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Hink Tank

Nicholas Penny

19 July 1984
The Gymnasium of the Mind: The Journals of Roger Hinks 1933-1963 
edited by John Goldsmith.
Michael Russell, 287 pp., £10.95, May 1984, 0 85955 096 6
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... a period when many writers cannot be read without embarrassment, it is a pleasure to read him.’ For some fellow inhabitants of privileged and artistic society the pleasure may not be unmixed. Sir John Pope-Hennessy testifies that Roger was a ‘much kinder, more liberal, more positive person that the diary suggests’. That such virtues were valued by Hinks, even if rarely displayed in his ...

A Skeleton My Cat

Norma Clarke: ‘Poor Goldsmith

21 February 2019
The Letters of Oliver Goldsmith 
edited by Michael Griffin and David O’Shaughnessy.
Cambridge, 232 pp., £64.99, July 2018, 978 1 107 09353 9
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... Is​ there an 18th-century writer to rival Oliver Goldsmith? Who else achieved lasting popular and critical success in all three major genres? The Vicar of Wakefield has never been out of print; The Deserted Village was a schoolroom favourite well into the ...

Must poets write?

Stephanie Burt: Poetry Post-Language

10 May 2012
Unoriginal Genius: Poetry by Other Means in the New Century 
by Marjorie Perloff.
Chicago, 232 pp., £11.50, April 2012, 978 0 226 66061 5
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Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age 
by Kenneth Goldsmith.
Columbia, 272 pp., £15.95, September 2011, 978 0 231 14991 4
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Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing 
edited by Craig Dworkin and Kenneth Goldsmith.
Northwestern, 593 pp., £40.50, December 2010, 978 0 8101 2711 1
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Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004, The Joy of Cooking: [Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape] 
by Tan Lin.
Wesleyan, 224 pp., £20.50, May 2010, 978 0 8195 6929 5
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... on through the, uh, Bruckner Expressway are looking good right to the Triboro Bridge. For listeners to 1010 WINS, a New York City radio station, this is a traffic report. But for the poet Kenneth Goldsmith, such sentences are the makings of a book: Goldsmith – who calls his practice ‘uncreative writing’ – transcribed, or says he transcribed, a full day of reports, which he then published as ...
5 December 1985
Collected Poems 1928-1985 
by Stephen Spender.
Faber, 204 pp., £4.95, November 1985, 0 571 13666 4
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A Version of the Oedipus Trilogy of Sophocles 
by Stephen Spender.
Faber, 199 pp., £12.50, November 1985, 0 571 13834 9
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Journals 1939-1983 
by Stephen Spender, edited by John Goldsmith.
Faber, 510 pp., £15, November 1985, 0 571 13617 6
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... This kind of revision has been done before, with rather mixed results. Yeats did violence to his early poems, sometimes converting them to an inappropriate modern harshness; nobody seems to like John Crowe Ransom’s reworkings; and Auden’s revisions and exclusions sometimes seem petulant or even perverse, as if he had decided not to understand his own poems. Since the original versions remain ...

A Grand and Disastrous Deceit

Philippe Sands: The Chilcot Report

27 July 2016
The Report of the Iraq Inquiry 
by John​ Chilcot.
HMSO, 12 vols, 6275 pp., £767, 1 4741 3331 2
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... The Iraq Inquiry​ , chaired by Sir John Chilcot and composed of five privy councillors, finally published its report on the morning of 6 July, seven years and 21 days after it was established by Gordon Brown with a remit to ‘look at the ...

At the V&A

Jeremy Harding: 50 Years of ‘Private Eye’

15 December 2011
... are the lifeblood of the paper. Every reader has a cherished bubble photo, from Wilson and Biafra through Kissinger in South Africa (HK to Vorster: ‘I’m only here for De Beers’) via James Goldsmith, Robert Maxwell, Rupert Murdoch, to Mugabe, Bush and Blair. For fans of a pensionable age, Verwoerd’s assassination (‘A Nation Mourns’, 17 September 1966) is a star cover. Younger readers may ...

