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22 May 1980
How far can you go? 
by David Lodge.
Secker, 244 pp., £5.95, April 1980, 0 436 25661 4
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Life before Man 
by Margaret Atwood.
Cape, 317 pp., £5.95, March 1980, 0 224 01782 9
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Desirable Residence 
by Lettice Cooper.
Gollancz, 191 pp., £5.50, April 1980, 0 575 02787 8
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A Month in the Country 
by J.L. Carr.
Harvester, 110 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 85527 328 3
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... upbringing and education share a common world-view, which David Lodge carefully explains, as though they were Trobriand Islanders, assuming perhaps rightly that it will be unfamiliar to most of his readership today. It is a game of eschatological snakes and ladders, of which the object is to get to Heaven and avoid Hell. Sins, mortal or venial, are snakes ...
17 October 1985
Criticism in the University 
edited by Gerald Graff and Reginald Gibbons.
Northwestern, 234 pp., £29.95, September 1985, 0 8101 0670 1
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... volume Criticism in the University almost all talk of the ‘crisis in literary criticism’, as though it is simply to be taken for granted that there is one. To the seasoned literary academic the very words are like a knell. After years of committee-room dissensions that begin as relatively dignified querelles de clercs and end up as cat fights he would be ...
21 June 1984
... England had no scholarship system or carrière ouverte aux talents.’ Probably no one ever thought of this before, yet we have not been led into an eccentric backwater: it is now hardly possible to read the Elegy without hearing behind its Virgilian sadness the political overtones, the apology for the status quo. This takes us direct to the massive ...
4 December 1980
The Girl in a Swing 
by Richard Adams.
Allen Lane, 397 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 7139 1407 6
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... macabre and perhaps somewhat disordered imagination. Part of the strength of Shardik is that though the bear’s presence broods over the whole narrative, there is no attempt to enter into his consciousness. So the dangers and absurdities of portraying anthropomorphised animals are avoided. They hover perpetually over Watership Down, and are successfully ...
7 February 1980
The Wapshot Chronicle 
by John Cheever.
Harper and Row, 549 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 06 337007 7
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Florence Avenue 
by Elizabeth North.
Gollancz, 158 pp., £4.95, October 1980, 0 575 02680 4
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McKay’s Bees 
by Thomas McMahon.
Constable, 198 pp., £4.95, November 1980, 0 09 463120 4
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The Siesta 
by Patrice Chaplin.
Duckworth, 174 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7156 1459 2
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... She remembers why she is in Barcelona – a desperate last attempt to meet her Spanish lover, although he is now virtuously married. She washes off the blood in a puddle and struggles into the town. Past meetings with her Celestino mingle with the dazed horrifying present. She attaches herself to a party of rich, drunk, more or less corrupt English ...
7 August 1980
History of Him 
by Geoffrey Grigson.
Secker, 96 pp., £4.50, June 1980, 0 436 18841 4
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... Thoughtful as always about how to win friends and influence people, Geoffrey Grigson in his latest book of poems congratulates himself that his elderly eyes If they remain alert Do the more easily recognise Squirming in his primal dirt Another verse-reviewing squirt. Well, it is nice to know where we stand, and after that rousing salute the most scrupulous reviewer need not be afraid of disturbing cultural harmony or bruising the petals of a sensitive plant ...

Sacred Monster

Graham Hough

20 August 1981
Edith Sitwell: A Unicorn among Lions 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Weidenfeld, 391 pp., £9.95, July 1981, 0 297 77801 3
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... For readers who are more interested in literature than in literary society those sacred monsters who live in anecdote and legend rather than in their work are always something of an embarrassment. Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil Nor in the glistering foil Set off to th’world, nor in broad rumour lies – or at least it ought not to be; and how is the perfect witness of all-judging Jove to manifest itself if the object under inspection is perpetually obscured by a cloud of gossip, role-playing and myth-mongering? Writers of indubitable greatness have been distorted by their legend, like Dr Johnson and Byron ...
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 ...
1 October 1981
Pretender to the Throne: The Further Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin 
by Vladimir Voinovich, translated by Richard Lourie.
Cape, 358 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 9780224019668
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The Temptation of Eileen Hughes 
by Brian Moore.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, October 1981, 0 224 01936 8
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Silver’s City 
by Maurice Leitch.
Secker, 181 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 436 24413 6
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The Christmas Tree 
by Jennifer Johnston.
Hamish Hamilton, 167 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 0 241 10673 7
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... been in opposition, as a supporter of the civil rights movement, since 1966. His novel, though set in the Russia of forty years ago, seems a transmutation of his own experience. In 1974, he was expelled from the Writers’ Union and his writings were suppressed. In 1978, his mother and other relatives were told that he was dead. His life was ...


