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Boy/Girl

Stephen Bann

4 August 1983
George beneath a Paper Moon 
by Nina Bawden.
Macmillan, 192 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 333 35380 3
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The Ice-House 
by Nina Bawden.
Macmillan, 236 pp., £7.95, July 1983, 0 333 35244 0
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A Dance to the Glory of God 
by Hugh Fleetwood.
Hamish Hamilton, 183 pp., £8.95, July 1983, 0 241 11088 2
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The Ice Monkey, and Other Stories 
by John Harrison.
Gollancz, 144 pp., £8.95, June 1983, 0 575 03259 6
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Arabic Short Stories 
translated by Denys Johnson-Davies.
Quartet, 173 pp., £6.95, July 1983, 0 7043 2367 2
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The Changelings: A Classical Japanese Court Tale 
translated by Rosette Willig.
Stanford, 248 pp., $19.50, May 1983, 0 8047 1124 0
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... the manuscript apart from this stray instance? Hugh Fleetwood gives a strong sense of being capable of better things, and for some reason not quite bringing it off in this fine but flawed collection. JohnHarrison keeps well within his limits in The Ice Monkey, and Other Stories. Written over the period from 1975 to 1982, these seven stories have a sharpness of detail and a sureness of overall control ...
31 October 1996
Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of his Time 
by Dava Sobel.
Fourth Estate, 184 pp., £12.99, August 1996, 1 85702 502 4
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... ponderous mood, such witty vexations form little part of the resolutely Anglocentric ‘true story’ recounted by Dava Sobel. Rather, her hero, the ‘lone genius’ of her ostentatious subtitle, is JohnHarrison, a dour Yorkshire carpenter and village choirmaster who spent half a century from the early 1720s trying to make clocks capable of determining longitude and to convince metropolitan grandees ...
26 October 1989
Touching the void 
by Joe Simpson.
Cape, 172 pp., £10.95, July 1988, 0 224 02545 7
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Climbers 
by M. John Harrison.
Gollancz, 221 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 9780575036321
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... exhaustion (Doug Scott speaking to his feet in his bivouac with Dougal Haston near the summit of Everest, Joe Simpson’s ‘voice’ that kept him right on his agonising descent). It is a mark of JohnHarrison’s quality in Climbers that he never milks accidents to produce climactic passages. Climaxes, sexual or other, are something he avoids. His cinematic eye and vocal mimicry are preternatural ...

On Keston Sutherland

Ian Patterson: Keston Sutherland

20 September 2017
... out of their own space in an act of imagination that reminds me strongly of the kind of conceptual effort required by the only writer I can think of who achieves comparable effects, the novelist M. JohnHarrison. The repeated motif of a phrase returning in two other languages also acts to shift the reader’s perception of the linguistic basis of reality by referencing shared experience at the same ...

Cry Treedom

Jonathan Bate

4 November 1993
Forests: The shadow of Civilisation 
by Robert Pogue Harrison.
Chicago, 288 pp., £19.95, May 1992, 0 226 31806 0
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... Gore’s hostility to what is seen as the arrogance of the Enlightenment, arguing that we are all now paying a price for it in the form of global warming, acid rain and so forth. Over a century ago, John Ruskin was arguing that Cartesian (‘modern’) thought had destroyed man’s reverence and wonder in the face of the external world, and that the death of God-in-nature would eventually bring the ...

Labouring

Blake Morrison

1 April 1982
Continuous 
by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, £3.95, November 1982, 0 86036 159 4
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The Oresteia 
by Aeschylus, translated by Tony Harrison.
Rex Collings, 120 pp., £3.50, November 1981, 0 86036 178 0
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US Martial 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 29 0
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A Kumquat for John​ Keats 
by Tony Harrison.
Bloodaxe, £75, November 1981, 0 906427 31 2
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... There are grounds for thinking Tony Harrison the first genuine working-class poet England has produced this century. Of course, poets from D.H. Lawrence to Craig Raine can boast a proletarian background, but their poetry isn’t usually ...

Golf Grips and Swastikas

William Feaver: Francis Bacon’s Litter

26 February 2009
Francis Bacon: Incunabula 
edited by Martin Harrison and Rebecca Daniels.
Thames and Hudson, 224 pp., £39.95, September 2008, 978 0 500 09344 3
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... Bacon’s response was studiedly offhand. ‘Well,’ he drawled, clearing his throat. ‘Well . . . Illustration surely means just illustrating the image before you, not inventing it.’ Martin Harrison, the editor of the Bacon catalogue raisonné currently in preparation, has produced a scrapbook of illustrational materials from Bacon’s studio floor, among them dog-eared pages torn from magazines ...
18 October 1984
The Mystery Religion of W.B. Yeats 
by Graham Hough.
Harvester, 129 pp., £15.95, May 1984, 0 7108 0603 5
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Yeats, Eliot, Pound and the Politics of Poetry 
by Cairns Craig.
Croom Helm, 323 pp., £14.95, January 1982, 9780856649974
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Yeats. Poems 1919-1935: A Selection of Critical Essays 
edited by Elizabeth Cullingford.
Macmillan, 238 pp., £14, July 1984, 0 333 27422 9
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The Poet and his Audience 
by Ian Jack.
Cambridge, 198 pp., £20, July 1984, 0 521 26034 5
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A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 543 pp., £35, May 1984, 0 333 35214 9
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Poems of W.B. Yeats 
by A. Norman Jeffares.
Macmillan, 428 pp., £17, August 1984, 0 333 36213 6
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... almost gratified by Cairns Craig. He does not write with the clarity and panache of Graham Hough and his subject is less clearly focused. But it is an engrossing one. He sets out, in the footsteps of JohnHarrison, Harvey Gross, William Chace and others, to explain and explore the connections between Modernist literature, as practised by Pound, Eliot and Yeats, and reactionary politics. Others – ...

