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Benson’s Pleasure

Noël Annan, 4 March 1982

Edwardian Excursions: From the Diaries of A.C. Benson 1898-1904 
edited by A.C. Benson and David Newsome.
Murray, 200 pp., £12.50, April 1981, 9780719537691
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Geoffrey Madan’s Notebooks 
edited by John Gere and John Sparrow.
Oxford, 144 pp., £7.95, October 1981, 0 19 215870 8
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... What could be more fitting than that his Notebooks should be edited by two fastidious scholars, John Gere, until lately the Keeper of Prints and Drawings at the British Museum, and John Sparrow – Sparrow who at the age of 15 met Geoffrey Keynes on the steps of St Paul’s to inspect Donne’s effigy in his shroud ...

Dying and Not Dying

Cathy Gere: Henrietta Lacks, 10 June 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks 
by Rebecca Skloot.
Macmillan, 368 pp., £18.99, June 2010, 978 0 230 74869 9
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... v. The Regents of the University of California. The case concerned a leukaemia patient called John Moore, who found out that a profitable cell-line had been developed from his spleen and sued the doctor on the grounds that his cells were his property. The California Supreme Court ruled that Moore had ‘abandoned’ his cells in the course of his ...

In an Empty Room

Peter Campbell: Paintings without People, 9 July 2009

... Gwen John’s attic bedroom, Edward Hopper’s Sun in an Empty Room, Adolf Menzel’s open window and blowing curtain, Andrew Wyeth’s New England rooms full of cold, hard light, Hammershøi’s frugal Danish ones and Van Gogh’s narrow bedroom: these are pictures you might choose if exiled to a desert island. Thinking of the inviting effect such paintings have I went looking for them in the National Gallery ...

Lost in the Woods

Nicholas Penny: Victorian fairy painting, 1 January 1998

Victorian Fairy Painting 
edited by Jane Martineau.
Merrell, 200 pp., £25, November 1997, 1 85894 043 5
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... ideas. The most startling object in the exhibition, the frame composed of gilded twigs surrounding John Austen Fitzgerald’s spooky painting of a fairy-infested bird’s nest, is a three-dimensional development of the sort of border design common in illustrated books of the period. The most beautiful paintings in the exhibition, those by the little-known ...

Here for the crunch

R.W. Johnson, 28 April 1994

... that there’s lots of money for voter education. The bad news is that we hear Richard Gere and Kim Basinger are coming out to spend it.’ ‘It’s getting like the late Sixties in Vietnam,’ said his colleague. ‘Last time I saw so many people working such frantic hours on politics. Didn’t make a damn bit of difference there in the ...

Killing Stripes

Christopher Turner: Suits, 1 June 2017

Sex and Suits: The Evolution of Modern Dress 
by Anne Hollander.
Bloomsbury, reissue, 158 pp., £19.99, August 2016, 978 1 4742 5065 8
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The Suit: Form, Function and Style 
by Christopher Breward.
Reaktion, 240 pp., £18, May 2016, 978 1 78023 523 3
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... a time Pevsner described as modernism’s ‘first chapter’. In the 1930s, the psychologist John Carl Flügel described the era’s ‘Great Masculine Renunciation’ of gaudy ‘peacock’ fashion in favour of strong, simple forms inspired by classical architecture and the heroic male figure seen in Greek statuary. The suit, designed to augment the ...

Mr Trendy Sicko

James Wolcott, 23 May 2019

by Brett Easton Ellis.
Picador, 261 pp., £16.99, May 2019, 978 1 5290 1239 2
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... Andrew McCarthy, Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Molly Ringwald – almost any actor who appeared in a John Hughes teen film qualified). The Literary Brat Pack was a journalistic readymade, roping together a number of writers who may have scarcely known each other and treating them as a floating soirée. It was cartoonish and unfair to most of the individuals ...

How We Remember

Gilberto Perez: Terrence Malick, 12 September 2013

... set in the early 20th century on a farm in the Texas Panhandle. Abby and her lover, Bill (Richard Gere), are migrant workers who arrive on the train together with Linda, his little sister; because people will talk, Abby passes as his sister too, and the farmer feels free to court her. Having overheard a doctor say that the farmer hasn’t long to live ...

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