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Alan Bennett remembers Peter Cook

Alan Bennett, 25 May 1995

... that I first set eyes on Peter, at lunch in a restaurant, I think on Goodge Street, with Dudley Moore and Jonathan Miller, the meeting arranged by John Bassett, whose idea it was that we should all work together writing the review that turned into Beyond the Fringe. Having already written while still an undergraduate a ...

The Heart

Jonathan Aaron, 26 March 1992

... think of Byron staring into the flames near the water’s edge, and of what he wrote afterward to Moore, ‘… all of Shelley was consumed but for the heart.’ Wherever you are – in the open chest of the accusatory martyr who leaned toward me one day in an Italian church, or on the sleeves of the young, the madly hopeful and in love – you do what you ...

‘We do deserts, we don’t do mountains’

Alex de Waal: The United Nations, 11 November 1999

Soldiers of Diplomacy: The United Nations, Peacekeeping and the New World Order 
by Jocelyn Coulon.
Toronto, 231 pp., £26, October 1998, 0 8020 0899 2
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Hard Choices: Moral Dilemmas in Humanitarian Intervention 
edited by Jonathan Moore.
Rowman and Littlefield, 320 pp., £18.95, December 1998, 0 8476 9031 8
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New and Old Wars: Organised Violence in the Global Era 
by Mary Kaldor.
Polity, 200 pp., £13.99, December 1998, 0 7456 2067 1
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... Ineptitude and confounded expectations lie at the heart of military affairs. Probably not one war in a hundred has conformed to the course plotted for it by those who launched it. Journalists have catalogued many of the errors and stupidities of recent wars, and there have been some scholarly assaults on the territory, most of which are concerned with the British Army in its Imperial heydey and aftermath ...

Sinking Giggling into the Sea

Jonathan Coe: Giggling along with Boris, 18 July 2013

The Wit and Wisdom of Boris Johnson 
edited by Harry Mount.
Bloomsbury, 149 pp., £9.99, June 2013, 978 1 4081 8352 6
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... original cast members) and the other three-quarters of the Beyond the Fringe team (Alan Bennett, Jonathan Miller and Dudley Moore), who would go on to present their own take on the nuclear threat, in a sketch called ‘Civil War’.In that sketch, a worried Moore listens trustingly as a ...

The Family That Slays Together

Deborah Friedell: Lorrie Moore, 19 November 2009

A Gate at the Stairs 
by Lorrie Moore.
Faber, 322 pp., £16.99, October 2009, 978 0 571 19530 5
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... the one who kills your kid, in madness or by accident. The abyss is deeper than you knew. Lorrie Moore’s new novel is her first in 15 years and thematically her most ambitious. Her characters are affected by racism, 9/11, the military, jihadism, global warming, the internet, farming and food culture, adoption laws, sex and academia – but all of these ...

Bang-Bang, Kiss-Kiss

Christian Lorentzen: Bond, 3 December 2015

Spectre 
directed by Sam Mendes.
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The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s James Bond Letters 
edited by Fergus Fleming.
Bloomsbury, 391 pp., £25, October 2015, 978 1 4088 6547 7
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Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir 
by Robert Harling.
Robson, 372 pp., £20, October 2015, 978 84 95493 65 1
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... novels and from his showdowns with the Bonds played by Sean Connery, George Lazenby and Roger Moore. (Copyright issues prevented any showdowns with Bond as played by Timothy Dalton and Pierce Brosnan.) Craig’s Bond is tougher than any of his predecessors – a thug Bond who looks like he drinks more protein shakes than martinis – but also more ...

Out of the jiffybag

Frank Kermode, 12 November 1987

For Love and Money: Writing, Reading, Travelling 1969-1987 
by Jonathan Raban.
Collins Harvill, 350 pp., £11.50, November 1987, 0 00 272279 8
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Original Copy: Selected Reviews and Journalism 1969-1986 
by John Carey.
Faber, 278 pp., £9.95, August 1987, 0 571 14879 4
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... by authors who save their best efforts for quite different sorts of writing. They may, as Jonathan Raban’s title suggests, be working for love as well as money, and it is easy to understand their wish to give their best work in this kind a more permanent form. Raban has some engaging remarks on this subject. As he says, very few people can now make ...

A Kind of Gnawing Offness

David Haglund: Tao Lin, 21 October 2010

Richard Yates 
by Tao Lin.
Melville House, 206 pp., £10.99, October 2010, 978 1 935554 15 8
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... as David Foster Wallace uses X and Y in ‘Octet #6’, for example, or as Lorrie Moore uses Mother and Baby in ‘People like That Are the Only People Here’. Jonathan Lethem has said that ‘strange character names are an easy way to make sure the reader feels, at the deepest level, they’re entering a ...

