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Nicholas Hiley

9 March 1995
Renegades: Hitler’s Englishmen 
by Adrian​ Weale.
Weidenfeld, 230 pp., £18.99, May 1994, 0 297 81488 5
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In from the Cold: National Security and Parliamentary Democracy 
by Laurence Lustgarten and Ian Leigh.
Oxford, 554 pp., £22.50, July 1994, 9780198252344
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... to the images of nationality which they contain. That is why any theory based on a single idea of nationality, even so complex an argument as that presented by Laurence Lustgarten and IanLeigh in In from the Cold, is bound to fail. They take nationality for granted, and deny the possibility of loyalty to a free market in ideas. ‘The market’s purported virtue is precisely its ...
20 February 1997
Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament 
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Estate, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... the actors offered only a false address in the United States and posh premises in Park Lane equipped with an answering machine. Grylls was hooked at once. He recommended the legendary lobbyist Ian Greer, who was approached by the hoaxers and, like Grylls, immediately hoodwinked. Lured to the bogus Park Lane offices Greer and his associates were filmed as they boasted about their powerful ...
4 August 1988
Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 400 pp., £14.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3018 0
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Selected Poems of Elizabeth Barrett Browning 
by Margaret Forster.
Chatto, 330 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 7011 3311 2
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The Poetical Works of Robert Browning: Vol. III 
edited by Ian​ Jack and Rowena Fowler.
Oxford, 542 pp., £60, June 1988, 0 19 812762 6
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The Complete Works of Robert Browning: Vol. VIII 
edited by Roma King and Susan Crowl.
Ohio/Baylor University, 379 pp., £47.50, September 1988, 9780821403808
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... A process especially important for women writers. Emily Brontë was in her own way a self-dramatiser, Charlotte a self-esteemer. Her example was easier to follow, much more influential. When Aurora Leigh was published in 1857, reviewers pointed out a striking resemblance to much in the plot of Jane Eyre. Romney Leigh, her cousin, whom the half-English half-Italian Aurora eventually marries, is ...

Snowdunnit

Ian​ Hamilton

8 November 1979
A Coat of Varnish 
by C.P. Snow.
Macmillan, 349 pp., £5.95
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... but unusually imaginative policeman works his way through the half a dozen or so sure-fire suspects, and gets a bit of help on the side from our hero, a ruminative, world-weary ex-spy called Humphrey Leigh. But as a straight suspense tale, it doesn’t begin, or seem to want to, work. For example, it is clear to us a few pages after the murder that the ‘random thug’ theory can be discounted: there ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The Da Vinci Code’

8 June 2006
The Da Vinci Code 
directed by Ron Howard.
May 2006
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... meaning of the flashback. There was always a back to flash to. The movies always existed, they were already everywhere, but no one knew it. It’s the greatest cover-up in human history, to quote Ian McKellen quoting Dan Brown. During the Cannes screening of the film critics are said to have laughed when a crowd of bewigged ghosts shows up for Newton’s funeral in Westminster Abbey, forcing the ...
14 June 1990
Writers in Hollywood 
by Ian​ Hamilton.
Heinemann, 326 pp., £14.95, June 1990, 0 434 31332 7
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... The writer, grizzled, sun-tanned, wearing only desert boots, shorts and sunglasses, sits outdoors in a wicker chair, checking a page in his typewriter. The picture appears on the covers both of Ian Hamilton’s Writers in Hollywood and of Tom Dardis’s Some Time in the Sun and instantly announces several elements of a familiar legend. Even in black and white the image is full of warm shadows ...

Olivier Rex

Ronald Bryden

1 September 1988
Olivier 
by Anthony Holden.
Weidenfeld, 504 pp., £16, May 1988, 0 297 79089 7
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... by describing him as a ‘highly cerebral’ director, and amuse showbiz New York mightily with the statement that, after their star-crossed Romeo and Juliet on Broadway in 1940, Olivier and Vivien Leigh went to lick their wounds for a month in Vermont with ‘the Alexander Woollcotts’. The English period equivalent would be a month in the country with the Beverley Nicholses. Holden is sometimes ...

