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Rosemary Hill: Love and madness in 18th century London, 7 October 2004

Sentimental Murder: Love and Madness in the 18th Century 
by John Brewer.
HarperCollins, 340 pp., £20, March 2004, 9780002571340
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... The mutable nature of our relationship with the past is the underlying theme of Sentimental Murder, John Brewer’s compelling and surprising pursuit, across two and a half centuries, of the events of a single evening in 1779. What happened in Covent Garden on 7 April was simple enough and largely undisputed at the time or later ...

In the Streets of Londonistan

John Upton: Terror, Muslims and the Met, 22 January 2004

... led to several investigations into an alleged shoot to kill policy, the most notable headed by John Stalker, then deputy chief constable of Manchester. Stalker’s inquiry was continually obstructed by elements within the RUC and he was eventually, and very controversially, dismissed from the police. The findings of ...

Not a desire to have him, but to be like him

Slavoj Žižek: Highsmith is the One, 21 August 2003

Beautiful Shadow: A Life of Patricia Highsmith 
by Andrew Wilson.
Bloomsbury, 534 pp., £25, June 2003, 0 7475 6314 4
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... the capitalist drive at rest. That’s where the interest of Andrei Tarkovsky’s masterpiece Stalker lies, with its post-industrial wasteland in which wild vegetation takes over abandoned factories, concrete tunnels and railroads full of stale water, and stray cats and dogs wander the overgrowth. Nature and industrial civilisation overlap, but in a ...

Steaming like a Pie

Theo Tait: ‘Going Postal’, 4 December 2003

by J. Robert Lennon.
Granta, 483 pp., £15.99, October 2003, 1 86207 625 1
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... the USPS, Lennon picks up the low hum of the invisible republic. Like the eavesdropping couple in John Cheever’s ‘The Enormous Radio’, Mailman is a psychic receiver for the secrets of those around him. His precious archive of photocopied mail, built up over many years of invading his customers’ privacy, is the main reason for his emotional attachment ...
... Julie’s domestic existence is shattered; in Enduring Love, Clarissa and Joe witness the death of John Logan as he falls from a balloon, are changed for ever, and spend the rest of the novel trying to absorb the consequences of the spectacle; Black Dogs is in part about how Bernard Tremaine, a politician, scientist and rationalist, drifts away from his ...

A Knife at the Throat

Christopher Tayler: Meticulously modelled, 3 March 2005

by Ian McEwan.
Cape, 280 pp., £17.99, February 2005, 0 224 07299 4
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... Child in Time (1987) and Amsterdam (1998), the voyeuristic ex-husband in The Innocent (1990), the stalker in Enduring Love (1997): in most of his books there’s at least one character who’s mesmerised by powerful fantasies, sometimes to the exclusion of everything else. And since ‘stories demand simple and incisive sets of oppositions,’ as McEwan told ...


Iain Sinclair: In Guy Vaes’s Footsteps, 21 May 2020

... on the telephone, that he will very soon have to ‘disappear’. The discovery of authors such as John Cowper Powys, about whom Vaes knows nothing, is paralleled in his reinvention of London districts such as Kensal Rise, Shadwell and Fulham. Remaining in Belgium, he finds another London with which he is comfortable: a ‘malleable’ capital with more appeal ...

Remember me

Adam Phillips: Bret Easton Ellis, 1 December 2005

Lunar Park 
by Bret Easton Ellis.
Picador, 308 pp., £16.99, October 2005, 0 330 43953 7
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... first two epigraphs to the book are plain sentences from the American novelists Thomas McGuane and John O’Hara about how we judge ourselves and others. The third epigraph is a sentence from Hamlet: ‘From the table of my memory/I’ll wipe away all trivial fond records/All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past/That youth and observation copied ...

My Heart on a Stick

Michael Robbins: The Poems of Frederick Seidel, 6 August 2009

Poems 1959-2009 
by Frederick Seidel.
Farrar, Straus, 509 pp., $40, March 2009, 978 0 374 12655 1
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... also against the poet’s own incommensurability to the occasion. These are the valentines of a stalker who hates everything too much to let it go without a fight. ‘I want to date-rape life,’ he writes in an earlier poem, ‘I want to drive into a drive-in bank and kiss/And kill you, life.’ In the poems that follow, in Ooga-Booga and now in ‘Evening ...

