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Oque?

John Bayley, 30 November 1995

Byrne 
by Anthony Burgess.
Hutchinson, 150 pp., £14.99, October 1995, 0 09 179204 5
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... the novel Byrne has therefore had to be composed by the eponymous hero’s obituarist, one Tomlinson. (Shades of Kipling, just as the hero’s name interests us by being so close to that of Byron.) It must have been fun to do; it is also great fun to read. The writer on his last legs is the true hero, for manifesting such a soaring parting zest in his ...

Howard’s End

John Sutherland, 18 September 1986

Redback 
by Howard Jacobson.
Bantam, 314 pp., £10.95, September 1986, 0 593 01212 7
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Coming from behind 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 250 pp., £2.95, April 1984, 0 552 99063 9
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Peeping Tom 
by Howard Jacobson.
Black Swan, 351 pp., £2.95, October 1985, 0 552 99141 4
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... and Shaun Cooney, Ruddles Carmody, Lobelia Sneddon, Norelle Turpie, Vance Kelpie, Montserrat Tomlinson, Bev Belladonna, Hartley Quibell. In fact, for ease of reading (and who wants a hard-to-read comic novel?) there are altogether too many characters popping in and out of the narrative. Even Sefton Goldberg is drafted for a fleeting appearance, wearing ...

Concierge

John Lanchester, 16 November 1995

Sons of Ezra: British Poets and Ezra Pound 
edited by Michael Alexander and James McGonigal.
Rodopi, 183 pp., $23.50, July 1995, 90 5183 840 9
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‘In Solitude, for Company’: W.H. Auden after 1940 
edited by Katherine Bucknell and Nicholas Jenkins.
Oxford, 338 pp., £40, November 1995, 0 19 818294 5
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Auden 
by Richard Davenport-Hines.
Heinemann, 406 pp., £20, October 1995, 0 434 17507 2
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Wystan and Chester: A Personal Memoir of W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman 
by Thekla Clark.
Faber, 130 pp., £12.99, October 1995, 0 571 17591 0
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... of poets from grand old men (Morgan, Donald Davie) to established talents in mid-career (Charles Tomlinson, Douglas Dunn) to new Best of Young British megastars (W.N. Herbert, Robert Crawford). But the fact relevant to Pound’s current standing is the one in Michael Alexander and James McGonigal’s Introduction: Sons of Ezra could not find a British ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: Selling my hair on eBay, 6 January 2022

... comedy written by William Douglas Home, with the legendary A.E. Matthews, Cecil Parker and David Tomlinson. I know the play well, or should, having been in it at school in the Tomlinson part. After a succession of female roles (including Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew), my voice had broken at long last and this was ...

We shall not be moved

John Bayley, 2 February 1984

Come aboard and sail away 
by John Fuller.
Salamander, 48 pp., £6, October 1983, 0 907540 37 6
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Children in Exile 
by James Fenton.
Salamander, 24 pp., £5, October 1983, 0 907540 39 2
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‘The Memory of War’ and ‘Children in Exile’: Poems 1968-1983 
by James Fenton.
Penguin, 110 pp., £1.95, October 1983, 0 14 006812 0
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Some Contemporary Poets of Britain and Ireland: An Anthology 
edited by Michael Schmidt.
Carcanet, 184 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 0 85635 469 4
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Nights in the Iron Hotel 
by Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 48 pp., £4, November 1983, 0 571 13116 6
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The Irish Lights 
by Charles Johnston and Kyril Fitzlyon.
Bodley Head, 77 pp., £4.50, September 1983, 0 370 30557 4
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Fifteen to Infinity 
by Ruth Fainlight.
Hutchinson, 62 pp., £5.95, September 1983, 0 09 152471 7
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Donald Davie and the Responsibilities of Literature 
edited by George Dekker.
Carcanet, 153 pp., £9.95, November 1983, 9780856354663
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... thing, start doing poetry and prose that is nothing but ‘poetry’ and ‘prose’. This is what John Fuller’s new rhymes for children are: they announce their literariness and children can no doubt admire it, for in this context they know, like older readers on the poetry scene, what is proper to it. But Walter de la Mare’s line ‘Who said, “Peacock ...

Real isn’t real

Michael Wood: Octavio Paz, 4 July 2013

The Poems of Octavio Paz 
edited and translated by Eliot Weinberger.
New Directions, 606 pp., £30, October 2012, 978 0 8112 2043 9
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... factors too. He likes to combine ‘chance and the creative will’, and wrote a poem about John Cage using the I Ching. He said he composed the opening lines of his great work Sunstone (1957) ‘in a state that was almost like sleepwalking’, and added that he was ‘shocked that those lines later struck [him] as beautiful’. But then the unconscious ...

Vendlerising

John Kerrigan, 2 April 1987

The Faber Book of Contemporary American Poetry 
edited by Helen Vendler.
Faber, 440 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 571 13945 0
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Selected Poems 
by John Ashbery.
Carcanet, 348 pp., £16.95, April 1986, 0 85635 666 2
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The Poetry Book Society Anthology 1986/87 
edited by Jonathan Barker.
Hutchinson, 94 pp., £4.95, November 1986, 0 09 165961 2
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Two Horse Wagon Going By 
by Christopher Middleton.
Carcanet, 143 pp., £5.95, October 1986, 0 85635 661 1
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... between poems became intrinsic. The renga recently written by Paz, Roubaud, Sanguineti and Charles Tomlinson are thus suggestive. They explore an aspect of our lyric tradition which the tradition has not taught us to notice. Such exercises will eventually make it possible to see that Shakespeare in his Sonnets is, like Basho, both creator and artful ...

