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The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust, 6 January 2005

In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... or flat, but the third one, in context, refers to things a woman may have at home or be wearing. James Grieve’s ‘on or about a faithful wife’ seems both brave and helpless. To take a more powerful and significant example, how to translate ‘comme la souffrance va plus loin en psychologie que la psychologie,’ the brilliant second sentence of The ...

The Fug o’Fame

David Goldie: Hugh MacDiarmid’s letters, 6 June 2002

New Selected Letters 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Dorian Grieve.
Carcanet, 572 pp., £39.95, August 2001, 1 85754 273 8
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... 20th century, a poetically-minded young man from the Scottish borders called Christopher Murray Grieve walked to Ecclefechan, the birthplace of Thomas Carlyle. It wasn’t a long way, but his trek was a gesture of hero-worship to one of the greatest Scotsmen and largest egos of the previous century. He toured Carlyle’s house and, as some visitors ...

MacDiarmid and his Maker

Robert Crawford, 10 November 1988

MacDiarmid 
by Alan Bold.
Murray, 482 pp., £17.95, September 1988, 0 7195 4585 4
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A Drunk Man looks at the Thistle 
by Hugh MacDiarmid, edited by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 203 pp., £12.50, February 1988, 0 7073 0425 3
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The Hugh MacDiarmid-George Ogilvie Letters 
edited by Catherine Kerrigan.
Aberdeen University Press, 156 pp., £24.90, August 1988, 0 08 036409 8
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Hugh MacDiarmid and the Russian 
by Peter McCarey.
Scottish Academic Press, 225 pp., £12.50, March 1988, 0 7073 0526 8
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... Before 1922 Hugh MacDiarmid did not exist. And only Christopher Murray Grieve would have dared to invent him. Alan Bold’s valuable biography points out that when the 30-year-old Grieve began to write in the Scottish Chapbook under the pseudonym ‘M’Diarmid’, he was already editing the magazine under his own name, reviewing for it as ‘Martin Gillespie’, and employing himself as its Advertising Manager (and occasional contributor), ‘A ...

Grieve not, but try again

N.A.M. Rodger: Submarines, 22 September 2016

The Silent Deep: The Royal Navy Submarine Service since 1945 
by Peter Hennessy and James Jinks.
Allen Lane, 823 pp., £12.99, June 2016, 978 1 84614 580 3
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... the 1923 naval officers’ war memorial at Mürwik read: ‘Nicht klagen, noch einmal wagen’ (‘Grieve not, but try again’). In the 1930s, the German navy prepared to try again with a new submarine division, but the British continued to misunderstand its intentions. They knew how dangerous a weapon the U-boat had proved to be, and took it for granted that ...

MacDiarmid’s Sticks

C.H. Sisson, 5 April 1984

Whaur Extremes Meet: The Poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid 1920-1934 
by Catherine Kerrigan.
James Thin, 245 pp., £12.50, June 1983, 0 901824 69 0
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Elemental Things: The Poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid 
by Harvey Oxenhorn.
Edinburgh, 215 pp., £15, March 1984, 0 85224 475 4
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Aesthetics in Scotland 
by Hugh MacDiarmid and Alan Bold.
Mainstream, 100 pp., £6.95, February 1984, 0 906391 60 1
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Annals of the Five Senses 
by Hugh MacDiarmid and Alan Bold.
Polygon, 161 pp., £6.50, July 1983, 0 904919 74 9
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Hugh MacDiarmid: The Terrible Crystal 
by Alan Bold.
Routledge, 251 pp., £9.95, August 1983, 0 7100 9493 0
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Hugh MacDiarmid (C.M. Grieve
by Kenneth Buthlay.
Scottish Academic Press, 143 pp., £3.25, September 1982, 0 7073 0307 9
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The Thistle Rises: An Anthology of Poetry and Prose by Hugh MacDiarmid 
edited by Alan Bold.
Hamish Hamilton, 463 pp., £12.95, February 1984, 0 241 11171 4
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A Scottish Poetry Book 
by Alan Bold, Bob Dewar, Iain McIntosh and Rodger McPhail.
Oxford, 128 pp., £4.95, July 1983, 0 19 916029 5
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Edinburgh and the Borders in Verse 
by Allan Massie.
Secker, 97 pp., £5.95, August 1983, 0 436 27348 9
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... of references’ without which ‘it is spurious to discuss a long poem like In Memoriam James Joyce’. This sort of background work ought to be done and she seems well-equipped to do it. Harvey Oxenhorn’s book is of a different character. It is a critical assessment of the kind which used to be done summarily in an essay but which modern academic ...

