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Disagreeable Glimpses

John Ashbery, 22 March 2001

... the shoreline. There were no boats, only trees and boathouses. It’s good to step off that steel carousel. The woods were made for musicianly echoes, though not all at once. Too many echoes are like no echo, or a single tall one. Please return dishes to main room after using. Try a little subtlety in self-defence; it’ll help, you’ll find out. The ...

Nothing They Wouldn’t Do

Richard J. Evans: Krupp, 21 June 2012

Krupp: A History of the Legendary German Firm 
by Harold James.
Princeton, 360 pp., £24.95, March 2012, 978 0 691 15340 7
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... by William Manchester, better known for his account of the assassination of his wartime friend, John F. Kennedy, Death of a President. Written in a racy, sometimes sensational style, the book was full of sweeping generalisations about Germany and the Germans, whom Manchester, not least because of his war experiences, clearly did not like. The Krupp...

On Teesside

Joanna Biggs, 21 October 2010

... and Coosje van Bruggen’s Bottle of Notes, a building-height bottle of lacy blue and white steel, teetering on its side, and a giant TV screen that always seemed to be advertising the 2012 Olympics or the latest government pronouncement: on the one hand perky, on the other grim. It’s not as if the Linthorpe Road is all there is. Since mima (think ...
... parties, each with its own leader. Despite superficial good will between David Owen and David Steel, each had run his own show. In particular, David Owen had preferred the company and advice of a small group of friends to working through the Alliance. As the Alliance candidate in Milton Keynes, I had been fighting the best organised and most intensive ...

Plummeting Deep into Cold Pop

Zachary Leader: Colson Whitehead, 13 December 2001

John Henry Days 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fourth Estate, 389 pp., £12, June 2001, 1 84115 569 1
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... Whitehead is black and comparisons were made to Ralph Ellison, Toni Morrison and Ishmael Reed. John Updike has called him ‘blithely gifted’, ‘the young African-American writer to watch’. Whitehead’s new novel, John Henry Days, is longer and more ambitious than The Intuitionist, and the suggestion in its ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: War Talk, 6 February 2003

... to consolidate his place in the history books as Britain’s greatest wartime Prime Minister since John Major, shipping our boys out to the Gulf, boots or no boots, his rhetoric at least is wearing steel toe caps. ‘We are going to be in the front line of this whatever happens,’ he told the Commons Liaison ...

A Technical Philosopher

Hilary Putnam, 19 May 1983

The Varieties of Reference 
by Gareth Evans, edited by John McDowell.
Oxford, 418 pp., £15, October 1982, 0 19 824685 4
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... on this book for several years; the task of completing it from his notes was carried out by John McDowell. (The first two chapters and the introduction were rewritten by Evans himself in the last months of his life.) Evans’s death at such an early age is a tragedy. We can have no real idea what his mature years might have brought forth, and this book ...

That Man Griffith

John Griffith, 25 October 1990

Lord Denning: A Biography 
by Edmund Heward.
Weidenfeld, 243 pp., £15, September 1990, 9780297811381
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... attitude to the press shows his quest for justice at its most idiosyncratic. When the British Steel Corporation sought an order of the court to require Granada TV to disclose the source of the information used in a programme critical of BSC, Denning began by saying that ‘in general’ sources should be protected. But on second thoughts, he has told ...

At Dia:Beacon

Hal Foster: Fetishistic Minimalist, 5 June 2003

... desert, were grand. Among the best known is The Lightning Field, a vast grid of 400 stainless-steel poles staked out by de Maria on a New Mexico plain in 1977. Dia now also oversees the mother of all earthworks, Spiral Jetty, a great coil of rocks built by Robert Smithson into the Great Salt Lake in Utah in 1970. Initially directed by Heiner Friedrich, a ...

Wife Overboard

John Sutherland: Thackeray, 20 January 2000

by D.J. Taylor.
Chatto, 494 pp., £25, October 1999, 0 7011 6231 7
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... And, one mutters, reviewers carp. For all this, Taylor has a critical parti pris. Like John Carey, whom he admires, he subscribes to the simplifying (and Ray-reversing) view that Thackeray is a one-book author. Or, as Carey brutally puts it: ‘Thackeray’s career as a leading novelist began and ended with Vanity Fair. After that it ...

In Soho

Peter Campbell: Richard Rogers Partnership, 24 May 2001

... John Nash’s commentary on his 1810 plan for Regent Street was clear about the social implications of what he was suggesting: ‘The whole communication from Charing-Cross to Oxford Street will be a boundary, and complete separation between the Streets and the Squares occupied by the Nobility and Gentry, and the narrower streets and meaner houses occupied by mechanics and the trading part of the community ...

Function v. Rhetoric

Peter Campbell: Engineers and Architects, 10 April 2008

Architect and Engineer 
by Andrew Saint.
Yale, 541 pp., £45, March 2008, 978 0 300 12443 9
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... Central Station in New York you see the opposite: massive masonry used to encase an elaborate steel frame, giving weight to a ceremonial statement. A picture of the Pompidou Centre shows the huge cast-steel gerberettes that transfer forces from the horizontal spans via vertical rods to the foundations; an engraving of ...

Ages of the Train

Christopher Driver, 8 January 1987

The Railway Station: A Social History 
by Jeffrey Richards and John MacKenzie.
Oxford, 440 pp., £15, April 1986, 0 19 215876 7
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The Railways of Britain: A Journey through History 
by Jack Simmons.
Macmillan, 255 pp., £15.95, May 1986, 0 333 40766 0
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... confided to me the same year by a woman in Berkeley: ‘I have never been on a train.’ The first steel (as opposed to short-lived iron) rail in the world was laid at the entrance to Derby Station in 1857 – an immediate consequence of Bessemer’s cheap steel-making process launched the previous year. Already, a mere ...


Hal Foster: Diego Rivera, 26 January 2012

... opening. As frescos are fixed in situ, he had to vary his usual method: he had cement poured into steel frames ready to be surfaced with fresco plaster on his arrival. The Modern set him up in an empty gallery on 57th Street, where he worked non-stop with three assistants, all under the pressure of a steady stream of visitors, a curious media and a tight ...


Kathleen Jamie: High and Dry, 3 August 2006

... the mate, brought the tender over to carry us back to the boat. The Poplar Voyager is a 90-foot steel motor yacht, built apparently for some millionaire whose wife decided she didn’t like it. Now it belongs to Bob Theakston, who’s been sailing these waters for twenty years, and operates charter cruises on it. At the beginning of the week we’d been ...

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