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Dry Lands

Rebecca Solnit: The Water Problem

3 December 2009
Dead Pool: Lake Powell, Global Warming and the Future of Water in the West 
by James Lawrence Powell.
California, 283 pp., £19.95, January 2010, 978 0 520 25477 0
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... in the South-West wouldn’t exist. But the supply was always precarious and overcommitted, and it is already running out. Water limitations were noticed from the beginning, when Major John Wesley Powell and his crew became the first white men to float down the Colorado. Powell’s 1875 Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons, an expansion of his magazine reports, is still in print. It is a ...
25 March 1993
Philip Larkin: Writer 
by James​ Booth.
Harvester, 192 pp., £9.95, March 1992, 0 7450 0769 4
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... least with quite a number. Although the obvious danger would then be including almost every artistic effect under the heading of the pornographic (‘everything he does is so artistic,’ as Anthony Powell remarked of Lawrence’s gamekeeper, quoting a song of Marie Lloyd’s), it might be tempting to construct a General Theory of Pornography in Art along these lines. Lawrence himself, oddly enough ...

Female Heads

John Bayley

27 October 1988
Woman to Woman: Female Friendship in Victorian Fiction 
by Tess Cosslett.
Harvester, 211 pp., £29.95, July 1988, 0 7108 1015 6
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Sentiment and Sociability: The Language of Feeling in the Eighteenth Century 
by John Mullan.
Oxford, 261 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 19 812865 7
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The Early Journals and Letters of Fanny Burney. Vol. I: 1768-1773 
edited by Lars Troide.
Oxford, 353 pp., £45, June 1988, 9780198125815
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... to a world in which he has no being. Yet all the time he knows she is ‘hurrying to join him’. Creating an imaginary fresco of King Candaules awaiting his wife on the nuptial couch, Anthony Powell observes that the expectant monarch has in him ‘something of all men’, his spouse absorbed in her own rituals ‘something of all women’. In the legend, Candaules dies for thinking his wife’s ...

Puffed Wheat

James​ Wood: How serious is John Bayley?

20 October 2005
The Power of Delight: A Lifetime in Literature: Essays 1962-2002 
by John Bayley, selected by Leo Carey.
Duckworth, 677 pp., £25, March 2005, 0 7156 3312 0
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... an essay on Chekhov soon inflates into gassy generalities. Chekhov, Bayley writes, probably felt that ‘an artist and consumptive cannot afford to get too involved with life.’ He continues: D.H. Lawrence, fellow artist and consumptive, would have acrimoniously disagreed with him. Malice and revenge were a natural tonic and inspiration to Lawrence, although some of his best stories, particularly the ...

Brooke’s Benefit

Anthony Powell

16 April 1981
... freely acknowledged in the above passage – and the writers he knew, he knew well. There is acute literary criticism scattered about in his own books, some of which may be quoted. For instance, on James Joyce in The Dog at Clambercrown, which opens with Brooke reading Ulysses in the plane on the way to a holiday in Sicily: Ulysses, I suppose, is the most fascinating and the most devastatingly ...
26 September 1991
Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Jeffrey Meyers.
Murray, 320 pp., £20, July 1991, 0 7195 4910 8
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Joseph Conrad and the Modern Temper 
by Daphna Erdinast-Vulcan.
Oxford, 218 pp., £30, August 1991, 9780198117858
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... good sandwiches’ which the soon-to-be-cast-off Hadley Hemingway promised to make for her husband’s outing to the races at Longchamps; ‘black-eyed Susan’, the New Mexican cow beloved by D.H. Lawrence: these are the things that stay in the mind when diagnoses and depreciations are forgotten. Jeffrey Meyers, who has done solid biographies of Lawrence and Hemingway and has now done one for Conrad ...

Diary

Robert Fothergill: Among the Leavisites

12 September 2019
... courteous and solicitous, but it was rare for anyone to challenge him, or even ask a question. When Bernie Harrison, from Leeds, one day offered a mildly dissenting view on something to do with Henry James, Leavis declared: ‘Well Harrison, if you think that, you must be totally insensitive to the whole of English literature!’ ‘I hope I didn’t hurt poor Harrison,’ he said at the end of the ...

