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John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry, 5 May 2005

by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... he was taken on as a fiction editor, aged 24, by the boss of Penguin, Allen Lane. ‘It seemed,’ Jeremy Lewis records in Penguin Special, ‘as if he was interviewing Lane for a job, rather than vice versa.’ At one editorial meeting Lewis describes, the phone rang. ‘I thought I said I wasn’t taking any ...

On the Lower Slopes

Stefan Collini: Greene’s Luck, 5 August 2010

Shades of Greene: One Generation of an English Family 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 580 pp., £25, August 2010, 978 0 224 07921 1
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... of the family tradition. Family is, ostensibly, the organising theme of Shades of Greene. Jeremy Lewis has not attempted to add yet another Life of the most famous Greene, but has written a narrative account of aspects of the lives of the more prominent Greene siblings and cousins, Graham included. The bloodstock details are quickly ...

The least you can do is read it

Ian Hamilton, 2 October 1997

Cyril Connolly: A Life 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 653 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 224 03710 2
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... Small wonder, runs the subtext, that I’m finding it difficult to write a book. As Jeremy Lewis’s admirable biography shows, Connolly’s life was pimpled with ‘if onlys’. His dream, he once testified, was to ‘live in one lovely place always pining for another, with the perfect woman imagining one more perfect’. Sexually, he was ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor, 2 June 2016

David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... décor is revolting … rain drips sadly onto the oilcloth … sacrifice £3500’). As Jeremy Lewis observes, it was a remarkably handsome newspaper, much more spacious in its page layouts and crisper in its black/white contrasts than its rival, the Sunday Times, which looked untidy and grey by comparison. Throughout the 1950s it was the ...

Candle Moments

Andrew O’Hagan: Norman Lewis’s Inventions, 25 September 2008

Semi-Invisible Man: The Life of Norman Lewis 
by Julian Evans.
Cape, 792 pp., £25, June 2008, 978 0 224 07275 5
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... the movement of his subject’s character, his strategies of revelation and concealment. Norman Lewis met Hemingway in December 1957 outside Havana. The visit proved a shocking disappointment; it was also a warning. Hemingway sloped around his bedroom in pyjamas, gulping huge glasses of Dubonnet, saying nothing and dismissing everything, while ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy Harding: David Jones’s War, 19 March 2015

... Gurney, and more than twice as long as Wilfred Owen, Charles Sorley, Robert Graves and Wyndham Lewis.’ It isn’t a competition, but his long acquaintance with the front is probably why the matter-of-fact tone of In Parenthesis – one tone among several – is so free of affectation. In the 1960s, Jones visited Sassoon, another Royal Welch Fusilier and ...
Jeremy Thorpe: A Secret Life 
by Lewis Chester, Magnus Linklater and David May.
Fontana, 371 pp., £1.50
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... In one sense, as the advertising claims, this is ‘the only book to tell the full story of the Jeremy Thorpe affair’, for there is no other book that tells that story. Written by three journalists from the Sunday Times, it presents the existing state of knowledge, but tidied up and reduced to order, and with some ‘investigative’ embellishments probably added ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough, 22 October 2015

... the queen,’ ran the headline on the front page of the Sun on 16 September, in response to Jeremy Corbyn’s tight-lipped participation in the singing of the national anthem at a commemoration of the Battle of Britain. The Times led with ‘Veterans open fire after Corbyn snubs anthem,’ the Telegraph with ‘Corbyn snubs queen and country.’ Three ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: HBO, 10 June 2010

... the quickest way to feel old or out of it is to find oneself unable to speak, in detail, about why Jeremy Piven is so brilliant as the agent in Entourage. You can watch educated people shrivel with a sense of inner defeat on realising that they don’t really know the difference between your average Twilight kid and the kind of vampire you get on True ...

Out of the Eater

Jeremy Noel-Tod: Thom Gunn, 6 July 2000

Boss Cupid 
by Thom Gunn.
Faber, 115 pp., £7.99, March 2000, 0 571 20298 5
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... characteristic manner could be described as ‘modern Drab’, to borrow a term applied by C.S. Lewis to Greville and other 16th-century writers: plain, rhythmically sturdy, rhyming verse, strongly Anglo-Saxon in diction, often lyrical, and often sententious. The term is not necessarily pejorative; it applies to Thomas Wyatt, for instance, whose exemplary ...

In the Teeth of the Gale

A.D. Nuttall, 16 November 1995

The Oxford Book of Classical Verse in Translation 
edited by Adrian Poole and Jeremy Maule.
Oxford, 606 pp., £19.99, October 1995, 0 19 214209 7
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... that he made the Aeneid frightfully classical, as it could never have felt when Virgil wrote. C.S. Lewis, who carried this form of 19th-century sensibility even further into the 20th century than Housman had, hated Dryden’s rendering of Virgil’s words, ‘rosea cervice refulsit’, ‘She turned and made appear /Her neck refulgent’. He greatly preferred ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty, 11 December 1997

... Justice, who told me he was a (rather elderly) law student, and his friend, a barrister called Jeremy Fox. I listened entranced to their assurances not only that Jimmy Hanratty had nothing to do with the A6 murder, but that they had been on intimate terms with the real killer: Peter Alphon. I was hooked on the case that gloomy February afternoon ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama, 11 October 2012

... audiences are widely reckoned to respond to obliquity of the kind Ford specialised in as Wyndham Lewis did in 1914: ‘What balls!’ So even given the participation of Tom Stoppard, Rebecca Hall and Benedict Cumberbatch, it was surprising to see a Ford adaptation given five hours on BBC2. Ford was last unloosed in this way in 1981, when Julian Mitchell ...

Our Hero

C.H. Sisson, 25 January 1990

Richard Aldington: A Biography 
by Charles Doyle.
Macmillan, 379 pp., £19.95, November 1989, 0 333 46487 7
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... heavenward, fairly described by Charles Doyle as ‘a biting lampoon of Eliot ... transformed into Jeremy Pratt Sybba (later Cibber)’. Not the least interest of the present biography is the light it throws on the complicated relationships between the two poets. The first volume of Eliot’s Letters record him writing of Aldington in 1921: ‘Apart from any ...

Someone Else’s

Matthew Reynolds: Translating Cesare Pavese, 6 October 2005

Disaffections: Complete Poems 1930-50 
by Cesare Pavese, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
Carcanet, 370 pp., £14.95, April 2004, 1 85754 738 1
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Italian Poems 
edited by Jamie McKendrick.
Faber, 167 pp., £12.99, June 2004, 0 571 19700 0
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... when he wrote in Italian. Throughout his career he worked as a translator, notably of Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Gertrude Stein, Dos Passos, Melville and Dickens, and published essays on them and other English and American writers. In the 1930s, this was a conscious contribution to the Anti-Fascist intellectual culture which endured in Turin: as ...

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