Fanfares

Ian Sansom, 11 December 1997

The Bounty 
by Derek Walcott.
Faber, 78 pp., £14.99, July 1997, 0 571 19130 4
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... force a rose from the sand. It’s a big, bold blowsy note to open on, and not at all untypical. James Merrill, a poet of some breeding and considerable refinement, once remarked, in his essay ‘On Literary Tradition’, that ‘it’s a bit snotty to nudge the reader too obviously with references to Virgil or Eliot’, but Walcott remains an unashamed ...

Protests with Parasols

Michael Wood: Proust, Dreyfus, Israel, 20 December 2012

Proust among the Nations: From Dreyfus to the Middle East 
by Jacqueline Rose.
Chicago, 239 pp., £22.50, February 2012, 978 0 226 72578 9
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... of the Proust translations we have goes for the literal translation of puant: ‘stinking’. James Grieve has ‘rank outsider’ where Scott Moncrieff has ‘pestilent’. It’s true that ‘rank’ is a fine choice if we pay attention to its meaning as something other than an intensifier. But the French really is violent, and even if we take the ...

Rebusworld

John Lanchester: The Rise and Rise of Ian Rankin, 27 April 2000

Set in Darkness 
by Ian Rankin.
Orion, 415 pp., £16.99, February 2000, 0 7528 2129 6
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... escape to Edinburgh’. He gave it to his father, who read it, ‘and went back to his bookshelf: James Bond, Where Eagles Dare’. So Rankin gave James Kelman’s first book to his father. His sort of thing, I thought. Working-class working man against the system. Dad couldn’t read it. Said it wasn’t ‘written in ...

The German in the Wood

Emma Tennant, 6 December 1984

... Mrs Colne might be whirling and skipping from the dresser to the iron pots on the old Aga, Sam Grieve the keeper might be back from the woods with birds’ tail feathers as bright as an actress’s plumed hat. Bella at those times was at the sink, invisible in the gloom of the far side of the old kitchen. Her head peered into the sink and her hands were ...

Semi-Happy

Michael Wood, 22 February 1996

James Whale: A Biography 
by Mark Gatiss.
Cassell, 182 pp., £12.99, July 1995, 0 304 32861 8
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... minor touches in this movie, as in its sequel Bride of Frankenstein, both of them directed by James Whale, which are just mysterious. Why is Frankenstein, called Victor in most versions of this story, including Mary Shelley’s, here called Henry? Why is his friend called Victor? The bereaved father of the little girl drowned by the monster because he ...

At the Movies

Michael Wood: ‘The International’, ‘Duplicity’, 9 April 2009

The International 
directed by Tom Twyker.
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Duplicity 
directed by Tony Gilroy.
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... the wholesale destruction of posh cars and real estate. The spectre is sorrow. From Batman to James Bond, every hero is grieving, stricken by a loss from which he can’t recover, whether of parents, mistress, wife or daughter. He – it’s always a he, the women in these movies just get to be decorous or evil, much better options – is all twisted ...

Losers

Frank Kermode, 5 September 1985

Family and Friends 
by Anita Brookner.
Cape, 187 pp., £8.95, September 1985, 0 224 02337 3
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... technical resource. All five books are quite short, and all have some of the qualities of what James called the beautiful and blest nouvelle, since they are intensive in plot and on the whole refuse the temptation to broaden into novels. This limitation, if that is the right word, is not at all the consequence of any diffidence or lack of skill in the ...

After-Meditation

Thomas Keymer: The Girondin Wordsworth, 18 June 2020

Radical Wordsworth: The Poet who Changed the World 
by Jonathan Bate.
William Collins, 608 pp., £25, April, 978 0 00 816742 4
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William Wordsworth: A Life 
by Stephen Gill.
Oxford, new edition, 688 pp., £25, April, 978 0 19 881711 6
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... North-West. They had been running Westmorland like a giant pocket borough since the heyday of Sir James (‘Wicked Jimmy’) Lowther, 1st earl of Lonsdale: a man Thomas De Quincey called ‘a true Feudal Chieftain’, notorious for his ‘gloomy temper and habits of oppression’. Wicked Jimmy went to a better (or worse) place in 1802, at which point the ...

Diary

John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare, 6 February 1986

... Brag was its making so little of the other ascribed poem in Rawlinson 160: the Epitaph on Elias James. As Leslie Hotson showed some years ago, Shakespeare had links with a brewer of that name during his sojourn near St Andrew by the Wardrobe. Doubtless the Oxford editors felt that a single unfamiliar poem was as much as the public would swallow at once, but ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: The Supreme Court’s Judgment, 2 March 2017

... became ex officio head of the Church of England. On any view this was going to be a problem, and James II as he now was, egged on by his theological advisers, made the worst of it. Among other unwise moves he declared the Test Acts, which barred Catholics and dissenters from public office, to be of no effect, allowing him to commission Catholics as army ...

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