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Superior Persons

E.S. Turner, 6 February 1986

Travels with a Superior Person 
by Lord Curzon, edited by Peter King.
Sidgwick, 191 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 283 99294 8
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The Ladies of Castlebrae 
by A. Whigham Price.
Alan Sutton, 242 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 228 1
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Lizzie: A Victorian Lady’s Amazon Adventure 
by Tony Morrison, Anne Brown and Ann Rose.
BBC, 160 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 563 20424 9
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Miss Fane in India 
by [author], edited by John Pemble.
Alan Sutton, 246 pp., £10.95, October 1985, 0 86299 240 0
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Explorers Extraordinary 
by John Keay.
Murray/BBC Publications, 195 pp., £10.95, November 1985, 0 7195 4249 9
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A Visit to Germany, Italy and Malta 1840-41 
by Hans Christian Andersen, translated by Grace Thornton.
Peter Owen, 182 pp., £12.50, October 1985, 0 7206 0636 5
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The Irish Sketch-Book 1842 
by William Makepeace Thackeray.
Blackstaff, 368 pp., £9.95, December 1985, 0 85640 340 7
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Mr Rowlandson’s England 
by Robert Southey, edited by John Steel.
Antique Collectors’ Club, 202 pp., £14.95, November 1985, 0 907462 77 4
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... whether to introduce ‘some bursts of fine writing’, an indulgence best left to Viceroys. John Keay, the drily witty author of Travellers Extraordinary (and, earlier, Eccentric Travellers), comes as a timely model of concision. His heroes are the coxcombs and humbugs of travel, or pretended travel. The best-known is Louis de Rougemont, alias Henry ...

Crisis at Ettrick Bridge

William Rodgers, 12 October 1989

A Short History of the Liberal Party 1900-88 
by Chris Cook.
Macmillan, 216 pp., £9.95, August 1989, 0 333 44884 7
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Against Goliath 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 318 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 9780297796787
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Labour’s Decline and the Social Democrats’ Fall 
by Geoffrey Lee Williams and Alan Lee Williams.
Macmillan, 203 pp., £29.50, July 1989, 0 333 46541 5
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Penhaligon 
by Annette Penhaligon.
Bloomsbury, 262 pp., £14.95, September 1989, 0 7475 0501 2
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Citizens’ Britain: A Radical Agenda for the 1990s 
by Paddy Ashdown.
Fourth Estate, 159 pp., £5.95, September 1989, 1 872180 45 0
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... led to Thorpe’s disgrace and departure, and then to a bitter contest for the succession with John Pardoe, gave David Steel an almost impossible task. He was 39, but looked younger, a slight figure with an easy smile, a son of the Scottish manse, neither obviously at home with scholars, like Grimond, or in London ...

John Bayley writes about Graham Greene

John Bayley, 25 April 1991

... eyes might stare out with equal pugnacity and distaste from under a bowler, a bush hat or a steel helmet – that is the kind of image the old pro projected and presented. A 17th-century poet, writing an epitaph, would have given us a conceit about death being glad to have got him at last. A tender-hearted chap like Siegfried Sassoon might have shaken ...

Short Cuts

Nick Richardson: ‘The Bestseller Code’, 17 November 2016

... reading. Archer and Jockers are interested in the pumpkin plants – writers like Stephen King, John Grisham and Danielle Steel, perennial presences on the New York Times bestseller list – and what makes them sell so well. By looking only at textual features their machine has isolated the essence of the ...

Elementary

John Sutherland, 8 July 1993

Air and Fire 
by Rupert Thomson.
Bloomsbury, 310 pp., £15.99, April 1993, 0 7475 1382 1
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Dreams of Leaving 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 435 pp., £6.99, April 1993, 0 14 017148 7
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The Five Gates of Hell 
by Rupert Thomson.
Penguin, 368 pp., £5.99, March 1992, 0 14 016537 1
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... by a disciple of Gustave Eiffel to build a modernist cathedral, based on the Tower’s logical steel geometry. This would be unsurprising in 1890-something, except that this architect chooses to build his cathedral in a god-forsaken small town in Baja California, the peninsula that dangles along the West Coast with the Gulf of Mexico on one side and the ...

Riding the Cobra at the York Show

John Kinsella, 18 November 2004

... reach heights Once unimaginable; praise this lay Society, almost too proud to pray. Hooked elbow, steel lap-trap, drop-pod lock-down . . . Centrifuge of senses and kinetics, On the blow-out, rise up and twist, your frown Looking down and out at the granite quirks Of sunset ridges, peripatetics Of ripening crops, glib orality Of sideshow clowns, unravelling ...