Hairy Fairies

Rosemary Hill: Angela Carter, 10 May 2012

A Card from Angela Carter 
by Susannah Clapp.
Bloomsbury, 106 pp., £10, February 2012, 978 1 4088 2690 4
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... writing. It certainly didn’t come from an exotic or overtly troubled upbringing. Born Angela Stalker in 1940 in Eastbourne, she was the daughter of a journalist father who was perhaps the original of Melanie’s, a man ‘compounded’ of ‘tweed and tobacco and type-writer ribbon’, and a mother who had been a cashier in Selfridges. As a child she was ...

Corkscrew in the Neck

Jacqueline Rose: Bad Summer Reading, 10 September 2015

The Girl on the Train 
by Paula Hawkins.
Doubleday, 320 pp., £12.99, January 2015, 978 0 85752 231 3
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Gone Girl 
by Gillian Flynn.
Weidenfeld, 512 pp., £8.99, September 2014, 978 1 78022 822 8
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... with his new wife, Anna, and their baby, hence the perverse pull of the place (Rachel is a stalker). But she can remember nothing. She spends a lot of time considering whether hypnotherapy might restore memories lost to blackout, researching whether they can be so deeply buried in the mind that it is as if they have never existed: ‘Total black; hours ...

Who whom?

Christopher Ricks, 6 June 1985

The English Language Today 
edited by Sidney Greenbaum.
Pergamon, 345 pp., £12.50, December 1984, 0 08 031078 8
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The English Language 
by Robert Burchfield.
Oxford, 194 pp., £9.50, January 1985, 9780192191731
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A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language 
by Randolph Quirk, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech and Jan Svartvik.
Longman, 1779 pp., £39.50, May 1985, 0 582 51734 6
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by John Silverlight.
Macmillan, 107 pp., £17.50, May 1985, 9780333380109
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Faux Amis and Key Words: A Dictionary-Guide to French Language, Culture and Society through Lookalikes and Confusables 
by Philip Thody, Howard Evans and Gwilym Rees.
Athlone, 224 pp., £16, February 1985, 0 485 11243 4
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by Walter Redfern.
Blackwell, 234 pp., £14.95, October 1984, 0 631 13793 9
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Fair of Speech: The Uses of Euphemism 
edited by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 222 pp., £9.95, April 1985, 0 19 212236 3
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... of its good and bad angels, the authoritative and the authoritarian. Linguistic conservatives like John Simon, who sometimes seem not only not to mind being disliked but to thrive on it, do not shrink from such acts of authority as will promptly be branded authoritarian – a word wielded in Sidney Greenbaum’s tour de task-force The English Language ...

The Coat in Question

Iain Sinclair: Margate, 20 March 2003

All the Devils Are Here 
by David Seabrook.
Granta, 192 pp., £7.99, March 2003, 9781862075597
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... novel sequence from the era of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper). Nobody else would link John Betjeman with Anthony Frewin, compiler of The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: An Annotated Film, TV and Videography 1963-92. At this point, Seabrook needs a videography, not a bibliography. He is what he watches, late at ...

A New Kind of Being

Jenny Turner: Angela Carter, 3 November 2016

The Invention of Angela Carter: A Biography 
by Edmund Gordon.
Chatto, 544 pp., £25, October 2016, 978 0 7011 8755 2
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... learn from the letters people wrote to Carter as from Carter’s writings themselves. Angela Olive Stalker​ was born to a London mother and Scottish father in Eastbourne in May 1940 and raised in Balham in South London. She married Paul Carter in 1960 when she was just twenty, then moved with her husband to Bristol, where she wrote four novels in quick ...

Across the Tellyverse

Jenny Turner: Daleks v. Cybermen, 22 June 2006

Doctor Who 
BBC1Show More
Doctor Who: A Critical Reading of the Series 
by Kim Newman.
BFI, 138 pp., £12, December 2005, 1 84457 090 8
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... him with Basil Fawlty. Except that the dying Dennis Potter went further, maybe, when he called John Birt, the BBC’s then director-general, ‘a croak-voiced Dalek’ in 1993. Much expectation surrounded Doctor Who’s return last year, into an industry that has changed vastly since he went away. Mark Thompson, the BBC’s current director-general, sees ...

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