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Clive’s Clio

Hugh Tulloch

8 February 1990
Not by Fact Alone: Essays on the Writing and Reading of History 
by John Clive.
Collins Harvill, 334 pp., £15, October 1989, 0 00 272041 8
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... if the Victorian ethic was evoked only to destroy the last vestiges of genuine 19th-century virtues. Both here and in his earlier study of the Edinburgh Review and his first volume on Macaulay, JohnClive shows no desire to use or manipulate the Victorians. He merely wants to understand them better. And what he comes to understand, as G.M. Young did before him, is that the Victorian resolutely refuses ...

Dickens and I*

Gavin Ewart

20 November 1980
... and the sixteen-year-olds are clustering round me (no fool like an old fool), the clevers, the athletics, the shys, the bolds, for me to sign their poem-photostats; I write ‘Best wishes to Clare; John; Clive; Maureen.’ These are their souvenirs – Bard Rock, Hippocrene beer mats – xeroxed to help them sort out what I mean, like worksheets. I’m the only worksheet on the scene! Behind me I ...
7 April 1994
After the Victorians: Private Conscience and Public Duty in Modern Britain 
edited by Susan Pedersen and Peter Mandler.
Routledge, 265 pp., £40, February 1994, 0 415 07056 2
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... to dislodge the descendants of this élite and the values they represented from their long-standing centrality in British culture. Characteristically feeble echoes of this assault were evident in John Major’s recent sneering at ‘progressive theorists’, but some years ago the real emotional dynamic was laid bare, indecently bare, by (as usual) Norman Tebbit, who extolled ‘the man in the pub ...
4 April 1985
The Right to Know: The Inside Story of the ‘Belgrano’ Affair 
by Clive​ Ponting.
Sphere, 214 pp., £2.50, March 1985, 0 7221 6944 2
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... Contrary to the impression formed in some quarters, I do not know Clive Ponting well. Apart from a three-hour meeting in the presence of Brian Raymond, his remarkably gifted and industrious solicitor, in the early autumn of last year, I have never had a proper ...
23 March 1995
Cyril Connolly: A Nostalgic Life 
by Clive​ Fisher.
Macmillan, 304 pp., £20, March 1995, 0 333 57813 9
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... to everyone who knew him. It was not exactly that he was a legend, or that there was anything romantic or Byronic about him. Though his funny face had great charm he was the reverse of handsome: John Sparrow, in one of his feline mots, remarked that ‘the trouble with Cyril is that he is not so beautiful as he looks.’ But he was a living repository of nostalgia, and of the most stylish sort of ...

Lucky Brrm

John​ Sutherland

12 March 1992
Brrm! Brrm! 
by Clive​ James.
Cape, 160 pp., £12.99, November 1991, 0 224 03226 7
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Saint Maybe 
by Anne Tyler.
Chatto, 337 pp., £14.99, October 1991, 0 7011 3787 8
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Faustine 
by Emma Tennant.
Faber, 140 pp., £12.99, March 1992, 9780571142637
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... Antipodean, Barry Humphries. Humphries is nowadays primarily a West End and small screen entertainer with his largest viewing constituency in Britain. The same – but more – could be said of Clive James. James has earned himself reputations as a television host, reviewer, newspaper columnist, songwriter, ‘metropolitan critic’, versifier and novelist (Brrm! Brrm! is his third published ...
7 June 2001
... also allowed the congregation to dress up not down, so that though the millinery might be more muted, one could have been forgiven, thought Treacher, for thinking this was a wedding not a wake. Clive Dunlop, the dead man, was quite young – 34 according to the dates given on the front of the Order of Service, though there were some in the congregation who had thought him even younger. Still, it ...

