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24 January 1980
... tells him whether his Georgics will be well, in the sense of favourably, reviewed in the Edinburgh Review, and what it is to contribute to this anonymous publication. With Cockburn’s friend Francis Jeffrey as editor, the journal had been running for almost ten years as an instrument of the Whig persuasion, and was to run on as such into a future that held the Parliamentary triumph of 1832, when the ...

His v. Hers

Mark Ford

9 March 1995
In Touch: The Letters of Paul Bowles 
edited by Jeffrey Miller.
HarperCollins, 604 pp., £25, October 1994, 0 00 255535 2
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... The final section of Paul Bowles’s most famous novel, The Sheltering Sky, is prefaced by a quotation from Kafka that encapsulates the narrative trajectory of just about everything Bowles has ever written: ‘From a certain point onward there is no longer any turning back. That is the point that must be reached.’ With obsessive frequency Bowles’s short stories and novels feature characters propelled ...

About Myself

Liam McIlvanney: James Hogg

18 November 2004
The Electric Shepherd: A Likeness of James Hogg 
by Karl Miller.
Faber, 401 pp., £25, August 2003, 0 571 21816 4
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Altrive Tales 
by James Hogg, edited by Gillian Hughes.
Edinburgh, 293 pp., £40, July 2003, 0 7486 1893 7
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... as one could wish, in the Stirling/South Carolina Research Edition; 14 volumes of a projected 31 have now appeared.† But has Hogg’s life been fully written? The answer, on the evidence of Karl Miller’s book, must be: not yet. Miller provides a thoughtful survey of Hogg’s poetry and prose, against a finely drawn backdrop of literary Edinburgh, but he doesn’t attempt a full-scale biography ...
15 September 1988
In for a Penny: The Unauthorised Biography of Jeffrey​ Archer 
by Jonathan Mantle.
Hamish Hamilton, 264 pp., £11.95, July 1988, 0 241 12478 6
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... to making this impression, it will give weight and seriousness to your life, lending it meaning in your own eyes and leading to your advancement.’ There is no written evidence to suggest that Jeffrey Archer has ever read Thomas Mann. One of the many striking aspects of his career, however, is the way in which Felix Krull’s larger view of the world has advanced it. Many older men (and at least ...


Nicholas Spice: Karl Miller​ is leaving

5 November 1992
... Karl Miller’s decision to resign from the London Review of Books is a sad moment for the magazine which, with Mary-Kay Wilmers and Susannah Clapp, he founded in 1979. In all important respects, the present ...


Sherry Turkle: Lacan and Co

6 December 1990
Jacques Lacan and Co: A History of Psychoanalysis in France, 1925-1985 
by Elisabeth Roudinesco, translated by Jeffrey​ Mehlman.
Free Association, 816 pp., £25, December 1990, 9781853431630
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... from an insider’s point of view. It is a tale of psychoanalytic politics which never strays far from family romance. Indeed, in the final chapters of the saga, Lacan’s son-in-law, Jacques-Alain Miller, was put in the place of dauphin, much as Freud had made his daughter Anna his Antigone. Miller’s struggle for the succession brought to the surface the complex and self-contradictory nature of ...

Burke and Smith

Karl Miller

16 October 1980
Sydney Smith 
by Alan Bell.
Oxford, 250 pp., £9.95, October 1980, 0 19 812050 8
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Burke and Hare 
by Owen Dudley Edwards.
Polygon, 300 pp., £7.95, August 1980, 0 904919 27 7
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... scene in the person of Henry Cockburn, whose career and reputation show several points of similarity with Smith’s: the two did not quarrel, but he was to have more to do with Cockburn’s friend Jeffrey, editor of the Review. Jeffrey’s cockiness and scepticism were chided and parodied: ‘Damn the solar system! bad light – planets too distant – pestered with comets – feeble contrivance; – ...

Peeping Tam

Karl Miller

6 August 1981
... Night’ is an account of the poor which they may have been inclined to accept as no more than the truth. Eight years before Jane Austen expressed her suspicions of Burns’s sincerity, Francis Jeffrey passed judgment on his work in the Edinburgh Review (January 1809). For Jeffrey, a formidable arbiter of taste in the new Britain, Burns was an ‘enamoured peasant’, prone to the faults of a ...

