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A Hee-Haw to Apuleius

Colin Burrow: John Crowley's Impure Fantasy

1 November 2007
The Solitudes 
by John Crowley.
Overlook, 429 pp., £7.90, September 2007, 978 1 58567 986 7
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Endless Things 
by John Crowley.
Small Beer, 341 pp., $24, May 2007, 978 1 931520 22 5
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... JohnCrowley’s novels are hard to describe. His best one, Little, Big (1981), is probably something you might call ‘fantasy’. It contains talking trout, and little people, and witches in New York, and an ...

Ghost Artists

J.I.M. Stewart

18 December 1980
The Case of the Philosophers’ Ring by Dr John​ H. Watson 
by Randall Collins.
Harvester, 152 pp., £6.95, September 1980, 0 85527 458 1
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... A good many years ago the late Sir John Masterman, when Provost of Worcester College, had the idea of creating a species of Sherlock Holmes Apocrypha. He wrote two or three short stories which appeared, I think, in an evening newspaper. I ...

Tory Phylogeny

John​ Brewer

2 December 1982
In Defiance of Oligarchy: The Tory Party 1714-1760 
by Linda Colley.
Cambridge, 383 pp., £25, February 1982, 0 521 23982 6
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Dynamics of Change: The Crisis of the 1750s and English Party Systems 
by J.C.D. Clark.
Cambridge, 640 pp., £37.50, May 1982, 0 521 23830 7
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... the many Tory holders of government stock, such Tory bankers as Henry Hoare, the builder of Stourhead, and the numerous merchants and men of business, including such giants as the ironmaster, Ambrose Crowley, who saw substantial profits and Tory politics as perfectly compatible? Tories, as Colley shows, came from all walks of life, and were just as likely to be found in the crowded streets of the ...

Diary

Fiona Pitt-Kethley: Life in Hastings

17 April 1986
... wire – which is great if you have fantasies about trench warfare and prison escapes, but a bit much for the average, out-of-shape voyeur. Of course, Hastings does have some professional artists – John Bratby, for instance. When he exhibited locally, some arse-licker left his address and wrote, ‘Wonderful, just like Vincent,’ in the Visitors’ Book. I couldn’t resist adding ‘Price’ in ...

Sonic Foam

Ian Penman: On Kate Bush

16 April 2014
... rock group Coil, now sadly no more since the deaths of its two founding members, Geoff Rushton and Peter Christopherson, whom I knew, though not especially well. When I interviewed Rushton (a.k.a. John Balance) in 2000, one of the things that came up was his deep, abiding love for Kate Bush. Actually, it was more like he saw her as some form of household deity or guardian spirit: ‘She’s so ...

Reader, he married her

Christopher Hitchens

10 May 1990
Tom Driberg: His Life and Indiscretions 
by Francis Wheen.
Chatto, 452 pp., £18, May 1990, 0 7011 3143 8
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... the only witness as Evelyn Waugh was ‘received’ into Holy Mother Church; had been saluted by Edith Sitwell as the hope of English poetry; had been anointed as the diabolic successor to Aleister Crowley; had nearly interested John Betjeman in socialism and A.J.P. Taylor in incense. But he was one of those modernists who could only have been formed by an observance of tradition: he needed an anchor ...
1 November 1984
A Radical Reader: The Struggle for Change in England 1381-1914 
edited by Christopher Hampton.
Penguin, 624 pp., £7.95, January 1984, 0 14 022444 0
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Riots and Community Politics in England and Wales 1790-1810 
by John​ Bohstedt.
Harvard, 310 pp., £12.50, November 1983, 0 674 77120 6
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The World We have Lost – Further Explored 
by Peter Laslett.
Methuen, 353 pp., £12.95, December 1983, 0 416 35340 1
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... into the unbounded night. And he had the same sympathy for enemy France, where ‘the pale mother nourishes her child to the deadly slaughter.’ So oppressive were the rich and great, Robert Crowley declared in 1550, that ‘we must needs fight it out, or else be brought to the like slavery that the Frenchmen are in!’ ‘European slavery is indeed a state of liberty, if compared with that ...

Every Rusty Hint

Ian Sansom: Anthony Powell

21 October 2004
Anthony Powell: A Life 
by Michael Barber.
Duckworth, 338 pp., £20, July 2004, 0 7156 3049 0
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... through the 12 novels that make up A Dance to the Music of Time, and the more than half-dozen other novels, and the four volumes of memoirs, and the three volumes of journals, and the biography of John Aubrey, and the collected reviews and criticism. Anthony Dymoke Powell was born in Westminster on 21 December 1905 – a wintry rather than a Christmas baby. ‘It was because he was Welsh,’ Barber ...

