Campbell: The Heart, 16 August 2007

... you have little idea of what exactly is being done and why. The accompanying voiceover is a Billy Graham sermon about blood (‘without shedding of blood there is not forgiveness of sin’). You are offered an experience but not an explanation – and maybe the experience is stronger for that reason. The hidden heart – out of sight, thumping behind the ...


John Bayley, 30 November 1995

by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... make it new if you’ve got it in you. Or if you can fake it. Burgess’s dislike (not envy) of Graham Greene, on these grounds, emerges in a couplet from Byrne: And white men go to pieces, as we’ve seen, In overlauded trash by Graham Greene. Greene achieved a bogus newness, in Burgess’s view, by laboriously making ...

Bad Nights

D.A.N. Jones, 23 October 1986

The Casualty 
by Heinrich Böll, translated by Leila Vennewitz.
Chatto, 189 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 9780701129286
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by Allan Massie.
Bodley Head, 339 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 370 30757 7
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Gabriel’s Lament 
by Paul Bailey.
Cape, 331 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 224 02823 5
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The Mind and Body Shop 
by Frank Parkin.
Collins, 221 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 00 217695 5
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... with scholarly confidence. Allan Massie has produced such a stage-pedant, named Aeneas Fraser-Graham, Quondam Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge: this figure of fun prefaces the first section of the narrative with an account of the discovery of Augustus’s autobiography and an admission ‘that Mr Massie’s version is indeed, in the event, too ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Irishman’, 5 December 2019

... Niro gets to play the 40-year-old Sheeran, as well as the same man at 55 and 83. For the record, Harvey Keitel (b. 1939), Al Pacino (b. 1940) and Joe Pesci (b. 1943) also get to inhabit different times, though Pacino, as Jimmy Hoffa, doesn’t live so long. All of these performances are amazing, but I would single out Pesci for special mention. The angry guy ...

We’ve done awfully well

Karl Miller: The Late 1950s, 18 July 2013

Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-59 
by David Kynaston.
Bloomsbury, 432 pp., £25, June 2013, 978 0 7475 8893 1
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... book would be much diminished if it were to lose its other men’s flowers. The university teacher Graham Hough wrote a strong letter to the New Statesman to say: ‘There will remain to the Labour Party the glory of messing up the grammar schools, the oldest and best of English educational institutions; and of continuing the 19th-century public school system ...

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