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Andrew O’Hagan: Our Paedophile Culture, 8 November 2012

... onto the back foot, and several struggled to make the move. Some who did, such as Gilbert Harding (another Cambridge graduate and former schoolteacher, later a famously agitated contestant on What’s My Line?), were known for their melancholy and their loneliness as well as for their charitable work. Terence Gallacher remembers that Gamlin constantly ...

The Best Barnet

Jeremy Harding, 20 February 1997

With Chatwin: Portrait of a Writer 
by Susannah Clapp.
Cape, 246 pp., £15.99, January 1997, 0 224 03258 5
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... tree in the south of France, having his hair combed by his wife. The ravenous Francis Wyndham and James Fox spoon up a pitifully notional soufflé made from wild strawberries which they have picked ‘all day’ at Chatwin’s insistence and which he has finicked down to an airy nothing. His host in Shropshire, Martin Wilkinson, recalls a local pub in which ...

Junk Mail

Jeremy Harding, 23 September 1993

The Letters of William Burroughs, 1949-1959 
edited by Oliver Harris.
Picador, 472 pp., £17.50, August 1993, 0 330 33074 8
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... thoughts have not occurred and this particular routine, which might be called ‘Henry James at the End of the Fork’, leads us in turn to think about Burroughs’s own relationship with America and the success be has made of it. The monstrous and unreadable nature of much of the fiction, the careful management of the revolt and the rationed ...

Du Maurier: A Lament

Jeremy Harding, 24 March 1994

Cigarettes Are Sublime 
by Richard Klein.
Duke, 210 pp., £19.95, February 1994, 0 8223 1401 0
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... of being a smoker, but it is an impulse of capitalism rather than tobacco itself: the empire of James B. Duke, which formed the basis of the modern tobacco industry, began a century ago with the mass production of cigarettes on the Bonsak machine; the habit of tobacco is vastly older. I live over a 24-hour minicab office and a forecourt full of cars. The ...

Elective Outsiders

Jeremy Harding, 3 July 1997

Conductors of Chaos: A Poetry Anthology 
edited by Iain Sinclair.
Picador, 488 pp., £9.99, June 1996, 0 330 33135 3
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Nearly Too Much: The Poetry of J.H. Prynne 
by N.H. Reeve and Richard Kerridge.
Liverpool, 196 pp., £25, April 1996, 0 85323 840 5
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Carl Rakosi: Poems 1923-41 
edited by Andrew Crozier.
Sun & Moon, 209 pp., $12.99, August 1995, 1 55713 185 6
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The Objectivists 
edited by Andrew McAllister.
Bloodaxe, 156 pp., £8.95, May 1996, 1 85224 341 4
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... who rather enjoy it.’ Twenty-five, thirty years after the best of them began to publish – John James, Chris Torrance, Lee Harwood, Andrew Crozier, Peter Riley, J.H. Prynne, Michael Haslam, Douglas Oliver, Barry MacSweeney, Denise Riley – they must nonetheless wonder, from time to time, whether theirs is a case of having missed the boat which would only ...

How bad can it get?

LRB Contributors, 15 August 2019

... William Davies, Sionaidh Douglas-Scott, Lorna Finlayson, Daniel Finn, Katrina Forrester, Jeremy Harding, Daisy Hildyard, Colin Kidd, James Meek, Ferdinand Mount, Jan-Werner Müller, Jonathan Parry, David RuncimanNeal Ascherson‘On​ 17 June poor France fell. That day, as we trudged past Greenwich … a tug skipper ...


James Meek: Waiting for the War to Begin, 28 July 2016

... speak to Ewen MacAskill, the Guardian’s diplomatic correspondent, in London. We talk about Luke Harding, the paper’s reporter in northern Iraq, and what a good position he’s in there, with relative freedom to move about and report, and the likelihood of him being first into a series of important towns: Kirkuk, Tikrit. Whereas Suzanne in Baghdad, and our ...

Quiet Sinners

Bernard Porter: Imperial Spooks, 21 March 2013

Empire of Secrets: British Intelligence, the Cold War and the Twilight of Empire 
by Calder Walton.
Harper, 411 pp., £25, February 2013, 978 0 00 745796 0
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... double agents, which had been MI5’s speciality in both world wars. Yet, according to Sir John Harding, governor of Cyprus in the 1950s: As far as ill-treatment, rough treatment on capture, I think that it is something which inevitably does happen. After all if you’ve got troops or police who are engaged in an anti-terrorist operation and they’ve seen ...


Terry Eagleton: T.S. Eliot’s Politics, 19 September 2002

The ‘Criterion’: Cultural Politics and Periodical Networks in Interwar Britain 
by Jason Harding.
Oxford, 250 pp., £35, April 2002, 9780199247172
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... worth its salt has a political interest. It is the contradiction of non-political politics. Jason Harding’s assiduously researched study of the magazine is excellent at nipping behind its tone of Olympian hauteur to reveal the sectarian, manipulative, suavely malicious politics of the literary marketplace that lie behind it. Framed against a world of ...