Provincialism

Denis Donoghue: Karlin’s collection of Victorian​ verse

4 June 1998
The Penguin Book of Victorian​ Verse 
edited by Danny Karlin.
Allen Lane, 851 pp., £25, October 1997, 9780713990492
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... of English verse of the same period (Victoria’s reign 1837-1901) and of the 19th century as a whole. His major precursors are Quiller-Couch, Yeats, Auden, George MacBeth, Christopher Ricks and Ian Fletcher. I don’t intend a Shopper’s Guide, but I’ll start with two small complaints. Unlike Fletcher, Karlin doesn’t give explanatory notes, except for a few dialect words and phrases in ...

Dykes, Drongs, Sarns, Snickets

David Craig: Walking England

20 December 2012
The English Lakes: A History 
by Ian​ Thompson.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £16.99, March 2012, 978 1 4088 0958 7
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The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 432 pp., £20, June 2012, 978 0 241 14381 0
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... with the highly conscious enjoyment of wild country, although both writers know that the aesthetic savouring of the land – the ‘landscape’ – must overlap with more workmanlike uses of it. Ian Thompson’s history of the Lake District is grounded almost exclusively in the aesthetic. ‘Since the Lake District is an imaginative construction,’ he argues, ‘it has no real boundaries ...

His Own Peak

Ian​ Sansom: John Fowles’s diary

6 May 2004
John Fowles: The Journals, Vol. I 
edited by Charles Drazin.
Cape, 668 pp., £30, October 2003, 9780224069113
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John Fowles: A Life in Two Worlds 
by Eileen Warburton.
Cape, 510 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 224 05951 3
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... are wonderfully slow, really; like human snails, hardly credible.’ Fowles’s parents are like snails, too (‘peeping their horns out at today, like snails’), as are places like his home-town, Leigh-on-Sea (‘Snail-towns’). If you’re not a snail in his estimation, you’re probably a robot. He writes of a colleague: ‘This girl represents a sort of splendid physical machine one wants to ...

The Undesired Result

Gillian​ Darley: Betjeman’s bêtes noires

31 March 2005
Betjeman: The Bonus of Laughter 
by Bevis Hillier.
Murray, 744 pp., £25, October 2004, 0 7195 6495 6
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... had the satisfaction of seeing Dame Edna Everage soar to fame. Other unlikely friends included Mary Wilson (whom he once used to trump the BBC’s religious broadcasting department in a turf war), Ian Fleming and John Osborne. The bishop of Southwark, Mervyn Stockwood, surrounded by Arab boys, camp churchmen and Beverley Nichols, takes the credit for widening Betjeman’s horizons, leading him and ...
9 March 1995
... has built up a portfolio of seven directorships and four consultancies since his resignation as Armed Forces’ Minister. These include a directorship with the security firm Saladin Holdings. Edward Leigh was junior minister with responsibility for technology until he was removed by the Prime Minister. Since then he has amassed consultancies with Pinnacle Insurance, Inter-tanko and the mining group ...

British Worthies

David Cannadine

3 December 1981
The Directory of National Biography, 1961-1970 
edited by E.T. Williams and C.S. Nicholls.
Oxford, 1178 pp., £40, October 1981, 0 19 865207 0
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... from relatively comfortable, upper-class and upper-middle-class backgrounds, and succeeded in professions without any formal or hierarchical career structure. So the majority are actresses (Elsie and Leigh), academics (Cam and Darbishire), artists (Bell, Cohen, Knight) or authors (Allingham, Blyton, Compton-Burnett, Sackville-West and Sitwell), topped off with occasional politicians (Astor, Bonham ...
7 November 1985
The Letters of Ann Fleming 
edited by Mark Amory.
Collins, 448 pp., £16.50, October 1985, 0 00 217059 0
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... serialised the letters, described their publication as ‘the literary event of the season’, which shows a doubtful sense of what’s what. Ann Fleming was married for 12 not very happy years to Ian Fleming, with whom she’d been infatuated for most of her life. Her previous husbands, Lord Rothermere, the owner of the Daily Mail, and Lord O’Neill, never counted for much, though she had had a ...

Diary

Simon Kelner: Murdoch strikes again

6 July 1995
... and anger that propelled people on to the streets of Featherstone earlier this year, just as they had marched during the miners’ strike of 1984. As a local writer and arts administrator called Ian Clayton observed, with some prescience, two years earlier: ‘What would Fev be without rugby, or Cas or Leigh or anywhere? Small grey towns that had their day, that were born from coal and died with ...

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