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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 
73 pp.Show More
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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... James Hepburn opens his history of literary agency – The Author’s Empty Purse, published in l968 – with the same quotation that GrahamWatson 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 ...
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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... expected to be National Service officers, possibly engaged in combat. I have never quite got over 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 ...
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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... Not long ago Sir Peter Medawar remarked that when the momentous DNA discoveries were being made 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 ...
25 April 1991
... shaken his head, on the other hand, and regretted that those who were young and hated war should have 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 ...

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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... eager-midfield-runner’ to ‘man-capable-of-magic-moments’. Without that goal, Platt may not 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 ...

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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... Ever since Jane Eyre, the female best-seller has usually been honest enough to be Little 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 ...
21 February 1980
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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... putting nettles in your grandma’s bed. There is also (chosen by Christopher Logue) the ‘musical 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 ...

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, 978 1 4721 2686 3
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... witheringly summed up, and belittled, by Waugh and Mitford, who saw the absurdity in everything and 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 ...

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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... and cloning. His best friend, Crake, a biochemistry genius who views sex as ‘a deeply imperfect 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 ...
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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... on the novel, Leavis, in great agitation, tried to have them stopped, on the ground that they 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 ...

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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... still the template. Dorothy L. Sayers hardly seemed to believe in Peter Wimsey’s passion for Harriet 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 ...

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, 978 1 4088 5093 0
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... in a cottage in Wales when Freud was 18 and produced a little book of drawings and poems together. (Years 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 ...

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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... characters who were not very different from his own divided self. He was never simply one thing, and 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 ...

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