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The New Archaeology

Patrick Wormald, 18 March 1982

A Short History of Archaeology 
by Glyn Daniel.
Thames and Hudson, 232 pp., £9.50, June 1981, 0 500 02101 5
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A Social History of Archaeology 
by Kenneth Hudson.
Macmillan, 197 pp., £20, March 1981, 0 333 25679 4
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Rites of the Gods 
by Aubrey Burl.
Dent, 258 pp., £12, September 1981, 0 460 04313 7
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... Glyn Daniel is the sort of scholar for whom the word ‘doyen’ might have been invented – what could be more archetypally doyenish than to be honoured, as Professor Daniel has lately been, with a festschrift prefaced by the Prince of Wales? A Short History of Archaeology is the 100th volume in the Thames and Hudson ‘Ancient Peoples and Places’ series which he has edited since its inception only 25 years ago – a notable striking-rate by any standards ...

Retro-Selfies

Iain Sinclair: Ferlinghetti, 17 December 2015

I Greet You at the Beginning of a Great Career: The Selected Correspondence of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg, 1955–97 
edited by Bill Morgan.
City Lights, 284 pp., £11.83, July 2015, 978 0 87286 678 2
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Writing across the Landscape: Travel Journals 1960-2010 
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, edited by Giada Diano and Matthew Gleeson.
Liveright, 464 pp., £22.99, October 2015, 978 1 63149 001 9
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... This​ was a 42-year marriage of convenience between forgiving but frequently exasperated business partners and poetry rivals. It was launched with a seize-the-day telegram, after a one-night, earth-shuddering, world-tilting performance in a jazzed-up garage. Before moving on to occasional meetings and decades of dutiful, near conjugal correspondence from all parts of the globe ...

The Greatest Geek

Richard Barnett: Nikola Tesla, 5 February 2015

Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age 
by W. Bernard Carlson.
Princeton, 520 pp., £19.95, April 2015, 978 0 691 05776 7
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... and mysterious presence, a man around whom other characters weave tall tales. Towards the end of the novel, in a sly nod to a constant on conspiracy websites, one of them wonders whether Tesla was behind the Tunguska Event, a ten-megaton blast that destroyed 830 square miles ...

Prize Poems

Donald Davie, 1 July 1982

Arvon Foundation Poetry Competion: 1980 Anthology 
by Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney.
Kilnhurst Publishing Company, 173 pp., £3, April 1982, 9780950807805
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Burn this 
by Tom Disch.
Hutchinson, 63 pp., £7.50, April 1982, 0 09 146960 0
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... Aidan Carl Mathews’s ‘Severances’, and John Levett’s ‘The Photographs of Paris’. The first two are longish, the others shorter. The only one that won a prize – and that the smallest, £100 – is ‘Corolla’, a sequence of nine exactly rhymed and metred sonnets, culminating in a stunning ...

Anglophobe Version

Denton Fox, 2 February 1984

The New Testament in Scots 
translated by William Laughton Lorimer.
Canongate, 476 pp., £17.50, October 1983, 0 900025 24 7
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Scotland and the Lowland Tongue 
edited by J. Derrick McClure.
Aberdeen University Press, 256 pp., £17, September 1983, 0 08 028482 5
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... When William Laughton Lorimer, formerly Professor of Greek at St Andrews, died in 1967, he left behind him the manuscript of a translation of the New Testament into Scots, on which he had been working for the past ten years ...

Swanker

Ronald Bryden, 10 December 1987

The Life of Kenneth Tynan 
by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 407 pp., £16.95, September 1987, 9780297790822
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... Kathleen Tynan says that she wavered for some time between writing a personal memoir of her 16 years with her husband Kenneth and embarking on a full-dress biography, embracing the 36 before they met. As she foresaw, making the second choice has produced an odd, hybrid book, not quite one thing nor the other ...

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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... another one, not yet focused but beginning to loom pretty large. Something was taking the place of history, some hefty compound of nostalgia, propaganda, heritage, sheer imagination, which made it look as if we had always been, until recently, just what we wished we had been – or what ...

Visible Woman

James Shapiro: Sticking up for Shakespeare, 4 October 2007

Shakespeare’s Wife 
by Germaine Greer.
Bloomsbury, 406 pp., £20, September 2007, 978 0 7475 9019 4
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... children: Susanna in 1583 and twins, Judith and Hamnet, two years later. The few surviving scraps of evidence raise as many questions as they answer, especially the will in which Shakespeare bequeathed Ann their ‘second best bed’. No record of Ann Hathaway’s baptism has been found. The only reason to believe that she ...

Back to Reality

David Edgar: Arthur Miller and the Oblong Blur, 18 March 2004

Arthur Miller: A Life 
by Martin Gottfried.
Faber, 484 pp., £25, October 2003, 0 571 21946 2
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... In his 1987 autobiography, Arthur Miller tells of a conversation with a Kentucky farmer about the Holy Ghost. Pressed to give a definition of the most mysterious element in the Trinity, the farmer replied: ‘I figure it’s sort of an oblong blur ...

Berenson’s Elixir

Simon Schama, 1 May 1980

Bernard Berenson: The Making of a Connoisseur 
by Ernest Samuels.
Harvard, 477 pp., £9.50, June 1979, 0 674 06775 4
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Being Bernard Berenson 
by Meryle Secrest.
Weidenfeld, 473 pp., £8.50, January 1980, 0 297 77564 2
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... splendour, looking like some pixillated Nestor, venerated from far and near as the oracular source of wisdom on Italian art, ‘II Bibi’ took on an iconic quality. In the public mind, he became the incarnation of Renaissance man, sustaining an ...

Diary

Alan Bennett: What I did in 2000, 25 January 2001

... some stone lintels at No. 61. The driver is a stocky, heavy-shouldered, neatly-coiffed woman of around sixty. While she doesn’t actually do the unloading she humps pallets up and down the lorry and does everything a male (and younger) lorry driver would do, with only a certain doggedness about her actions an indication ...

Magnifico

David Bromwich: This was Orson Welles, 3 June 2004

Orson Welles: The Stories of His Life 
by Peter Conrad.
Faber, 384 pp., £20, September 2003, 0 571 20978 5
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... At 8 o’clock on the night of 30 October 1938, listeners to Orson Welles’s Mercury Theater on the Air might have noticed a short announcement: the show that evening was going to be an adaptation of...

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