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10 November 1994
Mobility and Migration: East Anglian Founders of New England, 1629-1640 
by Roger Thompson.
Massachusetts, 305 pp., £39.50, April 1994, 0 87023 893 0
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Adapting to a New World: English Society in the 17th-century Chesapeake 
by James Horn.
North Carolina, 461 pp., $65, September 1994, 0 8078 2137 3
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... change and experimentation’. New England, Thompson tells us with splendid verve, ‘was not to be a rubbish bin for England’s trash’ (the trash, he believes, headed South: on which see Horn, below.) Methodically, group by group, Thompson analyses his emigrating East Anglians, documenting their rootedness, immobility, conservatism and lack of enterprise. Evidence to the contrary is ...
19 January 1984
... give up on, Not wanting the moon, And their mothers, needless to say, are for the high jump. Fix it, Lord. Get Al on to it, And if it turns out to be more than you can handle Raise Jehovah on the horn. May the Lord and Allah with Jehovah’s proverbial In-depth back-up and sales apparatus Make a concerted effort to cut the crap, For the following reasons among others: Lest at least two kinds of ...

Beefcake Ease

Miranda Carter: Robert Mitchum and Steve McQueen

14 January 2002
Robert Mitchum: Solid, Dad, Crazy 
by Damien Love.
Batsford, 208 pp., £15.99, December 2001, 0 7134 8707 0
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Robert Mitchum: Baby, I Don’t Care 
by Lee Server.
Faber, 590 pp., £20, October 2001, 0 571 20994 7
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McQueen: The Biography 
by Christopher Sandford.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £16.99, October 2001, 0 00 257195 1
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... godfather of cool’ on America’s university campuses. Both men had got to where they were by doing or seeming to do nothing. It was the fashion. Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood, Lee Marvin, James Coburn, and in England – and in a different, English way – Michael Caine, seldom did anything else. It was also a manner which could not always be easily distinguished from simple idleness. For ...

Golden Horn

Malise Ruthven

1 March 1984
Pierre Loti: Portrait of an Escapist 
by Lesley Blanch.
Collins, 330 pp., £12.50, October 1983, 0 00 211649 9
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... of caste ... The whole second-rate element in Loti becomes an absolute stain, if we think much about it. But practically (and this is his first-rate triumph) we don’t think much about it. Henry James is not the first writer to have been impressed yet baffled by Pierre Loti. Anatole France, who called him the ‘sublime illiterate’, believed that, of all their contemporaries, he was ‘the most ...
6 February 1986
... Deposit heaps of steaming excrement While looking wiser than Immanuel Kant, More stately than the present Duke of Kent? You start to see why I was glad I went. Such sights were trophies, ivory and horn Destined for carving into objets d’art. Ideas already jumping like popcorn, I climbed down but had not gone very far Between that old Dakota and the car When what they told me stretched the ...
26 January 1995
Ezra Pound and James​ Laughlin: Selected Letters 
edited by David Gordon.
Norton, 313 pp., £23, June 1994, 0 393 03540 9
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‘Agenda’: An Anthology. The First Four Decades 
edited by William Cookson.
Carcanet, 418 pp., £25, May 1994, 1 85754 069 7
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... In a letter dated 22 January 1934 to his protégé James Laughlin, Pound makes passing reference to R.P. Blackmur, who had written a long unflattering essay, ‘Masks of Ezra Pound’, in an issue of the periodical Hound and Horn (which Pound renamed Bitch ...
20 September 1984
The Only Problem 
by Muriel Spark.
Bodley Head, 189 pp., £7.95, September 1984, 0 370 30605 8
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... camels and oxen, seven new sons and three new daughters, one of them named Keren-happuch, which Harvey likes to translate ‘Box of Eye-Paint’ but which is, I understand, more correctly rendered ‘Horn of Antimony’. If there were a Spark Notebook, like Henry James’s, an imaginable entry might run: ‘Suppose that in our time some rich man were not only deep in the study of Job but himself in a ...

Diary

John Kerrigan: Lost Shakespeare

6 February 1986
... and should appear in any edition with pretentions to completeness. What surprised me about Taylor’s 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 ...

