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21 February 1985
The Dark Hole Days 
by Una Woods.
Blackstaff, 127 pp., £3.50, December 1984, 0 85640 316 4
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Superior Women 
by Alice Adams.
Heinemann, 374 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 434 00631 9
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The Collected Stories 
by Frank Tuohy.
Macmillan, 410 pp., £12.95, December 1984, 0 333 38534 9
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The Apple in the Dark 
by Clarice Lispector, translated by Gregory Rabassa.
Virago, 361 pp., £10.95, January 1985, 0 86068 605 1
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Family Ties 
by Clarice Lispector and Giovanni Pontiero.
Carcanet, 140 pp., £8.95, January 1985, 0 85636 569 6
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... much to do with their material locations out there in the world. The ‘brilliant’, the ‘deep blue’ New England air and the irremediable Californian innocence that crop up so frequently in Superior Women really belong to literature or mythology rather than to the weather or any particular living Americans. Of course people and even the weather, as Wilde ...

Retro-Selfies

Iain Sinclair: Ferlinghetti

17 December 2015
I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955–97 
edited by Bill Morgan.
City Lights, 284 pp., £11.83, July 2015, 978 0 87286 678 2
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Writing across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson.
Liveright, 464 pp., £22.99, October 2015, 978 1 63149 001 9
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... bark. The Ferlinghetti beard seemed to get a little greyer in successive video clips. His ice-blue eyes shone out of a sea fret of put-upon benevolence. The tolerated witness, lurking in the background, is not part of the Six Gallery myth, but he is sharp enough to recognise, immediately, that Ginsberg’s apocalyptic regurgitated ‘Howl’ is the ...

Old, Old, Old, Old, Old

John Kerrigan: Late Yeats

3 March 2005
W.B. Yeats: A Life. Vol. II: The Arch-Poet 1915-39 
by Roy Foster.
Oxford, 822 pp., £16.99, March 2005, 0 19 280609 2
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... terms that resemble Yeats’s poems about Coole Park, the home of his patron and collaborator Lady Gregory: Great people lived and died in this house; Magistrates, colonels, members of Parliament, Captains and Governors, and long ago Men that had fought at Aughrim and the Boyne. Some that had gone on Government work To London or to India came home to die, Or ...
15 June 2016
What Happened, Miss Simone? A Biography 
by Alan Light.
Canongate, 309 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 78211 871 8
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... version of Gershwin’s ‘I Loves You, Porgy,’ released on her first 1958 album Little Girl Blue and in 1959 as her first hit single, in which she drills into the lyric to uncover a new seam of intimacy and anguish. ‘I love you … Porgy!’ she sings, her breathy voice cutting out the demotic ‘s’ of the song’s title, then taking a beat before ...

Ediepus

Michael Neve

18 November 1982
Edie: An American Biography 
by Jean Stein and George Plimpton.
Cape, 455 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 224 02068 4
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Baby Driver: A Story About Myself 
by Jan Kerouac.
Deutsch, 208 pp., £7.95, August 1982, 0 233 97487 3
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... kill her father. She was already damaged by at least one primal scene, having walked into ‘the blue room’ at the ranch one day, and seen her father fucking a strange woman. Fuzzy: ‘You don’t know anything. You’re insane.’ Around this time, Edie became anorexic, and attended exclusive schools; but she, too, went into Silver Hill in the autumn of ...

Making sense

Denis Donoghue

4 October 1984
A Wave 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 89 pp., £4.95, August 1984, 9780856355479
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Secret Narratives 
by Andrew Motion.
Salamander, 46 pp., £6, March 1983, 0 907540 29 5
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Liberty Tree 
by Tom Paulin.
Faber, 78 pp., £4, June 1983, 0 05 711302 5
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111 Poems 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 185 pp., £5.95, April 1983, 0 85635 457 0
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New and Selected Poems 
by James Michie.
Chatto, 64 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2723 6
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By the Fisheries 
by Jeremy Reed.
Cape, 79 pp., £4, March 1984, 0 224 02154 0
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Voyages 
by George Mackay Brown.
Chatto, 48 pp., £3.95, September 1983, 0 7011 2736 8
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... the juniper, the rudimentary dictionaries say, is an evergreen coniferous shrub or tree with hard blue berries, yielding an oil used in medicine as stimulant and diuretic. Add to that a discrimination of juniper-kinds, including the savin or Juniperius sabina, the genièvre, and the family of gymnosperm, not to speak of the Grimms’ tale of ‘The Juniper ...

Formication

Daniel Soar: Harry Mathews

21 July 2005
My Life in CIA: A Chronicle of 1973 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 203 pp., £8.99, July 2005, 1 56478 392 8
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... great names trip off the tongue: Jean-Noël Vuarnet, Sylviane Agacinski, Jim West, Mary McCarthy, Gregory Mazurovsky, Richard Foreman, Kate Manheim, Louis and Zuka Mittelberg, Bruno Marcenac, Michel Loriod, Maurice Roche), he now can see that all the high-flown references he had barely understood – to Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, Lacan – were no more than ...

