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The Sound of Thunder

Tom Nairn: The Miners’ Strike, 8 October 2009

Marching to the Fault Line: The 1984 Miners’ Strike and the Death of Industrial Britain 
by Francis Beckett and David Hencke.
Constable, 303 pp., £18.99, February 2009, 978 1 84901 025 2
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Shafted: The Media, the Miners’ Strike and the Aftermath 
edited by Granville Williams.
Campaign for Press and Broadcasting Freedom, 176 pp., £9.99, March 2009, 978 1 898240 05 1
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... remaining in the trenches of 1984, powerful though those experiences and memories are.’ The best Granville Williams can do to soften the wounds of retrospect is an afterword on ‘Coal and Climate Change’, in which he maintains that the closure programme that led to the great strike was mistaken. It may have damaged the NUM, disabled the foundations ...

The Court

Richard Eyre, 23 September 1993

The Long Distance Runner 
by Tony Richardson.
Faber, 277 pp., £17.50, September 1993, 0 571 16852 3
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... although the theatre enjoyed at least as luminous a period from 1904 to 1907 when Harley Granville-Barker was its artistic director. The Royal Court is the perfect size for a playhouse; it seats about four hundred people (two hundred fewer than in Granville-Barker’s day), it has perfect acoustics (if one can ...


Julian Symons, 9 November 1989

The Politics of Literary Reputation: The Making and Claiming of ‘St George’ Orwell 
by John Rodden.
Oxford, 478 pp., £22.50, October 1989, 0 19 503954 8
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... have said about drugs, trade unions, birth control and student demos. The American ex-Communist Granville Hicks believed that he would have come out against both Stalin and Joe McCarthy, and implied that he would have approved of repentant Communists testifying before the McCarthy Commission. Such pointless but harmless guesswork is different from Mary ...

On Michael O’Brien

August Kleinzahler: Michael O’Brien, 16 February 2017

... information. This poet of the city described himself as ‘a hick’. He was born in 1939 in Granville, New York, population 2500, on the Vermont state border. He left in 1956 to go to college in the Bronx. O’Brien is one of a long line of hicks from upstate who made their way to the big city. John Ashbery, whose work O’Brien disapproved of (‘the ...

Gielgud’s Achievements

Alan Bennett, 20 December 1979

An Actor and his Time 
by John Gielgud.
Sidgwick, 253 pp., £8.95
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... Thirties, Gielgud was able to put into practice some of the lessons he had learned from Harcourt Williams at the Old Vic, and through Harcourt Williams from Granville Barker. These were simple productions with continuity of action and unity of design, and were entirely modern in ...

The Strangely Inspired Hermit of Andover

Christine Stansell, 5 June 1997

Kenneth Burke in Greenwich Village: Conversing with the Moderns, 1915-31 
by Jack Selzer.
Wisconsin, 284 pp., £45, February 1997, 0 299 15184 0
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... and stultifying Victorian versifying. Some of this vast body of poetry was superb (William Carlos Williams), most of it mediocre and some of it dreadful. Burke’s verse hovers around the middle of the spectrum, the best of it plain-spoken and terse in the American idiom which Williams was perfecting, the worst allusive in ...

Bunny Hell

Christopher Tayler: David Gates, 27 August 2015

A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me 
by David Gates.
Serpent’s Tail, 314 pp., £12.99, August 2015, 978 1 78125 491 2
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by David Gates.
Serpent’s Tail, 339 pp., £8.99, August 2015, 978 1 78125 490 5
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... actor researching his part in a semi-amateur production of Twelfth Night reads in ‘good old Granville-Barker’: ‘Feste, I feel, is not a young man … There runs through all he says and does that vein of irony by which we may so often mark one of life’s self-acknowledged failures … a man of parts without character and with more wit than ...


Terence Hawkes, 22 February 1990

Rebuilding Shakespeare’s Globe 
by Andrew Gurr and John Orrell.
Weidenfeld, 197 pp., £15.95, April 1989, 0 297 79346 2
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Shakespeare and the Popular Voice 
by Annabel Patterson.
Blackwell, 195 pp., £27.50, November 1989, 0 631 16873 7
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Re-Inventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present 
by Gary Taylor.
Hogarth, 461 pp., £18, January 1990, 0 7012 0888 0
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Shakespeare’s America, America’s Shakespeare 
by Michael Bristol.
Routledge, 237 pp., £30, January 1990, 0 415 01538 3
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... to dismiss it as ‘the most insipid ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life’, and 1914, when Granville Barker tried to dispense with the scenic display that generations of spectacular musical versions had imposed, ‘the play that Shakespeare wrote’ emerges in a powerful and startlingly different light.The major beneficiary of such a re-vision is the ...


Hugh Haughton, 5 December 1985

The Life and Work of Thomas Hardy 
by Thomas Hardy, edited by Michael Millgate.
Macmillan, 604 pp., £30, April 1985, 0 333 29441 6
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The Literary Notebooks of Thomas Hardy: Vols I and II 
edited by Lennart Björk.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £35, May 1985, 0 333 36777 4
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Emma Hardy’s Diaries 
edited by Richard Taylor.
Mid-Northumberland Arts Group/Carcanet, 216 pp., £14.95, January 1985, 0 904790 21 5
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The Collected Letters of Thomas Hardy. Vol. V: 1914-1919 
edited by Richard Little Purdy and Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 357 pp., £22.50, May 1985, 0 19 812622 0
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The Complete Poetical Works of Thomas Hardy, Vol. III 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 390 pp., £32.50, June 1985, 0 19 812784 7
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Annals of the Labouring Poor: Social Change and Agrarian England 1660-1900 
by K.D.M. Snell.
Cambridge, 464 pp., £30, May 1985, 0 521 24548 6
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Thomas Hardy 
edited by Samuel Hynes.
Oxford, 547 pp., £12.95, June 1984, 0 19 254177 3
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... mischief” against Church, State, or morals.’ Yet later he was to smile ruefully when Granville-Barker’s production of The Dynasts made him seem as ‘orthodox as a church-warden’ and, in 1905, defended men of letters as free to ‘express unpalatable or possibly subversive views on society, religious dogma, current morals’. He thought ...

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