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What’s Happening in the Engine-Room

Penelope Fitzgerald: Poor John Lehmann, 7 January 1999

John Lehmann: A Pagan Adventure 
by Adrian Wright.
Duckworth, 308 pp., £20, November 1998, 0 7156 2871 2
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... New Englander, twenty years younger than himself. Their family consisted of three girls – Helen, the indulged Rosamond, Beatrix – and, at long last, the boy John. Their children’s talents must have been partly, at least, inherited, but no trace of their father Rude’s jolly German Kameradschaft seems to have been passed on. Adrian Wright has been ...

Restoring St. George’s

Peter Campbell: In Bloomsbury, 20 November 2003

... was built, but King George shows clear above the roof line, just as he does in Hogarth’s Gin Lane. All in all, the design of the church is majestic – original, strange and energetic. But from the office window we could see that weeds had found a foothold in the stonework: it was as though the church was feeling its way towards becoming a Piranesian ...

At the Gay Hussar

John Sutherland, 20 August 1981

One and Last Love 
by John Braine.
Eyre Methuen, 175 pp., £6.50, June 1981, 0 413 47990 0
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by Helen Yglesias.
Hodder, 332 pp., £6.95, August 1981, 9780340270424
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On the Yankee Station 
by William Boyd.
Hamish Hamilton, 184 pp., £7.95, July 1981, 0 241 10426 2
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Byzantium endures 
by Michael Moorcock.
Secker, 404 pp., £6.95, June 1981, 0 436 28458 8
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Heavy Sand 
by Anatoli Rybakov, translated by Harold Shuckman.
Allen Lane, 380 pp., £7.95, June 1981, 0 7139 1343 6
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... room as it is, I want nothing to change.’ In an essay written recently for the New York Times, Helen Yglesias describes books as the means by which she escaped from an oppressive New York childhood. When, in her fifties, she began writing rather than reading them, books formed the means by which she returned to engagement with life’s problems. Sweetsir ...

Gabble, Twitter and Hoot

Ian Hacking: Language, deafness and the senses, 1 July 1999

I See a Voice: A Philosophical History of Language, Deafness and the Senses 
by Jonathan Rée.
HarperCollins, 399 pp., £19.99, January 1999, 0 00 255793 2
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... of this story is told in other places, not only by Oliver Sacks, but, more extensively, by Harlan Lane, a noted deaf activist. Lane was a dedicated spokesman for a cause, however; and Sacks was taking the part of the deaf at Gallaudet University, a bastion of signing. Rée’s history is perhaps more telling than theirs ...

The Opposite of a Dog

Jenny Turner, 6 October 1994

Radon Daughters 
by Iain Sinclair.
Cape, 458 pp., £15.99, August 1994, 0 224 03887 7
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... of male fantasy, with vaguely pornographic names and out-and-out sex-film scenario occupations: Helen, Andi Kuschka and Sofya Court. Television weathergirl, former nude model turned London tourist guide, documentary photographer who disappears impaled on a lifesize pinhole camera. Radon Daughters indeed. But although it is sold to us in the shape of a ...

‘A Naughty House’

Charles Nicholl: Shakespeare’s Landlord, 24 June 2010

... in another as a glover), while her other, a scrivener called West, lives a block away on Golding Lane. The gardener Richard Meade, co-surety for the three Frenchmen, is not far away either, being of the Middlesex part of St Giles. The name is a common one, but he may be related to John Meade of Golding Lane, a porter, who ...

Cave’s Plato

A.D. Nuttall, 7 July 1988

In Defence of Rhetoric 
by Brian Vickers.
Oxford, 508 pp., £40, February 1988, 0 19 812837 1
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Recognitions: A Study in Poetics 
by Terence Cave.
Oxford, 530 pp., £40, March 1988, 0 19 815849 1
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... of probability in relation to certainty – could have been strengthened had Douglas Lane Patey’s work been taken into account. But the general character of his method is clear. His defence of rhetoric is itself not rhetorical but rational. One senses that he would scorn the idea of persuading an academic reader by emotive stratagems. This in ...

What did they name the dog?

Wendy Doniger: Twins, 19 March 1998

Twins: Genes, Environment and the Mystery of Identity 
by Lawrence Wright.
Weidenfeld, 128 pp., £14.99, November 1997, 0 297 81976 3
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... into these data the triumph of overcoming adversity, the achievement born of disability, the Helen Kellers, Christie Browns, Franz Rosenzweigs? Until the statistics are 100 per cent, each individual has the right to hope that she will be the exception, but an exception is a human phenomenon that is steamrollered by the biogenetic argument. Statistics ...

