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“... which it represents is quite remarkable. If Jeffrey Archer embodies rebounding success, John Stonehouse’s book breathes failure. Stripped down, Ralph is the story of a successful politician who grows restless with his good life, gets into a terrible pickle, assumes a false identity, escapes and comes to a disastrous end. It’s not, one might ...”
“... poet who had some capital. But the firm only took off with the acquisition a few years later of John Hotten’s, Henry Bohn’s and John Maxwell’s publishing properties. Macmillan absorbed the house of Bentley in 1898; Murray absorbed Smith, Elder in 1917; between the wars, according to Ian Norrie, Hutchinson ...”
“... is never left unadorned by epithet: ‘the sour-stomached Thomas Carlyle’, ‘the flamboyant John Elliotson’, ‘the one-eyed, gold-waistcoated, civic-skewering Robert Knox’, ‘the humane mad-doctor John Conolly’, ‘the bombastic Ernst Haeckel’. If Desmond gave us time to think about it, one might wonder ...”
“... history into several ages in which different tasks were required of man, after the teaching of John Nelson Darby, a 19th-century Plymouth Brethren minister) had been of no more importance, theologically, than Tennessee snake-handling. Lindsey broadened dispensationalism’s doctrinal base and gave end-times religion mass appeal. In his sceptical ...”
“... this time in a more objectively historical context. Hamilton offers 22 case studies, from John Donne – the first properly biographed English author – to Philip Larkin of last month’s Observer fame. Hamilton could not, if he tried, write an unreadable book. Keepers of the Flame is that rarest of modern things, lit crit with laughs. Hamilton has ...”
“... will be called on to honour the entrepreneur who gave us (to his own considerable enrichment) Johnny Rotten’s ‘God Save the Queen’ (‘She ain’t no human being’). Branson’s sanitising touch has been used to more worthy effect on occasion. His decision to purchase London’s leading gay club, Heaven, for half a million pounds in 1981, was taken ...”
“... publisher) in 1958. Now a top editor, he cultivated the house’s top authors. Auden, Dr Seuss and John O’Hara are recalled here in vivid anecdotes. A bunch of his authors line up to offer puffs for Book Business: ‘brilliant, moving and profoundly insightful’ (Toni Morrison); ‘a putative classic … fine and impeccable style’ (Norman Mailer); ‘an ...”
“... informing symbol or emblem of Little Dorrit is the prison.’ The novelist is known to be of John Carey’s persuasion on the subject of the Dickens industry’s symbol-hunting. He makes his point with a heavily satirised gay Canadian Cambridge don who researches ‘his’ author, surrounded by congenial works like Dickens: The Baroque Lamp and Dickens ...”
“... and Sid is strongly suggested by various tricks in the novel. The author makes a personal, rather John Fowles-like, intervention in Chapter Seven, as the best man at Mr Lonely’s wedding. Reproduced photographs (from Morecambe’s ‘private collection’) show him in the wedding group (‘Eric and me, a lovely couple!’). For the rest, Mr Lonely has, as ...”
“... Edgar is vouchsafed a vision of the ‘World of Tomorrow’. Like an infant and apolitical John Reed, he emerges dazzled, holding a button declaring: ‘I have seen the future.’ In other ways, the World’s Fair crowns Edgar’s childhood. He wins an honourable mention in the essay contest on the theme of ‘The American Boy’. His entry is naively ...”
“... in the Eighties, culminating with a slaughter of innocent citizens. A police detective, John Richards, and an Attorney-General, Terry Gleason, collaborate to bring the gang to book. The criminals prove to be, not the usual run of bank robbers, but Sixties student radicals, now regrouped as ‘the Bolivian Contingent’. Their leader is a nasty ...”
“... notes as a royal road to Dickensian interpretation. This was followed by Kathleen Tillotson and John Butt’s Dickens at Work (1957), and by the same authors’ ‘Clarendon’ Dickens project, which enshrined a full transcription of the working notes as essential editorial apparatus. If archaeology into the substrata of Dickensian composition is how we ...”
“... Emma, what’s wrong with America is (hilariously): ‘Not enough gun control.’ For Marvin – a John Bircher and addict of Rush Limbaugh slob conservatism – what’s wrong with America is ‘coloureds and hispanics’ (the Jews he can live with, since ‘they only sell drugs and prostitutes in the coloured districts’). Marvin built the best fall-out ...”
“... Ask what has been the single greatest influence on literary research since the Sixties and the answer might be the Xerox machine, the jumbo jet or Jacques Derrida. Ask what will transform literary research in the next ten years and a likely answer is The English Poetry Full-Text Database. This project, whose three serial instalments will be complete this summer, has reportedly clocked up almost a hundred sales ...”
“... tripe she borrowed. My copies of Hemingway’s Fiesta, Warwick Deeping’s Sorrell and Son and John Braine’s Room at the Top (a first edition) have the faint purple imprint of Fincham’s rubber stamp on their flyleaf. These did not go into the Essex ditches. I also toyed with keeping Forever Amber (recalling it as being ‘hot’), but let it go. I kept ...”