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Lines in the Sand

Keith Kyle, 7 February 1991

Saddam’s War: The Origins of the Kuwait Conflict and the International Response 
by John Bulloch and Harvey Morris.
Faber, 194 pp., £13.99, January 1991, 0 571 16387 4
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Unholy Babylon: The Secret History of Saddam’s War 
by Adel Darwish and Gregory Alexander.
Gollancz, 352 pp., £9.99, January 1991, 0 575 05054 3
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Cambridge International Document Series: Vol. 1 The Kuwait Crisis 
edited by E. Lauterpacht, C.J. Greenwood, Mark Weller and Daniel Bethlehem.
Grotius Publication, 330 pp., £35.17, January 1991, 0 949009 86 5
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Air Power and Colonial Control 
by David Omissi.
Manchester, 260 pp., £35, January 1990, 0 7190 2960 0
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... Of all the many guises in which Saddam Hussein has appeared before the Iraqi people and the world, the most surprising was that of the great white hope of Arab moderation. Formerly known as a rejectionist – a last-ditch opponent of a negotiated Palestine settlement – he emerged in 1987, under the strains of a war against Iran which he appeared to be losing, as a charter member of what the Jordanians were describing as ‘the great moderate centre ...

The Sword is Our Pope

Alexander Murray: Religion in Europe, 15 October 1998

The Conversion of Europe: From Paganism to Christianity, 371-1386 AD 
by Richard Fletcher.
HarperCollins, 562 pp., £25, September 1997, 0 00 255203 5
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... economics. On a tactical level even the loftiest evangelists could use economic blackmail. Gregory the Great (Pope from 590 to 604) told a Christian landlord in Sardinia to jack up the rents of those tenants who remained pagans. A Salzburg missionary in eighth-century Carinthia converted the serfs, and invited them to eat prestigiously with him at ...

Poetry to Thrill an Oyster

Gregory Woods: Fitz-Greene Halleck, 16 November 2000

The American Byron: Homosexuality and the Fall of Fitz-Greene Halleck 
by John W.M. Hallock.
Wisconsin, 226 pp., £14.95, April 2000, 0 299 16804 2
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... borrow music from the Muse of Gray’), his Grayness keeps veering off uneasily into the tones of Alexander Pope (‘And I – a victim to love’s cruel dart,/Went – to the Opera – with a broken heart!’) – in this case, the satirical invasion saves the poem from drowning in its own reserves of treacle. As soon as the lad wakes up we are shown that he ...

Putting things in boxes

Adam Kuper: Margaret Mead, 24 May 2007

To Cherish the Life of the World: Selected Letters of Margaret Mead 
edited by Margaret Caffrey and Patricia Francis.
Basic Books, 429 pp., £17.99, September 2006, 0 465 00815 1
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... control. Their bearers, coastal men, dumped their baggage as soon as they breasted the Prince Alexander mountains, leaving them stranded among an impoverished and scattered Arapesh-speaking population. They settled down to fieldwork, but while Arapesh of both sexes were gentle and considerate, Fortune found the men unmanly and Mead thought them all rather ...

Terkinesque

Sheila Fitzpatrick: A Leninist version of Soviet history, 1 September 2005

The Soviet Century 
by Moshe Lewin, edited by Gregory Elliott.
Verso, 416 pp., £25, February 2005, 1 84467 016 3
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... with the Russian people. As he said in a 1982 interview, Vasilii Terkin, the unheroic hero of Alexander Tvardovsky’s vastly popular wartime poem of that name, a kind of Good Soldier Schweik whose survival skills coexisted with a bedrock layer of Soviet patriotism, ‘really meant something for every Russian – and for me too. I knew therefore that if I ...

Making saints

Peter Burke, 18 October 1984

Saints and Society: The Two Worlds of Western Christendom 1000-1700 
by Donald Weinstein and Rudolph Bell.
Chicago, 314 pp., £21.25, February 1983, 0 226 89055 4
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The Norman Conquest and Beyond 
by Frank Barlow.
Hambledon, 318 pp., £22, June 1983, 0 907628 19 2
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Miracles and the Medieval Mind 
by Benedicta Ward.
Scolar, 321 pp., £17.50, November 1983, 0 85967 609 9
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The Great Debate on Miracles: From Joseph Glanvill to David Hume 
by R.M. Burns.
Associated University Presses, 305 pp., £17.50, July 1983, 0 8387 2378 0
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Saints and their Cults: Studies in Religious Sociology, Folklore and History 
edited by Stephen Wilson.
Cambridge, 435 pp., £35, December 1983, 0 521 24978 3
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... it was the turn of the Popes, such as Urban II in the 11th century, Calixtus II in the 12th and Gregory IX in the 13th. As Professor Barlow reminds us in an essay reprinted in his new collection, it was Calixtus II who canonised Hugh Abbot of Cluny in 1120. It was Gregory IX who both set up the Inquisition and formalised ...

Roaming the Greenwood

Colm Tóibín: A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition by Gregory Woods, 21 January 1999

A History of Gay Literature: The Male Tradition 
by Gregory Woods.
Yale, 448 pp., £24.95, February 1998, 0 300 07201 5
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... be lived out as part of the pain of the earth’. In a chapter entitled ‘The Pink Triangle’, Gregory Woods writes: After the ‘liberation’ of the camps by the Allies, those survivors who wore the pink triangle – denoting that they had been imprisoned as homosexuals – were treated as common criminals who had deserved their in-carceration. Many ...

