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Stephen Fender, 23 June 1988

by Kenneth Lynn.
Simon and Schuster, 702 pp., £16, September 1987, 0 671 65482 9
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The Faces of Hemingway: Intimate Portraits of Ernest Hemingway by those who knew him 
by Denis Brian.
Grafton, 356 pp., £14.95, May 1988, 0 246 13326 0
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... The reaction started with the publication of Death in the Afternoon in 1932, the hero of which, as Kenneth Lynn cogently expresses it, is not ‘a haunted Nick Adams, or a crippled Jake Barnes, or a hollowed-out Frederic Henry, but an overbearing know-it-all named Ernest Hemingway’. Max Eastman said Hemingway had false hair on his chest. Gertrude ...


Ian Buruma, 9 March 1995

The Rape of Europa: The Fate of Europe’s Treasures in the Third Reich and the Second World War 
by Lynn Nicholas.
Macmillan, 498 pp., £20, September 1994, 0 333 62652 4
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... by the Japanese Imperial Army in 1937. And the third, described by William Shirer, and quoted by Lynn Nicholas, is about the Germans in Vienna after the Anschluss in 1938. It is probably right to conclude from these and many other examples that looting is as natural to human beings as raping and killing. In the state of nature, people show their strength by ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2016, 5 January 2017

... one reason alone: class. He could have been an English gentleman. The person he most resembles is Kenneth (Civilisation) Clark.19 August. Genuinely saddened last thing tonight by R. saying that Tom Daley hasn’t even reached the diving finals in Rio. He’s about the only competitor I cared about, feeling that for all his lustrous looks he’s had a ...

Brief Encounters

Andrew O’Hagan: Gielgud and Redgrave, 5 August 2004

Gielgud's Letters 
edited by Richard Mangan.
Weidenfeld, 564 pp., £20, March 2004, 0 297 82989 0
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Secret Dreams: A Biography of Michael Redgrave 
by Alan Strachan.
Weidenfeld, 484 pp., £25, April 2004, 0 297 60764 2
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... audiences howling into their tumblers for years. To someone like me who grew up thinking Kenneth Williams was the perfect English gentleman (and imagining Russell Harty and Lily Savage to be the perfect Northern blokes), the words of Norman Tebbit are not just mad in the way you’d expect from him, but also profoundly at odds with something ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 1995, 4 January 1996

... remark on his resemblance to Mr Spock or someone from outer space. Actually he looks like Kenneth Williams in one of those roles (Chauvelin, for instance) when the eyes suddenly go back and he goes wildly over the top. The smirking crew around Redwood are deeply depressing, Tony Marlow and Edward Leigh both fat and complacent and looking like two ...

You see stars

Michael Wood, 19 June 1997

The House of Sleep 
by Jonathan Coe.
Viking, 384 pp., £16.99, May 1997, 0 670 86458 7
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... old chatty novels, stage farces – not everyone would connect Jean Cocteau with Sid James and Kenneth Connor. But it is above all a novel of the Thatcher years, satirically seen as the reign of a particular mentality, easily identified, but not so easily defined. Coe portrays it through six grotesques, members of a single family, which itself is a kind of ...

No Beast More Refined

James Davidson: How Good Was Nureyev?, 29 November 2007

Rudolf Nureyev: The Life 
by Julie Kavanagh.
Fig Tree, 787 pp., £25, September 2007, 978 1 905490 15 8
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... did not serve myself, that was all. I did not want to stand in a queue,’ he explained to Lynn Barber more than 25 years later, as if to clear up one of the great issues of our time. As for his failure to invite Petit to take a bow, well that was Makarova’s responsibility. Very soon, one begins to see Kavanagh coming. When, early on, she emphasises ...


Alan Bennett: What I did in 2005, 5 January 2006

... Beyond the Fringe, which he thought ‘rather dreary’. I never could think of much to say to Kenneth Tynan or he to me but whenever we met in the early 1960s he’d make a point of telling me that of all the stuff in BTF what ‘Truman’ had most liked was the sermon, I think because it reminded him of the sermons of his boyhood. Whether Tynan was just ...

You Muddy Fools

Dan Jacobson: In the months before his death Ian Hamilton talked about himself to Dan Jacobson, 14 January 2002

... go back to the Battle of Bannockburn?No, not that far. Your schooling. Your birthplace. King’s Lynn. I was born in Norfolk.Were both your parents Scottish? Yes.And your father was an engineer? Yes. A civil engineer, built sewers, I think.– Which is a very Scottish thing to be doing. Building sewers?No, being an engineer. In King’s ...

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