Beloved Country

R.W. Johnson, 8 July 1993

... sees huge rock formations soaring up to great heights with an effortless geometry. The six-lane highway curls around them but even at 150 kph they take half an hour to fade from your rear mirror. Last week as I tore past these rocks, I saw, lying on the margin of the motorway, a large brown horse, its hoofs sticking straight out and skywards, a fine ...

The Beautiful Undead

Jenny Turner: Vegetarian Vampires, 26 March 2009

directed by Catherine Hardwick.
November 2008
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Breaking Dawn 
by Stephenie Meyer.
Atom, 757 pp., £12.99, August 2008, 978 1 905654 28 4
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... often a sign that a person may be ‘crossing the threshold’ to the ‘altered realm’). As Helen Fielding did with Bridget Jones, Meyer has hitched a ride on the Mr Darcy plotline, but without bothering to give her heroine any of Elizabeth Bennet’s spirit – raising a reprise of the Bridget question, why would a man of any style or substance fall ...


Ian Hacking, 5 April 1990

Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf 
by Oliver Sacks.
Picador, 186 pp., £12.95, January 1990, 0 330 31161 1
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When the mind hears: A History of the Deaf 
by Harlan Lane.
Penguin, 537 pp., £6.99, August 1988, 0 14 022834 9
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Deafness: A Personal Account 
by David Wright.
Faber, 202 pp., £4.99, January 1990, 0 571 14195 1
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... Notes contain detailed descriptions of the education of a blind deaf-mute: Laura Bridgman, on whom Helen Keller’s training was patterned (both were victims of scarlet fever at the age of two). But we know almost nothing of the culture of the Signing deaf themselves. The communication was widely dismissed as pantomime; at times it had to be kept secret and ...

In the Workshop

Tom Paulin: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, 22 January 1998

The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets 
by Helen Vendler.
Harvard, 672 pp., £23.50, December 1997, 0 674 63712 7
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Shakespeare's Sonnets 
edited by Katherine Duncan-Jones.
Arden, 503 pp., £7.99, September 1997, 1 903436 57 5
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... alone are certain good.’ And then I began to wonder where I could find such a book. Helen Vendler’s long study of the art of Shakespeare’s Sonnets, is that purely aesthetic study of poetic language in action, and it begins appropriately with this statement: ‘I assume that a poem is not an essay, and that its paraphrasable prepositional ...

Secrets are best kept by those who have no sense of humour

Alan Bennett: Why I turned down ‘Big Brother’, 2 January 2003

... 6 April, Yorkshire. The new organic shop in the village continues to do well, the walk down the lane to the Nissen hut always a pleasure even in the bitterest weather. There are sheep in the adjoining field, the occasional bull and (despite the bypass) a lovely feeling of open country. The shop has fresh-picked salad with more to be gathered while you ...

A Feeling for Ice

Jenny Diski, 2 January 1997

... my own, but there were other children in the block with whom I played in the spaces of the flats. Helen, Jonathan, Susan, whose doors I knocked on, with whom I would have tea sometimes, who, occasionally, would have tea with me in my flat. So, I still dream about getting back to roam in the corridors, to climb the fire escape, to play the games and tell ...

Who Cares?

Jean McNicol, 9 February 1995

The Report of the Inquiry into the Care and Treatment of Christopher Clunis 
by Jean Ritchie, Donald Dick and Richard Lingham.
HMSO, 146 pp., £9.50, February 1994, 0 11 701798 1
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Creating Community Care: Report of the Mental Health Foundation into Community Care for People with Severe Mental Illness 
by William Utting.
Mental Health Foundation, 76 pp., £9.50, September 1994, 0 901944 17 3
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Finding a Place: A Review of Mental Health Services for Adults 
HMSO, 94 pp., £11, November 1994, 0 11 886143 3Show More
The Falling Shadow: One Patient’s Mental Health Care. Report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Events Leading up to and Surrounding the Fatal Incident at the Edith Morgan Centre, Torbay, on 1 September 1993 
by Louis Blom-Cooper, Helen Hally and Elaine Murphy.
Duckworth, 230 pp., £12.99, January 1995, 0 7156 2662 0
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... the Victoria to the Piccadilly Line at Finsbury Park before the final two stops back to Turnpike Lane. As they waited on the platform, Christopher Zito noticed that Clunis was standing right behind him and moved away. He was motioning his brother to do the same when Clunis stabbed Jonathan in the face: all the witnesses described only one blow, but three ...

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