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Lacanian Jesuit

David Wootton: Michel de Certeau

4 October 2001
The Possession at Loudun 
by Michel de Certeau, translated by Michael Smith.
Chicago, 251 pp., £27, August 2000, 0 226 10034 0
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The Certeau Reader 
edited by Graham Ward.
Blackwell, 320 pp., £60, November 1999, 0 631 21278 7
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Michel de Certeau: Cultural Theorist 
by Ian Buchanan.
Sage, 143 pp., £50, July 2000, 0 7619 5897 5
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... In 1632 Loudun was a frontier town, with Catholicism to the north, south and east, and Protestantism to the west. Internally divided, it was in the process of being recaptured by the new religious orders of the Counter-Reformation (the Jesuits arrived in 1606, the Capuchins in 1616, the Ursulines in 1626); while at the same time Richelieu was planning to destroy the town’s castle, thus turning its citizens into subjects of the absolutist state ...
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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... flat nihilism. Chonkin’s adventures take place in a world of tyranny, treachery, hypocrisy and cowardice: yet the possibility of another way of life is never really forgotten. The obvious ancestor is Gogol: the scarifying satire in which nevertheless the human points of reference are not lost is close to Dead Souls and The Government Inspector. The setting ...

Gertrude

Graham Hough

18 September 1980
Nuns and Soldiers 
by Iris Murdoch.
Chatto, 505 pp., £6.50, September 1980, 0 7011 2519 5
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Collin 
by Stefan Heym.
Hodder, 315 pp., £7.95, August 1980, 0 340 25721 0
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An Inch of Fortune 
by Simon Raven.
Blond and Briggs, 176 pp., £5.95, June 1980, 0 85634 108 8
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Virgin Kisses 
by Gloria Nagy.
Penguin, 221 pp., £1.25, July 1980, 0 14 005506 1
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... friends and their expectations. Among the circle is a youngish protégé of Guy’s, almost his ward – a painter, Tim Reede. A painter without enough talent or enough dedication, a drop-out, a scrounger, a lost soul, treated with half-contemptuous tolerance by the rest of the friends and relations. He is likeable and sympathetic, but his equally drop-out ...

Heart-Stopping

Ian Hamilton

25 January 1996
Not Playing for Celtic: Another Paradise Lost 
by David Bennie.
Mainstream, 221 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 85158 757 8
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Achieving the Goal 
by David Platt.
Richard Cohen, 244 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 1 86066 017 7
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Captain’s Log: The Gary McAllister Story 
by Gary McAllister and Graham Clark.
Mainstream, 192 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 9781851587902
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Blue Grit: The John Brown Story 
by John Brown and Derek Watson.
Mainstream, 176 pp., £14.99, November 1995, 1 85158 822 1
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Kicking and Screaming: An Oral History of Football in England 
by Rogan Taylor and Andrew Ward.
Robson, 370 pp., £16.95, October 1995, 0 86051 912 0
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A Passion for the Game: Real Lives in Football 
by Tom Watt.
Mainstream, 316 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 1 85158 714 4
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... the Dundee United keeper who used to take all of his side’s penalties whenever one was awarded during regular 90-minute matches? Come to think of it, Camus taking a penalty at Tannadice doesn’t bear thinking about. He’d probably have stood over the ball for 30 agonising seconds, before whipping out a revolver and shooting a suspiciously dark ...

Well, was he?

A.N. Wilson

20 June 1996
Bernard Shaw: The Ascent of the Superman 
by Sally Peters.
Yale, 328 pp., £18.95, April 1996, 0 300 06097 1
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... from grace. As a youngish and middle-aged man, he devoted hours of his time to the largely unrewarding work of a councillor in the St Pancras Ward of London. Thanks to Shaw, the first ladies’ lavatory in England was constructed at the top of Parkway in Camden Town. The campaign to build the loo was in its way an ...

Taking what you get

Walter Kendrick

6 December 1984
Getting to know the General: The Story of an Involvement 
by Graham Greene.
Bodley Head, 224 pp., £8.95, September 1984, 0 370 30808 5
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Saints, Sinners and Comedians: The Novels of Graham Greene 
by Roger Sharrock.
Burns and Oates, 298 pp., £15, September 1984, 0 86012 134 8
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Travels in Greeneland: The Cinema of Graham Greene 
by Quentin Falk.
Quartet, 229 pp., £14.95, September 1984, 0 7043 2425 3
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The Other Man: Conversations with Graham Greene 
by Marie-Françoise Allain.
Bodley Head, 187 pp., £7.50, April 1983, 0 370 30468 3
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... who would like to understand them. Thomas Hardy was England’s worst offender in this regard: but Graham Greene, now 80, bids fair to give Hardy a run for his money. Not in quality, of course. Even Greene’s most enthusiastic advocates wouldn’t attempt to place him in the top rank of English novelists; there’s some question, indeed, whether the second ...

