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Re-Readings

Chris Baldick, 10 November 1988

Poetry, Language and Politics 
by John Barrell.
Manchester, 174 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2441 2
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Garden – Nature – Language 
by Simon Pugh.
Manchester, 148 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 2824 8
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Writing Ireland: Colonialism, Nationalism and Culture 
by David Cairns and Shaun Richards.
Manchester, 178 pp., £21.50, May 1988, 0 7190 2371 8
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The Shakespeare Myth 
edited by Graham Holderness.
Manchester, 215 pp., £25, May 1988, 0 7190 1488 3
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... or sample demonstrations of theoretical routines cried up as novelties. The series edited by Jonathan Dollimore and Alan Sinfield under the title ‘Cultural Polities’ has some twenty volumes in store already, covering popular fiction and music as well as canonical literature. Of these, the first four published titles present a mixed impression in ...

On Thatcher

Karl Miller, 25 April 2013

... third most written about person in the ‘LRB’ archive, after Shakespeare and Freud. Here Karl Miller’s memories of the paper in her day are accompanied by extracts from some of the pieces published at the time. On the morning Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced, the lesser lights of television who were minding the shop did her proud. A river of ...

Everybody

Craig Raine, 3 February 1983

Confessions of an Actor 
by Laurence Olivier.
Weidenfeld, 305 pp., £9.95, October 1982, 0 297 78106 5
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... by changing one feature one can create a whole new face.’ By the time he was playing Shylock for Jonathan Miller, his only protection was a set of specially-made teeth (in the still, oddly enough, he looks like a handsome version of Ken Tynan on the facing page). Miller had persuaded him to jettison a more complicated ...

Too Glorious for Words

Bernard Porter: Lawrence in Arabia, 3 April 2014

Lawrence in Arabia: War, Deceit, Imperial Folly and the Making of the Modern Middle East 
by Scott Anderson.
Atlantic, 592 pp., £25, March 2014, 978 1 78239 199 9
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... wanted book-heroes.’ (It reminds me of the Beyond the Fringe sketch in which Peter Cook sends Jonathan Miller to his death: ‘We need a futile gesture at this stage. It will raise the whole tone of the war.’) Lawrence seems to have realised that he was most useful as a myth. But only temporarily. He is also interesting in the broader history of ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2019, 2 January 2020

... Significantly, it’s a fashion I associate still with footballers in mufti. Photograph: Tom Miller 27 November. Jonathan Miller, who died this morning, would have been the first to joke (and grumble) about sharing the ultimate limelight with a TV chef and an Australian poet and critic who was almost as ...

Respectful Perversion

John Pemble: Gilbert and Sullivan, 16 June 2011

Gilbert and Sullivan: Gender, Genre, Parody 
by Carolyn Williams.
Columbia, 454 pp., £24, January 2011, 978 0 231 14804 7
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... years on, HMS Pinafore is still afloat. Refitted and relaunched by directors like Joseph Papp, Jonathan Miller, Ken Russell and Mark Savage as post-copyright, post-D’Oyly Carte G&S, not only Pinafore, but The Pirates of Penzance, The Mikado and Princess Ida too have been successfully revived on both sides of the Atlantic. Showbusiness professionals ...

Karl Miller Remembered

Neal Ascherson, John Lanchester and Andrew O’Hagan, 23 October 2014

... idea of being a famous literary editor may seem oxymoronic. That, however, is exactly what Karl Miller was. As a result, it was possible to be well-briefed about Karl before meeting him for the first time. This was thanks to Clive James’s introduction to his collection Visions before Midnight. James said that Karl, who’d commissioned him to write about ...

Prada Queen

Elaine Showalter: Shopping, 10 August 2000

Shopping for Pleasure: Women in the Making of London’s West End 
by Erika Diane Rappaport.
Princeton, 323 pp., £21.95, January 2000, 0 691 04477 5
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... Times, ‘retail Darwinism’ is killing off the malls. ‘The traffic hassles are awful,’ notes Jonathan Miller, the main author of a 1999 report on real-estate trends, ‘and people just generally don’t have the time to spend wandering around in malls like they used to.’ Even teenagers are moving on. ‘Malls used to be our social centres, but ...