Reasons to Comply

Philippe Sands: International law

20 July 2006
The Limits of International Law 
by Jack Goldsmith and Eric Posner.
Oxford, 262 pp., £17.99, February 2005, 0 19 516839 9
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War Law: International Law and Armed Conflict 
by Michael Byers.
Atlantic, 214 pp., £16.99, April 2005, 1 84354 338 9
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... by Parliament, unless they address an issue of EU law. In the United States, there is an appropriately lively and informed debate about international law-making, democracy and constitutionalism. Jack Goldsmith and Eric Posner, the authors of The Limits of International Law, have contributed significantly to that debate and have played an important role in focusing attention on issues of legitimate concern ...
12 November 1987
Trail of Havoc: In the Steps of Lord Lucan 
by Patrick Marnham.
Viking, 204 pp., £10.95, October 1987, 0 670 81391 5
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Lucan: Not Guilty 
by Sally Moore.
Sidgwick, 271 pp., £12.95, October 1987, 9780283995361
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... ever since. Hers is a crusade to exonerate Lucan, with the help of his family, and with the piling-on of a mass of detail, as if the sheer weight of her protestations would convince the world that John, as she calls him, was not guilty. It doesn’t work, even though one agrees that the coroner’s verdict naming Lucan as the murderer was unfairly reached, and it must have been a heartbreaking task ...
2 December 1982
The ‘Private Eye’ Story: The First 21 Years 
by Patrick Marnham.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 232 pp., £7.95, October 1982, 0 233 97509 8
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One for the Road: Further Letters of Denis Thatcher 
by Richard Ingrams and John​ Wells.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 80 pp., £2.50, October 1982, 9780233975115
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Sir James GoldsmithThe Man and the Myth 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fontana, 222 pp., £1.95, April 1982, 0 00 636503 5
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... its own. Consider how this book might appear to an outsider: a history of the Eye, written by a long-term staffer of the Eye and co-published by the Eye. Reviewers? Auberon Waugh in the Daily Mail; John Wells twice, once in Harper’s and once in the Times; Christopher Booker in the Spectator; Malcolm Muggeridge in the Daily Telegraph; Candida Lycett-Green (who was in love with Ingrams at Oxford ...

On Robert Silvers

Andrew O’Hagan: Remembering Robert Silvers

19 April 2017
... all the other letters and notes; they are in the books on my shelves. He had a knack of making you feel that the thing that might be done could only be done by you. ‘You may be so far ahead with Goldsmith that this book about Swift would not fit well,’ says the typewritten note in the last book he sent me, ‘but it might be mentioned. Goldsmith and Grub Street, then and now, does seem a subject in ...

Short Cuts

John​ Sturrock: A Bath in the Dock

18 December 2003
... Blunkett’s recent disgraceful remarks about the terrorist suspect in Gloucester – or else works itself up into a populist frenzy of innuendo during the proceedings. On the same occasion, Lord Goldsmith endorsed the complaint of the judge in the Huntley trial that some of the reporting of it had been ‘unacceptable’, if not to the extent that the defendants might not be getting a ‘fair trial ...

Short Cuts

Jenny Diski: HRH

4 November 2010
... its Ten Basic Principles: ‘Acknowledgment of Divinity’, ‘Spiritual Vision, as the life-breath of civilisation’ etc. In the 1970s the wealthy businessmen and members of the Clermont Club Teddy Goldsmith and John Aspinall (the latter more concerned for his captive tigers than their keepers who were occasionally killed by them, and for nanny murderers than the murdered nanny) started the Ecologist ...

Picture in Little

Charles Nicholl: Hilliard’s Trajectory

9 December 2019
Nicholas Hilliard: Life of an Artist 
by Elizabeth Goldring.
Yale, 337 pp., £40, February, 978 0 300 24142 6
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... course, is part of its power. A miniature exemplifies the compositional ideal of multum in parvo, a lot in a little: ‘A hand or eye/By Hilliard drawn is worth an history/By a worse painter made,’ John Donne wrote in 1597. By a ‘history’ he means one of those big, populous, often Italian paintings much in demand among Elizabethan collectors – paintings you stand back from to see the drama of ...

Paddling in the Gravy

E.S. Turner: Bath’s panderer-in-chief

21 July 2005
The Imaginary Autocrat: Beau Nash and the Invention of Bath 
by John​ Eglin.
Profile, 292 pp., £20, May 2005, 1 86197 302 0
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... When John Wesley visited Bath in 1739 to inveigh against the follies that flourished at hot springs, he was challenged by a fleshy, domineering figure in a white beaver hat, who demanded to know by what ...

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