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Marvellous Boys

Mark Ford, 9 September 1993

The Ern Malley Affair 
by Michael Heyward.
Faber, 278 pp., £15, August 1993, 0 571 16781 0
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... we are as the double almond concealed in one shell,’ he broods in ‘Colloquy with John Keats’, going on to predict his own equally untimely demise in harsh demotic terms – ‘Look! My number is up!’ After his cremation at Rookwood Cemetery Ethel opened his trunk and set about disposing of his pitiably meagre possessions; in the process ...

Damaged Beasts

James Wood: Peter Carey’s ‘Theft’, 8 June 2006

Theft: A Love Story 
by Peter Carey.
Faber, 269 pp., £16.99, June 2006, 0 571 23147 0
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... up by the text and promulgated; Michael is sometimes addressed by his brother as Mr Bones, like John Berryman’s alter ego in The Dream Songs (‘Oh how lovely, Mr Bones, how bloody lovely’). The German art teacher becomes the German Bachelor, and the Bauhaus, where he said he once worked, becomes the Bower House. Later in the book, Butcher will refer to ...

Sea Creatures

Peter Campbell, 23 July 1987

Sidney Nolan: Such is life 
by Brian Adams.
Hutchinson, 275 pp., £16.95, June 1987, 0 09 168430 7
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Andrew Wyeth: The Helga Pictures 
by John Wilmerding.
Viking, 208 pp., £25, September 1987, 9780670817665
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Faces 1966-1984 
by David Hockney and Marco Livingstone.
Thames and Hudson, 96 pp., £8.95, June 1987, 0 500 27464 9
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... bursaries, but his advisers also wanted evidence of skill. One of them, however, suggested he see John Reed. Reed was a solicitor, interested in Modernism. He lived with his wife Sunday in a house called Heide, in Heidelberg, a semi-rural community outside Melbourne – it had given its name to the Heidelberg School of Australian painters in the late 19th ...


David Bromwich: The Establishment President, 13 May 2010

... both those guys; they are very savvy businessmen.’ One can’t imagine Franklin Roosevelt or John Kennedy saying such a thing, or wanting to say it. They had known ‘those guys’ all their lives and felt no tingle of reflected glory. Obama has not yet recognised that his conspicuous relish of his place among the elite does him two kinds of harm: it ...

Red makes wrong

Mark Ford: Harry Mathews, 20 March 2003

The Human Country: New and Collected Stories 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 186 pp., £10.99, October 2002, 1 56478 321 9
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The Case of the Persevering Maltese: Collected Essays 
by Harry Mathews.
Dalkey Archive, 290 pp., £10.99, April 2003, 1 56478 288 3
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... influence on his early fiction, however, was Raymond Roussel, to whose work he was introduced by John Ashbery in 1956: Roussel’s ‘sovereign genius’, Mathews later declared, ‘demonstrated to me that psychology was a dispensable fashion, that the moral responsibilities of writing did not lie in a respect of subject matter, and that the writing of prose ...

Women and Failure

Onora O’Neill, 15 April 1982

... cannot be justified. This liberal argument from the worst possible case was advanced long since by John Stuart Mill. It affords insufficient comfort to most contemporary feminists, many of whom want an answer to the theoretical questions about the relative potentialities of the two sexes, and provides no guidance to those feminists and others who think that ...

Hush-Hush Boom-Boom

Charles Glass: Spymasters, 12 August 2021

The Quiet Americans: Four CIA Spies at the Dawn of the Cold War – A Tragedy in Three Acts 
by Scott Anderson.
Picador, 576 pp., £20, February, 978 1 5290 4247 4
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... the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. ‘The Circus’, it’s worth recalling, is what John Le Carré called his fictional spy headquarters.And then​ there was Peter Sichel, a German Jew from a family who had lost their wine business to the Nazis. He had escaped to Bordeaux and, after France fell, to the US via Spain. Aged nineteen, he enlisted ...

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