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Application for Funding

John Bossy, 23 April 1992

Francis Bacon, the State, and the Reform of Natural Philosophy 
by Julian Martin.
Cambridge, 236 pp., £35, December 1991, 0 521 38249 1
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... as a master of English rhetoric, an unsuccessful reformer of natural philosophy, and a cold fish. Julian Martin has tried to put him together, not by a lumping biography, but by finding the crux. His title is clumsy, but he is a good read, has an excellent point to make, and makes it successfully. His line is that it has been impossible to get at the ...

N.V. Rampant meets Martin Amis

N.V. Rampant, 18 October 1984

... This is the big one,’ I told myself nervously. ‘The Martin Amis interview. This is the one that could make you or break you.’ As I neared his front door my heart was in my mouth. No doubt he would have said it more cleverly. He would have said his heart was palpitating with trepidation like a poodle in heat in a monastery of mastiffs ...

What ho, Giotto!

Julian Symons, 7 February 1991

Stanley Spencer 
by Kenneth Pople.
Collins, 576 pp., £25, January 1991, 0 00 215320 3
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... it without premeditation. The religious paintings brought to my mind those of the Victorian John Martin, whose Last Judgment, The Great Day of His Wrath and The Plains of Heaven were exhibited all over England with immense success, and even earned a reference in East Lynne to the ‘shadowy figures in white robes, myriads and myriads of them, for they ...

Satisfaction

Julian Loose, 11 May 1995

The Information 
by Martin Amis.
Flamingo, 494 pp., £15.99, March 1995, 0 00 225356 9
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... Clearly, for Martin Amis, enough is nothing like enough. To read him is to discover an author as voracious as his characters: like Terry in Success, who specifies that ‘I want all that and I want all that. And I want all that and I want all that. And I want all that and I want all that.’ Or like the fast-food, fast-sex junkie John Self of Money, who always gets less than he bargains for, yet keeps going back for more: ‘I would cheerfully go into the alchemy business, if it existed and made lots of money ...

Darts for art’s sake

Julian Symons, 28 September 1989

London Fields 
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 470 pp., £12.95, September 1989, 0 224 02609 7
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... and even thinking or reading about them for too long may induce ‘nausea, clinical nausea’. So Martin Amis in ‘Thinkability’, the introduction to his collection of stories Einstein’s Monsters. The monsters are the weapons – but also ourselves, who are ‘not fully human, not for now’. Given such a premise, the weapons must be written about by a ...

Diary

Julian Girdham: Mansergh v. Arnold, 21 June 1984

... This book was the subject of a particularly vitriolic review in the Sunday Tribune by one Martin Mansergh. Mansergh’s father, Nicholas, is the distinguished Cambridge historian, and Mansergh fils (a Protestant) is Head of Research in the opposition Fianna Fail party. ‘Research’ is Fianna Fail code for ‘Northern Ireland’, and English readers ...

City of Dust

Julian Symons, 25 July 1991

A Den of Foxes 
by Stuart Hood.
Methuen, 217 pp., £13.99, July 1991, 9780413651105
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Dirty Tricks 
by Michael Dibdin.
Faber, 241 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 0 571 16216 9
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A Strange and Sublime Address 
by Amit Chaudhuri.
Heinemann, 209 pp., £13.99, June 1991, 9780434123483
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Spider 
by Patrick McGrath.
Viking, 221 pp., £13.99, April 1991, 0 670 83684 2
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... Question does engage the attention of novelists, they approach it with glancing allusiveness, like Martin Amis, or cover it with the cloak of magical realism, which, whatever its dubious imaginative benefits, weakens any intended social point. So it is no surprise that Stuart Hood and Michael Dibdin concern themselves with the present state of society and ...

The View from the Passenger Seat

Lorna Sage: Gilbert Adair, 1 January 1998

The Key of the Tower 
by Gilbert Adair.
Secker, 190 pp., £12.99, October 1997, 0 436 20429 0
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... cribbed, confined) here – so that when the literary father-figures he has in mind turn out to be Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan, it’s hard to believe him. Father’s ghost has to be grander. And he is. Adair the novelist’s true problem, which Amis notoriously shares, is with Nabokov. Adair’s 1990 ...

