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Promises

Mary-Kay Wilmers

10 November 1988
The Faber Book of Seductions 
edited by Jenny Newman.
Faber, 366 pp., £12.95, June 1988, 0 571 15110 8
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Journeys to the Underworld 
by Fiona Pitt-Kethley.
Chatto, 226 pp., £10, October 1988, 9780701132231
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... And all there was between them then was rain. Brian Patten’s perfunctory verse is included in Jenny Newman’s anthology in order to make the same sort of point: seductions, which begin with fine words and end with desperate recriminations, are a thing of the past. ‘You cannot seduce anyone when innocence is not a value,’ Elizabeth Hardwick said ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen

22 June 2006
Doctor Who 
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Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... and monsters it’s quite impossible that I ever saw. ‘All lazy writing about Doctor Who,’ Kim Newman writes in his ‘critical reading’ of what he calls ‘the franchise’, ‘trades on the stereotypes of children watching “from behind the sofa”’ – exactly what I remember doing, though in our house we called it the settee. So do I really ...
6 August 1992
Curriculum Vitae 
by Muriel Spark.
Constable, 213 pp., £14.95, July 1992, 0 09 469650 0
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... frantically, sending out poem after poem, keeping critical projects on T.S. Eliot, Cardinal Newman and possibly the Book of Job all bubbling on the back-burner at the same time. Spark then became anorexic, using dexedrine as a substitute for regular meals. Her breakdown when it came appeared as a visitation from Eliot, whose poetry, Spark convinced ...
19 June 1986
The Bourgeois Experience: Victoria to Freud. Vol. II: The Tender Passion 
by Peter Gay.
Oxford, 490 pp., £19.50, June 1986, 0 19 503741 3
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... though Gay does not himself go into the matter, that the strong antagonism between Kingsley and Newman, which led to the writing of the latter’s Apologia pro Vita Sua, was quite simply sexual in origin, although both parties would have been surprised and no doubt disgusted to have had this pointed out. Both had a secret life of intimate sensations and ...

Hanging Offence

David Sylvester

21 October 1993
... eye is also a mouth and a nostril and a wound, and a stunningly handsome and inventive example of Jenny Holzer’s electronic signboards. Women artists are at last beginning to be gold medallists rather than bronze medallists among their generation, like Jewish artists fifty years ago. Those moments of pleasure and excitement, with their play between the ...

Made for TV

Jenny Diski

14 December 1995
Fight & Kick & Bite: The Life and Work of Dennis Potter 
by W. Stephen Gilbert.
Hodder, 382 pp., £18.99, November 1995, 0 340 64047 2
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Dennis Potter: A Life on Screen 
by John Cook.
Manchester, 368 pp., £45, October 1995, 0 7190 4601 7
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... which, of necessity included ‘the arts’. Somewhere in between, the executive producer Sydney Newman, the playwright Troy Kennedy Martin, the producer Kenith Trodd, the script editor Roger Smith and others, had thoughts about creating a new form of drama, not dependent on theatrical traditions, but written and directed for the strengths of the television ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper

22 March 2012
Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... While Hopper was still in his twenties, and noisily convinced that he was a better actor than Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward concluded (some time after hitting him on the head at a party with an antique copper bedwarmer): ‘Dennis is a genius. I’m not sure of what, and I’m not sure Dennis knows of what. Certainly not acting. But he is a genius.’ It ...
19 May 2011
Tough without a Gun: The Extraordinary Life of Humphrey Bogart 
by Stefan Kanfer.
Faber, 288 pp., £14.99, February 2011, 978 0 571 26072 0
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... to downright ugly, if you don’t count Glen Ford or Dana Andrews (who weren’t exactly Paul Newman or Montgomery Clift themselves). My generation have Cahiers du cinéma, Godard and Truffaut to thank for the earlier generation of movie stars we might have overlooked. More fundamentally, we have to thank Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, who ...

Last Night Fever

David Cannadine: The Proms

6 September 2007
... stranded subject, which has recently been brilliantly treated in a collection of essays edited by Jenny Doctor, David Wright and Nicholas Kenyon.* In terms (for instance) of its performing space, the crucial dates were 1893 and 1941 (when the Queen’s Hall was destroyed and the concerts moved to the Albert Hall); in terms of sponsorship and organisation, the ...

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