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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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... and resented being shouted at by sergeants. After some false starts in the book world, he was taken on as a fiction editor, aged 24, by the boss of Penguin, Allen Lane. ‘It seemed,’ JeremyLewis 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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... conformity that lurked beneath his bohemian exterior and helped him feel that he was maintaining something of the family tradition. Family is, ostensibly, the organising theme of Shades of Greene. JeremyLewis 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 ...
2 October 1997
Cyril Connolly: A Life 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 653 pp., £25, May 1997, 0 224 03710 2
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... romantic, melancholy artist. 2. The 18th-century hedonist. 3. The efficient 20th-century left-wing intellectual.’ Small wonder, runs the subtext, that I’m finding it difficult to write a book. As JeremyLewis’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 ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor

1 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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... of seeing; the house adverts by the subversive estate agent Roy Brooks that my brother read aloud (‘The décor is revolting … rain drips sadly onto the oilcloth … sacrifice £3500’). As JeremyLewis 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 ...

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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... an orange and to describe how he managed it; it also seemed natural for him to set moral traps to catch 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 ...

Corbyn in the Media

Paul Myerscough

21 October 2015
... Corb snubs​ 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 ...

Short Cuts

Jeremy​ Harding: David Jones’s War

19 March 2015
... than Blunden, half a year longer than Isaac Rosenberg, twice as long as Siegfried Sassoon and Ivor 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 ...

Short Cuts

Andrew O’Hagan: HBO

10 June 2010
... shows, later designated ‘box sets’. Nowadays, it’s all anybody ever talks about, and 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 ...
8 November 1979
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 ...


Paul Foot: Awaiting the Truth about Hanratty

11 December 1997
... leaving her for dead before driving off in the couple’s car. Among the guests at the wake were Jean 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 ...

Short Cuts

Christopher Tayler: Costume Drama

11 October 2012
... worked over, or mistaken for a blackguard, on account of his mulish rectitude. Costume drama 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 ...

Top Grumpy’s Top Hate

Robert Irwin: Richard Aldington’s Gripes

18 February 1999
Richard Aldington and Lawrence of Arabia: A Cautionary Tale 
by Fred Crawford.
Southern Illinois, 265 pp., £31.95, July 1998, 0 8093 2166 1
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Lawrence the Uncrowned King of Arabia 
by Michael Asher.
Viking, 419 pp., £20, October 1998, 0 670 87029 3
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... and Jews, who controlled the publishing houses, the reviewing press and therefore the taste of the public. Aldington was a determined outsider, like Henry Williamson and like his friends, Wyndham Lewis and Roy Campbell. They were all writers who were never quite fashionable in their own lifetimes and not likely to be in the future. All of them held cantankerous, right-wing opinions. There were ...

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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... with a crucial significance in the development of English verse. In 1931 we had Stepping 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 ...
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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... 1936, deeply admired the criticism of Arnold). The trouble with Dryden as translator was precisely 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 ...

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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... has tended to return to a relatively limited range of modes, especially when writing formal verse. His 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 ...

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