A Toast at the Trocadero

Terry Eagleton: D.J. Taylor

18 February 2016
The Prose Factory: Literary Life in England since 1918 
by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 501 pp., £25, January 2016, 978 0 7011 8613 5
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... was or what it meant. Instead, it is assimilated to the category of ‘Modern Movements’, a chapter that devotes far more of its time to writers like the Sitwells than it does to Joyce, Pound and Lawrence, all three of whom receive no more than a handful of glancing allusions in the book as a whole. There is a single brief reference to Pound’s Cantos and four mentions of Wyndham Lewis. Sylvia Plath ...

Burning Witches

Michael Rogin

4 September 1997
Raymond Chandler: A Biography 
by Tom Hiney.
Chatto, 310 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 7011 6310 0
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Raymond Chandler Speaking 
edited by Dorothy Gardiner and Kathrine Sorley Walker.
California, 288 pp., £10.95, May 1997, 0 520 20835 8
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... ones that made all three brows’. Chandler shattered cultural barriers with Philip Marlowe, private investigator, immortalised on the screen by Humphrey Bogart in The Big Sleep, mortalised by Dick Powell and Robert Montgomery during Chandler’s lifetime, and afterwards by Elliot Gould, Robert Mitchum and James Garner. He was the hero of the most listened to radio detective serial in history, and, by ...

Diary

Karl Miller: Conflict of Two Egos

3 June 1982
... is the same public which has been held to be united behind the Falklands policy of Mrs Thatcher’s government. Fishing in the troubled waters of the South Atlantic, as he has fished in others, Enoch Powell has claimed that the nation is formidable once again, by virtue of this unity, and he has since declared that ‘we must win.’ At any cost, apparently. I doubt whether we have been as unanimous as ...

Oh for the oo tray

William Feaver: Edward Burra

13 December 2007
Edward Burra: Twentieth-Century Eye 
by Jane Stevenson.
Cape, 496 pp., £30, November 2007, 978 0 224 07875 7
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... despite which he survived into his seventies. His sister Anne was an ally throughout. He found her reliably sympathetic: ‘I dont think she cares a fig realy – she is like me.’ His cousin Lawrence also proved like-minded; the pair of them took to calling themselves Gladys and Phyllis Dilly. Edward as Gladys doubled once as Widow Twankey. The Dilly sisters were imagined belles of Rye, the ...

The Real Magic

David Sylvester

8 June 1995
A Biographical Dictionary of Film 
by David Thomson.
Deutsch, 834 pp., £25, November 1994, 0 233 98859 9
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... Berkeley, nor, amazingly, a film starring either Garbo or Fred Astaire, nor Shoah. Instead, it finds room for The Quiet Man and The Bridge on the River Kwai, three films by Nicolas Roeg and four by Powell and Pressburger, with A Matter of Life and Death sharing 13th place with Les Enfants du paradis and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp sharing 23rd place with Some Like It Hot and Taxi Driver. Part ...
12 November 1987
For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... level, but they are never ephemeral and are occasionally remarkable, like the longish piece on Mayhew. He’s not a slasher – though there is a very severe notice of the autobiographies of Anthony Powell and Peter Quennell – and he seems to enjoy being generous to other reviewers, as when he justly praises John Updike. He is full of gratitude to literary editors, commemorating Ian Hamilton’s work ...

The Israel Lobby

John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt: The Israel Lobby

23 March 2006
... withdraw without delay’. On 7 April, Condoleezza Rice, then Bush’s national security adviser, told reporters: ‘“Without delay” means without delay. It means now.’ That same day Colin Powell set out for the Middle East to persuade all sides to stop fighting and start negotiating. Israel and the Lobby swung into action. Pro-Israel officials in the vice-president’s office and the ...

What I heard about Iraq in 2005

Eliot Weinberger: Iraq

5 January 2006
... chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, say: ‘I came away more positive than I’ve ever been. I think we’re getting some momentum built up.’ I heard about happiness. I heard Lieutenant General James Mattis say that ‘it’s a lot of fun to fight’ in Iraq. I heard him say: ‘You know, it’s a hell of a hoot. I like brawling.’ I heard that Donald Rumsfeld had created his own intelligence ...

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