Misrepresentations

Dmitri Levitin: The Islamic Enlightenment, 22 November 2018

The Republic of Arabic Letters: Islam and the European Enlightenment 
by Alexander Bevilacqua.
Harvard, 340 pp., £25.95, February 2018, 978 0 674 97592 7
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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle between Faith and Reason 
by Christopher de Bellaigue.
Vintage, 404 pp., £10.99, February 2018, 978 0 09 957870 3
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... was short, widely available and accessible to any European man or woman who could read Latin. As Alexander Bevilacqua shows in his erudite and eloquent book The Republic of Arabic Letters, Reiske was just one of a number of European scholars in the hundred years or so after 1650 who devoted a good deal of their time to learning Arabic and other Near Eastern ...

At the Centre Pompidou

Jeremy Harding: Beat Generation, 7 September 2016

... Cassady, Los Gatos, California’ (1962) Bernard Plossu, ‘Mexico [Mexican Journey]’ (1966) Gregory Corso, ‘There is No More Street Corner ...’, unpublished manuscript (1960) Jack Kerouac, ‘On the Road’ (original typescript, 1951) Jack Kerouac, ‘The Slouch Hat’ (c.1960) John Cohen, ‘Robert Frank, Alfred Leslie, ...

They rudely stare about

Tobias Gregory: Thomas Browne, 4 July 2013

‘Religio Medici’ and ‘Urne-Buriall’ 
by Thomas Browne, edited by Stephen Greenblatt and Ramie Targoff.
NYRB, 170 pp., £7.99, September 2012, 978 1 59017 488 3
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... respondents to Religio Medici found Browne’s doubts bad medicine. One was the Calvinist minister Alexander Ross, who wrote a hostile answer entitled Medicus Medicatus, or the Physicians Religion Cured: I deny not, that many of Gods servants have their doubtings; but this comforts them, that Christ prayeth for them, that their faith shall not fail, and this ...

Wild Horses

Claude Rawson, 1 April 1983

‘The Bronze Horseman’ and Other Poems 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by D.M. Thomas.
Penguin, 261 pp., £2.95, September 1982, 0 14 042309 5
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Alexander Pushkin: A Critical Study 
by A.D.P. Briggs.
Croom Helm, 257 pp., £14.95, November 1982, 0 7099 0688 9
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‘Choiseul and Talleyrand’: A Historical Novella and Other Poems, with New Verse Translations of Alexander Pushkin 
by Charles Johnston.
Bodley Head, 88 pp., £5.25, July 1982, 0 370 30924 3
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Mozart and Salieri: The Little Tragedies 
by Alexander Pushkin, translated by Antony Wood.
Angel, 94 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 02 6
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I have come to greet you 
by Afanasy Fet, translated by James Greene.
Angel, 71 pp., £5.95, September 1982, 0 946162 03 4
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Uncollected Poems 
by John Betjeman.
Murray, 81 pp., £4.95, September 1982, 0 7195 3969 2
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Travelling without a Valid Ticket 
by Howard Sergeant.
Rivelin, 14 pp., £1, May 1982, 0 904524 39 6
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... form. ‘19 October’ is a dignified and elegiac coterie poem, inviting comparison with Yeats’s Gregory elegy, though the poet’s separation from his friends is due to his exile at Mikhailovskoye and not mainly, as in Yeats, to their death. Thomas uses a stanza in some respects reminiscent of Yeats’s, more subdued in tone and more sparing of proud ...

Extreme Gothic Americana

James Lasdun, 6 June 2019

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud and the Last Trial of Harper Lee 
by Casey Cep.
Heinemann, 314 pp., £20, May 2019, 978 1 78515 073 9
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... was found beaten and strangled to death in her Ford Fairlane on a quiet road near her home outside Alexander City, Alabama. The reverend, who had purchased several life insurance policies on his wife, was tried for her murder but acquitted after their neighbour, Dorcas Anderson, recanted some earlier testimony and provided him with an alibi. She and the ...

Blessed, Beastly Place

Douglas Dunn, 5 March 1981

Precipitous City 
by Trevor Royle.
Mainstream, 210 pp., £6.95, May 1980, 0 906391 09 1
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RLS: A Life Study 
by Jenni Calder.
Hamish Hamilton, 362 pp., £9.95, June 1980, 0 241 10374 6
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Gillespie 
by J. MacDougall Hay.
Canongate, 450 pp., £4.95, November 1979, 0 903937 79 4
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Scottish Satirical Verse 
edited by Edwin Morgan.
Carcanet, 236 pp., £6.95, June 1980, 0 85635 183 0
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Collected Poems 
by Robert Garioch.
Carcanet, 208 pp., £3.95, July 1980, 0 85635 316 7
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... Edinburgh and the grey North Sea than the colourful panoply of the Mediterranean ... ’ Saint Gregory ‘forbiddis ws to translate word efter word,’ said Douglas. Who were these ‘many other translators of his day’? Douglas’s vernacular translation was pioneering, his language courtly and literary, and if he expanded and elucidated Virgil, his ...

Trevelogue

E.S. Turner, 25 June 1987

The Golden Oriole: Childhood, Family and Friends in India 
by Raleigh Trevelyan.
Secker, 536 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 436 53403 7
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... Akond invoked in Lear’s poem; Malakand, where Churchill was a war correspondent; the pass where Alexander the Great met the naked Gymnosophists. The other journeys took in Kashmir, Srinagar, the Khyber, Agra, Calcutta, Lucknow, Madras. Among the grimmest visions were those called up at Cawnpore/Kanpur, notably at the Satichaura Ghat where the Europeans sank ...
Shelf Life: Essays, Memoirs and an Interview 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 230 pp., £14.99, July 1994, 0 571 17196 6
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... care and the cunning of the style’, as he has written of Yeats’s ‘In Memory of Major Robert Gregory’, ‘its very finish’, serves ‘to place all impulsive decisions many drafts anterior to the version we read’. There is a beautiful neutrality, most of the time, in his tone. He gives nothing away. He does not know, just as the reader must not ...

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