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Bobby-Dazzling

Ian Sansom, 17 July 1997

W.H. Auden: Prose 1926-38, Essays and Reviews and Travel Books in Prose and Verse 
edited by Edward Mendelson.
Faber, 836 pp., £40, March 1997, 0 571 17899 5
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... them up.’ And apparently he kept up the clowning when teaching in schools, where, according to Humphrey Carpenter in his biography of Auden, ‘one of his tricks was teaching the boys to stick stamps on the ceiling by flicking them up on pennies’; another trick was to pretend to cut off his penis. But for all that his ideas were impractical, and his ...

Double Doctrine

Colin Kidd: The Enlightenment, 5 December 2013

The Enlightenment and Why It Still Matters 
by Anthony Pagden.
Oxford, 436 pp., £20, May 2013, 978 0 19 966093 3
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... Indeed, Runcie had a Georgian disdain for enthusiastic displays of piety; he told his biographer, Humphrey Carpenter, that he ‘got more delight from lecturing on a Swan Hellenic cruise than … from going to some religious rally’. Despite the obvious differences in metaphysics and temper between the two archbishops and the zoologist, Williams and ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... comedy at the outset of their careers: it’s only later that reality kicks in. When Humphrey Carpenter interviewed the leading lights of the 1960s satire boom for his book That Was Satire, That Was in the late 1990s, he found that what was once youthful enthusiasm had by now curdled into disillusionment. One by one, they expressed dismay at ...

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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... is not visible to us – involves a decisive activity of belief. Cupitt is briefly mentioned in Humphrey Carpenter’s biography of Robert Runcie. Cupitt read theology at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, when Runcie was Dean of the college. According to Runcie, Cupitt raises theological questions more ‘acutely’ than an earlier liberal questioner, Bishop ...

He was the man

Robert Crawford: Ezra Pound, 29 June 2016

Ezra Pound: Poet: A Portrait of the Man and his Work: Vol. III: The Tragic Years, 1939-72 
by A. David Moody.
Oxford, 654 pp., £30, September 2015, 978 0 19 870436 2
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... had come to be seen as a traitor by the US government. In 1988, 16 years after Pound’s death, Humphrey Carpenter called Chapter 3 of his thousand-page Life of Pound ‘Suburban Prejudice’, a phrase used by the elderly poet to describe anti-Semitism in a conversation with Allen Ginsberg. Carpenter quotes from an ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... HarperCollins, which has published the Tolkien oeuvre since taking over Allen and Unwin in 1990. Humphrey Carpenter’s 1977 authorised biography and his 1981 edition of the Letters were also originally published by Allen and Unwin and are now with HarperCollins.I don’t want to defend Tolkien or to attack him, but to describe how the strange power of ...

The Wrong Blond

Alan Bennett, 23 May 1985

Auden in Love 
by Dorothy Farnan.
Faber, 264 pp., £9.95, March 1985, 0 571 13399 1
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... that. (I don’t want to beat this blond business to a bloody pulp but in his biography of Auden Humphrey Carpenter gives Kallman’s fancied companion as the poet Harold Norse. Norse thinks Auden was expecting him. The right blond and ready to be just as obliging as Kallman, Norse was a better bet all round. This is one of those moments when ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 1999, 20 January 2000

... not even Nora Nicholson who played Sarita Myrtle and was with me in Forty Years On. 13 January. Humphrey Carpenter comes round to do some fact-checking for his forthcoming book on satire and after. He asks me if we ever had any alternative titles to Beyond the Fringe, which was Robert Ponsonby’s contribution and not popular with us at the time. I ...

Sister Ape

Caroline Humphrey, 19 April 1990

The Mind Has No Sex? Women in the Origins of Modern Science 
by Londa Schiebinger.
Harvard, 355 pp., £23.50, November 1989, 0 674 57623 3
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Primate Visions: Gender, Race and Nature in the World of Modern Science 
by Donna Haraway.
Routledge, 486 pp., £40, January 1990, 0 415 90114 6
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... type of social organisation might not be valuable for man,’ Yerkes suggested. The story moves to Carpenter and Altmann, and what Haraway calls the semiotics of the naturalistic field. The first field studies of monkeys were done around the time of the Second World War. They concentrated on the study of dominance as the primary integrating mechanism of ...

Pound and the Perfect Lady

Donald Davie, 19 September 1985

Pound’s Artists: Ezra Pound and the Visual Arts in London, Paris and Italy 
by Richard Humphreys.
Tate Gallery, 176 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 946590 28 1
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Ezra Pound and Dorothy Shakespear: Their Letters 1909-1914 
edited by Omar Pound and A. Walton Litz.
Faber, 399 pp., £25, January 1985, 0 571 13480 7
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... Yard Gallery until 4 August; it will now be at the Tate from 11 September to 10 November. Humphrey Carpenter’s report on the exhibition for the TLS of 28 June will hardly choke the turnstiles. The show has, he said, ‘something of the air of a school reunion about it’, and with a few exceptions ‘it is the Pound business much as ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2010, 16 December 2010

... It’s also another instance of ‘write it and it happens.’ Towards the end of The Habit of Art Humphrey Carpenter tells the ageing Auden and Britten that they have reached that stage in their lives when even their most devoted fans would be happy to close the book on them: no more poetry, no more music. Enough. It’s not the same but still, the ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... the disappearance of a part of the landscape. 8 August. To the Cottesloe in the evening to talk to Humphrey Carpenter about his book That Was Satire That Was and answer questions from the audience. It goes well enough though I feel only slightly less inarticulate than I was in the period we are discussing. At one point ...

Full of Glory

John Mullan: The Inklings, 19 November 2015

The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings 
by Philip Zaleski and Carol Zaleski.
Farrar, Straus, 644 pp., £11.20, June 2015, 978 0 374 15409 7
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... diary captures the spirit of their gatherings: ‘To the Bird and Baby where I was joined by Humphrey, Tollers, and Chris. Tollers looking wonderfully improved by his restcure at Stonyhurst, and in great spirits (having packed his wife off to Brighton for ten days).’ It was from these meetings that Lewis’s children’s stories and Tolkien’s fantasy ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House, 19 February 1998

Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... breviary of the cult of JFK, there appears the following vignette. Schlesinger had been asked to carpenter a ‘White Paper’ justifying Washington’s destabilisation of Cuba, in which the high-flown rhetoric of the New Frontier might form a sort of scab over the fouler business of empire. This task he readily performed, scampering back to the Oval Office ...

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