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Christopher Ricks

20 May 1982
My Sister and Myself: The Diaries of J.R.​ Ackerley 
edited by Francis King.
Hutchinson, 217 pp., £8.95, March 1982, 9780091470203
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... Women are bitches.’ It was odd and ugly of J.R.Ackerley to put it like that, since both the sentence before this terse rancour and the one after it dote upon a bitch, his dog Queenie. Much-loved Joe Ackerley was not much-loving, but he did love his dog ...

Trevelogue

E.S. Turner

25 June 1987
The Golden Oriole: Childhood, Family and Friends in India 
by Raleigh Trevelyan.
Secker, 536 pp., £16.95, May 1987, 0 436 53403 7
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... and R.C. Trevelyan, the poet (son of George Otto) had travelled in 1912, with the usual side-trip to Khajaraho to study erotic carvings. It was at Chhatarpur that, on Forster’s recommendation, J.R.Ackerley had entered the service of the decadent maharajah whom he mercilessly depicted in Hindoo Holiday, the name Chhatarpur being changed, by no means unrecognisably, to Chhokrapur. Chhatarpur was visited ...
19 April 1990
Letters of Leonard Woolf 
edited by Frederic Spotts.
Weidenfeld, 616 pp., £30, March 1990, 0 297 79635 6
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... truly daunting severity, such as that to J.B. Leishman, who, having fallen out with his collaborator Stephen Spender on the vexed issue of a Rilke translation, suggested that he do it alone. To J.R.Ackerley, as literary editor of the Listener trapped in the BBC machine, he sends comments on that organisation which come from the other side but remind one of those we have been hearing lately from Lord ...
16 December 1993
Aren’t We Due a Royalty Statement? 
by Giles Gordon.
Chatto, 352 pp., £16.99, August 1993, 0 7011 6022 5
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Yesterday Came Suddenly 
by Francis King.
Constable, 336 pp., £16.95, September 1993, 9780094722200
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Excursions in the Real World 
by William Trevor.
Hutchinson, 201 pp., £16.99, September 1993, 0 09 177086 6
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... full surface. Back in England he soon assembled and carefully cultivated a kind of floating salon of compatriots, of both genders and varying sexual tastes, most of them known writers such as J.R.Ackerley, Ivy Compton-Burnett, L.P. Hartley. They were nearly all middle-class, by birth or advancement, and middle-aged, and as by now they are nearly all dead as well, the series of spirited portraits which ...

Diary

August Kleinzahler: Remembering Thom Gunn

4 November 2004
... of teenage girls gushing about a cute new boy at school. During our final lunch, the Thursday before the Sunday he died, we discussed the anthology (‘They’ll never do it,’ Thom said) and J.R.Ackerley, the last among the scores of writers I’d never have found had it not been for Thom. ‘His writing is close in style to Isherwood’s,’ I said to Thom. ‘Who was influenced by whom?’ ‘Oh ...
28 September 1989
The Brideshead Generation: Evelyn Waugh and his Friends 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Weidenfeld, 523 pp., £17.95, September 1989, 0 297 79320 9
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Osbert: A Portrait of Osbert Lancaster 
by Richard Boston.
Collins, 256 pp., £17.50, August 1989, 0 00 216324 1
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AckerleyA Life of J.R.​ Ackerley 
by Peter Parker.
Constable, 465 pp., £16.95, September 1989, 0 09 469000 6
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... Passionately on the side of order and authority, like Widmerpool, Waugh can be seen as striving to set up the world of school in a waste land of permissiveness and democratic vulgarity. J.R.Ackerley’s world was in its own way not so different. Peter Parker has already written a searching book, The Old Lie: The Great War and the Public School Ethos, and his long and thorough account of Ackerley ...

Good Sausages

P.N. Furbank

20 October 1983
Maiden Voyage A Voice Through a Cloud 
by Denton Welch.
Penguin, 256 pp., £2.95, July 1983, 0 14 009522 5
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... me”.’ It surprised Welch very much when he found himself sharing a successful ménage with the devoted Eric Oliver. His first successful step in writing was promoted partly by reading J.R.Ackerley’s Hindoo Holiday, the work of another author who could only ever write about himself. I have seen a comparison made between the temperaments of these two, but this seems quite wrong. Ackerley was ...

He will need a raincoat

Blake Morrison: Fathers and Sons

13 July 2016
The Return: Fathers, Sons and the Land in Between 
by Hisham Matar.
Viking, 276 pp., £14.99, June 2016, 978 0 670 92333 5
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... discipline, stimulation, wisdom, indulgence or just a palpable presence about the house. Dad memoirs are more common than mum memoirs, or were until recently. Edmund Gosse’s Father and Son and J.R.Ackerley’s My Father and Myself are the progenitors, and, as their titles suggest, the genre requires two protagonists, biographer co-starring with biographee. In the interests of plot and character, it ...

Eva’s Ribs

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas: Dogs and Scholarship

22 February 2007
Melancholia’s Dog 
by Alice Kuzniar.
Chicago, 215 pp., £16.50, October 2006, 0 226 46578 0
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... However, this is probably the first time that a scholar of Kuzniar’s ability has shown the courage to tackle the deeper aspects of our relationship with dogs. I once wrote an introduction to J.R.Ackerley’s My Dog Tulip, and purposely left out the author’s spiritual difficulties because to discuss them seemed trendy, and I wanted to honour Ackerley’s choice of subject-matter, which was Tulip ...

The Uncommon Reader

Alan Bennett: A Story

8 March 2007
... be the Queen. Nor was Mr Hutchings much help, except that when he mentioned dogs as a subject that might interest Her Majesty it reminded Norman of something he had read that could fit the bill, J.R.Ackerley’s novel My Dog Tulip. Mr Hutchings was dubious, pointing out that it was gay. ‘Is it?’ said Norman innocently. ‘I didn’t realise that. She’ll think it’s just about the dog.’ He took ...

Poor Dear, How She Figures!

Alan Hollinghurst: Forster and His Mother

3 January 2013
The Journals and Diaries of E.M. Forster Volumes I-III 
edited by Philip Gardner.
Pickering and Chatto, 813 pp., £275, February 2011, 978 1 84893 114 5
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... Mohammed el-Adl, an Alexandrian tram conductor, in a period of the Great War for which he kept no intimate diary and, most important, with the policeman Bob Buckingham, whom he met in 1930 at J.R.Ackerley’s Hammersmith flat. He notes without dissent Edward Carpenter’s explanation of ‘why I like the Lower Classes. They are not self conscious. I am and therefore need them.’ When things get going ...

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