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Paper this thing over

Colin Kidd: The Watergate Tapes

5 November 2015
The Nixon Tapes: 1971-72 
by Douglas Brinkley and Luke Nichter.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 758 pp., $35, July 2014, 978 0 544 27415 0
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The Nixon Defence: What He Knew and When He Knew It 
by John W. Dean.
Penguin, 784 pp., £14.99, June 2015, 978 0 14 312738 3
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Washington Journal: Reporting Watergate and Richard Nixon’s Downfall 
by Elizabeth Drew.
Duckworth Overlook, 450 pp., £20, August 2014, 978 0 7156 4916 9
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Chasing ShadowsThe Nixon Tapes, the Chennault Affair and the Origins of Watergate 
by Ken Hughes.
Virginia, 228 pp., $16.95, August 2015, 978 0 8139 3664 2
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The Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan 
by Rick Perlstein.
Simon and Schuster, 860 pp., £25, August 2014, 978 1 4767 8241 6
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... from the Watergate complex, which, the authorities surmised, had been used as a lookout by the burglars’ accomplice or accomplices. Here the police found an address book containing a note, ‘HH WH’, next to a telephone number. The investigators quickly suspected Howard Hunt, a former CIA agent who was employed as a consultant on special activities at the White House. Evidence soon pointed to ...
17 July 1980
... she would find her place in Poets’ Corner, near the grave of Charles Dickens and the bust of Thackeray. Why has it taken a century to bring this about? In giving notice of her death her husband, JohnWalter Cross, who had married her in St George’s, Hanover Square, scarcely eight months before, alluded to her wish to be buried here. Of her many famous friends, Tennyson, Browning and Trollope ...

At the Royal Academy

Eleanor Birne: Tacita Dean

7 June 2018
... All​ the things I am attracted to are just about to disappear,’ Tacita Dean once told Marina Warner. Dean’s three almost simultaneous new shows – at the Royal Academy, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery – are full of transient things: paintings of an ant moving across a rock ...

To the End of the Line

Ferdinand Mount: The Red Dean

26 April 2012
The Red Dean​ of Canterbury: The Public and Private Faces of Hewlett Johnson 
by John​ Butler.
Scala, 292 pp., £16.95, September 2011, 978 1 85759 736 3
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... In his prime, Dr Hewlett Johnson was one of the most famous men in the world. Almost from the moment he was made dean of Canterbury in 1931, he became instantly recognisable everywhere as the Red Dean. His faith in the Communist Party, and in Stalin in particular, was unshakeable. Purges and famines, executions and persecutions passed him by. Though he never saw the need actually to join the Party ...
17 December 1992
Tyndale’s New Testament 
edited by David Daniell.
Yale, 429 pp., £18.95, September 1989, 0 300 04419 4
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Tyndale’s Old Testament, being the Pentateuch of 1530, Joshua to II Chronicles of 1537 and Jonah 
edited by David Daniell.
Yale, 643 pp., £25, October 1992, 0 300 05211 1
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... Church had said St Jerome had made them say, to translate it and to make it available in large, printed numbers. If, in the process, it was discovered that the famous proof-text for the Trinity in I Johnwas attested by almost no Greek manuscripts, though it existed in all Latin texts, manuscript and printed, what was to be done? It is, says modern scholarship, probably a late interpolation, designed ...

Necessary Bishop

John​ Robinson

3 July 1980
Ahead of his Age: Bishop Barnes of Birmingham 
by John​ Barnes.
Collins, 487 pp., £12.95, November 1979, 0 00 216087 0
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... than most was Ernest William Barnes (1874-1953), for nearly thirty years Bishop of Birmingham, an office to which he was nominated by Ramsay MacDonald, who also appointed Hewlett Johnson as ‘red’ Dean of Canterbury. Barnes’s career could scarcely have been more different from that of another near-contemporary who was also a scientist, theologian and prophet – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. While ...


Colin Burrow:​ Henry Howard

11 November 1999
Henry Howard, the Poet Earl of Surrey: A Life 
by W.A. Sessions.
Oxford, 448 pp., £60, March 1999, 9780198186243
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... Thomas discovered when he was imprisoned in 1536 after a rash engagement to Lady Margaret Douglas, who also had royal blood. Surrey was unimaginably grand, but was also not unjustly described by John Barlowe, Dean of Westbury as ‘the most foolish proud boy that is in England’. His actions often tread the dividing line between brattishness and defiant aristocratic singularity. In March 1543 he ...

