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Sound Advice for Scotch Reviewers

Karl Miller, 24 January 1980

... 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 Reform Bill was passed, with Cockburn and ...

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 beyond the boundaries of their own cultural milieux towards realms they can neither control nor comprehend, and in which even their sufferings become meaningless ...

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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... 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. In place of Hogg’s ...

Cheering us up

Ian Jack, 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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... 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 one older woman) have been beguiled by his apparently ...

Diary

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 character of the London Review was established then, in the closing months of 1979 and the first months of 1980, even though it appeared as an insert in the New York Review of Books ...

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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... 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; – could make a better ...

Dynasty

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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... 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 psychoanalysis as a ...

Peeping Tam

Karl Miller, 6 August 1981

... 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 rustic vulgarity, and to ...

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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... 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 personal style, or ...

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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... 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 established between the wars, its directors quickly took ...

Lawful Resistance

Blair Worden, 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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... 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 was universal and established within these last 20 ...

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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... 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 Citizen Kane to a disco beat with the moral sophistication ...

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 ...

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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... 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 a question only time will answer. ...

Out of the blue

Mark Ford, 10 December 1987

Meeting the British 
by Paul Muldoon.
Faber, 53 pp., £9.95, May 1987, 0 571 14858 1
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Partingtime Hall 
by James Fenton and John Fuller.
Salamander, 69 pp., £7.50, April 1987, 0 948681 05 5
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Private Parts 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 72 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 9780701132064
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Bright River Yonder 
by John Hartley Williams.
Bloodaxe, 87 pp., £4.95, April 1987, 1 85224 028 8
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... can only be suicidal to a wised-up, historical awareness like Muldoon’s. Neither General Jeffrey Amherst nor Colonel Henry Bouquet can stomach the willow-tobacco the Indians offer. And in return They gave us six fishhooks and two blankets embroidered with smallpox. The disorientations Muldoon stores up here, and unleashes in the poem’s final ...

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