Making Do and Mending

Rosemary Hill: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Letters, 25 September 2008

So I Have Thought of You: The Letters of Penelope Fitzgerald 
edited by Terence Dooley.
Fourth Estate, 532 pp., £25, August 2008, 978 0 00 713640 7
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... Proffitt, in 1990 she wrote: ‘I think Tosca might be wasted on me as I am so fond of it, and Jonathan Miller is so silly. They encourage him to be silly.’ Fitzgerald believed that as a biographer she could get to know a subject as well as anyone she had actually met, ‘particularly if you have the letters’. In her case the letters are probably ...

Puck’s Dream

Mark Ford, 14 June 1990

Selected Poems 1990 
by D.J. Enright.
Oxford, 176 pp., £6.95, March 1990, 0 19 282625 5
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Life by Other Means: Essays on D.J. Enright 
edited by Jacqueline Simms.
Oxford, 208 pp., £25, March 1990, 0 19 212989 9
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Vanishing Lung Syndrome 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by David Young and Dana Habova.
Faber, 68 pp., £10.99, April 1990, 0 571 14378 4
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The Dimension of the Present Moment, and Other Essays 
by Miroslav Holub, edited by David Young.
Faber, 146 pp., £4.99, April 1990, 0 571 14338 5
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Poems Before and After: Collected English Translations 
by Miroslav Holub, translated by Ewald Osers and George Theiner.
Bloodaxe, 272 pp., £16, April 1990, 1 85224 121 7
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My Country: Collected Poems 
by Alistair Elliot.
Carcanet, 175 pp., £18.95, November 1989, 0 85635 846 0
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1953: A Version of Racine’s ‘Andromaque’ 
by Craig Raine.
Faber, 89 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14312 1
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Andromache 
by Jean Racine, translated by Douglas Dunn.
Faber, 81 pp., £4.99, March 1990, 0 571 14249 4
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... Raine’s version was commissioned for a production at the Old Vic but was turned down by director Jonathan Miller, and a straightforward translation by Eric Korn was used instead. It’s not hard to see Miller’s objections. Beyond fulfilling the basic plot requirements, 1953 barely connects with Racine at all. It ...

Half Bird, Half Fish, Half Unicorn

Paul Foot, 16 October 1997

Peter Cook: A Biography 
by Harry Thompson.
Hodder, 516 pp., £18.99, September 1997, 0 340 64968 2
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... a political party without quickly being disgusted by its humbug or convulsed by its absurdity. Jonathan Miller was surely wrong when he said to Thompson: ‘The idea that Peter had an anarchic, subversive view of society is complete nonsense. He was the most upstanding, traditional upholder of everything English and everything Establishment.’ My own ...

Overindulgence

Ruth Bernard Yeazell: A.S. Byatt, 28 November 2002

A Whistling Woman 
by A.S. Byatt.
Chatto, 422 pp., £16.99, September 2002, 0 7011 7380 7
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... programme Frederica hosts is called Through the Looking-Glass, and its pilot episode features Jonathan Miller and Richard Gregory talking animatedly about mirrors and doubles, both of which figure prominently in A Whistling Woman’s own symbolic repertoire. (As she did in Babel Tower, where she brought on Anthony Burgess as a witness for the defence ...

Is this successful management?

R.W. Johnson, 20 April 1989

One of Us: A Biography of Margaret Thatcher 
by Hugo Young.
Macmillan, 570 pp., £16.95, April 1989, 0 333 34439 1
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... the moment I’m rereading The Fourth Protocol,’ she happily tells a journalist. Rereading. Jonathan Miller talks of her ‘catering to the worst elements of commuter idiocy’ and one can see what he means. Hugo Young is the best political journalist writing in Britain today, and One of Us is likely to be the standard work for quite a while to ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2014, 8 January 2015

... some of the books and papers so that it can be used for the filming.I first saw the house in 1968. Jonathan Miller lives in the same street and Rachel, his wife, saw the ‘For Sale’ sign go up. It belonged to an American woman who kept parrots and there were perches in the downstairs room and also in its small garden. Slightly older than the other ...

Guilty Men

Michael Neve, 5 March 1981

The Fate of Mary Rose 
by Caroline Blackwood.
Cape, 208 pp., £5.95, February 1981, 0 224 01791 8
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Darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble 
by Caroline Blackwood and Anna Haycraft.
Cape, 224 pp., £6.50, November 1980, 0 224 01834 5
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... the recipes, here donated by a gallery of friends and neighbours, are ready and waiting for them. Jonathan and Rachel Miller contribute their Saturday Salad that can increase in size as the friends flood in. Some of them may arrive in the condition of Rowan Anderson when Maureen Sutton was murdered: comatose from drink. The ...

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