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Sorcerer’s Apprentice

E.S. Turner, 19 December 1991

Alistair MacLean 
by Jack Webster.
Chapmans, 326 pp., £18, November 1991, 1 85592 519 2
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Alistair MacLean’s Time of the Assassins 
by Alastair MacNeill.
HarperCollins, 288 pp., £14.99, December 1991, 0 00 223816 0
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... ending for Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The latterday MacLean industry is touched on by Jack Webster in his biography of the novelist, who died in 1987. It seems the invitation to MacNeill to tackle the master’s outlines came from Collins on the strength of a manuscript of his own he had submitted to the firm. It was ‘a heaven-sent ...

Putting Religion in Its Place

Colm Tóibín: Marilynne Robinson, 23 October 2014

by Marilynne Robinson.
Virago, 261 pp., £16.99, October 2014, 978 1 84408 880 5
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... Home, Boughton is old too, and widowed, when his daughter, Glory, and eventually his wayward son, Jack, come home. Just as Robinson is prepared to take great risks in placing religious belief at the very centre of a character’s being – not as something which will animate the plot, but as something as ordinary and fundamental to a novel as money or love ...

Jungle Joys

Alfred Appel Jr: Wa-Wa-Wa with the Duke, 5 September 2002

... richer sound banks achieved by the saxophone section, expanded to five with the addition of Ben Webster’s tenor in late 1939. By turns volcanic and lyrical (‘Rosebud,’ he seems about to whisper at the end of ballads), Webster became the band’s most compelling solo voice, a great instrumental crooner and jungle ...

A Hammer in His Hands

Frank Kermode: Lowell’s Letters, 22 September 2005

The Letters of Robert Lowell 
edited by Saskia Hamilton.
Faber, 852 pp., £30, July 2005, 0 571 20204 7
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... first part, in which Lowell talks about Robert Bridges, Trumbull Stickney, Propertius, Baudelaire, Webster, Shakespeare and a poem of his own, is even slightly crazier than the second: in fact the whole thing is, as it ought to be, a model of sober discussion, recognising the eminence of the recipient and the young man’s respect for him. In the end these ...

What’s going on, Eric?

David Renton: Rock Against Racism, 22 November 2018

Walls Come Tumbling Down: The Music and Politics of Rock Against Racism, 2 Tone and Red Wedge 
by Daniel Rachel.
Picador, 589 pp., £12.99, May 2017, 978 1 4472 7268 7
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... Park, led by giant papier-mâché models of Adolf Hitler and the National Front’s Martin Webster. The route passed Brick Lane, scene of recurring clashes between the Front and the local Bengali population. Red Saunders was the compère. He had grown enormous sideburns, and wore a hat covered in badges and a ‘Mr Oligarchy’ cape. The punk ...

Saint Shakespeare

Barbara Everett, 19 August 2010

... he gave back too, teaching men as gifted as Marlowe psychological subtlety, and as individual as Webster how to use poetry in drama and how to respect the heroism of women. A whole marvellous theatre might not have come fully into being, and have influenced centuries of English (and American) poetry, without the ‘Jack of ...


Ian Penman, 2 July 2015

Sinatra: London 
Universal, 3 CDs and 1 DVD, £40, November 2014Show More
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... Dorsey again (‘I may be the only singer who ever took vocal lessons from a trombone’), and Ben Webster (one of the first acts showcased on Sinatra’s own Reprise label). But a third influence is more notable, and an indication of just how deeply jazz was lodged in the young singer’s soul: the tenor saxophonist Lester Young. Young was Billie Holiday’s ...

Soul Bellow

Craig Raine, 12 November 1987

More die of heartbreak 
by Saul Bellow.
Alison Press/Secker, 335 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 436 03962 1
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... who influenced me was not Baudelaire but Jules Laforgue, so the dramatic poets were Marlowe and Webster and Tourneur and Middleton and Ford, not Shakespeare. A poet of the supreme greatness of Shakespeare can hardly influence, he can only be imitated: and the difference between influence and imitation is that influence can fecundate, whereas imitation ...

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