Power Systems

John Bayley, 15 March 1984

Dante and English Poetry: Shelley to T.S. Eliot 
by Steve Ellis.
Cambridge, 280 pp., £20, October 1983, 0 521 25126 5
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Dante the Maker 
by William Anderson.
Hutchinson, 497 pp., £7.95, September 1983, 0 09 153201 9
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Dante: Purgatory 
translated with notes and commentary by Mark Musa.
Indiana, 373 pp., £19.25, September 1981, 0 253 17926 2
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Dante: Paradiso and Purgatorio 
with translation and commentary by Charles Singleton .
Princeton, 610 pp., £11.80, May 1982, 0 691 01844 8
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Virgil: The Aeneid 
translated by Robert Fitzgerald.
Harvill, 403 pp., £12.50, March 1984, 0 00 271008 0
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... the ‘horror’ from which Dante’s imagination redeemed the modern age was that of Kipling’s Tomlinson, the Hollow Man, and all those ‘decent godless people’ without substance enough to be either saved or damned. Dante created individuals, inadvertently perhaps, by exhibiting them in all the vigour of their past actions, and in all the awareness of ...

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 
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.
Chatto, 64 pp., £5.95, February 1988, 0 7011 3313 9
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... by Philip Gross (three years on) 41; Jouissance by William Scammell (two years) 38; Disbelief by John Ash (three years) 55; Ken Smith’s Wormwood, a collection of poems written during a spell as a writer in residence in Wormwood Scrubs (one year), 30. The justification for such work-rates, beyond the economics of scraping a living and the PR requirement of ...

The Killing of Blair Peach

David Renton, 22 May 2014

... cent of the population had been born in the New Commonwealth. The National Front’s candidate, John Fairhurst, had stood in nearby Hayes and Harlington in the two 1974 elections. He wasn’t standing in Southall in the hope of securing a high vote, but because the NF thought putting up a candidate there would get them publicity. On 23 April, 2875 police ...

Skimming along

Ross McKibbin, 20 October 1994

The Major Effect 
edited by Anthony Seldon and Dennis Kavanagh.
Macmillan, 500 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62273 1
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... John Major has now been prime minister for four years. For us, as presumably for him, it often seems a lifetime, so crowded has his premiership been with crises of one sort or another. Dennis Kavanagh and Anthony Seldon not unreasonably, therefore, think this the moment to assess his prime ministerial career; the result is The Major Effect, a collection of 26 essays by a distinguished group of commentators – including the editors ...

Return to the Totem

Frank Kermode, 21 April 1988

William Shakespeare: A Textual Companion 
by Stanley Wells, Gary Taylor, John Jowett and William Montgomery.
Oxford, 671 pp., £60, February 1988, 0 19 812914 9
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Disowning Knowledge in Six Plays of Shakespeare 
by Stanley Cavell.
Cambridge, 226 pp., £25, January 1988, 0 521 33032 7
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A History of English Literature 
by Alastair Fowler.
Blackwell, 395 pp., £17.50, November 1987, 0 631 12731 3
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... find it hard to do so – for instance, when Falstaff disappears, or rather turns into Sir John Oldcastle, since it is known that in early performances (though not in any printed form of the plays) that is what he was called. Oldcastle’s descendants protested, and the consequence was the presumably unique disclaimer in the Epilogue to 2 Henry IV. The ...

Diary

Tim Dee: Derek Walcott’s Birthday Party, 22 May 2014

... Academy. Many poets and writers are in the exhibition: William Empson, Seamus Heaney, Charles Tomlinson, Salman Rushdie, Robert Lowell, Geoffrey Hill. The only other bare feet besides Walcott’s belong to a corpse on a dissecting table in front of Keith Simpson, the forensic pathologist. An illegible name-tag is attached to a big toe. St Lucia may not be ...

Choke Point

Patrick Cockburn: In Dover, 7 November 2019

... suffering from chronic anxiety because they can see no way out of their troubles.’ Her colleague John Stiles recently found he had no way to help a 28-year-old woman and her two children who were sleeping rough outside the railway station at Walmer, just down the coast. ‘She has mental health problems,’ Stiles said, ‘and her landlord had evicted her on ...

Strange Talk at Putney

Blair Worden, 23 July 1987

Soldiers and Statesmen: The General Council of the Army and its Debates, 1647-1648 
by Austin Woolrych.
Oxford, 361 pp., £32.50, June 1987, 0 19 822752 3
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... the obligation of men to perform their political covenants. And it was there that the Levellers John Wildman and Maximilian Petty mounted the fundamental challenge to the constitution that would be rewarded by the abolition of monarchy and the House of Lords two years later. Even the sophisticated qualifications of modern scholarship, which have dwelled on ...

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