Cod on Ice

Andy Beckett: The BBC

10 July 2003
Panorama: Fifty Years of Pride And Paranoia 
by Richard Lindley.
Politico’s, 404 pp., £18.99, September 2002, 1 902301 80 3
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The Harder Path: The Autobiography 
by John Birt.
Time Warner, 532 pp., £20, October 2002, 0 316 86019 0
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... for the BBC Light Programme. It occurred to him to try to transfer the populist documentary style to the new medium. In 1952 he made contact with another producer looking for a TV project, Andrew Miller Jones. Miller Jones was an ex-Army officer with a yellow Rolls-Royce, the first of a large number of Panorama staff over the next fifty years with either a military background or an ostentatious ...

Oh God, can we face it?

Daniel Finn: ‘The BBC’s Irish Troubles’

18 May 2016
The BBC’s ‘Irish Troubles’: Television, Conflict and Northern Ireland 
by Robert Savage.
Manchester, 298 pp., £70, May 2015, 978 0 7190 8733 2
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... to stand its ground and maintain editorial independence and journalistic integrity.’ But the facts presented in his account, and in those of pioneering media critics such as Liz Curtis and David Miller, suggest that a more critical verdict would not be out of place.* The early years of broadcasting in Northern Ireland had been safe and somnolent, as Savage describes. After BBC Northern Ireland was ...
24 November 1988
Algernon Sidney and the English Republic 1623-1677 
by Jonathan Scott.
Cambridge, 258 pp., £27.50, August 1988, 0 521 35290 8
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Seeds of Liberty: 1688 and the Shaping of Modern Britain 
by John Miller.
Souvenir, 128 pp., £15.95, July 1988, 0 285 62839 9
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Reluctant Revolutionaries: Englishmen and the Revolution of 1688 
by W.A. Speck.
Oxford, 267 pp., £17.50, July 1988, 9780198227687
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War and Economy in the Age of William III and Marlborough 
by D.W. Jones.
Blackwell, 351 pp., £35, September 1988, 0 631 16069 8
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Robert Harley: Speaker, Secretary of State and Premier Minister 
by Brian Hill.
Yale, 259 pp., £25, June 1988, 0 300 04284 1
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A Kingdom without a King: The Journal of the Provisional Government in the Revolution of 1688 
by Robert Beddard.
Phaidon, 192 pp., £14.95, November 1988, 9780714825007
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... ones created by the emergence of popular radicalism and by the French Revolution. The doctrine of resistance, which had hitherto threatened rulers, now threatened the ruling class. In 1808 Francis Jeffrey, writing in the Whig Edinburgh Review, lamented that it had become ‘unfashionable, and not very popular, to talk of the tyranny of the Stuarts, and the triumph of the Revolution, in the tone that ...

Living the Life

Andrew O’Hagan

5 October 2016
Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency 
by James Andrew Miller.
Custom House, 703 pp., £20, August 2016, 978 0 06 244137 9
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... storytellers – and that’s before we even get to the internet. In the age of ‘streaming’, of Netflix, Amazon and YouTube, there are 700 agents at CAA, but the story told in James Andrew Miller’s riveting book is really about the personalities who invented the game. It is, more particularly, the story of what Michael Ovitz gave to the world and what that world took away from him. It’s ...

Here/Not Here

Wendy Steiner

4 July 1996
... scar. How can the celebrity outsider maintain a sense of his identity, or painterly authority, when he is his own subject-matter and his audience sees that subject-matter as ‘other’, less than ‘us’? Basquiat’s solutions to this dilemma are often brilliant. In the triptych Zydeco (1984), for example, a cinematographer in profile looks through the lens of his movie camera. In a Cubist pun ...

Hemingway Hunt

Frank Kermode

17 April 1986
Along with Youth: Hemingway, the Early Years 
by Peter Griffin.
Oxford, 258 pp., £12.95, March 1986, 0 19 503680 8
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The Young Hemingway 
by Michael Reynolds.
Blackwell, 291 pp., £14.95, February 1986, 0 631 14786 1
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Hemingway: A Biography 
by Jeffrey​ Meyers.
Macmillan, 646 pp., £16.95, March 1986, 0 333 42126 4
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... plaid cape. It was not lined but very pretty’ etc, etc. Not all the minute detail is quite credible. Italian soldiers are unlikely to have called Hemingway giovanni Americano, and when Johnny Miller missed his stroke while rowing he was not catching crabs. How Griffin is going to get Hemingway’s extraordinarily eventful last forty years into only two more volumes if he goes on at this rate is ...
16 October 1997
Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... him at the meetings. Similarly, he could never have joined, or with any consistency supported, a political party without quickly being disgusted by its humbug or convulsed by its absurdity. Jonathan Miller was surely wrong when he said to Thompson: ‘The idea that Peter had an anarchic, subversive view of society is complete nonsense. He was the most upstanding, traditional upholder of everything ...

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