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Butterflies

David Pears, 5 June 1986

Berkeley: The Central Arguments 
by A.C. Grayling.
Duckworth, 218 pp., £19.50, January 1986, 0 7156 2065 7
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Essays on Berkeley: A Tercentennial Celebration 
edited by John Foster and Howard Robinson.
Oxford, 264 pp., £22.50, October 1986, 0 19 824734 6
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... As a child I collected butterflies, and I remember being impressed by a comic cartoon which showed another collector, older and more experienced than myself, who had accidentally swallowed a specimen he had been chasing. Later I felt the same sense of incongruity when I read Berkeley’s claim that everything he perceived was really in his mind. Surely he was overdoing it ...

Destined to Disappear

Susan Pedersen: ‘Race Studies’, 20 October 2016

White World Order, Black Power Politics: The Birth of American International Relations 
by Robert Vitalis.
Cornell, 272 pp., $29.95, November 2015, 978 0 8014 5397 7
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... to citizenship and self-determination on grounds of race alone. Vitalis calls this group the ‘Howard School’: the term captures both Howard University’s pre-eminence as a centre of African-American learning at a time when white universities would train but not hire black academics, and the distinctive contribution ...

Received Accents

Peter Robinson, 20 February 1986

Collected Poems 
by Charles Tomlinson.
Oxford, 351 pp., £15, September 1985, 0 19 211974 5
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Selected and New Poems: 1939-84 
by J.C. Hall.
Secker, 87 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 436 19052 4
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Burning the knife: New and Selected Poems 
by Robin Magowan.
Scarecrow Press, 114 pp., £13.50, September 1985, 0 8108 1777 2
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Englishmen: A Poem 
by Christopher Hope.
Heinemann, 41 pp., £4.95, September 1985, 0 434 34661 6
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Selected Poems: 1954-1982 
by John Fuller.
Secker, 175 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 436 16754 9
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Writing Home 
by Hugo Williams.
Oxford, 70 pp., £3.95, September 1985, 0 19 211970 2
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... the American genius, writing to his mother in 1858 about the ambience of the then world champion, Howard Staunton, an editor of Shakespeare who refused to play Morphy. On hearing of the American’s rumoured madness, Staunton says: Well, well. One might have guessed it, but the cause Is none too clear. They remark these things in John Fuller’s excellently ...

At the Barbican

Saul Nelson: Jean-Michel Basquiat, 4 January 2018

... taken at Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1949), alongside Bix Beiderbecke, Bunk Johnson and Howard McGhee. The figures, haloed in yellow, float on a textured blue field with a jagged strip of canvas left bare at the top. It’s reminiscent of Clyfford Still, or one of Robert Motherwell’s blue paintings: the old Abstract Expressionist elite, New ...

At Tate Britain

Peter Campbell: Gardens, 8 July 2004

... been available in print from the time of the great 18th-century landscape gardeners and on through Robinson and Jekyll right up to Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto. The highest achievement in gardening, even when plots are small, has always been seen as the creation of a picture. Gardens in which plants are grown for food, medicine or animal feed have their ...

Franklin D, listen to me

J. Hoberman: Popular (Front) Songs, 17 September 1998

Songs for Political Action: Folk Music, Topical Songs and the American Left, 1926-53 
edited by Ronald Cohen and Dave Samuelson.
Bear Family Records, DM 390, June 1996
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... a New York-based Communist cell which included among its associates Mark Blitzstein, Earl Robinson and Aaron Copland. The Collective took its cue from the militant anthems of Bertolt Brecht and Hans Eisler, composing American versions of 12-tone protest songs: ‘The Strange Funeral at Braddock’ gives the full Modernist treatment to Mike Gold’s ...

Five Feet Tall in His Socks

Patrick Collinson: Farewell to the Muggletonians, 5 June 2008

Last Witnesses: The Muggletonian History, 1652-1979 
by William Lamont.
Ashgate, 267 pp., £55, August 2006, 0 7546 5532 6
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... and others. What to do with this equivalent, for the archaeology of sectarian nonconformity, of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun? There followed from the appropriation of the Muggletonian archive a practical exploration of a theoretical distinction that I had made, back in those same 1970s, between vertical and horizontal accounts of ...