Report from Sirius B

Jeremy Harding: ‘Phantom Africa’, 22 March 2018

Phantom Africa 
by Michel Leiris, translated by Brent Hayes Edwards.
Seagull, 711 pp., £42, January 2017, 978 0 85742 377 1
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... Not really, Edwards thinks. Can the journal be described, as the historian James Clifford argued in a famous essay in 1981, as ‘ethnographic surrealism’? Hardly. Was Leiris really in pursuit of the exotic ‘black Edens’ he had glimpsed with the arrival of jazz in Paris after World War One? Pretty much: they led him to Africa in ...

Dry Eyes

John Bayley, 5 December 1991

Jump and Other Stories 
by Nadine Gordimer.
Bloomsbury, 257 pp., £13.99, October 1991, 0 7475 1020 2
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Wilderness Tips 
by Margaret Atwood.
Bloomsbury, 247 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 0 7475 1019 9
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... Jane Austen’s sense of the society she lived in is subject to a variety of interpretations. D.W. Harding detected her ‘controlled hatred’ for it, while most of her fans regard her as supremely at home in it, using it as a vehicle for amusement and perception and something like comfortable fantasy. She repels and attracts; she can be attacked and ...

Call me Ahab

Jeremy Harding: Moby-Dick, 31 October 2002

Moby-Dick, or, The Whale 
by Herman Melville, edited by Harrison Hayford and Hershel Parker.
Northwestern, 573 pp., £14.95, September 2001, 0 8101 1911 0
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Mariners, Renegades and Castaways: The Story of Herman Melville and the World We Live in 
by C.L.R. James.
New England, 245 pp., £17.95, July 2001, 9781584650942
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Hunting Captain Ahab: Psychological Warfare and the Melville Revival 
by Clare Spark.
Kent State, 744 pp., £46.50, May 2001, 0 87338 674 4
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Lucchesi and the Whale 
by Frank Lentricchia.
Duke, 104 pp., £14.50, February 2001, 9780822326540
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... and moderate? Master and slave? Dictator and compliant intellectual? (This was how C.L.R. James saw them in Mariners, Renegades and Castaways, written during his detention on Ellis Island in 1952 and republished last year.) Or are they merely chalk and cheese? Would the debates of the 1930s and 1940s, which cast Ahab as a Hitler or a Stalin and ...


Marilyn Butler, 2 September 1982

The New Pelican Guide to English Literature. Vol. I: Medieval Literature Part One: Chaucer and the Alliterative Tradition, Vol. II: The Age of Shakespeare, Vol. III: From Donne to Marvell, Vol. IV: From Dryden to Johnson 
edited by Boris Ford.
Penguin, 647 pp., £2.95, March 1982, 0 14 022264 2
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Medieval Writers and their Work: Middle English Literature and its Background 
by J.A. Burrow.
Oxford, 148 pp., £9.95, May 1982, 0 19 289122 7
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Contemporary Writers Series: Saul Bellow, Joe Orton, John Fowles, Kurt Vonnegut, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Pynchon 
by Malcolm Bradbury, C.W.E. Bigsby, Peter Conradi, Jerome Klinkowitz and Blake Morrison.
Methuen, 110 pp., £1.95, May 1982, 0 416 31650 6
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... that commanded by F.R. Leavis and the early graduates of Cambridge English, [D.W.] Harding, [L.C.] Knights, Q.D. Leavis and [Denys] Thompson – five authors who, in aggregate, wrote on virtually every topic that Scrutiny ever discussed. The second Scrutiny generation, led by [R.G.] Cox and Ford, was markedly more restricted in range.’ Ford ...

In the Châtelet

Jeremy Harding, 20 April 1995

François Villon: Complete Poems 
edited by Barbara Sargent-Bauer.
Toronto, 346 pp., £42, January 1995, 0 8020 2946 9
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Basil Bunting: Complete Poems 
edited by Richard Caddel.
Oxford, 226 pp., £10.99, September 1994, 0 19 282282 9
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... too, are more discreetly signalled: to Dante, Villon, Chapman’s Homer, among others; to the King James Bible and, in ‘The Spoils’, his last big poem before ‘Briggflatts’, to an array of Arabic, Jewish and Persian materials – Bunting served in Persia during the war and later became the Times correspondent in Tehran, although he was expelled by ...

Take out all the adjectives

Jeremy Harding: The poetry of George Oppen, 6 May 2004

New Collected Poems 
by George Oppen, edited by Michael Davidson.
Carcanet, 433 pp., £14.95, July 2003, 1 85754 631 8
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... There is also the extra ‘e’ on Maud, the remarriageable reader of French novels in Henry James’s ‘The Story of It’: a quirk Oppen chose not to change in later editions. Yet the drift is clear and exhilarating, and there is a cold precision, no less exhilarating, in the way the poem gets where it’s going, in a single, almost coherent sentence ...

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