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My father says

Brian Dillon: Hugo Hamilton

23 March 2006
The Sailor in the Wardrobe 
by Hugo Hamilton.
Fourth Esta te, 263 pp., £16.99, February 2006, 0 00 719217 7
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... I owe what sense I have of the power of the word to a man whose power depended on words failing him. The first  time I heard the term ‘West Brit’, it was spat out by a florid-faced teacher at a suburban Dublin school in the early summer of 1981 ...

Dithyrambs for Athens

Leofranc Holford-Strevens: The difficulties of reading Pindar

17 February 2005
Soliciting Darkness: Pindar, Obscurity and the Classical Tradition 
by John T. Hamilton.
Harvard, 348 pp., £17.95, April 2004, 0 674 01257 7
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The First PoetsLives of the Ancient Greek Poets 
by Michael Schmidt</a>.
Weidenfeld, 449 pp., £20, April 2004, 0 297 64394 0
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... The Theban poet Pindar (c.520-446 BC), though he wrote much else, is principally known for his magnificent odes, known as epinicians, in praise of athletic victories by aristocrats and tyrants, nowadays esteemed less than Athenian democrats and Macedonian monarchs, but no worse than their counterparts in later ages who patronised poets, painters and composers still admired ...
5 October 2016
American Revolutions: A Continental History, 1750-1804 
by Alan Taylor.
Norton, 704 pp., £30, November 2016, 978 0 393 08281 4
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... The racism​ , xenophobia and violence of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is widely seen as an aberration, as if reasoned debate had been the default mode of American politics ...

Madder Men

Hal Foster: Richard Hamilton on Richard Hamilton

24 October 2019
Richard Hamilton: Introspective 
by Phillip Spectre.
König, 408 pp., £49, September 2019, 978 3 88375 695 0
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... Biographies​ of artists often read like legends of heroes. Vasari preferred his Renaissance masters to be precocious in talent, humble in origin and, if possible, anointed by a predecessor – so he gives us Cimabue discovering the shepherd boy Giotto sketching a pastoral scene with perfect skill ...

After-Lives

John Sutherland

5 November 1992
Keepers of the Flame: Literary Esta tes and the Rise of Biography 
by Ian Hamilton.
Hutchinson, 344 pp., £18.99, October 1992, 0 09 174263 3
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Testamentary ActsBrowning, Tennyson, James, Hardy 
by Michael Millgate.
Oxford, 273 pp., £27.50, June 1992, 0 19 811276 9
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The Last Laugh 
by Michael Holroyd.
Chatt</span>o, 131 pp., £10.99, December 1991, 0 7011 4583 8
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Trollope 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 551 pp., £20, September 1992, 0 09 173896 2
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... A man of many literary parts, Ian Hamilton came to biography late and triumphantly with his life of the dead but still warm Robert Lowell ...
9 January 1992
Through a Glass Darkly: The life of Patrick Hamilto
by Nigel Jones.
Scribner, 408 pp., £18.95, December 1991, 0 356 19701 8
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... Towards the end of his life (he died aged 58) Patrick Hamilton was taking the cure in some Metroland establishment while Malcolm Lowry was being dried out in another not far off ...

Enisled

John Sutherland: Matt</span>hew Arnold

19 March 1998
A Gift Imprisoned: The Poetic Life of Matt</span>hew Arnold 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 241 pp., £17.99, March 1998, 0 7475 3671 6
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... The last few decades have been good for Matthew Arnold. In 1977, R.H. Super completed the 11-volume Complete Prose Works, a venture that seemed quixotic (‘all those school reports!’) when he began it in 1960 ...

