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The Business of Revolution

Alan Knight, 10 November 1988

Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution 
by John MasonHart.
California, 478 pp., $35, January 1988, 0 520 05995 6
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... of such nationalists: but it is the occasional gringo heretic – like the muckraking journalist John Kenneth Turner who, in 1909, blew the whistle on Mexican neo-slavery, alleging that his compatriots had ‘transformed Mexico into a slave colony of the US’ – who has often made the biggest impact. Such auto-critiques carry special weight; they exude ...

He fights with flashing weapons

Katherine Rundell: Thomas Wyatt, 6 December 2012

Thomas Wyatt: The Heart’s Forest 
by Susan Brigden.
Faber, 714 pp., £30, September 2012, 978 0 571 23584 1
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Graven with Diamonds: The Many Lives of Thomas Wyatt: Courtier, Poet, Assassin, Spy 
by Nicola Shulman.
Short Books, 378 pp., £20, April 2011, 978 1 906021 11 5
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... of expression’. Now English poetry, dormant since Chaucer and Lydgate, got to its feet and sang. John Leland, a friend of Wyatt’s youth, later wrote: ‘The English tongue was rude, its verses vile/Now, skilful Wyatt, it has known your file.’ The only blot on Wyatt’s record was his marriage to the daughter of a Kentish baron, Elizabeth Brooke. We do ...

I gotta use words

Mark Ford: Eliot speaks in tongues, 10 August 2016

The Poems of T.S. Eliot: Volume I: Collected & Uncollected Poems 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 1311 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23870 5
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The Poems of T.S. Eliot: Volume II: Practical Cats & Further Verses 
edited by Christopher Ricks and Jim McCue.
Faber, 667 pp., £40, November 2015, 978 0 571 23371 7
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... 2 of ‘Prufrock’) and Thomas Hardy’s ‘forms there flung/Against the sky’ (‘The Abbey Mason’); between ‘certain half-deserted streets’ (line 4 of ‘Prufrock’) and ‘he sought out a certain street and number’ in Chapter 20 of Little Dorrit; or, moving beyond literature, between that phrase and the recording of a payment made to ...

Driving through a Postcard

Christian Lorentzen: In New Hampshire, 3 March 2016

... On the radio the former Colorado senator and disgraced 1984 presidential candidate Gary Hart was saying that left and right were less useful concepts than the question of whether a president would push the country forward or drag it backward. The news updates led with Obama’s visit to a mosque the day before, and followed with the Zika virus. This ...

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