Buy birthday present, go to morgue

Colm Tóibín: Diane Arbus, 2 March 2017

Diane Arbus: Portrait of a Photographer 
by Arthur Lubow.
Cape, 734 pp., £35, October 2016, 978 0 224 09770 3
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Silent Dialogues: Diane Arbus and Howard Nemerov 
by Alexander Nemerov.
Fraenkel Gallery, 106 pp., $30, March 2015, 978 1 881337 41 6
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... Guiana who could shave himself as well as roll and light cigarettes using only his mouth. Pete Robinson was a 65-pound ‘human skeleton’. Olga Roderick … was a traditional bearded lady, and Koo Koo (‘the bird girl from Mars’) appeared to be the victim of progeria, a rare disease that causes rapid and premature ageing.As Browning assembled his ...

Chatwin and the Hippopotamus

Colin Thubron, 22 June 1989

What am I doing here 
by Bruce Chatwin.
Cape, 367 pp., £12.95, May 1989, 0 224 02634 8
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... himself, ‘has an opportunist sense of timing ... he alone can tell you that Stalin considered Robinson Crusoe “the first Socialist novel”, and that Mao Tse-tung’s hand is “pink as if it had been boiled”, and that Trotsky’s “white skin and haunted eyes made him look like a Sumerian plaster idol”.’ Chatwin’s was a formidable and unlikely ...

I’m not an actress

Michael Newton: Ava Gardner, 7 September 2006

Ava Gardner 
by Lee Server.
Bloomsbury, 551 pp., £20, April 2006, 0 7475 6547 3
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... starlets to know that a really beautiful woman was rare indeed, in fact a ‘freak’. The actor Howard Duff described her as the ‘most beautiful thing he had ever seen’. To others, she was ‘an extraordinary creature’, ‘the Taj Mahal of beauty’. Or she ‘was like an animal, Ava. The sex thing.’ When ...

Diary

W.G. Runciman: Dining Out, 4 June 1998

... her, when one’s baby-sitter is a cabinet minister one realises one is really old! 21 May 1997. Howard Davies is appointed chairman-designate of ‘SuperSIB’ (or, as it is later christened by Gordon Brown, the Financial Services Authority), as much to his surprise as everyone else’s. He had been on his way to South America in his capacity as deputy ...

Unwritten Masterpiece

Barbara Everett: Dryden’s ‘Hamlet’, 4 January 2001

... Earl Miner ‘his greatest comedy and one of the greatest comedies in English’. More recently, Howard Erskine-Hill, pursuing a political theme, sees the writer as doing a ‘particularly brilliant thing’ in Amphitryon; and Michael Cordner three times reiterates the word ‘masterpiece’ when introducing his edition of the play. There is an appealing ...

My son has been poisoned!

David Bromwich: Cold War movies, 26 January 2012

An Army of Phantoms: American Movies and the Making of the Cold War 
by J. Hoberman.
New Press, 383 pp., £21.99, March 2011, 978 1 59558 005 4
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... Meredith, Groucho Marx, Vincente Minnelli, Gregory Peck, Vincent Price, Robert Ryan, Edward G. Robinson, Donna Reed, Nicholas Ray, Robert Siodmak, Frank Sinatra, Sylvia Sidney, Claire Trevor, Franchot Tone, Walter Wanger, Keenan Wynn, William Wyler, Orson Welles, Billy Wilder, Jerry Wald and Robert Young. Ronald Reagan, a New Deal Democrat at the time (and ...

Business as Usual

J. Hoberman: Hitler in Hollywood, 19 December 2013

Hollywood and Hitler, 1933-39 
by Thomas Doherty.
Columbia, 429 pp., £24, April 2013, 978 0 231 16392 7
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The Collaboration: Hollywood’s Pact with Hitler 
by Ben Urwand.
Harvard, 327 pp., £19.95, August 2013, 978 0 674 72474 7
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... Spanish peasant, with a script by Hollywood’s most prominent communist, the playwright John Howard Lawson. Strenuously opposed by groups like the Knights of Columbus and the Legion of Decency, as well as the Vatican, Blockade was the occasion for what Doherty calls ‘the most acrimonious case of doctrinal difference among movie-minded Catholics in the ...

How bad are we?

Bernard Porter: Genocide in Tasmania, 30 July 2014

The Last Man: A British Genocide in Tasmania 
by Tom Lawson.
Tauris, 263 pp., £25, January 2014, 978 1 78076 626 3
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... nation; a few years ago this provoked the almost comically reactionary Liberal prime minister John Howard to inveigh against what he called the ‘black armband’ view of his country’s history (as opposed to the proud Gallipoli view), which launched the popular debate that became known in Australia as the ‘history wars’. The main argument was over the ...

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