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Diary

Cynthia Lawford: On Letitia Elizabeth Landon, 21 September 2000

... William Maginn, and the painter Daniel Maclise. Though the rumours put an end to her engagement to John Forster in 1835, nothing surfaced that she and her friends could not refute or explain away, and once she was dead, and in such a manner, the scandals faded into the background. It was said that she died of an accidental overdose, of tropical disease, that ...

It’s Finished

John Lanchester: The Banks, 28 May 2009

... In the same week that news came out, it emerged that the former chief executive of RBS, Sir Fred Goodwin, had, at the time of the October bail-out, asked for and received a doubling of his pension pot before he would agree to leave the bank. This took his pension pot to £16 million, which will pay out £693,000 annually for life. Why did the government go ...

Stainless Splendour

Stefan Collini: How innocent was Stephen Spender?, 22 July 2004

Stephen Spender: The Authorised Biography 
by John Sutherland.
Viking, 627 pp., £25, May 2004, 0 670 88303 4
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... Spender’s son Matthew was ten years old, he caught his hand in a car door. ‘The event,’ John Sutherland writes, ‘recalled other tragedies in the boy’s little life; the running over, for example, of his dog Bobby – a "rather lugubrious looking spaniel” and a present from his godmother, Edith Sitwell. Six-year-old Matthew had been disappointed ...

Why are you still here?

James Meek: Who owns Grimsby?, 23 April 2015

... them, when they caught the wrong fish, to dump it.As I listened to Hardie I thought of something John Fenty, the local businessman who owns Grimsby Town football club, had told me a couple of days earlier: how he got his start in 1984 hiring transport out to a local trader who drove around the colliery villages inland, selling fish factory discards to ...

That was the year that was

Tariq Ali, 24 May 2018

... and the much more culturally oriented hippy left … The idea for the Black Dwarf came from Clive Goodwin, who was my literary agent and a dear friend. At one meeting that he called at his house, he said: ‘Guys, what about launching a paper?’ We decided we would and Christopher Logue was deputed to go to what’s now the British Library to look into ...

All That Gab

James Wolcott: The Upsides of Sontag’s Downsides, 24 October 2019

Sontag: Her Life 
by Benjamin Moser.
Allen Lane, 832 pp., £30, September 2019, 978 0 241 00348 0
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... was the rustle of the Holy Ghost, hers an oracular hooga-booga. The objections that Howe, Rahv, John Simon, the art critic Hilton Kramer and other keepers of the scrolls lodged against her were as much about the 1960s as they were about her, for no one in the Family (as Norman Podhoretz, a former Partisan Review-er, dubbed them) personified the 1960s more ...

The Ribs of Rosinante

Richard Gott, 21 August 1997

Che Guevara: A Revolutionary Life 
by Jon Lee Anderson.
Bantam, 814 pp., £25, April 1997, 0 593 03403 1
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Compañero: The Life and Death of Che Guevara 
by Jorge Castañeda, translated by Marina Castañeda.
Bloomsbury, 480 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 7475 3334 2
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... from La Paz to view the body, and the famous photographs were taken – later compared by John Berger to Mantegna’s Dead Christ and Rembrandt’s Anatomy Lesson. That evening, when the journalists had gone, the two local doctors performed an autopsy, which showed beyond doubt that Guevara had been shot long after capture, though this only emerged ...

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