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John Sutherland, 15 May 1980

Book Society 
by Graham Watson.
Deutsch, 164 pp., £6.50, April 1980, 0 233 97160 2
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The Publishers Association Annual Report 1979-80 
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Private Presses and Publishing in England since 1945 
by H.E. Bellamy.
Clive Bingley, 168 pp., £15, March 1980, 0 85157 297 9
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... literary agency – The Author’s Empty Purse, published in l968 – with the same quotation that Graham Watson uses to conclude his reminiscences of a lifetime spent in the profession: This is the age of the middleman. He is generally a parasite. He always flourishes. I have been forced to give him some little attention lately in my particular ...

Floreat Brixton

Tam Dalyell, 5 December 1985

An Eton Schoolboy’s Album 
by Mark Dixon.
Debrett, 118 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 905649 78 8
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... my shock, as a 15-year-old, on learning that the Captain of my house, the immensely talented Paul Graham-Watson, had been killed by guerrilla forces in the Malayan jungle, that my friend George Ponsonby had been killed in an armoured-car accident in BAOR, and that Tony Pugh and Nick Wadham had been killed flying with the ...
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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... there were plenty of people in the English faculties of universities quite as clever as Crick and Watson – but Crick and Watson had something to be clever about. For the last thirty years or so ambitious literary exegetes have lacked precisely this – something to be clever about. Commentary and interpretation of the ...
... to die ‘when cruel old campaigners win safe through’. Epitaphs apart, what will survive of Graham Greene? Not love, certainly; nor the famously tortured guerrilla of Roman Catholicism, fighting and writing for and against the Church from inside and outside it, and all the more effective a partisan and publicist on its behalf when he seemed most ...

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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... have been so lucratively pursued by the Italians. He may not even have lasted in the England team. Graham Taylor, though, was always a Platt fan, and Platt owes a lot to Taylor. One of the most strenuous sections of Platt’s book is devoted to repairing Taylor’s reputation: a forlorn task, but rather touching to behold. Taylor, we learn, is ‘one of the ...

Madly Excited

John Bayley, 1 June 1989

The Life of Graham Greene. Vol. I: 1904-1939 
by Norman Sherry.
Cape, 783 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 224 02654 2
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... Me. There is, nonetheless, a remarkable similarity in technique between, say, Margaret Drabble and Graham Greene. Both create an entirely coherent romance world, powered by variations on self-satisfaction, in Greene’s case masquerading as self-disgust. In both cases this is highly transmissible to the reader. Every decade has its own style of ...

Wake up. Foul mood. Detest myself

Ysenda Maxtone Graham: ‘Lost Girls’, 9 December 2019

Lost Girls: Love, War and Literature, 1939-51 
by D.J. Taylor.
Constable, 388 pp., £25, September 2019, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... everyone. Here’s Waugh’s description of the Horizon office: ‘horrible pictures collected by Watson [Peter Watson, financial backer of Horizon] & Lys & Miss Brownell working away with a dictionary translating some rot from the French’. Here’s his summing up of Sonia marrying Orwell (Waugh and Mitford’s nickname ...
The Children’s Book of Comic Verse 
edited by Christopher Logue.
Batsford, 160 pp., £3.95, March 1980, 0 7134 1528 2
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The Children’s Book of Funny Verse 
edited by Julia Watson.
Faber, 127 pp., £3.95, September 1980, 0 571 11467 9
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Bagthorpes v. the World 
by Helen Cresswell.
Faber, 192 pp., £4.50, September 1980, 0 571 11446 6
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The Robbers 
by Nina Bawden.
Gollancz, 144 pp., £3.95, September 1980, 0 575 02695 2
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... student from Sparta [who] was a truly magnificent farter’. Beyond him he does not venture. Julia Watson stops with the old man of Blackheath who sat on his set of false teeth. Calamity and the gruesome, the crude and the slapstick, are given a suitable amount of space, and Harry Graham is perhaps overworked, though ...

The Snowman cometh

Elaine Showalter: Margaret Atwood, 24 July 2003

Oryx and Crake 
by Margaret Atwood.
Bloomsbury, 378 pp., £16.99, May 2003, 0 7475 6259 8
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... solution to the problem of intergenerational genetic transfer’, is courted by the prestigious Watson-Crick Institute, otherwise known as Asperger’s U.; Jimmy barely scrapes into Martha Graham Academy, a third-rate arts college. Like all the other students there, he knows he is an irrelevant loser. Anyone with a ...

Even paranoids have enemies

Frank Kermode, 24 August 1995

F.R. Leavis: A Life in Criticism 
by Ian MacKillop.
Allen Lane, 476 pp., £25, July 1995, 0 7139 9062 7
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... would certainly plagiarise The Great Tradition. He was indignant and suspicious when he heard that Graham Hough was writing a book on D.H. Lawrence, whom he himself had so recently and definitively dealt with. Hough must be up to something. In fact Hough, who had a perfect right to produce a book on Lawrence if he felt like it, was a good hater himself, in ...

Shovelling Clouds

Adam Mars-Jones: Fred Vargas, 22 April 2015

Temps glaciaires 
by Fred Vargas.
Flammarion, 490 pp., €19.90, March 2015, 978 2 08 136044 0
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... Vane, and no one else is likely to. In his book Strangers: Homosexual Love in the 19th Century, Graham Robb made a strong case that the granddaddy of them all, Poe’s Dupin, is coded as homosexual. Offering a dry précis of ‘The Murders in the Rue Morgue’, he writes: ‘There is, of course, nothing essentially odd about the passionate, secretive and ...

Falling in love with Lucian

Colm Tóibín: Lucian Freud’s Outer Being, 10 October 2019

The Lives of Lucian Freud: Youth, 1922-68 
by William Feaver.
Bloomsbury, 680 pp., £35, September 2019, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... later, Freud cut the Spender poems out of the book, ‘deeming them superfluous’.) Peter Watson, who funded Horizon, also began to enjoy Freud’s company. ‘He helped me very much, looked at my pictures and bought things and gave me money and books,’ Freud said. ‘He had pictures that I liked and learned from, very good things … He had a ...

Brief Encounters

Andrew O’Hagan: Gielgud and Redgrave, 5 August 2004

Gielgud's Letters 
edited by Richard Mangan.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 297 82989 0
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Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave 
by Alan Strachan.
Weidenfeld, 484 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 297 60764 2
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... his famous parts – Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Leo in The Go-Between, Carlyon in the film of Graham Greene’s The Man Within, the ventriloquist Maxwell Frere in Dead of Night, Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest – tended to make a dark festival out of the business of being everything but the one thing specified. Trust is an actor’s ...

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