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Queen Mary

Michael Neve

20 December 1984
A Darker Shade of Pale: A Backdrop to Bob Dylan 
by Wilfrid Mellers.
Faber, 255 pp., £6.95, November 1984, 0 571 13345 2
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by Jonathan Cott.
Vermilion/Hutchinson, 244 pp., £20, October 1984, 0 09 158750 6
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... and the Myth of the Wild West’, Dylan’s Christian conversion, and his appearance as ‘Jewish Amerindian and White Negro’. It is all a bit too much, but at least Mellers takes care, unlike JonathanCott in his expensive, over-reverential tome: one more coffee-table book. It may seem a bit Dylanesque (i.e. slightly cruel) but I finished Cott’s book without being able to remember what it had ...
23 May 1985
Secret Gardens 
by Humphrey Carpenter.
Allen and Unwin, 235 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 04 809022 0
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Reading and Righting 
by Robert Leeson.
Collins, 256 pp., £6.95, March 1985, 9780001844131
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Pipers at the Gates of Dawn 
by Jonathan Cott.
Viking, 327 pp., £12.95, August 1984, 0 670 80003 1
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... a Guardian cartoon by Posy Simmonds, which shows some unspeakable enthusiasts sounding off about Beatrix Potter and her darker allegories (‘Squirrel Nutkin ... external menace ... paranoia’). JonathanCott would have done well to take to heart the warning communicated here. Pipers at the Gates of Dawn consists of interviews with six children’s authors and illustrators, and one pair of ...


Peter Campbell

5 December 1985
... them. The unending duels of the cartoon films – where Tom for ever fails to catch Jerry – are better analogues of the fantasies of children than the manipulative tales of the child-improvers. JonathanCott, who makes more extravagant claims for good children’s books than most, also sees more danger in bad ones. What kind of world is it, he asks, in which a boy’s alternative to television might ...

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