Extraordinarily Graceful Exits from Power

Nicholas Guyatt</span>: George Washington’s Reticence

17 November 2005
His Excellency George Washingto
by Joseph J. Ellis.
Faber, 320 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 571 21212 3
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... The current US president likes to talk about his predecessor ‘the first George W.’, but it’s hard to imagine two politicians with more different styles ...
1 October 1987
Twenty Thousand Streets under the Sky 
by Patrick Hamilton.
Hogarth, 528 pp., £4.95, June 1987, 0 7012 0751 5
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Trust Me 
by John Updike.
Deutsch, 249 pp., £9.95, September 1987, 0 394 55833 2
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Her Story: A Novel 
by Dan Jacobson.
Deutsch, 142 pp., £8.95, August 1987, 0 233 98116 0
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... Patrick Hamilton is remembered today, if at all, for the short pre-war novel Hangover Square, and the stage thrillers Rope and Gasligh...

Main Man

Michael Hofmann

7 July 1994
Walking Possession: Essays and Reviews 1968-1993 
by Ian Hamilton.
Bloomsbury, 302 pp., £20, May 1994, 0 7475 1712 6
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Gazza Italia 
by Ian Hamilton.
Granta, 188 pp., £5.99, May 1994, 0 14 014073 5
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... When you get onto the big wheel of writing (or the little wheels within wheels of poetry), it seems clear to me that  the people you look to and feel an affinity for are not to begin with, anyway – the ones who get on immediately before and after you, still less the ones who’ve been on for ages – you want  their seats – but  the half-strangers you see through the struts half a cycle (half a generation) away, falling as you rise, rising as you fall ...
20 February 1997
Sleaze: The Corruption of Parliament&nbsp;
by David Leigh and Ed Vulliamy.
Fourth Esta te, 263 pp., £9.99, January 1997, 1 85702 694 2
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... Betty Boothroyd has called on the media to provide ‘fairer and better balanced coverage’ of the House of Commons. ‘Above all,’ she has warned, they ‘should not use the occasion for highly generalised and unsubstantiated comments against Members of the House as a whole and the Parliamentary syste...
17 February 1983
Sir William Rowan Hamilto
by Thomas Hankins.
Johns Hopkins, 474 pp., £19.50, July 1981, 0 8018 2203 3
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Gentlemen of Science: Early Years of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 
by Jack Morrell and Arnold Thackray.
Oxford, 592 pp., £30, August 1981, 0 19 858163 7
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The Parliament of Science: The British Association for the Advancement of Science 1831-1981 
edited by Roy MacLeod and Peter Collins.
Science Reviews, 308 pp., £12.25, September 1982, 0 905927 66 4
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... In the London Review of Books, t- term">John Maynard Smith said about scientists: ‘however interested they may be in politics or history or philosophy, their first love is science itself ...

Every three years

Blake Morrison

3 March 1988
Fifty Poems 
by Ian Hamilton.
Faber, 51 pp., £4.95, January 1988, 0 571 14920 0
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A Various Art&nbsp;
edited by Andrew Crozier and Tim Longville.
Carcanet, 377 pp., £12.95, December 1987, 0 85635 698 0
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Between Leaps: Poems 1972-1985 
by Brad Leithauser.
Oxford, 81 pp., £5.95, September 1987, 0 19 282089 3
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Eldorado 
by William Scammell.
Peterloo, 71 pp., £4.50, October 1987, 0 905291 88 3
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Disbelief 
by John Ash.
Carcanet, 127 pp., £6.95, September 1987, 0 85635 695 6
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The Automatic Oracle 
by Peter Porter.
Oxford, 72 pp., £4.95, November 1987, 0 19 282088 5
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Voice-over 
by Norman MacCaig.
Chatt</span>o, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 7011 3313 9
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... Now that poetry has been brought into the marketplace, and publishers have discovered how to make a modest profit from it, and now that publication outlets can be found in any good-sized store, so productivity levels in British poetry have increased dramatically ...

Short Cuts

John Lanchester: The Great Refusers

19 October 2016
... Most​ writers of fiction are interested in anonymity. If they aren’t  tickled by the thought when they sit down to write their first books, they get  tothat point after the first couple have come ou...

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