Funny Water

Frank Kermode: Raban at Sea

20 January 2000
Passage to Juneau: A Sea and Its Meanings 
by Jonathan Raban.
Picador, 435 pp., £16.99, November 1999, 0 330 34628 8
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... and complicated mathematics this discipline was not to the taste of his young officers. The method will be familiar, at least in principle, to readers of Dava Sobel’s Longitude, in which JohnHarrison the clockmaker is the hero of the urgent but endlessly protracted quest for a method of accurately determining longitude (essential to expanding maritime power). Sobel casts the Astronomer Royal ...

Criollismo

Benedict Anderson

21 January 1988
Colonial Identity in the Atlantic World, 1500-1800 
edited by Nicholas Canny and Anthony Pagden.
Princeton, 290 pp., £22, September 1987, 0 691 05372 3
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... From David Landes’s work we know that in exactly the same year in which the Thirteen Colonies declared their Independence, London’s Gentlemen’s Magazine included this brief obituary for JohnHarrison: ‘He was the most ingenious mechanic, and received the 20,000 pounds reward (from Parliament in London) for the discovery of the longitude.’ In other words, Harrison had invented the ...
16 March 2000
In House: Covent Garden, 50 Years of Opera and Ballet 
by John​ Tooley.
Faber, 318 pp., £25, November 1999, 9780571194155
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Never Mind the Moon: My Time at the Royal Opera House 
by Jeremy Isaacs.
Bantam, 356 pp., £20, November 1999, 0 593 04355 3
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... As the Royal Opera House staged its grand reopening, two of its former bosses filed conflicting accounts of its recent history. Both John Tooley (1970-88) and Jeremy Isaacs (1988-97) describe the House’s considerable achievements over the past half-century; and Isaacs’s part in pushing through the magnificent rebuilding was heroic ...

Thinking Persons

John​ Ellis

14 May 1992
Addressing Frank Kermode: Essays in Criticism and Interpretation 
edited by Margaret Tudeau-Clayton and Martin Warner.
Macmillan, 218 pp., £40, July 1991, 9780333531372
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The Poverty of Structuralism: Literature and Structuralist Theory 
by Leonard Jackson.
Longman, 317 pp., £24, July 1991, 0 582 06697 2
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Inconvenient Fictions: Literature and the Limits of Theory 
by Bernard Harrison.
Yale, 293 pp., £25, September 1991, 0 300 05057 7
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Reading Minds: The Study of English in the Age of Cognitive Science 
by Mark Turner.
Princeton, 298 pp., £18.99, January 1992, 0 691 06897 6
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Mikhail Bakhtin: Creation of a Prosaics 
by Gary Saul Morson and Caryl Emerson.
Stanford, 530 pp., $49.50, December 1990, 0 8047 1821 0
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... are conventional festschrift contributions largely unrelated to the thought of the figure whom they honour. Three of the contributors do, however, engage Kermode’s thought in a fairly serious way: John Stokes, George Hunter and Patrick Parrinder. Two ways of doing so were possible. Either Kermode’s general view of the critic’s task or his ideas concerning specific texts or groups of texts could ...
9 July 1992
Devolving English Literature 
by Robert Crawford.
Oxford, 320 pp., £35, June 1992, 9780198112983
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The Faber Book of 20th-Century Scottish Poetry 
edited by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 424 pp., £17.50, July 1992, 9780571154319
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... is supposed to be deeply satisfying to the English themselves. Robert Crawford, who pursues the argument on behalf of the Scots, avoids this mistake, detecting in a provincial Englishman like Tony Harrison a fury and resentment not surpassed by any Scot. But this is hardly a novel perception, for Harrison has achieved fame on the strength of it. In fact, it’s hard to find any English writer who isn ...
6 December 1984
Frederic HarrisonThe Vocations of a Positivist 
by Martha Vogeler.
Oxford, 493 pp., £27.50, September 1984, 0 19 824733 8
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Leslie Stephen: The Godless Victorian 
by Noël Annan.
Weidenfeld, 432 pp., £16.50, September 1984, 0 297 78369 6
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... Frederic Harrison once climbed Mont Blanc and found Leslie Stephen on the top. Not an improbable location for the encounter of two eminent Victorians: and they might equally have met in George Eliot’s drawing-room ...
25 January 1996
Terence Rattigan: A Biography 
by Geoffrey Wansell.
Fourth Estate, 428 pp., £20, October 1995, 1 85702 201 7
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... Without Tears subliminally meant ‘Sex Without Tears’ to its audience – the ideal combination.) The femme fatale Diana is foiled in her attempt to grab the hero – played by the youthful Rex Harrison while Diana was Kay Hammond – and decides to console herself with the young Lord Heybrook, who is about to arrive at the crammers’ establishment (a perfect and improbable Thirties scenario). She ...

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