Zeitgeist Man

Jenny Diski: Dennis Hopper

22 March 2012
Dennis Hopper: The Wild Ride of a Hollywood Rebel 
by Peter Winkler.
Robson, 376 pp., £18.99, November 2011, 978 1 84954 165 7
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... just too late to sit in Les Deux Magots with Beckett or hang out at Shakespeare & Co with the Beats. Hopper missed mixing it with the hard-drinking rabble-rousers, Flynn, Bogart and Sinatra, while JohnWayne, with whom he acted in The Sons of Katie Elder and True Grit, called him a Communist and offered to explain why he, Wayne, ‘was worth a million per picture’. Hopper was, however, perfectly ...


George Melly

4 April 1991
A Surrealist Life 
by John​ Lowe.
Collins, 262 pp., £18, February 1991, 0 00 217941 5
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... once asked me in the days before I was added to his long list of enemies both real and imaginary. ‘I suppose I am, but I don’t mean to be. I’ve always tried to behave like everyone else.’ Wewere sitting on the platform of one of the inevitably incomplete concrete follies he was building at enormous expense on a hillside he owned by proxy in a Mexican jungle. He was wearing a poncho ...

Plenty of Pinching

John​ Mullan: The Sad End of Swift

29 October 1998
Jonathan Swift 
by Victoria Glendinning.
Hutchinson, 324 pp., £20, September 1998, 0 09 179196 0
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... for his interment. He stipulated that he be buried ‘as privately as possible, and at Twelve o’clock at Night’ in the great aisle of Dublin’s St Patrick’s Cathedral, where he had been Dean since 1714. A tablet of black marble was to be fixed to the wall ‘with the following Inscription in large Letters, deeply cut, and strongly gilded’: HIC DEPOSITUM EST CORPUS JONATHAN SWIFT, S.T ...

Art and Men

Michael Shelden

5 December 1991
Bachelors of Art: Edward Perry Warren and the Lewes House Brotherhood 
by David Sox.
Fourth Estate, 296 pp., £18.99, September 1991, 1 872180 11 6
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... fiction, women were intellectual inferiors and could not arouse true love, because ‘one could only worship that which was above one’s self.’ Such foolishness was reinforced by the Dean of New College, whose sermons were poisoned by misogyny. In a sermon delivered during Ned’s second year, the dean said of women: ‘Inferior to us God made you, and inferior to the end you will ...

Stifled Truth

Wyatt Mason: Tobias Wolff and fictions of the self

5 February 2004
Old School 
by Tobias Wolff.
Bloomsbury, 195 pp., £12.99, February 2004, 0 7475 6948 7
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... writing the fiction you are reading,’ Tobias Wolff confessed in his 1993 introduction to the Picador Book of Contemporary American Stories. Writing fiction about a writer who is writing the fiction we are reading, Wolff would have us understand, is obscene. A writer reaching out from behind the curtain of the page to wave at the crowd undermines the enterprise: the rich illusion of reality is ...

Yes and No

John​ Bayley

24 July 1986
Lionel Trilling and the Fate of Cultural Criticism 
by Mark Krupnick.
Northwestern, 207 pp., $25.95, April 1986, 0 8101 0712 0
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... terms of how it is becoming the past. It is pervasive, sceptical, wry, melancholic and – a favourite Trilling word – perdurable, because founded not on mental enthusiasm but on biological need. We all need to rest, and where better to rest than in the company of cool, humouring, compassionate observers like Matthew Arnold and E.M. Forster, or of Lionel Trilling himself? Naturally if you write ...
8 March 1990
Emotion Pictures: Reflections on the Cinema 
by Wim Wenders, translated by Sean Whiteside and Michael Hofmann.
Faber, 148 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 0 571 15271 6
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Scorsese on Scorsese 
by Martin Scorsese, edited by David Thompson and Ian Christie.
Faber, 178 pp., £12.99, November 1989, 9780571141036
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... the German Wenders as director, the American Sam Shepard as writer; the German Robby Müller as cinematographer, the American Ry Cooder as composer/performer of the music; the American actors Harry Dean Stanton and Dean Stockwell as the central Henderson brothers, the French Aurore Clément and the German Nastassia Kinski as their wives. For Wenders, a long-time lover of the Western and of American ...


E.S. Turner: Kiss me, Eric

17 April 2003
Dean​ Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
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... From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or Little by Little. This was the book which, in the face of much mockery, put the wind up two generations of youth. Parents, seizing the wrong end of ...

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