Misbehavin’

Susannah Clapp

23 July 1987
A Life with Alan: The Diary of A.J.P. Taylor’s Wife, Eva, from 1978 to 1985 
by Eva Haraszti Taylor.
Hamish Hamilton, 250 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 241 12118 3
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The Painted Banquet: My Life and Loves 
by Jocelyn Rickards.
Weidenfeld, 172 pp., £14.95, May 1987, 0 297 79119 2
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The Beaverbrook Girl 
by Janet Aitken Kidd.
Collins, 240 pp., £12.95, May 1987, 0 00 217602 5
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... Oldfield features as a shy Cold Warrior with a Communist Party friend and as a ‘round-faced Graham Greene figure’, closely studied by Alec Guinness when he was preparing to become George Smiley; he ‘could never make close ties with people’. Guy Burgess was ‘always dirty and smelt’. This diary is also a love story: ‘The sun was shining and ...

Diary

Michel Lechat: Graham Greene at the Leproserie

2 August 2007
... It would be nice to say that Graham Greene just appeared one day in Yonda, the leprosy settlement in the Equateur Province of the then Belgian Congo where I was the doctor, stepping off the gangway of the bishop’s riverboat as Querry does in A Burnt-Out Case. But Greene did not come unannounced. His visit to Yonda had been arranged through a common friend in Brussels ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Where was I in 1987?

10 December 1987
... over the heads of the crowd into the graveyard, the shrieks with which the women urge it on towards the grave not much different from the shouts the men use to encourage the camels. Mine farts continuously and on one occasion manages to spit down my neck. A discussion of sex life uncovers the fact that in this unit of fifty and more people, most of them ...
1 October 1998
England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... done up in a kind of free indirect sauce. Barnes loves to dissemble and pretend: as the hack Edward Pygge, composer of the satiric ‘Greek Street’ columns written for the New Review back in the Seventies, and as Dan Kavanagh, author of the ‘Duffy’ crime novels of the Eighties, which come complete with their own arch little author biographies (‘Dan ...

Grandiose Moments

Frank Kermode

6 February 1997
Ford Madox Ford: A Dual Life, Vol. II 
by Max Saunders.
Oxford, 696 pp., £35, September 1996, 0 19 212608 3
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... Pound, who admired his combination of old-world Tory manners and avant-garde sympathies, and from Graham Greene, who imitated his techniques, notably in The End of the Affair. These writers and many others of many stripes – Herbert Read, D.H. Lawrence, Hugh Walpole, for instance – admired him because he was shrewd and helpful about the business of ...

Cursing and Breast-Beating

Ross McKibbin: Manning Clark’s Legacy

23 February 2012
An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark 
by Mark McKenna.
Miegunyah, 793 pp., £57.95, May 2011, 978 0 522 85617 0
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... arrangements Australia had inherited. Above all, in the minds of such conservatives as John Howard, it was designed to maximise Anglo-Australia’s guilt for what happened to the Aborigines; something for which late 20th-century Australians could not be held responsible. This was the ‘black armband’ school of history, a phrase popularised, though not ...

Promises aren’t always kept

Jenny Diski: Goblin. Hobgoblin. Ugly Duckling

7 October 2015
... never run out, especially the ‘real ones’, the ones that actually happened and press forward impatiently awaiting their turn, like elephants’ teeth. When the teeth run out – the ones planted before birth in the world – the elephant starves to death. The wicked cruelty of nature. Always another trick up its sleeve. Some of us will ...

Criminal Justice

Ronan Bennett

24 June 1993
... Four, but for the closely related cases of the Maguire family, the Birmingham Six, Judith Ward? What did it mean for the system of justice in England? Some years earlier, in a judgment in the Birmingham Six case, Lord Denning, the Master of the Rolls, had summed up the broader significance of such a reversal. If the six men win, it will mean that the ...
12 December 1996
Wisdom and Innocence: A Life of G.K. Chesterton 
by Joseph Pearce.
Hodder, 522 pp., £25, November 1996, 0 340 67132 7
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... institutions, and then savages the institutions in question for failing to give him sufficient reward. Oxford was the first target: a first-class degree wasn’t good enough; Belloc wanted a fellowship at All Souls, and bore a grudge about it for his whole life. Chesterton, whose school reports at St Paul’s presciently recorded that he was ‘wildly ...

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