At Tate Britain

Anne Wagner: Hepworth, 27 August 2015

... six months before Barbara Hepworth: Sculpture for a Modern World was installed (until 25 October). Jonathan Jones already felt certain in January that the show ‘wants to free’ Hepworth ‘from any provincial status’, so as to place her works ‘alongside those of Brancusi, Kandinsky, Mondrian, Pollock, Rothko or Richard Serra’. What else to expect from ...

Diary

Jonathan Lethem: My Egyptian Cousin, 12 December 2002

... the bee-stings of a dissident leftist – Noam Chomsky, say, or Ralph Nader, perhaps Michael Moore – had had him imprisoned. Astonishment would quickly give way to fear of speaking out. The incarceration of one person, the right person, can be an act of the most ruthless efficiency, chaotic kangaroo-court tableaux notwithstanding. So Saad, a ...

Good Repute

M.F. Burnyeat, 6 November 1986

The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation 
edited by Jonathan Barnes.
Princeton, 1250 pp., £53, August 1984, 0 691 09950 2
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... One important example of Ciceronian translation will serve both to signal the excellence of Jonathan Barnes’s Revised Oxford Translation and to highlight a feature of Aristotle’s philosophy which will have made it hard for the ancients to see his greatness. Aristotle is unique among ancient philosophers in his respect for people’s opinions: both ...

Saving the appearances

A.J. Ayer, 19 March 1981

The Scientific Image 
by Bas C. Van Fraassen.
Oxford, 233 pp., £15, December 1980, 9780198244240
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... Fraassen’s book is a recent addition to the Clarendon Library of Logic and Philosophy which Mr Jonathan Cohen is editing for the Oxford University Press. Its aim, as expressed in the blurb, is ‘to develop an empiricist alternative to both logical positivism and scientific realism’. In fact, Van Fraassen has very little to say about logical ...

The Sponge of Apelles

Alexander Nehamas, 3 October 1985

TheSkeptical Tradition 
by Myles Burnyeat.
California, 434 pp., £36.75, June 1984, 0 520 03747 2
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The Modes of Scepticism: Ancient Texts and Modern Interpretations 
by Julia Annas and Jonathan Barnes.
Cambridge, 204 pp., £20, May 1985, 0 521 25682 8
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Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties 
by P.F. Strawson.
Methuen, 98 pp., £10.95, March 1985, 0 416 39070 6
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Hume’s Skepticism in the ‘Treatise of Human Nature’ 
by Robert Fogelin.
Routledge, 195 pp., £12.95, April 1985, 0 7102 0368 3
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The Refutation of Scepticism 
by A.C. Grayling.
Duckworth, 150 pp., £18, May 1985, 0 7156 1922 5
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The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism 
by Barry Stroud.
Oxford, 277 pp., £15, July 1985, 0 19 824730 3
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... in some of the most interesting recent work on Scepticism – in the essays by Myles Burnyeat and Jonathan Barnes in The Skeptical Tradition and elsewhere, as well as in papers by Michael Frede. But what is also needed is a more elementary account of Scepticism, a presentation of the Sceptics’ main approaches when undermining their opponents’ views and ...

Seeing Things

John Bayley, 18 July 1996

The World, the World 
by Norman Lewis.
Cape, 293 pp., £18.99, April 1996, 0 224 04234 3
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Omnibus: ‘A Dragon Apparent’, ‘Golden Earth’, ‘A Goddess in the Stones’ 
by Norman Lewis.
Picador, 834 pp., £9.99, January 1996, 0 330 33780 7
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... go through a great deal. The most disquieting voyage to read about is that of E.M. Forster’s Mrs Moore. She is a perfectly willing traveller, although she prefers being at home, and looks forward to getting back there. But her passage to India destroys the point of her life. In a sense it works too well – the Marabar caves, those well-known tourist ...

Conspire Slowly, Act Quickly

David Runciman: Thatcher Undone, 2 January 2020

Margaret Thatcher: The Authorised Biography Vol. III: Herself Alone 
by Charles Moore.
Allen Lane, 1072 pp., £35, October 2019, 978 0 241 32474 5
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... halfway through a war?’It was not a coup, not even a very British one. But it was, as Charles Moore describes, the result of a very Tory conspiracy. Thatcher fell following the first ballot of a leadership election among Conservative MPs in which she secured more votes than her rival Michael Heseltine but not quite enough to prevent the contest going to a ...

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