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Bringing it home to Uncle Willie

Frank Kermode, 6 May 1982

Joseph Conrad: A Biography 
by Roger Tennant.
Sheldon Press, 276 pp., £12.50, January 1982, 0 85969 358 9
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Edward Garnett: A Life in Literature 
by George Jefferson.
Cape, 350 pp., £12.50, April 1982, 0 224 01488 9
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The Edwardian Novelists 
by John Batchelor.
Duckworth, 251 pp., £18, February 1982, 0 7156 1109 7
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The Uses of Obscurity: The Fiction of Early Modernism 
by Allon White.
Routledge, 190 pp., £12, August 1981, 0 7100 0751 5
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... worth his salt. The literary world in which Garnett played so central a part is the subject of John Batchelor’s book. Ours was born of it, but there is no very strong family resemblance. A few writers still make fortunes out of literature, but one’s best chance of doing so was to be alive at some point between 1850 and 1914, and perhaps especially ...


John Bayley, 10 December 1987

John Keats 
by John Barnard.
Cambridge, 172 pp., £22.50, March 1987, 0 521 26691 2
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Keats as a Reader of Shakespeare 
by R.S. White.
Athlone, 250 pp., £25, March 1987, 0 485 11298 1
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... detail and come up with a host of fresh examples and insights. His book makes a good complement to John Barnard’s more general but also innovative study in the new Cambridge introductions to ‘British and Irish Authors’, a high-quality series which includes Patrick Parrinder on James Joyce and John Batchelor on ...

Short Cuts

J. Hoberman: The CIA’s Animal Farm, 5 July 2007

... ever made in the UK. It was Howard Hunt who broke the story that the CIA funded Animal Farm, John Halas and Joy Batchelor’s 1954 version of George Orwell’s political allegory of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath, played out in a British farmyard. Cashing in on his Watergate notoriety, the rogue spook and ...

A Form of Words

Paul Batchelor, 18 April 2019

... if I had to do it all again          I wouldn’t.          John Berryman said that: I’m not saying it. And just as, when those two blokes came to replace the boiler, and asked would I like to pay cash and I said ‘Nee probs’ –          and watched them carry gear in from the obligatory once-white van ...

Eye Candy

Julian Bell: Colour, 19 July 2007

Colour in Art 
by John Gage.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £9.95, February 2007, 978 0 500 20394 1
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... Epithets like ‘disenchanted’ come to mind. That is because I have been reading the latest of John Gage’s books, Colour in Art. Gage’s achievement, here and in Colour and Culture (1993) and its successor Colour and Meaning (1999), is to tinge colour with time like no writer before. His curious and scrupulous mind teases out countless nuances in our ...

Scaling Up

Peter Wollen: At Tate Modern, 20 July 2000

... microscope, he carved and painted sculptures measurable in microns and millimetres; his Pope John Paul IIholds a cross crafted from a hair divided into sixths, making its width slightly less than the diameter of two red blood cells. His portrait of Little Red Riding Hood, whose diminutive has never been so well-deserved, features a mere speck of a girl ...

Biscuits. Oh good!

Anna Vaux: Antonia White, 27 May 1999

Antonia White 
by Jane Dunn.
Cape, 484 pp., £20, November 1998, 9780224036191
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... who cared greatly about her blonde, pink and sometimes overweight appearance – was pleased when John Holms told her she looked like ‘a something Queen Elizabeth’. The missing adjective was ‘Surbiton’, which she would not have liked, though she was capable of accepting far crueller truths about herself than most people could dream up for her. She ...

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