Uncle Max

Patricia Craig

20 December 1984
The man who was M: The Life of Maxwell Knight 
by Anthony Masters.
Blackwell, 205 pp., £9.95, November 1984, 0 631 13392 5
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Unreliable Witness: Espionage Myths of the Second World War 
by Nigel West.
Weidenfeld, 166 pp., £8.95, October 1984, 0 297 78481 1
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The Great Betrayal: The Untold Story of Kim Philby’s Biggest Coup 
by Nicholas Bethell.
Hodder, 214 pp., £9.95, October 1984, 0 340 35701 0
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... actually took place in camera at the Old Bailey between 23 and 28 October 1940; the date he gives, 20 May, is the date of Kent’s arrest. Where else does he slip up? He mentions that Knight and John le Carré knew one another, but doesn’t see fit to add that le Carré – under his real name, David Cornwell – illustrated one or two of Knight’s post-war publications (e.g. Talking Birds ...

Midwinter

J.B. Trapp

17 November 1983
Thomas More: History and Providence 
by Alistair Fox.
Blackwell, 271 pp., £19.50, September 1982, 0 631 13094 2
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The Statesman and the Fanatic: Thomas Wolsey and Thomas More 
by Jasper Ridley.
Constable, 338 pp., £12.50, October 1982, 9780094634701
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English Reformation Literature: The Tudor Origins of the Protestant Tradition 
by John​ King.
Princeton, 539 pp., £30.70, December 1982, 0 691 06502 0
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Seven-Headed Luther: Essays in Commemoration of a Quincentenary, 1483-1983 
edited by Peter Newman Brooks.
Oxford, 325 pp., £22.50, July 1983, 0 19 826648 0
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The Complete Works of St Thomas More. Vol. VI: A Dialogue concerning Heresies. Part 1: The Text, Part 2: Introduction, Commentary, Appendices, Glossary, Index 
edited by T.M.C. Lawler, Germain Marc’hadour and Richard Marius.
Yale, 435 pp., £76, November 1981, 0 300 02211 5
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... not only that England was golden with the accession of Henry VIII, but also that Erasmus had been summoned. His lofty earlier debates on the Agony in the Garden and Cain and Abel with his friend John Colet would have remained unknown – Colet was not one to rush into print – if Erasmus had not written them up and got them into circulation. If Colet’s new St Paul’s School was known abroad ...

Is the lady your sister?

E.S. Turner: An innkeeper’s diary

27 April 2000
An Innkeeper's Diary 
by John​ Fothergill.
Faber, 278 pp., £23.95, January 2000, 0 571 15014 4
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... John Fothergill, the high-handed host of the Spreadeagle at Thame between the world wars, described himself in Who’s Who as ‘Pioneer Amateur Innkeeper’. Evelyn Waugh, sending him a copy of Decline ...
5 December 1991
With and Without Buttons 
by Mary Butts, edited by Nathalie Blondel.
Carcanet, 216 pp., £13.95, October 1991, 0 85635 944 0
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... was thoroughly, if not very wisely educated) congratulated her on the fact. So, with her family connections and the friends she acquired for herself and met through her first marriage, to publisher John Rodker, she could within reason command whatever pulpit, platform or stage she needed. Once free of the security and conventions of her home and the violent claims that the countryside all around it ...
16 July 1981
Utopia and the Ideal Society: A Study of English Utopian Writing, 1516-1700 
by J.C. Davis.
Cambridge, 427 pp., £25, March 1981, 0 521 23396 8
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Science and Society in Restoration England 
by Michael Hunter.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £18.50, March 1981, 0 521 22866 2
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... of ‘full-employment utopias’, which includes Rowland Vaughan (1610), Gabriel Plattes’s Macaria (1641), Peter Chamberlen’s The Poore Mans Advocate (1649), Peter Cornelius Plockhoy (1659), John Bellers’s Proposals for Raising a College of Industry (1695), and two essays by an anonymous Hermeticist, Philadept, published in 1698 and 1700. Many in this last group were discussed in 1952 by J ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John​ Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry

1 July 1999
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... of that call occurring. The Inquiry was later to comment that there was no reason to doubt that the call took place. Immediately after the 3 June parade, Brooks had a conversation with DS Crowley, his police minder for that day (who had no connection with the murder investigation). There has been disagreement as to the exact content of the conversation but the main areas of concern for the ...
23 July 1992
Haunts of the Black Masseur: The Swimmer as Hero 
by Charles Sprawson.
Cape, 307 pp., £15.99, June 1992, 0 224 02730 1
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... against the swimmers where green water shimmered over blue mosaic tiles. Now it is weedy and frog-infested, an Arab lavatory, but Gide loved it, and so did Norman Douglas and the magician Aleister Crowley. Although male love and sexual competitiveness swarm about the bather like gladiatorial shades, a contrasting impulse – Rupert Brooke’s at Granchester – wants to be free of all that, ‘like ...

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