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Lauraphobia

Jenny Turner, 10 March 1994

In Extremis: The Life of Laura Riding 
by Deborah Baker.
Hamish Hamilton, 462 pp., £25, October 1993, 9780241128343
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... Laura Riding, so Deborah Baker tells us, first emerged into the public world of books in 1924. She was 23 years old and living in Louisville with her husband, a history professor whom she met when he was her teacher at Cornell. One of the things that had attracted Lou Gottschalk to Laura Reichenthal, as Riding had then been called, was that she knew her Marx better than the other undergraduate ladies did ...

Star Warrior

John Sutherland, 6 October 1983

Skywalking: The Life and Films of George Lucas 
by Dale Pollock.
Elm Tree, 304 pp., £9.95, July 1983, 0 241 11034 3
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Olaf Stapledon: A Man Divided 
by Leslie Fiedler.
Oxford, 236 pp., £17.50, June 1983, 0 19 503086 9
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... back have sold getting on for $900m worth of tickets. C-3PO and R2-D2 are as well known as Pope John Paul or Mickey Mouse. Lucas’s second movie and first hit, American Graffiti (produced by Francis Coppola, conceived and directed by Lucas), was the most profitable investment in Hollywood history: it brought in $117m against a production cost of ...

Chucky, Hirple, Clart

David Craig: Robert Macfarlane, 24 September 2015

Landmarks 
by Robert Macfarlane.
Hamish Hamilton, 387 pp., £20, March 2015, 978 0 241 14653 8
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... William Cobbett of Rural Rides, a farmer’s son and himself a farmer from time to time; John Muir of My First Summer in the Sierra, a farmer’s son and farmer; and Lewis Grassic Gibbon of A Scots Quair, a farmer’s son from the Mearns in north-east Scotland. All three produced work that strikes me as special – as important, if you like ...

Architect as Hero

David Cannadine, 21 January 1982

Lutyens: The Work of the English Architect Sir Edwin Lutyens 
Hayward Gallery, 200 pp., £15, November 1981, 0 7287 0304 1Show More
Edwin Lutyens: Architect Laureate 
by Roderick Gradidge.
Allen and Unwin, 167 pp., £13.95, November 1981, 0 04 720023 5
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Indian Summer: Lutyens, Baker and Imperial Delhi 
by Robert Grant Irving.
Yale, 406 pp., £20, November 1981, 0 300 02422 3
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Lutyens: Country Houses 
by Daniel O’Neill.
Lund Humphries, 167 pp., £8.95, May 1980, 0 85331 428 4
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Lutyens and the Sea Captain 
by Margaret Richardson.
Scolar, 40 pp., £5.95, November 1981, 0 85967 646 3
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Houses and Gardens by E.L. Lutyens 
by Lawrence Weaver.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 344 pp., £19.50, January 1982, 0 902028 98 7
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... the catalogue commentary requires the combined efforts of Colin Amery, Mary Lutyens, Jane Brown, John Cornforth, Gavin Stamp and John Summerson to do justice to an architect whose career, in its range, dimensions and achievements, outshines Wren, Vanbrugh and the Adam brothers. Cloud-capp’d towers, gorgeous ...

Snug

John Bayley, 9 September 1993

The Life of Ian Fleming 
by Donald McCormick.
Peter Owen, 231 pp., £18.50, July 1993, 0 7206 0888 0
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... waiting dejectedly for custom in his own surgery. Not only do cases or patients turn up at the Baker Street sitting-room with dramatic regularity, but each presents its own fascinating problem, which only the fantasy couple are competent to solve. What bored doctor could ask for more? Yet sometimes things seem to work the other way round. A highly ...

JC’s Call

J.I.M. Stewart, 2 April 1981

Joseph Conrad: Times Remembered 
by Joseph Conrad.
Cambridge, 218 pp., £10.50, March 1981, 0 521 22805 0
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... died at the age of 67 on 3 August 1924, the day following the 18th birthday of his younger son, John Conrad, the author of the present book. John’s memories, which reach astonishingly far back into his earliest childhood, begin with his family living in poverty in a tiny cottage, ‘a dark and gloomy place’, at ...

Gaslight and Fog

John Pemble: Sherlock Holmes, 26 January 2012

The Ascent of the Detective: Police Sleuths in Victorian and Edwardian England 
by Haia Shpayer-Makov.
Oxford, 429 pp., £30, September 2011, 978 0 19 957740 8
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... the landladies who wanted to keep house for him when he retired, the tourists who came to Baker Street looking for his lodgings: these are more than mythical, they are legendary. And addicts who know he’s fictive pretend that they don’t. There’s a whole archive of mock research in pseudo-academic publications dedicated to his life and work. In ...

