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Young and Old

John Sutherland, 15 October 1981

Life Stories 
by A.L. Barker.
Hogarth, 319 pp., £6.95, September 1981, 0 7012 0538 5
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Many Men and Talking Wives 
by Helen Muir.
Duckworth, 156 pp., £7.95, September 1981, 0 7156 1613 7
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Good Behaviour 
by Molly Keane.
Deutsch, 245 pp., £6.50, September 1981, 9780233973326
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A Separate Development 
by Christopher Hope.
Routledge, 199 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7100 0954 2
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From Little Acorns 
by Howard Buten.
Harvester, 156 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 7108 0390 7
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Fortnight’s Anger 
by Roger Scruton.
Carcanet, 224 pp., £6.95, October 1981, 0 85635 376 0
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... but not brutally. And it has left an interesting bruise to finger and ponder. Reviewers of Helen Muir’s earlier novels have found her tone at once delightful and unsettling. Her narrative moves recklessly fast, always on the edge of an apparently uncontrollable authorial giggle. It’s a style which I find it hard to tune into: but plenty of ...

Modern Shakespeare

Graham Bradshaw, 21 April 1983

The Taming of the Shrew 
edited by H.J. Oliver.
Oxford, 248 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812907 6
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Henry V 
edited by Gary Taylor.
Oxford, 330 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812912 2
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Muir.
Oxford, 205 pp., £9.50, September 1982, 0 19 812903 3
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Troilus and Cressida 
edited by Kenneth Palmer.
Methuen, 337 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 0 416 47680 5
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... above a thousand ships, and it is perfectly clear that ‘her’ and ‘she’ refer to Helen throughout. If Kenneth Palmer had retained the Folio colon after ‘aunt’, it would be necessary to explain in a note that the first ‘she’ does not refer to Aunty Hesione. It may be argued that this is what notes are for, and that it is best to ...

Does one flare or cling?

Alice Spawls, 5 May 2016

‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
by Robin Muir.
National Portrait Gallery, 304 pp., £40, February 2016, 978 1 85514 561 0
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‘Vogue’ 100: A Century of Style 
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... one woman said to another. ‘He likes photography, but not fashion photography.’ Robin Muir, the curator, and the set designer, Patrick Kinmonth, have no doubt done their best but the Portrait Gallery is an awkward space. From the main corridor and the rooms that usually host the modern part of the NPG’s collection, they’ve created 15 ...

Three Women

Andrew O’Hagan: Work in progress, 10 December 1998

... building. ‘Some with flour, if baking, wet clothes, if washing,’ wrote Effie’s lieutenant Helen Crawfurd. And any missile that came to hand. Helen wrote of how the bailiff would run for his life, fiercely pursued by the mob in their aprons, mad for justice, brandishing wooden spoons. The engineers and labourers ...

England rejects

V.G. Kiernan, 19 March 1987

The Fatal Shore: A History of the Transportation of Convicts to Australia, 1787-1868 
by Robert Hughes.
Collins Harvill, 688 pp., £15, January 1987, 0 00 217361 1
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Rights of Passage: Emigration to Australia in the 19th Century 
by Helen Woolcock.
Tavistock, 377 pp., £25, September 1986, 9780422602402
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... they could do no harm, and were not subjected to fetters, forced labour or the lash. ‘Palmer and Muir got land grants, and even managed to turn a profit in the rum trade’, for long the colony’s chief commercial activity – thirst being universal – before Muir made his daring escape, only in the end to die in penury ...

The Shirt of Nessan

Patricia Craig, 9 October 1986

The Free Frenchman 
by Piers Paul Read.
Secker, 570 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 436 40966 6
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Dizzy’s Woman 
by George MacBeth.
Cape, 171 pp., £9.95, August 1986, 0 224 02801 4
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On Foreign Ground 
by Eduardo Quiroga.
Deutsch, 92 pp., £7.95, April 1986, 0 233 97894 1
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A New Shirt 
by Desmond Hogan.
Hamish Hamilton, 215 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 241 11928 6
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... the mornings’ (Hogan). He: ‘His body ... shot up like a trunk from his middle.’ She: ‘In Helen Huddleson he had seen a trunk of truism branching forth into womanhood.’ When Hogan’s narrator remarks (a propos poppies and their effect on his lover), ‘they punctured him with my personality,’ is it at all salutary to bear in mind that Mrs Ros ...

The Atmosphere of the Clyde

Jean McNicol: Red Clydeside, 2 January 2020

When the Clyde Ran Red: A Social History of Red Clydeside 
by Maggie Craig.
Birlinn, 313 pp., £9.99, March 2018, 978 1 78027 506 2
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Glasgow 1919: The Rise of Red Clydeside 
by Kenny MacAskill.
Biteback, 310 pp., £20, January 2019, 978 1 78590 454 7
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John Maclean: Hero of Red Clydeside 
by Henry Bell.
Pluto, 242 pp., £14.99, October 2018, 978 0 7453 3838 5
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... battles of the past to stand aside and see Scotland conquered’); and at Barr and Stroud, John Muir, also of the SLP.The strike ended after a couple of weeks, with the engineers accepting a rise of a penny. ‘This is an engineer’s war,’ Lloyd George, then munitions minister, warned. ‘And it will be won or lost owing to the efforts or shortcomings of ...

The Excursions

Andrew O’Hagan, 16 June 2011

... been so keen to be a Hugh not a Christopher, and a MacDiarmid not a Grieve.MILLER: It was Edwin Muir’s great joke about MacDiarmid’s acolytes. ‘Men of sorrow and acquainted with Grieve.’Lichen covered the wet stone. We went inside the church and signed the book. The place seemed recently abandoned. A Bible was open on an oak table and dead flowers ...

Fiction and E.M. Forster

Frank Kermode: At the Cost of Life, 10 May 2007

... convert to Roman Catholicism, a bestselling author and a tormented nun, very properly named Sister Helen of the Transfiguration, but we don’t have to wait to the end to know about all that; her future is frequently mentioned proleptically. The narrator seems to be looking down on a completed action and picking out events at will; chronological sequence is ...

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