Graham Hough

3 December 1981
Ah, but your land is beautiful 
by Alan Paton.
Cape, 270 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 02 241981 0
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A Flag for Sunrise 
by Robert Stone.
Secker, 402 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 9780436496813
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Something Else 
by Virginia Fassnidge.
Constable, 152 pp., £5.95, October 1981, 0 09 464340 7
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The Air We Breathe 
by Gabriel Josipovici.
Harvester, 114 pp., £6.95, November 1981, 0 7108 0056 8
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... of the action a few years later, the conflicts more distinctly those of the modern world. And though the continuity with Paton’s earlier work is complete, this is a different kind of book. Cry, the beloved country is an exploration both of the racial problem and of personal suffering; and its quasi-Biblical language is a means of penetrating into a ...


Graham Hough

5 March 1981
by Marilynne Robinson.
Faber, 218 pp., £5.25, March 1981, 0 571 11713 9
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The Noble Enemy 
by Charles Fox.
Granada, 383 pp., £6.95, February 1981, 0 246 11452 5
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The Roman Persuasion 
by Bernard Bergonzi.
Weidenfeld, 192 pp., £6.95, March 1981, 0 297 77927 3
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... spell cast against loneliness and desolation; and ‘house-keeping’ is a bitter irony, for though there is a house, in and around which most of the action takes place, no one manages to keep it in any ordinary sense of the word. The children soon learn that their aunt ‘is not a stable person’. She sleeps on park benches in broad daylight, she steals ...

Auld Lang Syne

Graham Hough

1 December 1983
Sebastian or Ruling Passions 
by Lawrence Durrell.
Faber, 202 pp., £7.95, October 1983, 0 571 13445 9
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Woman Beware Woman 
by Emma Tennant.
Cape, 176 pp., £7.95, November 1983, 0 224 02164 8
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Queen of Stones 
by Emma Tennant.
Picador, 159 pp., £2.50, September 1983, 0 330 28074 0
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Blue Rise 
by Rebecca Hill.
Joseph, 296 pp., £8.95, October 1983, 0 7181 2372 7
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Here to get my baby out of jail 
by Louise Shivers.
Collins, 141 pp., £6.95, October 1983
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... There are two sons, Gareth and Philip, both gone to America. Years ago Minnie was engaged, or thought she was engaged, to Philip: but it came to nothing and her life has been empty ever since. So Minnie comes to a house dense with painful memories. Dense, too, with mysteries. It seems likely that Hugo has not as was t...


Graham Hough

16 July 1981
A Start in Life 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 176 pp., £5.95, May 1981, 9780224018999
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Rhine Journey 
by Ann Schlee.
Macmillan, 165 pp., £5.95, March 1981, 0 333 28320 1
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The Sure Salvation 
by John Hearne.
Faber, 224 pp., £6.50, May 1981, 0 571 11670 1
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Beloved Latitudes 
by David Pownall.
Gollancz, 140 pp., £6.95, May 1981, 0 575 02988 9
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... affronts to humanity that is at the core of the narratives. It is something less rational: as though an almost uncontrollable sense of horror has given rise to fables which indeed make use of real and hideous facts, but also go beyond them. In all, there is an uncanny symbiosis between black and white that seems to release an absolute evil. In Beloved ...

Fortunes of War

Graham Hough

6 November 1980
The Sum of Things 
by Olivia Manning.
Weidenfeld, 203 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 297 77816 1
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The Viceroy of Ouidah 
by Bruce Chatwin.
Cape, 155 pp., £5.95, October 1980, 0 224 01820 5
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The Sooting Party 
by Isabel Colegate.
Hamish Hamilton, 181 pp., £5.95, September 1980, 0 241 10473 4
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An Ancient Castle 
by Robert Graves.
Owen, 69 pp., £3.95, October 1980, 0 7206 0567 9
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... on the stream has its individual contour, even the illusion of an individual purpose, so that although the treatment is taut and remarkably sparing of sentiment, a vast pathos envelops the whole panorama, and gives it a rhyme and reason that is easier to feel than to describe. For anyone of the right age with an appropriate set of memories, much of this ...

Maria Isabel

Graham Hough

22 January 1981
The Duchess’s Diary 
by Robin Chapman.
Boudicca Books, 126 pp., £3.95, February 1980, 0 9506715 0 9
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The Interceptor Pilot 
by Kenneth Gangemi.
Boyars, 127 pp., £5.95, November 1980, 0 7145 2699 1
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Judgment Day 
by Penelope Lively.
Heinemann, 167 pp., £6.95, November 1980, 0 434 42738 1
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by Niall Quinn.
Wolfhound, 163 pp., £5.95, December 1980, 0 905473 61 2
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... have entertained Cervantes, already famous for the first volume of his romance. What is more, although the duchess is a very young woman and Cervantes already an elderly man, she falls in love with him. They do not meet again: but she eagerly awaits the second volume of Don Quixote, in which, she does not doubt, she will find a romantic tribute to ...

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