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A Little Local Irritation

Stephen Wall: Dickens, 16 April 1998

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Vol. IX: 1859-61 
edited by Graham Storey.
Oxford, 610 pp., £70, July 1997, 0 19 812293 4
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... volume appears (the first came out in 1965) the stature of the scholarship of Kathleen Tillotson, Graham Storey and their collaborators becomes more impressive. There are over a thousand letters in Volume IX alone, and the picture they offer of Dickens’s activities during the three years the book covers is more various than a biography could ...

What the Dickens

F.S. Schwarzbach, 5 April 1990

The Letters of Charles Dickens. Vol. VI: 1850-1852 
edited by Graham Storey, Kathleen Tillotson and Nina Burgis.
Oxford, 909 pp., £80, June 1988, 0 19 812617 4
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... On 25 May 1851 Dickens wrote no fewer than 11 letters – or perhaps it is better to say that 11 of those he wrote have survived. Several were only a line or two, declining an invitation to a public dinner at the Royal Literary Fund, thanking a theatre manager for the use of the stage for rehearsals of his amateur players, and the like. But most were substantial: a few involved business relating to the Guild of Literature and Art, a sort of union and mutual aid society for authors that Dickens was then busy launching; one thanked a Sheffield firm (innocently mentioned in David Copperfield) for the gift of a set of knives; another attempted to patch up his lapsed friendship with George Cruikshank, who had probably been offended by Dickens’s attacks on his temperance pamphlets; another was a long, newsy report to a Swiss friend he hadn’t seen in years and one more thanked a Scottish author for sending a book of literary lectures ...


Nicholas Spice, 17 May 1984

Present Times 
by David Storey.
Cape, 270 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 224 02188 5
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The Uses of Fiction: Essays on the Modern Novel in Honour of Arnold Kettle 
edited by Douglas Jefferson and Graham Martin.
Open University, 296 pp., £15, December 1982, 9780335101818
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The Hawthorn Goddess 
by Glyn Hughes.
Chatto, 232 pp., £8.95, April 1984, 0 7011 2818 6
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... This, more or less, is how Present Times begins, and one thing very quickly becomes clear: David Storey likes compound ...

The New Lloyd’s

Peter Campbell, 24 July 1986

Richard Rogers 
by Bryan Appleyard.
Faber, 271 pp., £9.95, March 1986, 0 571 13976 0
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A Concrete Atlantis 
by Reyner Banham.
MIT, 265 pp., £16.50, June 1986, 0 262 02244 3
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William Richard Lethaby 
by Godfrey Rubens.
Architectural Press, 320 pp., £30, April 1986, 0 85139 350 0
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... a plan which would allow business to go on while building proceeded. At the suggestion of Gordon Graham, then president of the RIBA, Lloyd’s put up money for what was in effect a limited competition – not for a design so much as for a plan of campaign. Although Lloyd’s themselves suggested a couple of names, the profession (in the form of the RIBA) was ...

A City of Sand and Puddles

Julian Barnes: Paris, 22 April 2010

Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris 
by Graham Robb.
Picador, 476 pp., £18.99, April 2010, 978 0 330 45244 1
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The Invention of Paris: A History in Footsteps 
by Eric Hazan, translated by David Fernbach.
Verso, 384 pp., £20, February 2010, 978 1 84467 411 4
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... Liberation, 1968, and so on, even unto Whither Paris, City of Light, in the Transnational Age? Graham Robb and Eric Hazan are both keen to avoid the Gendarme Plod approach, and well aware that, as Robb puts it, ‘a changing metropolis with a population of millions can never be comprehended by a single person.’ They also typify the difference between ...

North and South

Raphael Samuel, 22 June 1995

Coming Back Brockens: A Year in a Mining Village 
by Mark Hudson.
Cape, 320 pp., £16.99, October 1994, 0 224 04170 3
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... held it back for three or four years) encouraged a spate of ‘grimly honest’ realist dramas. As Graham Greene remarked of one of them, the colliery winding gear, silhouetted against the sky, the pit disaster and the warning siren became as cinematically familiar as the Eiffel Tower or the Houses of Parliament. A.J. Cronin, the best-selling novelist whose ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1998, 21 January 1999

... the still uncertain John Gielgud. Later in the run he took me out to supper with Cole Lesley and Graham Payn to the Savoy, where we had sausages and mash. Alas, I have no memories of his conversation on either occasion, remembering only how he put me at my ease and seemed much kinder and nicer than I’d been led to expect. 14 April. Watch Grammar School ...

Lost between War and Peace

Edward Said, 5 September 1996

... apparatus, which is a going concern.’ I had recently read an article on this apparatus by Graham Usher, who does the best foreign on-the-spot reporting from Palestine; his estimate is that Arafat annually spends $500 million on it, and still comes up short. I was curious to know what the overall legal situation was, since the Authority did not have ...

The Tower

Andrew O’Hagan, 7 June 2018

... of sheets in the sitting room. He began tying them together, he had 14 in all – one for each storey. Was that enough? Once he had them all tied together, he went over and tethered one end to the window frame and threw the sheets down. The ‘ladder’ went down the length of the building and stopped about thirty feet shy of the pavement. He and Nida ...

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