That Impostor Known as the Buddha

Eliot Weinberger: Incarnations of the Buddha

10 September 2014
From Stone to Flesh: A Short History of the Buddha 
by Donald S. Lopez Jr.
Chicago, 289 pp., £18, April 2013, 978 0 226 49320 6
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In Search of the Christian Buddha: How an Asian Sage Became a Medieval Saint 
by Donald S. Lopez Jr and Peggy McCracken.
Norton, 262 pp., £17.99, May 2014, 978 0 393 08915 8
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... In India, this figure was one god in a crowd of monkey gods and elephant-headed gods, blue men and women with four arms. Moreover, he existed only in abandoned temples and neglected statuary. Buddhism had vanished from India centuries before, and the native informants, the brahmans, merely knew the Buddha, if at all, from his later absorption into ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan

16 June 2011
... it before now.’ It was July and he was wearing a seersucker jacket, a rather punctured jumper, blue trousers that stopped short of his sneakers, a Panama hat, and he was holding onto a cane. ‘I apologise for the delinquent Edwardian look,’ he said. ‘I can’t help it.’Somewhere along the road, Karl became deeply fascinated by the satellite ...
19 June 1980
George Macaulay Trevelyan: A Memoir 
by Mary Moorman.
Hamish Hamilton, 253 pp., £9.95, April 1980, 0 241 10358 4
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Public and Private 
by Humphrey Trevelyan.
Hamish Hamilton, 208 pp., £8.95, February 1980, 0 241 10357 6
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... was a third-generation arriviste. His grandfather, Sir Charles Trevelyan, Trollope’s Sir Gregory Hardlines, pushed his way from nothing to the top of the Civil Service, marrying Macaulay’s sister on the way. His father pushed his way into high politics, marrying a cotton fortune on the way. G.M. Trevelyan himself was pushed into the Mastership of ...
23 April 1987
‘Howl’: Original Draft Facsimile 
by Allen Ginsberg, edited by Barry Miles.
Viking, 194 pp., £16.95, February 1987, 0 670 81599 3
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White Shroud: Poems 1980-1985 
by Allen Ginsberg.
Viking, 89 pp., £10.95, February 1987, 0 670 81598 5
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... they all were. Ginsberg arrived at Columbia wanting to be a labour lawyer who would fight for blue-collar rights, but under the influence of Burroughs and Lucien Carr he soon began to see himself as a poète maudit and Nietzschean transgressor. Burroughs handed out reading-lists that included Gide, Rimbaud, Dostoevsky and Lautrèamont, and introduced into ...

Rolling Back the Reformation

Eamon Duffy: Bloody Mary’s Church

7 February 2008
... and made at least one donation towards its running costs. But a memorandum prepared for Pope Gregory XIII in the early 1570s, very probably by Nicolo Ormanetto, one of Pole’s closest collaborators, reveals that Pole had had ideas of his own for an English college in Rome which would do for England what the Germanicum was to do for Germany. Ever since ...

The poet steamed

Iain Sinclair: Tom Raworth

19 August 2004
Collected Poems 
by Tom Raworth.
Carcanet, 576 pp., £16.95, February 2003, 1 85754 624 5
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Removed for Further Study: The Poetry of Tom Raworth 
edited by Nate Dorward.
The Gig, 288 pp., £15, March 2003, 0 9685294 3 7
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... the 1950s’. Highlight the ‘survivor’ bit. The last poet left standing in the saloon. (Think Gregory Peck in Henry King’s The Gunfighter. Grave moustache succumbing to gravity.) Many myths surround the man, among enthusiasts, cultists and close readers, and this has always been one of them: Raworth is unwell but never incapacitated. The moustache may ...

Jigsaw Mummies

Tom Shippey: Pagan Britain

6 November 2014
Pagan Britain 
by Ronald Hutton.
Yale, 480 pp., £25, November 2013, 978 0 300 19771 6
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The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria 
by Max Adams.
Head of Zeus, 450 pp., £25, August 2013, 978 1 78185 418 1
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... may think we know more than we do. We think we know that ‘Ancient Britons’ painted themselves blue with woad, that Celtic paganism involved nude female dancing, and that human sacrifice was carried out by the ubiquitous druids. Pliny reported the naked woad-stained processions of British women ‘at certain sacred rites’, and Tacitus gave a dramatic ...

How many speed bumps?

Gavin Francis: Pain

20 August 2014
The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers 
by Joanna Bourke.
Oxford, 396 pp., £20, June 2014, 978 0 19 968942 2
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... published a paper from the Melbourne University Dental School which purported to show that the bluer the eyes the greater the capacity to withstand pain: ‘As the colour went through blue-grey, green, hazel, light brown and dark brown so the reaction to pain increased on the average.’ Similar prejudices permeated ...

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