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5 February 1987
Trillion Year Spree: The History of Science Fiction 
by Brian Aldiss and David Wingrove.
Gollancz, 511 pp., £15, October 1986, 0 575 03942 6
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Eon 
by Greg Bear.
Gollancz, 504 pp., £10.95, October 1986, 0 575 03861 6
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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Trilogy in Four Parts 
by Douglas Adams.
Heinemann, 590 pp., £9.95, September 1986, 0 434 00920 2
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Humpty Dumpty in Oakland 
by Philip K. Dick.
Gollancz, 199 pp., £9.95, October 1986, 0 575 03875 6
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The Watcher 
by Jane Palmer.
Women’s Press, 177 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4038 0
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I, Vampire 
by Jody Scott.
Women’s Press, 206 pp., £2.50, September 1986, 0 7043 4036 4
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... authors) show an interesting oscillation between ancestor-rejection and underlying re-creation. Jane Palmer’s The Watcher is billed as ‘another joyous send up of the sf genre’, which seems to be borne out by the way it keeps cutting from winged hermaphrodite energy-drinkers on the far side of the galaxy to the utterly mundane concerns of the ...
5 March 1981
The Illustrated Dictionary of British History 
edited by Arthur Marwick.
Thames and Hudson, 319 pp., £8.95, October 1980, 0 500 25072 3
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Who’s Who in Modern History, 1860-1980 
by Alan Palmer.
Weidenfeld, 332 pp., £8.50, October 1980, 0 297 77642 8
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... VIII, 2nd s of Henry VII, qv, S 1509: m 1st, Catherine of Aragon; 2nd, Anne Boleyn; 3rd, Jane Seymour; 4th, Anne of Cleves; 5th, Catherine Howard; 6th, Catherine Parr etc). The authors have made their own compromise, which, as the price of retaining connected prose, offers a highly selective summary of salient events. It is instructive to observe how ...

At the Brunei Gallery

Peter Campbell: Indian photography

1 November 2001
... So although the pictures here, drawn from the collection of the British Library and the Howard and Jane Ricketts Collection, do show Kipling’s India – ethnographers and travellers photographed the landscapes, types and tribes which Kim encounters on his journeyings – their monochrome precision is miles away from Kim’s evocation of richly ...

Hard Romance

Barbara Everett

8 February 1996
... The Janeites’ must be Kipling’s least popular story (though there is competition). Written in 1924 and published in Debits and Credits two years later, it is an abrupt, allusive yarn about a group of English officers and men in northern France near the end of the First World War; and it is narrated by one of them, a large working-class innocent called Humberstall, in peacetime a hairdresser ...

Horrid Mutilation! Read all about it!

Richard Davenport-Hines: Jack the Ripper and the London Press by Perry Curtis

4 April 2002
Jack the Ripper and the London Press 
by Perry Curtis.
Yale, 354 pp., £25, February 2002, 0 300 08872 8
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... for example, described the inquest held at the Talbot Inn, Rugeley on the exhumed body of Walter Palmer five months after his murder by his brother William, the multiple poisoner. On the removal of the outer coffin a hole was bored in the leaden receptacle in which Walter Palmer’s body was confined, and instantly a most ...

Shelley in Season

Richard Holmes

16 October 1980
The Unacknowledged Legislator: Shelley and Politics 
by P.M.S. Dawson.
Oxford, 312 pp., £16.50, June 1980, 0 19 812095 8
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Shelley and his World 
by Claire Tomalin.
Thames and Hudson, 128 pp., £5.95, July 1980, 9780500130681
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... the hurrying narrator’s voice – ‘very shortly’ – promising us the delusive charms of Jane Williams, the guitar, the boat and Casa Magni by the sea. Everything is alive, swift, detailed, full of feeling. Again, it is clear what we will miss: any time to reflect, any chance to see the larger pattern, any real opportunity to enter into the ...

The Only Alphabet

August Kleinzahler: Ashbery’s Early Life

20 September 2017
The Songs We Know Best: John Ashbery’s Early Life 
by Karin Roffman.
Farrar, Straus, 316 pp., £25.50, June 2017, 978 0 374 29384 0
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... in a row felt he couldn’t ‘pick a “publishable manuscript”’. Ashbery’s painter friend Jane Freilicher, sensing his despondency, invited him to join her and Grace Hartigan and their boyfriends on a trip to Mexico. The landscape and new palette of colours thrilled him. On his return to New York three weeks later he learned that the Fulbright ...
1 April 1999
Beeton's Book of Household Management 
by Isabella Beeton.
Southover, 1112 pp., £29.95, November 1998, 9781870962155
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... reader to envisage. When the modern reader makes the transition from merely dreaming along with Jane Grigson or Delia Smith to trying a recipe, the imperatives resume their familiar role. But this cannot have been the case with a book such as Household Management, or not for much of the time. How did the following sentence function? ‘Send [the ...

Sweetly Terminal

Edward Pearce

5 August 1993
Diaries 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 421 pp., £20, June 1993, 0 297 81352 8
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... the building. I might say that to Pinochet if I get to see him on Friday. We opened a bottle of Palmer ‘61. Bruce (Anderson) laid down the law on personalities and ratings. My own shares are down badly after that slip on the Channel Tunnel. She was not going to keep Paul (Channon) on. Bernard had the briefing to hand ... Bruce was dismissive about ...
6 December 1990
The English Spa 1560-1815: A Social History 
by Phyllis Hembry.
Athlone, 401 pp., £35, October 1990, 0 485 11374 0
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The Medical History of Waters and Spas 
edited by Roy Porter.
Wellcome Institute, 150 pp., £18, September 1990, 0 85484 095 8
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... satirical passages on Bath (were they thought to be unfair, or too hackneyed?) and to leave Jane Austen (‘Oh, who can ever be tired of Bath!’) out of the chronicle. More comments by visitors, satirical or otherwise, would have been welcome. It was no small feat to track down some 173 spas which came and went before 1815, but in essence one small spa ...

Old, Old, Old, Old, Old

John Kerrigan: Late Yeats

3 March 2005
W.B. Yeats: A Life. Vol. II: The Arch-Poet 1915-39 
by Roy Foster.
Oxford, 822 pp., £16.99, March 2005, 0 19 280609 2
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... embarrassment. Almost the embodiment of ‘old speech’, his clichéd ageing personas (Crazy Jane, Old Tom) repeat themselves shamelessly. You have to warm to a poet willing to tell you three times in as many stanzas that he is, like old Lear, ‘mad as the mist and snow’. Yeats felt enabled by hatred because it both makes the speaker more insistently ...

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