Writing Machines

Tom McCarthy: On Realism and the Real

18 December 2014
... real can reside in exterior historical fact is most lucidly stated, ironically enough, by one of Nazism’s intellectual architects, Carl Schmitt, who, writing on Hamlet, sees in the murder of James I’s father a true north that, although absent in the text itself, orients all its compasses, making England – or, rather, Scotland – the real of Denmark, and the real of medieval Danish ...

Who’s Got the Moxie?

A. Craig Copetas

23 March 1995
The Mexican Tree Duck 
by James​ Crumley.
Picador, 247 pp., £15.99, May 1994, 0 330 32451 9
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One to Count Cadence 
by James​ Crumley.
Picador, 338 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 330 32450 0
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... George Armstrong Custer, a florid diarist before Crazy Horse cut short his writing career, was perhaps the first disowned American hero to find this out, on the rolling slopes of the Little Big Horn. Ernest Hemingway abandoned Africa to scatter his fame across Idaho with a shotgun. Richard Brautigan fled Haight-Ashbury for the solitude of Montana to write Trout Fishing in America and other then ...

Street-Wise

Richard Altick

29 October 1987
George Scharf’s London: Sketches and Watercolours of a Changing City, 1820-50 
by Peter Jackson.
Murray, 154 pp., £14.95, June 1987, 0 7195 4379 7
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... to stir the dormant social conscience of his time. He was not a Shepherd or a Boys either, bent on spreading the good word that ‘metropolitan improvements’ – the upbeat title of a book by James Elmes which Shepherd illustrated – were steadily bringing into existence a city whose size, wealth and new look were rapidly making it the unchallenged capital of the world. Involved, because, like ...

Y2K = AP2583

Jonathan Rée: 17th-century philosophy

10 June 1999
TheCambridge History of 17th-Century Philosophy 
edited by Daniel Garber and Michael Ayres.
Cambridge, 1616 pp., £90, April 1998, 0 521 58864 2
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... 1605) Francis Bacon argued that philosophy could no longer be regarded as a mere propaedeutic, to be ‘studied but in passage’. Ancient philosophy might be dead, but with the blessing of King James, a fertile new philosophy was about to take its place – ‘a spouse, for generation, fruit and comfort’ as Bacon put it – and its vigorous offspring were destined to conquer new worlds of ...
8 May 1997
Selected Stories 
by Alice Munro.
Chatto, 412 pp., £16.99, November 1996, 0 7011 6521 9
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... where MacQuarrie is supposedly holidaying, that he has married an American woman there. Helen has been used. In a fit, she drives round to MacQuarrie’s house, parks outside, and leans on the car horn until something happens. The whole town knows about the jilting, of course. Buddy Shields, the night constable, tells her to forget it, and to move on. Even in her distress, Helen is amused that ...

Look me in the eye

James​ Hall: Self-portraiture

25 January 2001
The Artist's Body 
edited by Tracey Warr and Amelia Jones.
Phaidon, 304 pp., £39.95, July 2000, 0 7148 3502 1
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Five Hundred Self-Portraits 
edited by Julian Bell.
Phaidon, 528 pp., £19.95, November 2000, 0 7148 3959 0
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Renaissance Self-Portraiture 
by Joanna Woods-Marsden.
Yale, 285 pp., £45, October 1998, 0 300 07596 0
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... Sherman and John Coplans; the sculptors Jeff Koons, Antony Gormley and Marc Quinn; the painters Andy Warhol, Francis Bacon and Jenny Saville; the performance and video artists Joseph Beuys, Rebecca Horn, Bruce Nauman, Arnulf Rainer and Matthew Barney. Their work commonly involves the display of the artists themselves in extremis: Orlan’s increasingly drastic bouts of plastic surgery; the stages of ...

Like Cutting a Cow

Adam Kuper: Ritual killings in southern Africa

6 July 2006
Medicine Murder in Colonial Lesotho: The Anatomy of a Moral Crisis 
by Colin Murray and Peter Sanders.
Edinburgh, 493 pp., £50, May 2006, 0 7486 2284 5
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... by the Venda anthropologist Victor Ralushai, the commission documented the recent wave of witch-hunts and medicine murders in grisly detail but paid more attention to what it considered, like King James I, to be the real threat of witchcraft. Another anthropologist, Isak Niehaus, has since published a superb account of witch-hunts in the area, while taking a more sceptical view of witchcraft. Now ...

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