The Thought of Ruislip

E.S. Turner: The Metropolitan Line, 2 December 2004

Metro-Land: British Empire Exhibition Number 
by Oliver Green.
Southbank, 144 pp., £16.99, July 2004, 1 904915 00 0
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... in the 1920s. Metroland was the commuter catchment area for the line running north-west from Baker Street station through a string of ‘unspoiled’ arcadias and ancient pocket boroughs into the Chiltern Hundreds and the Vale of Aylesbury. The originators of successful brand names deserve to be remembered. According to Alan Jackson’s London’s ...

Stardom

Megan Vaughan: Explorers of the Nile, 8 March 2012

Explorers of the Nile: The Triumph and Tragedy of a Great Victorian Adventure 
by Tim Jeal.
Faber, 510 pp., £25, September 2011, 978 0 571 24975 6
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... course of twenty years in the mid-19th century a group of British explorers – Richard Burton, John Hanning Speke, David Livingstone, Samuel Baker (with his wife, Florence), Henry Morton Stanley and James Grant – slogged out on their respective expeditions through East and Central Africa, and engaged in an intense and ...

Put a fist through it

Harriet Baker: The Hampstead Modernists, 8 October 2020

Circles and Squares: The Lives and Art of the Hampstead Modernists 
by Caroline Maclean.
Bloomsbury, 296 pp., £30, April, 978 1 4088 8969 5
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The See-Through House: My Father in Full Colour 
by Shelley Klein.
Chatto, 271 pp., £16.99, April, 978 1 78474 310 9
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... of the term, slotting it between ‘guilty quotation marks’ throughout the issue. Designed by John Piper (with whom Myfanwy was living at Fawley Bottom, a rundown farmhouse in Oxfordshire), Axis was crisp and modern, with sans-serif lettering and experimental prose. But Myfanwy’s refusal to pin down abstraction infuriated the artists. In what Maclean ...

Bananas

Jane Campbell, 20 April 1995

The Death of Old Man Rice: A Story of Criminal Justice in America 
by Martin Friedland.
New York, 423 pp., $29.95, October 1994, 0 8147 2627 5
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... and appeared to have been signed by Rice on the day before he died. When James A. Baker, a Texas lawyer whose firm had represented Rice for many years and who had drawn up his will in 1896, arrived in New York, he went to Rice’s Madison Avenue apartment, where he met Patrick. ‘I suppose you are surprised to find me in charge,’ Patrick ...

Ronbo

Michael Rogin, 13 October 1988

Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North 
by Ben Bradlee.
Grafton, 572 pp., £14.95, September 1988, 0 246 13364 3
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For the Record: From Wall Street to Washington 
by Donald Regan.
Hutchinson, 397 pp., £16.95, June 1988, 0 09 173622 6
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... National Security Adviser), but also supplied the President with what National Security Adviser John Poindexter called ‘plausible deniability’ by insulating him from the men like North who were actually implementing his covert operations. Split from one another and from Reagan himself, North and Regan were the doubles of the President they served. ‘I ...

No Tricks

Frank Kermode: Raymond Carver, 19 October 2000

Call If You Need Me: The Uncollected Fiction and Prose 
by Raymond Carver.
Harvill, 300 pp., £15, July 2000, 1 86046 759 8
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... not only because he worked hard at them, but also because he listened to advice, especially from John Gardner but also, more remotely, from Hemingway, Chekhov and V.S. Pritchett. One of the things he learned was the need for arduous revision, draft after draft. Another lesson was that the writer needs to trust the tale. Lawrence notoriously advised the ...

Yodelling in Heaven

Glen Baxter, 21 March 1991

... It seems that the likes of Edward Larocque Tinker, Robert P. Swierenga and Colonel John S. ‘Rip’ Ford have all made valuable contributions to our knowledge of the cowboy world, and Richard Slatta’s Cowboys of the Americas* sets out to illuminate the structures and processes behind the historical underpinning behind those who wear spurs ...

The Party in Government

Conor Gearty, 9 March 1995

... can in many ways be as disgraceful as resignations. The leading figure here is Kenneth Baker, who perfected a theory about why he should slay as Home Secretary despite the succession of calamities that surrounded him, until he was eventually jettisoned by the Prime Minister after the 1992 election. Holding steadfastly to the view that policy was ...

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