At Tate Britain

Julian Bell: ‘British Folk Art’, 3 July 2014

... by Gunner Baldie (c.1830). ‘The Tailor’s Coverlet’ by James Williams (1842-52).PreviousNext Martin Myrone, one of the show’s curators, cautiously suggests that the figureheads, with their ‘chunky modelling’, ‘emphatic characterisation’ and ‘vernacular energy’, ‘might be considered as the exemplary form of folk art, construed as an ...

Four Thousand, Tops

Michael Wood: Headlong by Michael Frayn, 14 October 1999

Headlong 
by Michael Frayn.
Faber, 395 pp., £16.99, August 1999, 0 571 20051 6
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... vision or speculation which takes over the whole modest world of the central character. He is Martin Clay, a philosophy lecturer on sabbatical, diligently avoiding work on the book he is supposed to be writing on nominalism, and he is convinced that his disorderly neighbour in the country has, but doesn’t know he has, a lost Bruegel among the mountains ...

Bourgeois Masterpieces

Julian Symons, 13 June 1991

Literature and Liberation: Selected Essays 
by Arnold Kettle, edited by Graham Martin and W.R. Owens.
Manchester, 231 pp., £9.95, February 1991, 9780719027734
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... My friend and fellow crime writer John Creasey published more than seven hundred books under some twenty different names. (He also found time to found a political party called rather grandly the All Party Alliance, although a wit said that his only allies were Anthony Morton, Gordon Ashe, Michael Halliday and other Creasey pseudonyms.) His books were popular but not highly regarded, and this worried and baffled him ...

Shoulder-Shrugging

Julian Critchley, 11 December 1997

Dear Bill: Bill Deedes Reports 
by W.F. Deedes.
Macmillan, 396 pp., £20, October 1997, 0 333 71386 9
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... called to question ‘Jolly Jack’ Profumo about his private life. Profumo lied like a trooper. Martin Redmayne, who was without doubt the worst Chief Whip since the war, failed to see through his mendacity, though his job was to know the strengths and weaknesses of his flock. I am surprised that someone as clever and worldly as Iain Macleod should have ...

Half-Timbering, Homosexuality and Whingeing

Ian Sansom: Julian Barnes, 1 October 1998

England, England 
by Julian Barnes.
Cape, 272 pp., £15.99, September 1998, 0 224 05275 6
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... and authenticity, but is itself something of a poser. This is, I’m sure, entirely by design: Julian Barnes is a writer who knows how to spot a fake. Last year, on 15 September, for example, in the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana, the New Yorker ran a series of articles in praise of the Princess. Clive James put on the most astonishing ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: What’s in a name?, 19 October 2000

... at www.companies-house.gov.uk, offers the following near-misses (chosen, of course, at random): Martin Amos Services, Julian Barnett Productions, Anita Brook, A.S. Bunning, Margaret Dolphin, Ian Rankin Plastics Consultancy, J.K. Roofing, Salman Investments; for the authors on the Booker Prize shortlist, we have ...

Bloody

Michael Church, 9 October 1986

The Children of the Souls: A Tragedy of the First World War 
by Jeanne Mackenzie.
Chatto, 276 pp., £14.95, June 1986, 9780701128470
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Voices from the Spanish Civil War: Personal Recollections of Scottish Volunteers in Republican Spain 1936-39 
edited by Ian MacDougall, by Victor Kiernan.
Polygon, 369 pp., £9.95, July 1986, 0 948275 19 7
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The Shallow Grave: A Memoir of the Spanish Civil War 
by Walter Gregory, edited by David Morris and Anthony Peters.
Gollancz, 183 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 575 03790 3
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Spanish Front: Writers on the Civil War 
edited by Valentine Cunningham.
Oxford, 388 pp., £15, July 1986, 0 19 212258 4
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The Spanish Cockpit 
by Franz Borkenau.
Pluto, 303 pp., £4.95, July 1986, 0 7453 0188 6
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The Spanish Civil War 1936-39 
by Paul Preston.
Weidenfeld, 184 pp., £10.95, June 1986, 0 297 78891 4
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Images of the Spanish Civil War 
by Raymond Carr.
Allen and Unwin, 192 pp., £14.95, July 1986, 0 04 940089 4
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... I adore war,’ Julian Grenfell reported to his mother from the Flemish trenches in 1914, in a letter which she proudly sent on for anonymous publication in the Times. Stalking Germans through the mud was not very different from stalking partridges, as he noted in his game book: ‘November 16th; 1 Pomeranian. November 17th; 2 Pomeranians ...

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