C is for Colonies

Anthony Pagden: A New History of Empire

11 May 2006
Edge of Empire: Conquest and Collecting in the East 1750-1850 
by Maya Jasanoff.
Fourth Estate, 405 pp., £25, August 2005, 0 00 718009 8
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... only Britons but sundry other Europeans mingled, traded, intermarried and sometimes fought with Indians and with one another. Of the ‘List of Inhabitants residing in Calcutta’ drawn up for Lord Clive in 1766, only 129 of the 231 European males were British. The rest came from Portugal, the German states, Switzerland, Sweden, French Chandernagore and Ireland. Life in this frontier world, as ...
7 November 1985
London Reviews 
edited by Nicholas Spice.
Chatto, 222 pp., £5.95, October 1985, 0 7011 2988 3
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The New Review Anthology 
edited by Ian Hamilton.
Heinemann, 320 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 434 31330 0
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Night and Day 
edited by Christopher Hawtree, by Graham Greene.
Chatto, 277 pp., £12.95, November 1985, 0 07 011296 7
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Lilliput goes to war 
edited by Kaye Webb.
Hutchinson, 288 pp., £10.95, September 1985, 9780091617608
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Penguin New Writing: 1940-1950 
edited by John​ Lehmann and Roy Fuller.
Penguin, 496 pp., September 1985, 0 14 007484 8
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... believe that it is a far, far better thing they do for him than they might have done if left alone. Voice any doubt except that. Below Karl Miller’s troubled conscience is an assurance worthy of John Knox, if rather more tolerant. His magazine reflects this – is, indeed, its embodiment. The LRB is the house magazine of the British intellectual élite. In the TLS they talk to the world. In the ...

Diary

Ian Hamilton: It's a size thing

19 September 1985
... builds his career on manipulating gossip ought not to be surprised if his deathbed is wired for sound. A relief, then, to turn from all this deranged big-talk to some sturdy English self-effacement. John Haffenden is steadily becoming the closest we have to a domestic version of the Mansos and Grobels. He has already published a book of earnest conversations with a dozen or so poets and this month he ...
22 January 1987
Other Passports: Poems 1958-1985 
by Clive​ James.
Cape, 221 pp., £9.95, November 1986, 0 224 02422 1
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... he might be, he wasn’t going to be primarily a poet, even if he cast his messages to the world in verse. This nostrum begs many questions, but it remains a good rule-of-thumb. By this test, Clive James is a true poet. Line after line of his has a characteristic personal tone, a kind of end-stopped singingness which is almost independent of what it says. The following are taken at random from ...

Amigos

Christopher Ricks

2 August 1984
The Faber Book of Parodies 
edited by Simon Brett.
Faber, 383 pp., £8.95, May 1984, 0 571 13125 5
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Lilibet: An Account in Verse of the Early Years of the Queen until the Time of her Accession 
by Her Majesty.
Blond and Briggs, 95 pp., £6.95, May 1984, 0 85634 157 6
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... is its flattery, and flattery is not the sincerest form of imitation. It is the media-men and the culturalists who run this very contemporary show: Miles Kington and Russell Davies, Alan Coren and Clive James, Malcolm Bradbury and George Melly. The parodied A’s have it: Douglas Adams (hitchhiking through a galaxy of fading stars), Woody Allen, Kingsley Amis, Anon, John Aubrey, Auden and Ayckbourn ...
2 December 1993
Selected Letters of Vanessa Bell 
edited by Regina Marler, introduced by Quentin Bell.
Bloomsbury, 593 pp., £25, November 1993, 0 7475 1550 6
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... as Regina Marler puts it in her excellent biographical introduction, a rather different fate has befallen its visual artists. They are understood only too well, and patronised with faint praise. Clive Bell’s ‘Significant Form’ is an aesthetic curiosity, Roger Fry’s influence as a theorist long ago terminated. The pictures and decorative work of the Bloomsbury English Modernists – Bell ...
19 August 1982
Swansongs 
by Sue Lenier.
Oleander Press, 80 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 9780906672044
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Collected Poems 
by Sylvia Plath, edited by Ted Hughes.
Faber, 351 pp., £10, September 1981, 0 571 10573 4
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Devotions 
by Clive​ Wilmer.
Carcanet, 63 pp., £3.25, June 1982, 0 85635 359 0
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... persons as the occasion for revealing what it is that their souls have been yearning for all this time when they have been the intimidated colleagues of the late F.R. Leavis. ‘Unashamedly,’ says John Rathmell of Christ’s College, ‘a lyric and romantic poet in the tradition of Blake and Shelley’, thus grossly maligning both Blake and Shelley. (‘Unashamedly’, however, is correct.) Either ...

Inside Out

John​ Bayley

4 September 1980
The Collected Ewart 1933-1980 
by Gavin Ewart.
Hutchinson, 412 pp., £10, June 1980, 0 09 141000 2
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Selected Poems and Prose 
by Michael Roberts, edited by Frederick Grubb.
Carcanet, 205 pp., £7.95, June 1980, 0 85635 263 2
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... Towards the end of Gavin Ewart’s delightful and comfortable volume there is a poem called ‘It’s hard to dislike Ewart’. Too true, as Clive James or Peter Porter might say, possibly with a certain wry exasperation. Generally speaking, our fondness and admiration for poets does go with a potential of patronage or dislike, a pleasure in ...

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