Two Poems

John Burnside, 7 October 2010

... are blind, and what it clutches in its broken hand, is painfully familiar, shreds of black and steel-grey, like that overcoat he wore the day he left. She wakes to mourning doves, a hint of blue, thin sunlight on the walls and, at her door, a figure she has never seen before, not him, not her, but something of the two combined – and then the shape she ...

Two Poems

John Hartley Williams, 7 June 2007

... of your tongue costs a dollar And, listen, what have you done with Superman? I need to see that steel-chinned genie of superlove remove his red knickers I need to see him part the thighs of a TV evangelist And move his V-shaped body with all the expertise You might expect from someone who can view his own expenditure with X-ray eyes America, the ...

Grey Eminence

Edward Said, 5 March 1981

Walter Lippmann and the American Century 
by Ronald Steel.
Bodley Head, 669 pp., £8.95, February 1981, 0 370 30376 8
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... and famous American journalist of this century, a fact confirmed many times over in Ronald Steel’s extraordinarily fine biography. The only son of very well-off German-Jewish parents, Lippmann had a sheltered and privileged childhood in New York, ‘learning Latin and Greek by gaslight and riding a goat cart in Central Park’ before going off to ...

The Last Column

Hal Foster: Remnants of 9/11, 8 September 2011

... There is a hangar at JFK Airport – Hangar 17 – where, until recently, about 1200 pieces of steel and other objects from the World Trade Center site were warehoused. In the frenetic days after the attacks, these remains were selected as tokens of 9/11, so that they might be dispersed to memorials around the US, foremost among them the National September 11 Memorial and Museum at Ground Zero, which opens on the tenth anniversary of the event ...

Mrs Thatcher’s Instincts

Barbara Wootton, 7 August 1980

Mrs Thatcher’s First Year 
by Hugh Stephenson.
Jill Norman, 128 pp., £6.50, June 1980, 0 906908 16 7
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A House Divided 
by David Steel.
Weidenfeld, 200 pp., £6.50, June 1980, 0 297 77764 5
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... What have Margaret Thatcher and David Steel in common, apart from holding the leadership of their respective political parties? Both are highly intelligent and educated persons with academic qualifications – Thatcher in chemistry and law, Steel in arts and law. Both have been called to the bar, and for both politics has been the main preoccupation of their adult lives ...

Soft Touches

Mary Goldring, 1 September 1983

DeLorean: The Rise and Fall of a Dream-Maker 
by Ivan Fallon and James Srodes.
Hamish Hamilton, 418 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 241 11087 4
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... we’re not part of the motor industry. We’re in the toy business, making toys for big boys.’ John DeLorean intended to do the same: to build a sports car of polished steel for, as he put it, ‘the horny bachelor who’s made it’. But the toy market is demanding and capricious and the car failed to please. The ...

Poles Apart

John Sutherland, 5 May 1983

Give us this day 
by Janusz Glowacki, translated by Konrad Brodzinski.
Deutsch, 121 pp., £6.95, March 1983, 0 233 97518 7
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In Search of Love and Beauty 
by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala.
Murray, 227 pp., £8.50, April 1983, 0 7195 4062 3
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Listeners 
by Sally Emerson.
Joseph, 174 pp., £7.95, April 1983, 0 7181 2134 1
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Flying to Nowhere 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 89 pp., £4.95, March 1983, 0 907540 27 9
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Some prefer nettles 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 155 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51603 9
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The Makioka Sisters 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Edward Seidensticker.
Secker, 530 pp., £9.95, March 1983, 0 330 28046 5
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‘The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi’ and ‘Arrowroot’ 
by Junichiro Tanizaki, translated by Anthony Chambers.
Secker, 199 pp., £7.95, March 1983, 0 436 51602 0
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... like an ox, I am. Productive. Efficient member of the workforce.’ Productive and efficient the steel-driving hero may be. Articulate narrator he is not. His solidity makes a point about Solidarity. His humble reflections on the upheaval around him may even be eloquent in his native Polish. But working-class vernacular must vie with poetry in making things ...

The Queen and I

William Empson and John Haffenden, 26 November 1987

... that Elizabethan masquers would have told the Queen ‘that she was God, and that she had invented steel.’ If he felt initial doubts about the venture, he nevertheless forged ahead and sketched the outline of The Birth of Steel within a few days. The plot tells how a Medieval alchemist – aptly named Smith – is baffled ...

Diary

Louise Foxcroft: W.B. Yeats and her great-uncle, 7 September 2000

... likely to follow; he was already so weak that, to his great chagrin, he had to wear a leather and steel surgical corset. I have been told different stories about his death. My mother maintained that he died in a sanitorium near Menton to which he had been admitted when his condition unexpectedly worsened. My aunt, on the other hand, remembers being told ...

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