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Colin Burrow: Two Novels about Lost Bellinis

14 August 2008
The Bellini Card 
by Jason Goodwin.
Faber, 306 pp., £12.99, July 2008, 978 0 571 23992 4
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The Bellini Madonna 
by Elizabeth Lowry.
Quercus, 343 pp., July 2008, 978 1 84724 364 5
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... Are there too many novels about missing Old Masters? Anyone who reads JasonGoodwin’s The Bellini Card might be forgiven for thinking so. It’s about a search for a portrait of Mehmet the Conqueror which was supposedly painted by Gentile Bellini during his visit to Istanbul in ...


Graham Coster

26 July 1990
In Xanadu: A Quest 
by William Dalrymple.
Collins, 314 pp., £14.95, July 1989, 0 00 217948 2
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The Gunpowder Gardens 
by Jason Goodwin.
Chatto, 230 pp., £14.95, March 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Silk Roads: The Asian Adventures of André and Clara Malraux 
by Axel Madsen.
Tauris, 299 pp., £14.95, April 1990, 1 85043 209 0
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At Home and Abroad 
by V.S. Pritchett.
Chatto, 332 pp., £14.95, February 1990, 0 7011 3620 0
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Great Plains 
by Ian Frazier.
Faber, 290 pp., £14.99, March 1990, 0 571 14260 5
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... this blasted, inhospitable spot has been the pretext for a boyishly entertaining journey, but that once there at his goal Dalrymple has forgotten his portentous mentor entirely, and quite right too. JasonGoodwin is another recent Cambridge graduate, and another traveller-on-a-pretext, and even more burdened with the learning of many historical archives. The Gunpowder Gardens is subtitled (a giveaway ...

Stainless Splendour

Stefan Collini: How innocent was Stephen Spender?

22 July 2004
Stephen Spender: The Authorised Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Viking, 627 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 670 88303 4
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... behind the book’. This was to be the pattern. In 1951-52 (in an episode not discussed by Sutherland) Spender was closely involved in manoeuvres within the British branch of the CCF to oust Michael Goodwin, the editor of Twentieth Century, a periodical that had already been covertly subsidised by the Americans to provide an alternative platform in Britain to the ‘pro-Soviet’ New Statesman. Stonor ...

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