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The Great Escape

Philip Purser, 18 August 1994

The Fortunes of Casanova, and Other Stories 
by Rafael Sabatini, selected by Jack Adrian.
Oxford, 284 pp., £15.95, January 1994, 9780192123190
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... does seem to be less predictable is the process that will sometimes restore a lost household name. Jack Adrian is a professional resurrectionist originally specialising in crime and adventure fiction. Lately he has expanded to take in other genres, but his hunting ground – or boneyard – is still popular English fiction from about 1880 to 1950, in ...

Impossible Wishes

Michael Wood: Thomas Mann, 6 February 2003

The Cambridge Companion to Thomas Mann 
edited by Ritchie Robertson.
Cambridge, 257 pp., £45.50, November 2001, 9780521653107
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Thomas Mann: A Biography 
by Hermann Kurzke, translated by Leslie Willson.
Allen Lane, 582 pp., £30, January 2002, 0 7139 9500 9
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... piece of dialogue on just this subject in Dr Faustus, although the ostensible topic is music. Adrian Leverkühn, the German composer-hero of the novel, receives a visit from the Devil – whether he is an independent agent or a manifestation of Adrian’s illness would alter many things, but not the Devil’s energies ...

Rite of Corruption

James Wood: Emma Donoghue’s ‘Room’, 21 October 2010

Room 
by Emma Donoghue.
Picador, 321 pp., £12.99, July 2010, 978 0 330 51901 4
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... which is a kind of prison-lit lite. Based on the Josef Fritzl case, it is narrated by Jack, a five-year-old American, whose mother was abducted at the age of 19 and imprisoned in a single room measuring 121 square feet. She is now 26. The boy’s mother is regularly visited by her abductor, though only at night; ...

Staggering on

Stephen Howe, 23 May 1996

The ‘New Statesman’: Portrait of a Political Weekly, 1913-31 
by Adrian Smith.
Cass, 340 pp., £30, February 1996, 0 7146 4645 8
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... extended discussion of the Statesman’s first years was Edward Hyams’s ‘house’ history. Adrian Smith makes a fuller attempt to place the early New Statesman in its various political and intellectual contexts and relates the fortunes of the small-circulation political weekly to the seismic political changes of 1916-29 that virtually destroyed British ...

Diary

Ruth Padel: Singing Madrigals, 29 November 2007

... the earliest Shakespearean allusions, to Henry VI, Part 2. ‘Away with him! He speaks Latin,’ Jack Cade says in Act IV. ‘If Jack Cade were alive,’ Weelkes says, ‘yet some of us might live: unlesse we should think, as the Artisans in the Universities in Poland and Germany thinke, that the Latin tongue comes by ...

Through Plate-Glass

Ian Sansom: Jonathan Coe, 10 May 2001

The Rotters’ Club 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 405 pp., £14.99, April 2001, 0 670 89252 1
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... either musical, or literary, or filmic, or perhaps a combination of all three’. He’s like Adrian Mole. He is everyone. It’s pathetically funny. Coe’s work is routinely described as comic, but it is not routinely comic. The humour occurs either in elaborate set pieces, or in occasional waspish asides. The funniest passage in his work ...

Do put down that revolver

Rosemary Hill, 14 July 2016

The Long Weekend: Life in the English Country House between the Wars 
by Adrian Tinniswood.
Cape, 406 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 0 224 09945 5
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... amusements made possible the affair with Wallis Simpson and so led eventually to the abdication. Adrian Tinniswood, whose book combines a panoramic view of life and architecture in the interwar years with pin-sharp detail and the sort of springy prose that comes with a complete command of the material, takes the idea of the weekend as both an embodiment of ...

Diary

Stephen Sedley: Judges’ Lodgings, 11 November 1999

... in the bishop’s palace; in Cambridge in the Trinity College Master’s lodge, where in Lord Adrian’s first term the less than lovable Mr Justice Melford Stevenson returned for lunch on the first assize day and placed his decomposing wig on the stand in the entrance hall. Lady Adrian came upon it and threw it in the ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... nearly all Jewish. Eisner has changed their names, but a glossary at the back provides the key: ‘Jack King’ (né Klingensteiner) is based on Jack Kirby (né Jacob Kurtzberg), co-creator of Captain America and The Fly; ‘Ken Corn’ is based on Bob Kane (né Kahn), creator of Batman. The bespectacled Jews in their ...

Imperfect Knight

Gabriel Josipovici, 17 April 1980

Chaucer’s Knight: Portrait of a Medieval Mercenary 
by Terry Jones.
Weidenfeld, 319 pp., £8.95, January 1980, 0 297 77566 9
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Chaucer, Langland and the Creative Imagination 
by David Aers.
Routledge, 236 pp., £9.75, January 1980, 9780710003515
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The Golden Age: Manuscript Painting at the Time of Jean, Duc de Berry 
by Marcel Thomas.
Chatto, 120 pp., £12.50, January 1980, 0 7011 2471 7
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... is trying to achieve is the presentation of that authoritative voice which is not the voice of Jack or Jill but of an entire community. It is probably true that Chaucer was, like Mozart and unlike Bach or Stravinsky, better at representing the dramatic clash of individual voices than the merging of all into the corporate voice of prayer, but it would be ...

‘The most wonderful person I’d ever met’

Wendy Steiner, 28 September 1989

Waverley Place 
by Susan Brownmiller.
Hamish Hamilton, 294 pp., £12.95, August 1989, 0 241 12804 8
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... who studiously passed through the corridor without comment, defence counsels Ira London and Adrian DiLuzio joked and postured before the cameras, showed off their expensive suits and coifs, and broadcast views of the case that were inadmissible in the courtroom. Most egregiously, London announced to the media that his client was sure to be ...

Flying the flag

Patrick Parrinder, 18 November 1993

The Modern British Novel 
by Malcolm Bradbury.
Secker, 512 pp., £20, October 1993, 0 436 20132 1
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After the War: The Novel and English Society since 1945 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 310 pp., £17.99, September 1993, 9780701137694
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... is beginning to find itself short of subject-matter. And if Dickens, Shakespeare and the Union Jack are now to be the main symbols of our Great Britishness, the politics of nostalgia can expect to meet with a continuing resistance from those charged with passing on literary knowledge to the next generation. It would be nice to attribute this resistance to ...

The wind comes up out of nowhere

Charles Nicholl: The Disappearance of Arthur Cravan, 9 March 2006

... the avant-garde. As a heavyweight boxer, his career peaked in 1916, when he fought the formidable Jack Johnson in Barcelona. He lasted six rounds. These two strands of Cravan’s career are not as diverse as one might think: his stance as a writer was extremely combative – confrontation and ‘anti-art’ polemic were his métier. As the poet Mina Loy, who ...

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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... met Jeremy in December 1954, at the end of our first term, when the editor-designate of Isis, Adrian Mitchell, appointed me as the next term’s deputy news editor and Jeremy as one of his two Union reporters (the other being Christopher Driver). I knew him by reputation. There were people quite as clever as Jeremy, several of them his friends, but ...

Our Island Story

Stefan Collini: The New DNB, 20 January 2005

The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 
edited by H.C.G. Matthew and Brian Harrison.
Oxford, sixty volumes, £7,500, September 2004, 9780198614111
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... with a hoax, it ends even less encouragingly. The last entry, in terms of date of death, is Sir Jack Jacob (1908-2000, ‘barrister and jurist’), who died on 26 December 2000, but the last to be born are, soberingly, Stephen Adrian Lawrence (1974-93, ‘murder victim’) and James Patrick Bulger (1990-93, ‘murder ...

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