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J.I.M. Stewart, 5 June 1986

The Unknown Conan Doyle: Letters to the Press 
by John Michael Gibson and Richard Lancelyn Green.
Secker, 377 pp., £15, March 1986, 0 436 13303 2
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... of sheer doggedness that made him so formidable a defender of men like George Edalji and Oscar Slater, whom he saw as languishing in prison (or even, as in Slater’s case, under threat of the gallows) as a consequence of judicial error compounded by bureaucratic intransigence. Over all this ground great honour has to be ...

On the horse Parsnip

John Bayley, 8 February 1990

Boris Pasternak: The Tragic Years 1930-1960 
by Evgeny Pasternak.
Collins Harvill, 278 pp., £15, January 1990, 0 00 272045 0
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Boris Pasternak 
by Peter Levi.
Hutchinson, 310 pp., £17.95, January 1990, 0 09 173886 5
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Boris Pasternak: A Literary Biography. Vol.I: 1890-1928 
by Christopher Barnes.
Cambridge, 507 pp., £35, November 1989, 0 521 25957 6
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Poems 1955-1959 and An Essay in Autobiography 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Michael Harari and Manya Harari.
Collins Harvill, 212 pp., £6.95, January 1990, 9780002710657
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The Year 1905 
by Boris Pasternak, translated by Richard Chappell.
Spenser, £4.95, April 1989, 0 9513843 0 9
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... Seamus Heaney feels to be more authentic than a professional job. Raine and his wife Ann Pasternak-Slater have themselves provided outstanding translations for Evgeny Pasternak’s study The Tragic Years. The book has the special advantage of coming from right inside the family, and Evgeny Pasternak’s portrait of his father is both affectionate and ...

Come and Stay

Arnold Rattenbury, 27 November 1997

England and the Octopus 
by Clough Williams-Ellis.
CPRE, 220 pp., £10.95, December 1996, 0 946044 50 3
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Clough Williams-Ellis: RIBA Drawings Monograph No 2 
by Richard Haslam.
Academy, 112 pp., £24.95, March 1996, 1 85490 430 2
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Clough Williams-Ellis: The Architect of Portmeirion 
by Jonah Jones.
Seren, 204 pp., £9.95, December 1996, 1 85411 166 3
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... loud assurance, too. At this time I was living in the home of the playwright/librettist Montagu Slater, one of her co-founders of Left Review, and working at the arts journal Our Time with the poet Edgell Rickword, a co-organiser with her of work for Spain. Correctly deducing from this that I must be a Communist, Amabel considered a moment, then utterly ...

On my way to the Couch

E.S. Turner, 30 March 1989

On my way to the Club 
by Ludovic Kennedy.
Collins, 429 pp., £15, January 1989, 0 00 217617 3
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... at 10 Rillington Place, West London, an address later notorious as the home of the mass murderer John Christie. The same Home Secretary, Maxwell Fyfe, by now a ‘charlatan’ with ‘all the arrogance of the truly ignorant’, contended that there had been no miscarriage of justice and was content to believe that by an odd coincidence two murderers had ...


Arnold Rattenbury: Hamish Henderson, 23 January 2003

Collected Poems and Songs 
by Hamish Henderson, edited by Raymond Ross.
Curly Snake, 163 pp., £9.99, March 2000, 1 902141 01 6
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... and mentors there – the First World War poet Edgell Rickword, Britten’s librettist Montagu Slater, the anti-racist francophile Nancy Cunard – was the folklorist A.L. Lloyd, who had swung about as collector through the whaling fleet, bushrangers in the Outback, American immigrants, mining communities worldwide, Romanian, Bulgarian, Hungarian and ...

Populist Palatial

Rosemary Hill: The View from Piccadilly, 4 March 2021

London’s West End: Creating the Pleasure District, 1800-1914 
by Rohan McWilliam.
Oxford, 400 pp., £30, September 2020, 978 0 19 882341 4
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Survey of London: Volume 53, Oxford Street 
edited by Andrew Saint.
Paul Mellon Centre, 421 pp., £75, April 2020, 978 1 913107 08 6
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... its nature always mutable. There was no crisis from which it did not emerge invigorated. John Nash designed Piccadilly Circus as a rond-point for his great picturesque town plan leading up Regent Street to the Regent’s Park. The view south was to culminate in the Prince Regent’s Palace at Carlton House. Long before the work was ...
by Richard Ingrams.
Private Eye/Deutsch, 144 pp., £4.25
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... Goldsmith in this lunch.) They then questioned, too, Goldsmith’s suitability to be chairman of Slater Walker, and a week later wrote of an ‘intriguing connection’ between Eric Levine, Goldsmith’s lawyer, and T. Dan Smith. ‘At no time during this period,’ writes Ingrams – or is it his libel lawyer? – ‘was I conscious that we were doing ...

Convenient Death of a Hero

Arnold Rattenbury, 8 May 1997

Beyond the Frontier: the Politics of a Failed Mission, Bulgaria 1944 
by E.P. Thompson.
Merlin/Stanford, 120 pp., £12.95, December 1996, 0 85036 457 4
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... left – Frank was both intellectual and Communist – following similar books in memory of John Cornford, Julian Bell and David Haden-Guest, all killed in the Spanish Civil War. (The present title, Beyond the Frontier, nods towards Stansky and Abrahams’s 1966 Journey to the Frontier, a reworking of the lives of Cornford and Bell.) Immediately after ...


Thomas Lynch, 21 March 1996

... of a phone when Nora was 80 cost her the excitement of letters coming up the road with John Willie McGrath, the postman, on his bike, and the installation of a television when she was 85 meant that her friends gave up their twisting narrations in favour of Dallas reruns, so the introduction of modern toiletry removed from Moveen for ever the ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2012, 3 January 2013

... in itself. We go on through the rooms, talking to all sorts of people – Jim Naughtie, Nigel Slater and David Hare, who claims that the best conjunction he’s seen so far is George Steiner talking to Joan Collins.Come away at eight o’clock with HMQ still at it, and the policemen in the forecourt very jolly and eating ice cream.1 June. ...


Alan Bennett: Where I was in 1993, 16 December 1993

... sergeant major is a can of McEwens lager.10 March. The Independent pursues its campaign against John Birt over his tax arrangements. On another page it boasts its acquisition of Jim Slater as its Stock Exchange commentator.13 March. To Weston to see Mam, who is dulleyed, expressionless, absent. The sun is hot through the ...

When the going gets weird

A. Craig Copetas, 19 December 1991

Songs of the Doomed: More Notes on the Death of the American Dream 
by Hunter S. Thompson.
Picador, 316 pp., £15.95, October 1991, 0 330 31994 9
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... As Songs of the Doomed so spectacularly illustrates, Doc’s the first American writer since John Dos Passos to tap the eroding and elemental fury within the American Dream and make the compost picture of American society in the last quarter of the 20th century work so elegantly on paper. I discovered two curious things about Doc’s writing when I was ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... and, one presumes, living quarters for the many employees. It’s cheering to think that, if Nigel Slater is to be believed re residential catering establishments, the young people who largely staff the place will be screwing each other rotten. Not that there’s a hint of that front of house, which is chaste, cheerful, middle-aged, middle-class and above all ...

Life Pushed Aside

Clair Wills: The Last Asylums, 18 November 2021

... or rather J.J. Beegan did. When I turned to the Irish census records I could quite easily find John Beegan, who was born in 1868, the eldest child of John and Jane Beegan. In 1901 they were living together with the younger Beegans, Mary and Thomas, at 23 Dunlo Hill in Ballinasloe. On the census form, ...

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