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Like a Manta Ray

Jenny Turner: The Entire History of Sex, 22 October 2015

The Argonauts 
by Maggie Nelson.
Graywolf, 143 pp., £23, May 2015, 978 1 55597 707 8
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... more than mark that wildness’s grave. Being by trade a poet of plain language – William Carlos Williams would be another hero, also George Oppen, also Eileen Myles – Nelson finds her artistic focus drawn in two main directions. On the one hand, she crafts her words until she gets them to ‘facet’ as accurately as she can: ‘How to explain that for ...

A Kind of Slither

Michael Wood: Woody Allen, 27 April 2000

The Unruly Life of Woody Allen 
by Marion Meade.
Weidenfeld, 384 pp., £20, February 2000, 0 297 81868 6
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... wanted him to be a matador. He was gored by a bull and then later gored by his mother.’ ‘Jenny married money. Not an actual human being – it was a pile of singles.’ No one understood the shallows of the human heart better than Perelman, and when Allen imitates him he underscores the tiny range of our options, where all thoughts risk flopping into ...

My Books

Ian Patterson, 4 July 2019

... or jottings on the backs of envelopes. Books bought in Cambridge from the libraries of Raymond Williams, Dadie Rylands, Tony Tanner, Jack Lindsay and other luminaries. Even the most unassuming books prompted recollections. They composed a sort of biography, each one acting like a door in an advent calendar, opening on to some moment in the past.Still, they ...

Who Are They?

Jenny Turner: The Institute of Ideas, 8 July 2010

... editing business called Punctuate!, which advertises on Spiked. One of the invited speakers is Zoe Williams, the cheery, no-nonsense Guardian columnist, who wheels in her baby in a trendy triwheeler buggy and talks endearingly about how annoyed she gets with the government telling people what food to give their kids. Usually, I’d be cheering her on, but by ...

Narco Polo

Iain Sinclair, 23 January 1997

Mr Nice: An Autobiography 
by Howard Marks.
Secker, 466 pp., £16.99, September 1996, 0 436 20305 7
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Pulp Election: The Booker Prize Fix 
by Carmen St Keeldare.
Bluedove, 225 pp., £12.99, September 1996, 0 9528298 0 0
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... There’s the hardboiled prison yarn (school of Papillon); the sentimental education (Emlyn Williams with attitude); the Brideshead years (revised by Will Self); Kensington decadence (‘We threw a disgustingly lavish party ... The food was limited to caviar and foie gras, the drink to Stolichnaya and Dom Perignon ... Peter Whitehead married Dido ...

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 ...

Reasons for Liking Tolkien

Jenny Turner: The Hobbit Habit, 15 November 2001

... Club.5 The last, and most famous, was the Inklings, with C.S. Lewis (‘Jack’) and Charles Williams, at Oxford in the 1930s. On this subject, Humphrey Carpenter’s 1978 study, The Inklings, last revised in 1997, is the place to start.Religion: Mabel, his widowed mother, was a Roman Catholic convert, and Tolkien at least believed that her Low Church ...

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