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The Wizard of Finella

E.E. Duncan-Jones, 24 January 1985

Mansfield Forbes and his Cambridge 
by Hugh Carey.
Cambridge, 154 pp., £15, October 1984, 0 521 25680 1
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... other tangible monument, Clare College 1326-1926 in two uncommonly heavy volumes, has, as Hugh Carey laments, obstinately refused to become a ‘rare book’ or a widely read one, or even the cult of a few. A pity, whether one takes the view of Ian Parsons that it is a literary, historical and bibliographical treasure-house or that of Maynard ...

Damaged Beasts

James Wood: Peter Carey’s ‘Theft’, 8 June 2006

Theft: A Love Story 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 269 pp., £16.99, June 2006, 0 571 23147 0
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... in a Stanley Fishy way has simply asserted his right to authenticate? Floreat emptor. Or as Peter Carey ends his new novel, ‘How do you know how much to pay if you don’t know what it’s worth?’ Theft: A Love Story, is about just such issues of authenticity and fraudulence in the international art world. As he did in his last novel, My Life as a ...

Something else

Jonathan Coe, 5 December 1991

In Black and White 
by Christopher Stevenson.
New Caxton Press, 32 pp., £1.95
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The Tree of Life 
by Hugh Nissenson.
Carcanet, 159 pp., £6.95, September 1991, 0 85635 874 6
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Cley 
by Carey Harrison.
Heinemann, 181 pp., £13.99, November 1991, 0 434 31368 8
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... influence on today’s literary scene, is called gently into question by each of these writers. Carey Harrison, with ostensibly the second (although in fact the first) volume of what looks set to become a monumental tetralogy, puts pressure on the boundaries of the form by insisting that it absorb a near-infinity of characters, events and incidental ...

Harrison Rex

Carey Harrison, 7 November 1991

Conversations with Marlon Brando 
by Lawrence Grobel.
Bloomsbury, 177 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 9780747508168
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George Sanders: An Exhausted Life 
by Richard Vanderbeets.
Robson, 271 pp., £15.95, September 1991, 0 86051 749 7
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Rex Harrison: A Biography 
by Nicholas Wapshott.
Chatto, 331 pp., £16, October 1991, 0 7011 3764 9
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Me: Stories of my Life 
by Katharine Hepburn.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, September 1991, 0 670 83974 4
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... bulk of Lawrence Grobel’s Conversations derives from a 1978 Playboy interview (accorded after Hugh Hefner put up $50,000 to bail out the Indian activist Russell Means) and is presumably being published now as a kind of hors d’oeuvre to Brando’s autobiography, for which Random House have reputedly paid him a million pound advance. Since 1978, aside ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor, 18 February 2016

The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... irritated by talk of class conflict, and is not exactly in congratulatory mood when he calls John Carey the most class-conscious critic of the modern age. (The literary hackles raised by Carey’s recent memoir, The Unexpected Professor, which puts the petty-bourgeois boot into patrician dons, revealed just what kind of ...

I only want the OM

Christopher Tayler: Somerset Maugham, 1 September 2005

Somerset Maugham: A Life 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Vintage, 411 pp., £12, April 2005, 1 4000 3052 8
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... have been disappointed. There was some half-hearted praise from Movement types, but when John Carey, for example, needed an honourable popular writer to batter the highbrows with in The Intellectuals and the Masses (1992), he turned to Arnold Bennett. Morgan’s biography had a memorable centrepiece: a description of the senile Maugham crapping on ...

Bunnymooning

Philip French, 6 June 1996

The Fatal Englishman: Three Short Lives 
by Sebastian Faulks.
Hutchinson, 309 pp., £16.99, April 1996, 0 09 179211 8
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... This idea of Wolfenden as a wash-out and the squanderer of a prodigious talent persuaded John Carey, one of his Oxford contemporaries, to find him ‘the least interesting’ of Faulks’s subjects. Not only does Carey challenge Faulks’s claim that ‘in some minor way he represented a generation’: he suggests he ...
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... obvious signs of diminishing excitement when they arrived in Greek Street by the cartload. John Carey’s ‘Down with Dons’ is a locus classicus of the odium theologicum, boiling with the deep-down unreason which so often underlies, and possibly fuels, the ratiocinative dazzle of the star dons, but wonderfully entertaining in the texture of its ...

Don’t Ask Henry

Alan Hollinghurst: Sissiness, 9 October 2008

Belchamber 
by Howard Sturgis.
NYRB, 345 pp., £8.99, May 2008, 978 1 59017 266 7
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... who seems to have sought in him a closeness he knew was impossible with, for example, the young Hugh Walpole. He was led to surely unprecedented declarations: ‘I repeat, almost to indiscretion, that I could live with you,’ he wrote to him in 1900. (The repetition is not evidently of an earlier letter, so James had perhaps made the proposal in ...

Child of Evangelism

James Wood, 3 October 1996

The Quest for God: A Personal Pilgrimage 
by Paul Johnson.
Weidenfeld, 216 pp., £14.99, March 1996, 0 297 81764 7
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Is There a God? 
by Richard Swinburne.
Oxford, 144 pp., £20, February 1996, 0 19 823544 5
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God in Us: A Case for Christian Humanism 
by Anthony Freeman.
SCM, 87 pp., £5.95, September 1993, 0 344 02538 1
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Robert Runcie: The Reluctant Archbishop 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Hodder, 401 pp., £20, October 1996, 0 340 57107 1
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... and established the ‘house church’ movement. This was an influential generation: George Carey, the current Archbishop of Canterbury, led a renewed church in Durham before his elevation to a bishopric. Wonders occurred at the church I attended. I saw people shivering with ecstasies, clutching at God with their hands raised. I saw people dancing in ...

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